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Books, Short Stories, and Essays About Female Friendship

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Female friendships can be more complicated than romantic relationships. I’m fascinated by the subject—and so are a lot of other writers. Here’s a very incomplete list of books, short stories, and essays that deal with the topic. I asked for recommendations on my Facebook page, and a bunch of people chimed in. Thanks to everyone who contributed! 

Alice Munro’s short stories: Axis, Wenlock Edge, Child’s Play

As Music and Splendour by Kate O’Brien

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

Autobiography of Us by Aria Sloss

Beaches by Iris R. Dart

Before by Irini Spanidou

Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy by Carol Brightman

Blueprints for Building Better Girls by Elissa Schappell

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner 

Dare Me and The Fever by Megan Abbott

Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels

Emma by Jane Austen

Felicity and Barbara Pym by Harrison Solow

Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

Friendship by Emily Gould

Good People of New York by Thisbe Nissen

Hild by Nicola Griffith

How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti

I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox

How to Be Friends With Another Woman by Roxane Gay (a list)

Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell

Local Girls by Caroline Zancan (coming out next summer from Riverhead)

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

My Rayannes by Emma Straub (essay)

Not that Kind of Girl by Carlene Bauer

Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller

NW by Zadie Smith

Overexposed by Susan Shapiro

Rainey Royal by Dylan Landis

Ruth Gila Berger’s essay in the current issue of Slice

She Matters by Susanna Sonnenberg

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Sula by Toni Morrison

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone

Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg

Testament of Friendship: The Story of Winifred Holtby by Vera Brittain

The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe

The Book Borrower by Alice Mattison

The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard

The Friend Who Got Away edited by Elissa Schappell and Jenny Offill

The Girls by Nina Barrett

The Girls of Corona Del Mar by Rufi Thorpe

The Group by Mary McCarthy

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood

The Last Kings of Sark by Rosa Rankin-Gee

The Last of Her Kind by Sigrid Nunez

The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart

Nana manga series

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant 

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Spare Room by Helen Garner

The Unknown Bridesmaid by Margaret Forster

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

The Women’s Room by Marilyn French

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

This Will Go Down On your Permanent Record by Susannah Felts

Tinderbox by Lisa K Gornick

Transformation and Transcendence: The Power of Female Friendship by Emily Rapp (essay)

Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett

Two Girls, Fat and Thin and Veronica by Mary Gaitskill

Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles

Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter

Variable Cloud by Carmen Martín Gaite

Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? By Lorrie Moore

You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt

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Regram from @fitzroy. #latergram

Regram from @fitzroy. #latergram

Tags: latergram
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Me: Speaking of sexuality, masturbation has always been a thing that women have enjoyed, but not always felt comfortable talking about. How do we take that discomfort away?

Caitlin Moran: There are all these things like menstruation, masturbation, abortion, and kind of every taboo aspect of being a woman. Every time someone says they won’t talk about something, I’m like “Right, that’s where I’m going. Literally give me a list of stuff you’re not supposed to talk about and I’m fucking going in there.”

I interviewed Caitlin Moran for DAME Magazine.

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"In spite of all that may be said about survival after the destruction of the brain, I observe that each alteration of the brain is a partial death. We possess all our memories, but not the faculty of recalling them…What, then, is a memory which we do not recall? Or, indeed, let us go further. We do not recall our memories of the last thirty years; but we are wholly steeped in them; why then stop short at thirty years, why not extend this previous life back to before our birth? If I do not know a whole section of the memories that are behind me, if they are invisible to me, if I do not have the faculty of calling them to me, how do I know whether in that mass that is unknown to me there may not be some that extend back much further than my human existence? If I can have in me and round me so many memories which I do not remember, this oblivion (a de facto oblivion, at least, since I have not the faculty of seeing anything) may extend over a life which I have lived in the body of another man, even on another planet. A common oblivion obliterates everything. But what, in that case, is the meaning of that immortality of the soul the reality of which the Norwegian philosopher affirmed? The being that I shall be after death has no more reason to remember the man I have been since my birth than the latter to remember what I was before it."

— from SODOM & GOMORRAH by Marcel Proust 

Tags: lit quotes Proust
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"

Manhattan is for the hard-bodied, the hard-minded, the multitasker, the alpha mamas and papas. A perfect place for self-empowerment—as long as you’re pretty empowered to begin with. As long as you’re one of these people who simply do not allow anything—not even reality—to impinge upon that clear field of blue.

There is a kind of individualism so stark that it seems to dovetail with an existentialist creed: Manhattan is right at that crossroads. You are pure potential in Manhattan, limitless, you are making yourself every day.

"

Zadie Smith

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/oct/23/find-your-beach/

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In my bag for a 1.5 hour train ride to Connecticut: magazines and books! #fridayreads

In my bag for a 1.5 hour train ride to Connecticut: magazines and books! #fridayreads

Tags: fridayreads
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"

The mind is a whore.

My reading is hoarding, accumulating, storing up for the future, filling the hole of the present. Sex and eating are entirely different motions—pleasures for themselves, for the present—not serving the past + the future. I ask nothing, not even memory, of them.

Memory is the test. What one wants to remember—while still in the act or experience—is corrupt.

Writing is another motion, exempt from these strictures. Discharging. Paying off the debt to memory.

"

— from REBORN: Journals & Notebooks 1947-1963 by Susan Sontag

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THIS. (From SPONTANEOUS PARTICULARS: THE TELEPATHY OF ARCHIVES by Susan Howe)

THIS. (From SPONTANEOUS PARTICULARS: THE TELEPATHY OF ARCHIVES by Susan Howe)

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"Each collected object or manuscript is a pre-articulate empty theater where a thought may surprise itself at the instant of seeing. Where a thought may hear itself see."

— from SPONTANEOUS PARTICULARS: THE TELEPATHY OF ARCHIVES by Susan Howe 

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TONIGHT AT 8PM in Prospect Heights
"After September the beloved Buzzards Banquet will be going on a Fall/Winter break, so don’t miss this one! 
This month for its first time ever will feature multi-media poetry. There will be mages of literature melting faces with truths and theories. There will be music to die dancing for. Come to Prospect Heights, Soda Bar at 8pm, grab a drink and get your fill of the town’s best emerging talent in words of fiction, poetry and rock’n’roll, before the Banquet goes into hibernation.This month’s performers include:Jennilie BrewsterRich MoyMichele FilgateJason PorterBeth LisickWith music from Milk & Honey”

TONIGHT AT 8PM in Prospect Heights

"After September the beloved Buzzards Banquet will be going on a Fall/Winter break, so don’t miss this one! 

This month for its first time ever will feature multi-media poetry. There will be mages of literature melting faces with truths and theories. There will be music to die dancing for. 

Come to Prospect Heights, Soda Bar at 8pm, grab a drink and get your fill of the town’s best emerging talent in words of fiction, poetry and rock’n’roll, before the Banquet goes into hibernation.

This month’s performers include:

Jennilie Brewster
Rich Moy
Michele Filgate
Jason Porter
Beth Lisick

With music from Milk & Honey”