Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books About Friendship. They’re listed in alphabetical order, and all of the links lead to Goodreads.
A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead
In 1942, a group of 230 non-Jewish French women known as “31,000 Convoi” were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau for their roles in the French resistance against the Nazis and the Vichy government. By forging strong bonds of friendship and support, the women figured out ways to help each other survive.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Jess and Leslie are an unlikely pair, but the form a unique bond on the first day of school and become inseparable. In the imaginative way kids do, they create their own magical kingdom called Terabithia in the woods. Be warned: it will probably make you cry.
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
A drug cartel takes over Nayeli’s quiet Mexican village, where all of the men have left to find work up north, so she and her friends travel the United States to bring back a “Magnificent Seven” group of strong men who will kick the cartel out. It’s part road trip, part feel-good immigration story.
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Patti Smith writes about arriving in New York in the late 60s and coming upon a chance encounter with then-unknown artist Robert Mapplethorpe. She charts their remarkable friendship from the days when they were two young, very broke artists trying to get by in New York City through the very end. It’s a book I’ve always regretted not reviewing, because it is a-maz-ing, and it won a National Book Award in 2011.
Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
This is another book I regret never getting around to reviewing. It’s about Caldwell’s friendship with Caroline Knapp. The two ended up bonding over dogs, but they shared a lot of similar life experiences and quickly became best friends. Knapp was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, so the book ultimately focuses on their friendship in the face of Knapp’s death. It’s a beautiful celebration of female friendship and a lovely tribute to Knapp. I cried.
Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers by Lillian Faderman
This is a book that’s a little unusual in the context of this list: it’s actually a history of lesbian life in 20th century America. It’s a fascinating book, and I’m including it on this list mostly because of Faderman’s exploration of romantic friendships.
The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men by Ernessa T. Carter
A group four black women, almost all of whom have been inseparable since college, are about to turn 30. They expect it to be their best year yet and are determined to find love, success, and happiness, but life has something else planned for them. It’s funny and smart and, yes, awesome.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Here’s another book that’s not exactly “about” friendship, but friendship does play a major theme. Celie has been abused and victimized all of her life, first by her father, then by her husband. I don’t want to give much away, but it’s a unique friendship that helps her find confidence and self-love. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1983.
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
In 1974, six teenagers meet at an arts camp in the Berkshires. The Interestings, as they dub themselves that summer, become inseparable and continue to meet up in Manhattan when summer comes to an end. Some of the group will become closer as they age, while a couple will drift off, but they’ll be linked for the rest of their lives. It’s one of those love-it-or-hate-it books. I loved it.
The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
When they met in college in 1970s Bombay, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta were the best of friends. Thirty years later, time and distance have separated the four women. Armaiti is the one who brings the group back together when she reaches out with devastating news: she has terminal cancer and would like to see her friends one last time.