Oh. My. God. We're just weeks away from the Friends reunion, set to run on February 21. Which means every Friends fan is breaking out their best '90s clothes, their favorite coffee mug, and their best impersonations of each character. Even though Matthew Perry can't join in, the reunion of our favorite gang is plenty of reason to celebrate.
I'm fascinated by everything television and books have in common. The way stories have room to grow, the way you feel like the characters have been life-long friends. Friends is the epitome of that intersection, as we live right along with every character. From small moments just hanging out on the couch to the large, important events (heartbreaks, marriages, and births), we are right there with them, just like it was our own lives we're leading. Good books do this, too, creating a sense of complete connection between you and the characters your reading about. And just like with a good book, when a TV show ends, you feel a simultaneous rush of closure and sadness.
We've all been longing to hear Monica's "I KNOW," to see Joey eat an entire pizza, to hear Phoebe's latest song, to watch Ross freak out, to hear Chandler's dry sarcasm, and to see Rachel charm her way through another situation. Even the sound of Janice would be comforting at this point. In the many days to come before our favorite gang comes back to the screen, these books will be there for you.
1. Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma
This new novel from the author of The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards centers around a tight-knit group of twentysomethings living in Manhattan in 2009. Filled with devoted friendship, changing relationships, and hard life moments, this book is full of heart. Could it BE any more perfect?
2. I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
So no one told you life was going to be this way? A huge part of why we love friends is all the crazy missteps and shenanigans the group stumbles into. That's what this book is all about. A collection of literary essays about Crosley's hapless adventures while living in NYC, this book will have you laughing the whole way through.
3. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
One of the best parts of Friends is how well and how long they've known each other. That's what this knock-out read is all about. Centering on a group of friends who meet at an arts summer camp in the '70s, this book spans decades, exploring the changes in their lives and their continuing relationships with one another.
4. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
Now a star writer Nate Piven's love life has gone from being D.O.A. to being very, very alive. Like Joey, he's got a constant stream of women in his life. But when one relationship grows more serious, Nate has to decide what he really wants. This book is filled with romance, drama, and the literary world, yielding a fabulous exploration of all three.
5. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
A quintessential read to get that '90s nostalgia pumping. When pop music junkie Rob's girlfriend leaves him, he finds comfort in the clerks at his record store, who are prone to winding conversations about pop culture. We follow Rob as he moves through the world of dating, oscillating about what it is he really wants. Nick Hornby at his finest, this book will make you feel like you're right back on that orange couch.
6. Private Citizens by Tony Tolathihulme
Set in San Francisco, this head-turning debut follows four recent college grads as they attempt to navigate a world of tech start-ups, gentrification, and night life. As they grapple with privilege and what they want their place in the world to be, their journey turns into a "gleefully rude comedy of manners."
7. Other People We Married by Emma Straub
This brilliantly written collection of stories is filled with characters who are starting new chapters in their lives. From a professor stumbling into the dating world (sounds a lot like Ross, doesn't it?) to a couple making a dramatic move to the Midwest, every character in this book feels like they're your best friend, and every story has its own, undeniable charm.
8. The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley
Set in New York City, this brand new book follows three people, bound by friendship and family, as they try to figure out their lives. Clio Marsh, a notable birdwatcher, is stepping into a new relationship; her best friend, Smith Anderson, has a seemingly perfect life that is starting to fall apart; and Tate Pennington has returned to the city with a broken heart and a head full of artistic dreams. You're sure to be drawn into these characters and they lessons they learn throughout the emotional chaos of their lives.
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