Even if you're not a bookworm you probably know that sharing a novel is one of the best things to do with your sister. (After all, sharing a novel is far less risky than stealing your sister's clothes.) We all know that good books can pretty much turn the quietest of us into motormouths, and there's no one better to talk about the details of a great story with than a sister.
Is there a perfect kind of book to read with your sister? Personally, my vote is on the novel. Though cookbooks and craft books can lead to fun projects, they're not nearly as quotable. (And, as anyone who has a special sister language with their sibling knows, winning quotes are the key to ultra inside jokes.) The other perfect thing about novels is that they raise questions about the big issues in life. How does your childhood shape the adult you become? What role will your sisterhood have in your life? When does a longstanding grudge need to finally be broken? How will you all band together and deal with your parents?
Heavy stuff, yes, but what are sisters for if not for having real talk? These 9 books about sisters are guaranteed to lead to some marathon heart-to-hearts.
1. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Do you and your sister bond over your love of books? If so, Eleanor Brown's story of three quirky siblings who come home to take care of their ailing mother might be perfect for you. Ultimate sister quote:
Sisters keep secrets. Because sisters’ secrets are swords.
2. The Last Days of California by Mary Miller
Miller's novel takes two sisters and puts them in the backseat of the weirdest road trip you've ever read about — their uber-Christian parents are heading to California, saving souls along the way. There's road food, hotel rendezvous, and the sort of loving-under-the-surface sisterly quarrels that are utterly relatable. One of my favorite insights comes from the narrator, Jess:
I wanted to be like my sister, who made friends and mistakes easily. It was like she'd been born knowing how to live.
3. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
A memoir in poetry, Brown Girl Dreaming captures Woodson's experience of growing up in an African-American family during the 1960s and 70s. Though there's not an aspect of this book that isn't gorgeous and perfect (I dare you not to gush after reading this one), the depictions of sisterhood are especially tender and moving:
Will the words end, I askwhenever I remember to. Nope, my sister says, all of five years old now, and promising meinfinity.
4. The Easter Parade by Richard Yates
The author of Revolutionary Road's epic saga of sisters Emily and Sarah Grimes spans four decades and is a classic study in nature vs. nurture. The Easter Parade will definitely give you and your sis plenty to talk about, including brutal lines like this:
Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life, and looking back it always seemed that the trouble began with their parents’ divorce.
5. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Did you and your sisters love figuring out which Bennett sister you'd be while reading Pride and Prejudice? Then you're going to love Prep-author Sittenfeld's retelling, which finds the women occupied with yoga instructorships and Master's degrees — and, of course, two hunky doctors named Chip Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy. In addition to the sisters, you'll adore the sentences, which marry Austin-ese with our modern day vernacular:
As they faced each other, there was between them such a profusion of vitality that it was hard to know what to do with it; they kept making eye contact, looking away, making eye contact again. At last — surely he was thinking something similar and she was simply giving voice to the sentiment —she said, "Want to go to your place and have hate sex?
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I mean, obviously.
I do think that families are the most beautiful things in all the world!
7. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
When Olivia, the daughter of an American man and his Chinese wife, learns she has a half-sister, Kwan Li, her understanding of her own life and legacy is changed forever. This is a story that spans decades and continents. And, like Tan's other fiction, it captures not only the tension between sisters but mothers and daughters:
Whenever I'm with my mother, I feel as though I have to spend the whole time avoiding land mines.
8. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
When the five Lisbon sisters all commit suicide, the neighborhood boys that idolized them are left to piece together the mysteries the girls left behind. Eugenides captures, with harrowing imagery and haunting nostalgia, the experience of girlhood in the '70s:
We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn't fathom them at all.
9. Wise Children by Angela Carter
If you and your sister love fairy tale redactions like Carter's The Bloody Chamber (or if you've ever performed a song-and-dance routine together), you'll adore this novel about identical twins Dora and Nora Chance, who glitter and storm through British dance halls. You'll go extra gaga if you're a Bard fan: the Chance sisters are the illegitimate daughters of a renowned Shakespearean actor. A sisterly saga:
There was a house we all had in common and it was called the past, even though we'd lived in different rooms.
Images: Focus Films