9 Books To Gift Your BFF This National Best Friend Day
National Best Friend Day is just around the corner (Wednesday, June 8, for anyone who thinks I’m making National Best Friend Day up) and if your group of got-your-back gals is anything like mine, there is no better way to celebrate than with a few books your best friend will love. Plus, you really can’t go wrong by throwing some must-read titles into that wine and chocolate gift basket you already have tucked away for her. (And also you, because what kind of bestie would she be if she didn’t share — right?)
I love reading books with my best friends, and some books are just meant to be shared: Gone Girl , Fifty Shades of Grey (loved it or hated it, don’t even pretend you didn’t,) anything Mindy Kaling has ever written — all better when read with friends. Even though some of my best pals and I live in completely different parts of the world these days, there are few things that connect us better than dishing over a great (or occasionally terrible) read. Even when it sometimes means spending more in shipping than the cost of the book, just so you can share your own margin-noted copy.
1. Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman
You’re going to want to give this short story collection to your BFF just so you can read it all over again with her — seriously, it’s that good. I usually give my fave titles to my best bud, Becca, after I’m done reading them, but this one I’m keeping for myself (and gifting Becks her own copy.) Whether Abigail Ulman’s characters are dealing with unbearable TSA agents, navigating their first pregnancies, or simply trying to get through high school in one piece, what they all share is their too-true-it’s-almost-painful experiences of being women in a world that just does not get it. From desperately wanting to be a kid again, to thinking every thought I’ve ever had while scrubbing off the grime of some old boyfriend’s bedroom, to just being totally over it — whatever ‘it’ is — Ulman will have you cracking up, nodding in sympathy, and feeling like somebody finally understands your entire life by the time you finish this book.
2. The Evolution of Jane by Cathleen Schine
This novel introduces readers to Jane Schwartz, who at 25-years-old finds herself at the end of an unfortunate marriage and in desperate need of a vacation. Where better to jet off to than the Galápagos Islands, where WiFi is still an invention of the future and cell service is spotty at best? (It’s true; I’ve been there. Best hideout ever.) Upon arrival she discovers that her island tour guide is none other than her childhood BFF and cousin, Martha, who suddenly ended their friendship years ago with no explanation. As Jane recovers from her breakup, and revives her interest in life again, she also begins to investigate what happened with Martha so long ago. The Evolution of Jane is a great novel about both friendship and female empowerment — one your best friend is bound to love.
3. The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives by Cheryl Jarvis
Think of this one as the nonfiction, adult version of your favorite YA title, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. (You know you still love it.) The Necklace tells the story of 13 somewhat dissimilar women living in California who spontaneously decide to go halfsies (thirteensies?) on an expensive diamond necklace, which each will have the opportunity to wear before passing it on to the next lady. At different points and perspectives in each of their lives, all of the women discover the necklace means something different to each them as well. But as it turns out, one act of generosity leads to another, and the impact of the necklace on these 13 women inspires them to make a positive impact on their larger community, as well as in their own lives.
4. Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar by Kelly Oxford
National Best Friend Day is the perfect time to remind your lifelong gal pal of all the crazy antics you got into as kids (and let’s be honest: are still getting into now.) Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar is exactly the book to do that — from “stalking” Leonardo DiCaprio, to having rocks thrown at her in a park mid-intercourse, to conducting totally inappropriate conversations with restroom attendants, Kelly Oxford is just an irreverent, hilarious, unbelievable mess. This book is filled with the kind of shameful anecdotes you’d only ever share with your bestie; Oxford just happened to put them all in her memoir.
5. I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
As a student in the United States, Caitlin Alifirenka volunteered to become the unlikely pen pal of Martin Ganda, another student living practically on the other side of the world, in Zimbabwe. In the beginning, neither expected their correspondence to last six years, crossing continents and major life transitions. But endure their friendship did, changing both their lives in the all the ways only great friendships do. I Will Always Write Back tells the story of Alifirenka and Ganda, and their letters (and it’ll totally make you want to start exchanging handwritten notes with your best friend — even if you don’t live half-way around the world from each other.)
6. Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show by Daniel de Visé
So, your BFF might have to be a total Andy Griffith Show nerd to love this book as much as I did (but seriously, is anybody not a total Andy Griffith Show nerd? We all need a little more Mayberry in our lives these days.) Andy and Don profiles the two friends at the heart of this classic television show — best friends on TV and in real life. And while it wasn’t all as rose-colored off screen as that black-and-white sitcom made it seem (Andy and Don definitely got each other through some rough times) the scenes describing their off-camera humor and interpersonal dynamics will have you and your best friend laughing just as hard as the show itself did.
7. The Neapolitan Novels series by Elena Ferrante
If you and your best gal pals haven’t read My Brilliant Friend and the other three novels in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels series, then National Best Friend Day is the perfect occasion to start a Ferrante-inspired book club. Not only will you love this series that tells the story of the ups and downs of a lifelong friendship between two women, you’ll also have a great time theorizing about who the pseudonymous Elena Ferrante actually is. Plus, once you finish reading about best friends Elena and Lila, Ferrante has written a whole shelf-full of other novels you can dive into, inviting you to keep the Ferrante-inspired book club going all summer long.
8. Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
Diving into the completely dramatic lives of four Smith College roommates — Celia, Bree, Sally, and April — Commencement will make you long to do-over the days when you shared a bathroom with those suitemates whose last names you may not have actually ever learned (or, maybe it won’t at all.) When they’re first assigned to the same dorm at Smith, the four don’t seem to have much in common. But that all changes (as something like accidentally using someone else’s toothbrush tends to do) and the girls bond over the highs and lows of growing up and getting through college. Plus, each expresses and celebrates their own unique brand of feminism, which makes me want to be BFFs with all of them too.
9. Four Friends by Robyn Carr
If your best bud is headed to her favorite vacation spot this summer, then this is the perfect plane/beach/café read to gift her before she goes. Four Friends tells the story of four friends (bet you didn’t see that coming) who are coping with everything from dissolving marriages and broken hearts to mental breakdowns and terrible boyfriends. They’ve even got great girl-group names: Gerri, Andy, Sonja, and BJ. What else they’ve got — in addition to their names and their troubles — is each other to help them through it all, and at the end of the day that’s exactly what each of these ladies need.
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