The Best Books on Love and Friendship

It’s Valentine’s Day! Ahhhh the day of love. 

We love celebrating this day (honestly that was an unintended pun) because we like to acknowledge our appreciation of our wonderful circle friends along with our family. It’s with this in mind that we have rounded up some of the best books published last year that show you that you can have feel love from friends, pets, family…and a character from inside a book. 

We did spot a gap in the market. As hard as we tried, we couldn’t find many books about male friendship. Let us know if you in the comments below if you know of any great ones.

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton 

I both laughed out loud, cried and cringed with my own memories when reading this book. When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. Glittering, with wit and insight, heart and humour, this is a book about the struggles of early adulthood in all its grubby, hopeful uncertainty. It’s recently been re-released with an additional chapter capturing Dolly’s thoughts on turning 30. Winner of Autobiography of the Year at the National Book Awards 2018, Everything I know About Love has also been shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2018. 

The F Word by Lily Pebbles

We featured blogger Lily Pebbles’ book last year when her beautiful pink hard cover edition came out. One year on, she’s released the paperback version – fantastically so as it’s much easier to throw into your handbag when travelling to work. If there’s one piece of invaluable advice for women and girls of all ages, it is that there is nothing more important than creating and maintaining strong, positive and happy friendships with other women. In a culture that largely pits women against each other, Lily wanted to celebrate female friendships… all strings attached! If her 1998 diary is anything to go by, female friendships are incredibly complex and emotional but they’re the mini love stories that make us who we are. For many women, friends are our partners in crime through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses. In THE F WORD Lily Pebbles sets out to explore and celebrate the essence of female friendship at different life stages and in its many wild and wonderful forms.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018, this New York Bestseller is a fearless and heartbreaking novel about love, friendship and incarceration. Romy Hall is starting two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Her crime? The killing of her stalker. Inside awaits a world where women must hustle and fight for the bare essentials. Outside- the San Francisco of her youth. The Mars Room strip club where she was once a dancer. Her seven-year-old son, Jackson. As Romy forms friendships over liquor brewed in socks and stories shared through sewage pipes her future seems to unfurl in one long, unwavering line – until news from beyond the prison bars forces Romy to try and outrun her destiny.

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

This is a moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatised by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time. Isolated from the rest of the world, increasingly obsessed with the dog’s care, determined to read its mind and fathom its heart, she comes dangerously close to unravelling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them. Elegiac and searching, The Friend is both a meditation on loss and a celebration of human-canine devotion.

The Friendship Cure by Kate Leaver

Friendship is like water. We need it to survive, we crave it when it’s scarce, it runs through our veins and yet we forget its value simply because it’s always available. The basic compulsion to make friends is in our DNA; we’ve evolved, chimp-like, to seek out connection with other human beings. We move through life in packs and friendship circles and yet we are stuck in the greatest loneliness epidemic of our time. It’s killing us, making us miserable and causing a public health crisis. But what if friendship is the solution, not the distraction? Journalist Kate Leaver believes that friendship is the essential cure for the modern malaise of solitude, ignorance, ill health and angst. If we only treated camaraderie as a social priority, it could affect everything from our physical health and emotional well-being to our capacity to find a home, keep a job, get married, stay married, succeed, feed and understand ourselves. In this witty, smart book – an appealing blend of science, pop culture and memoir – she meets scientists, speaks to old friends, finds extraordinary stories and uncovers research to look at what friendship is, how it feels, where it can survive, why we need it and what we can do to get the most from it – and how we might change the world if we value it properly. 


Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer

After joyful nights out together, female friends say this to one another as a way of cementing their love. It’s about safety but, more than that, it’s about solidarity. From Broad City to Big Little Lies to what women say about their own best friends, the stories we’re telling about female friendship have changed. What used to be written off as infighting between mean girls, or disposable relationships that would be tossed as soon as a guy came along, are no longer that. Now, we’re lifting up our female friendships to the same level as our other important relationships, saying they matter just as much as the bonds we have with our romantic partners, children, parents, or siblings. Journalist Kayleen Schaefer tells her own story of realising what other women could mean to her as she moved through a journey of modern female friendship – from being a competitive teenager to trying to be one of the guys in the workplace to ultimately awakening to the power of female friendship and the soulmates, girl squads, and chosen families that come with it. Schaefer has put together a completely new sociological perspective on the way we see our friends now, one that’s drawn not only from her own story but from interviews with dozens of other women across the country – historians, creators of the most iconic films and television shows about female friendship, celebrities, authors, and other experts. A validation of female friendship unlike any that’s ever existed before, Text Me When You Get Home is a mix of historical research, the author’s own personal experience, and conversations about friendships with women across the country. Everything Schaefer uncovers reveals that these ties are making us, both as individuals and as society as a whole, stronger than ever before.

