These Are the Books About Female Friendship You Need To Read
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It's February, which means it's time for Galentine's Day, that one extra special day of the year where we celebrate our female friendships.
Having and fostering our female friendships is beyond important — so much so that it's literally good for our health and happiness. Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT, told Healthline in 2019 that "research shows that women, [possibly] more than men, need to maintain those connections. It increases serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone." That research has been echoed in studies at Stanford and even a UCLA study that showed "in times of stress, women don’t just experience the drive toward fight or flight — they also release oxytocin," which causes women to feel compelled "to connect with other women."
So, in honor of that connection, we've rounded up a series of books on female friendships. Let these good reads help you celebrate Galentine's during a year when being socially distant from friends is the norm. Our recommendation? Snag one of these, convince a few friends to read it, too, and have a virtual book-chat night!
1. Big Friendship by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow
Big Friendship is a thoughtful, non-fiction look at a decade-long friendship, woven through with anecdotes, science, and passion. The book examines the ebbs and flows of long-term friendship while also delving into how the pair has grappled with race (Friedman is a white woman, Sow is Black) and much, much more.
2. The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
You'd be hard-pressed to find a list of books about women and friendship and NOT find The Neapolitan Novels on it. This dreamy series following two Italian best friends over the course of their lives features both the intimate and gritty parts of platonic relationships between women that we don't often get to see in literature. Come for the descriptions of small Italian neighborhood life, stay for the portraits of women as they grow older.
3. Marlena by Julie Buntin
If you're looking for a light-hearted book on female friendship, we'd suggest The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants; if you're looking for something a bit messier, Marlena is the way to go. Through alternating time periods, Marlena has the protagonist looking back on her best female friendship as a teenage girl and the way in which their respective paths diverged. Relatable in more ways than one, the book takes a look at just how formative our friendships can be and how they change us for the rest of our lives.
This post is part of a month-long February CircleAround series, tied to Galentine's Day. What was once a celebratory day on a fictional TV sitcom has emerged, like Festivus before it, as a very real day, spawning a legion of loyal followers. That's because it celebrates the platonic friendships among women. We asked writers — and readers — to tell us how their gal pals are helping them navigate one of the most challenging periods in our history, as well as to share stories about their meaningful female friendships. To see all the posts in the series — including relevant news stories — visit here. And if you'd like to contribute to the series, send us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on our "2021 Inspiration Wall."