Monday, November 26, 2018

Top Ten Books about Friendship

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's theme is all about platonic (i.e., non-romantic) relationships in books. I previously shared some of my favorite male-female friendships from books, so here are some other friendships — good friendships, sad friendships, female friendships, male friendships, couple friendships, pre-arranged friendships...!

1. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
I suppose this one could have gone on my previous list, but I honestly remember very little about the characters themselves or their friendship. (I think I read this in sixth grade?) However, I feel like this book is THE classic book about dealing with the death of a friend, which is not something explored in a lot of stories.

2. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
This book includes the best depiction I've seen of how friendships among young girls can include a lot of cruelty and manipulation. Most books with young (grade school) friendships are cutesy stories geared toward that same age group, so it's rare to see a realistic portrayal of the dark side of these friendships, written for an adult audience.

3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein
This is a memorable, heartbreaking story of a to-the-death friendship between two young women during World War II. How far would you be willing to go for your friend?

4. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
This is a quiet and beautiful story of the friendship between two couples as they navigate life and academia together. The imbalances between them at various points — wealth, career success, marital strength — create real-life tensions that unfold in small, private, recognizable dramas.

5. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
My son loves Frog and Toad, so I've listened to the audio recordings of these books many, many, many times (although he's now switched to preferring the cast recording of A Year with Frog and Toad: The Musical, which I must say is quite good). Frog and Toad get on each other's nerves quite a bit, but in the end they're always there for each other.

6. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
It's only appropriate that this story of an unlikely friendship between an angel and a demon would be written by a talented duo of fantasy writers.

7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Although the plot of this book is sparked by a correspondence between a writer and one man on Guernsey, the story is much larger, about the friendships that exist among the inhabitants of this island, particularly in the face of the German occupation.

8. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
I listed this previously as an example of a male-female friendship (between John and Katherine Keeling), but of course the central friendship is between John and Owen. After their friendship survives Owen's role in the accidental death of John's mother, what can possibly break it?

9. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Lily and Snow Flower are matched to be laotong, friends for life, a match that is supposed to help each of them rise above their fate in rural 19th-century China. Can their friendship truly survive for a lifetime?

10. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Talk about an unlikely friendship: Laila is brought in as a second wife after Mariam fails to bear a child, and they initially see each other as rivals. But eventually they figure out that they may be each other's best hope to survive their abusive husband.

What other books highlight the many facets of friendship?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Stranger in a Strange Land and The New Jim Crow
Five years ago I was reading: The Moonstone and Roots
Ten years ago I was reading: The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. II

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