Enjoy!

Love letters to strangers

Love is amazing. 

In this inspiring ted talk Hannah Brencher discusses how writing love letters and leaving them for strangers fighting depression has become a global initiative. 

The World Needs More Love Letters initiative rushes handwritten letters to those in need of a boost. It all came about because Hannah Brencher’s mother always wrote her letters. So when she felt herself bottom into depression after college, she did what felt natural. She wrote love letters and left them for strangers to find.

The Most Inspiring Books of the Past Year

Stuck in a rut? Looking for a new direction? Not quite on top of those new year resolutions? It’s okay. We’ve all been there. It’s with this in mind that we have rounded up our picks of some of the most inspiring reads from the past year to help you recharge your optimism batteries. So sit back and relax, you’re in good hands.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have. Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward. From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales

As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories – and a terrifying brush with her own mortality – sent her looking for answers about how vulnerable each of us is to a life-changing event. What are our chances of actually experiencing one? What do we fear most and why? And when the worst does happen, what comes next? In this wise and layered book, Leigh talks intimately with people who’ve faced the unimaginable, from terrorism to natural disaster to simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Expecting broken lives, she instead finds strength, hope, even humour. Leigh brilliantly condenses the cutting-edge research on the way the human brain processes fear and grief, and poses the questions we too often ignore out of awkwardness. Along the way, she offers an unguarded account of her own challenges and what she’s learned about coping with life’s unexpected blows. Warm, candid and empathetic, this book is about what happens when ordinary people, on ordinary days, are forced to suddenly find the resilience most of us don’t know we have.

Year of Less by Cait Flanders

In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realised that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy, only keeping her from meeting her goals, she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year. The Year of Less documents Cait’s life from July 2014 to June 2015, during which time she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, petrol for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt. What started as a simple challenge quickly became a lifeline, however, as Cait found herself in a number of situations that turned her life upside down. In the face of hardship, she realised why she had always turned to shopping, alcohol and food—and what it had cost her, for so many years. By not being able to reach for any of her usual vices, Cait changed habits she’d spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.

The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs

In 2015 poet and writer Nina Riggs was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it metastasised later that year. She was thirty-eight years old, married to the love of her life and the mother of two small boys; her mother had died only a few months earlier from multiple myeloma. The Bright Hour is Nina’s intimate, unflinching account of ‘living with death in the room’. She tells her story in a series of absurd, poignant and often hilarious vignettes drawn from a life that has ‘no real future or arc left to it, yet still goes on as if it does’. This is an unforgettable memoir leading the reader into the innermost chambers of the writer’s life: into the mind and heart, the work and home and family, of a young woman alternately seeking to make peace with and raging against the reality of her approaching death. 

The Messy Middle by Scott Belsky

Silicon Valley is full of start-up success stories; every day stories emerge of a new company with the potential for a billion-dollar valuation and plans for global domination. But what can we really learn from these stories? How many of these start-ups are genuinely successful in the long term? When nine out of ten start-ups end in spectacular burnout, how can we ensure our own success story? While most books and press focus on the more sensational moments of creation and conclusion, The Messy Middle argues that the real key to success is how you navigate the ups-and-downs after initial investment is secured. It will give you all the insights you need to build and optimise your team, improve your product and develop your own capacity to lead. Building on seven years’ of meticulous research with entrepreneurs, small agencies, start-ups and billion-dollar companies, Scott Belsky offers indispensable lessons on how to endure and thrive in the long term.

Big Potential by Shawn Achor

In a world that thrives on competition and individual achievement, we are measuring and pursuing potential all wrong. By pursuing success in isolation – pushing others away as we push ourselves too hard – we are not just limiting our potential, we are becoming more stressed and disconnected than ever. In his highly anticipated follow-up to The Happiness Advantage, Achor reveals a better approach. Drawing on his work in 50 countries, he shows that success and happiness are not competitive sports. Rather, they depend almost entirely on how well we connect with, relate to, and learn from each other. Just as happiness is contagious, every dimension of human potential – performance, intelligence, creativity, leadership ability and health – is influenced by those around us. So when we help others become better, we reach new levels of potential, as well. Rather than fighting over scraps of the pie, we can expand the pie instead. Small Potential is the limited success we can attain alone. Big Potential is what we can achieve together.

Let us know which books have inspired you the most. Head on over to our facebook or instagram pages and join in the conversation. 

Enjoy!