Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Books about Friendship

The first books that popped into my mind when I saw this topic were kids books (ex. Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter series) and this made me feel ornery and wonder how many adult books there might be about friendship.  Making friends seems to be the major business of being a kid/teenager but it seems to become harder and perhaps lose the focus it once had for adults amongst the clutter of career, and marriage, and mortgages and parenting etc...  I was surprised then to discover that I had no problem coming up with ten adult books that have a strong friendship theme.  Admittedly, a number of them still involve a young person but I'm not going to be that picky.  

1) The Aubrey/Maturin Series by Patrick O'Brian

This is one of my favorite historical fiction series and for a long while made me wish to be part of the crew of a British Navy sailing vessel in the 1800's.  All I can say is thank god it was not possible for me to indulge such a wish because I'm pretty sure in reality it would have been MISERABLE and I would have died at the first appearance of the French.  Anyhoo, the central heart of these books, and what sets them apart from other sea-faring novels set at the time, is the friendship between the bluff and jolly Navy Captain Jack Aubrey and intellectual surgeon scientist Stephen Maturin.  They are the perfect opposites attract and become friends over their mutual love of music.

2) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (my review)

This is an epic novel set in post World War II Spain which is part mystery, part thriller, part romance and part straight up historical fiction. The unlikely friendship between Julian, the teenage protagonist, and Fermin, a middle-aged homeless gentleman, is a central part of the story and probably it's most charming part too. 

3) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The story of Achilles and the Trojan war told from the perspective of his best friend and lover Patroclus.  The relationship and story telling here aes beautiful and completely absorbing.

4) Doc by Mary Doria Russell

 Mary Doria Russell's take on the life of Doc Holliday and his friendship with the Earps.  In many ways, this book is all about the relationships in Doc's life in Dodge City and it was one of my favorite reads of 2012.

5) Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

An intriguing fictional narrative about the real life Alice in Wonderland, Alice Liddell and her unusual childhood friendship with a strange Oxford Mathematics professor, Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll.

6) Red Seas under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

This is the second book in the super fun Gentleman Bastards series. I list it over the first in the series (The Lies of Locke Lamora) because in this installment Locke and Jean's friendship is put to the test quite a bit and is really the key feature that holds the book together.  It's a great friendship and it is clear in Red Seas Under Red Skies how much they mean to and need one another.

7) The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (my review)

The story of Sherlock Holmes finding the perfect protege in a teenage girl with a mind much like his own.  By the end of the book they are much more than just teacher and pupil; they've become partners and friends.  

8) In the Woods by Tana French

While this book is technically a mystery/crime book it is also essentially about the rise and fall of a friendship between partners on the Dublin Murder Squad. 

9) The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

A brainy concierge at an upscale apartment building in Paris, a depressed and super smart twelve year old and a wise Japanese man come together in an affecting and genuine story.

10) The Last Girls by Lee Smith

The story of college girlfriends reuniting in middle age to put to rest one of their own.  I liked rather than loved this book but Lee Smith is a really great writer and saves it from being too twee or overly sentimental.  Overall a nice pensive book about getting older and living life and the relationships that shape us. 

That's it for me.  What's your favorite book about friendship?

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