We can never get enough of witnessing the origins of lifelong relationships and reading as they bloom on the page. So, we’ve gathered together a few of our bookish besties: poignant tales about lifelong connections, thrillers that dig into the darkness that lies beneath an amicable surface, and literary deep dives into the trials and tribulations of sharing our deepest vulnerabilities with another person. Like the different relationships in our lives that wax and wane, these books come in all types and tones. Best of all? Each is guaranteed to make you want to gab. So share them with a friend and get ready to debrief over a glass of wine.
The Gang’s All Here: 11 Wonderful Books About Friendship to Read Right Now
The follow-up to Joanna Cannon’s acclaimed debut, THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, THREE THINGS ABOUT ELSIE explores the complexity of lifelong relationships. Florence, an eighty-four-year-old on the brink of death, takes what could be her final moments to reflect on the dark secrets she and her best friend, Elsie, have kept from each other over the years. Lyrical and rich, this novel lights up with bittersweet humor and unexpected reveals. Read the full review of THREE THINGS ABOUT ELSIE.
In this heart-warming debut, twenty-something journalist Kate Matthews discovers a cross-generational connection while writing a story about the closing the Lido, a local pool and community center. Rosemary, one of the Lido’s longtime members, shares her memories of the place: coping with the aftermath of World War II, navigating the complexities of marriage, and struggling through periods of loss. Within the safe harbor of this transformative place, Rosemary and Kate discover a friendship that will change their lives forever.
The first in a new series structured around the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women, PASSION ON PARK AVENUE is a classy contemporary romance that digs deep into class divisions and the tensions of managing with elderly parents. Naomi Powell is determined to conquer the Upper East Side social scene that ousted her and her mother during her childhood. But first she has to conquer her new neighbor, who irritates and attracts her in equal measure and is, worst of all, the son of her mother’s ex-employer.
In this cinematic, evocative memoir, long-time journalist and food scholar Jessica Harris recalls in vivid color her youth in 1970s New York and her circle of friends who defined a generation. While Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison have become larger-than-life representatives of the era’s intellectualism and activism, they are first and foremost, in Harris’s moving reflections, a group of friends who found comfort, hope, and encouragement in one another.
HANK & JIM takes a biographical look at two of Hollywood’s biggest leading men, Henry Fonda and James Stewart, through the lens of their unbreakable bond. Fonda, a ladies’ man and liberal Democrat, and Stewart, a conservative Republican and committed monogamist, seemed to have little in common. But throughout their star-studded careers, the horrors of World War II, and the complexities of marriage and fatherhood, the two forged a friendship that is revealed, for the first time, through Eyman’s intimate prose.
Fifteen-year-old Aristotle is having a hard time defining himself in the shadow of his family’s secrets and his brother’s imprisonment. Then, one hot summer day, he meets the artistic, confident Dante, another young loner, who shows Ari how effortless and enlightening true friendship can be. A coming-of-age story for the young and the young at heart, ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE is a poetic but understated tribute to the power of childhood friendships.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison and Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common, but as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.
Not all friendships are peaches and cream. In this sly, breathtaking memoir about the dark corners of female friendship, Rachel DeLoache Williams recounts her ill-fated friendship with Anna Delvey, who posed for years in New York as a worldly German heiress. After losing more than $62,000 to Anna on a lavish vacation, Rachel begins a lawsuit that will reveal the power of greed and envy while ultimately taking down the woman she thought was her friend.
THE INTERESTINGS follows six friends from the moment they meet at an arts summer camp in the ‘70s through the hills and valleys of their lives and into middle age. While some of them trade in their artistic aspirations for more reasonable, albeit average, lives, others rise to the top of the cultural and intellectual elite. This is an ambitious and complex portrait of talent, ambition, and the relationships that define our lives by one of our greatest contemporary writers. Read the full review of THE INTERESTINGS.
“Like any good friend group, Wolitzer’s novel has a little bit of everything. There’s romance, there’s comedy, there’s drama, there’s sadness, and there’s an undeniable, everlasting devotion to the people you take the journey with.”
In this follow-up to the bestselling THE KITE RUNNER, Khaled Hosseini returns with another heartbreaking, expansive story about the power of love in even the most brutal of times and places. Mariam and Laila find each other among countless hardships in the streets of Kabul. Their bond will allow them to seek solace in one another and find the strength to do the courageous and often terrible things that must be done to ensure a future for their families. Read the full review of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS.
Winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction, THE FRIEND is a meditative exploration of loss, grief, and the spiritual connection between human and animal. After the death of her friend and mentor, a middle-aged woman inherits an elderly Great Dane, who, in the face of heartache, slowly becomes her only remaining tie to the world. As her obsession with Apollo deepens, she and the reader experience a sincere and darkly funny journey of self-discovery, tenderness, and devotion.
After a horrifying childhood accident, two best friends, Nel and Sula, follow divergent paths into womanhood: Nel becoming a well-respected wife and mother in her hometown of Medallion, Ohio, Sula becoming a scandalously independent nomad. When Sula returns to Medallion, the two are thrust back into the old intensities, elations, and jealousies of their childhood friendship. SULA, Toni Morrison’s second novel, is a powerful display of Morrison’s brilliantly inventive storytelling and her raw, incisive character studies.
Toni Morrison’s address to the Wellesley graduates of 2004 overflows with sage advice and inspiring quotes to live by. Morrison’s books will provide you with enough life lessons to get you through life’s most challenging seasons. SULA is a novel about friendship, unforgivable betrayal, and how a friendship survives through sharply divergent paths of womanhood.