Female Friendships

In Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship(Dutton, $17), journalist Kayleen Schaefer explores the role of female friendship in contemporary life. She draws on her own experience, as well as examples of how these kinds of friendships are portrayed in the media, to shape a slim but powerful tribute to the potential of female friendship to be a defining (if not the defining) relationship in one's life.

girlsquardsIntrigued by Schaefer's exploration of the many (many) ways contemporary culture highlights the more negative aspects of female friendships (catfights, backstabbing, gossip and more), I set off in search of more examples like the positive ones she shares. First to mind was Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships that Changed History by Sam Maggs, illustrated by Jenn Woodall (Quirk, $16.99), which is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of 20 history-shaping friendships spanning from 400 BCE to present day. I am also intrigued by the scientific knowledge promised in Jacqueline Mroz's Girl Talk: What Science Can Tell Us about Female Friendship,which Shelf's reviewer said "takes the bonds between women seriously."

Though Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Riverhead, $17) is ostensibly about creativity, not friendship, it is impossible to read Elizabeth Gilbert's account of her long relationship with fellow writer Ann Patchett without reflecting on how formative that friendship has been for both women and wondering how many other lives have been shaped by friends in the same way. The same "big" theme underlies Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close (Simon & Schuster, $26), in which the co-hosts of the popular Call Your Girlfriend podcast, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, provide concrete recommendations for investing in long-term friendships, based on their own decade-long relationship, with all its joys and challenges. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm