8 Books I Love About Female Friendship

It’s been a hot minute since I read a book I felt absolutely compelled to tell everyone about. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read some GREAT books this year. The Shadow of the Wind was my faithful and beloved companion throughout China and a pure delight from start to finish. But Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendships spurred in me an entirely different type of book love — the type where I found myself striking up conversations with strangers on the subway just to tell them about this book. It not only compelled me with its writing but it felt like someone was telling, and celebrating, my own story within its pages and how often does that happen?

In Text Me When You Get Home, journalist Kayleen Schaefer writes about society’s changing perspective of female friendship from casual, catty interactions to life defining relationships. Schaefer shares her own experiences of shying away from female friendships growing up because of the perceptions she was saturated with by the media that female friendships were dramatic, emotional, and backstabbing (something I definitely relate to). There was more of an importance to be “one of the guys.” But in her late 20s, after breaking up with her boyfriend of nine years to chase her career dreams, Schaefer learned just how important her female friendships were as they evolved into her chosen family. At its core, this novel begs the question: What if we stopped treating friendships as the side relationships in our lives and treated them with the same sacredness we would a familial or romantic relationship?

While the novel is centered around female friendships, I think it’s a must read for anyone of any sex or gender because at its core, Text Me When You Get Home is a love letter to the friendships that give our life shape and color and support. It’s a validation that the way we chose to prioritize and navigate our adult friendships, with loyalty and unconditional care, is completely worthwhile. From the first paragraph, I was texting my best friends copies of this quote:

“Text me when you get home. Usually it’s late when women say this to each other, the end of a night that at some point felt thrilling. We might have been at dinner, a concert, a cocktail. We might have been just hanging out talking even though we knew we’d be tired the next day. Maybe we shared secrets or surprise compliments (or both). Maybe we danced. Maybe we hugged with total joy. Maybe we were buoyed by booze or maybe we just felt light because of our love for each other. My best friend Ruthie, who lives a few blocks from me in Brooklyn, and I say it to each other after these kinds of nights. “I love you,” one of us will say. “Text me when you get home,” the other will say. We’re saying the same thing.”

I mean, COME ON! MY HEART! And that was page one! I don’t have a book in my apartment more highlighted and dog eared than this one because it gives words to all the ways I feel about my friends. For those I’ve been friends with now for 5, 10, 15 years, the word best friend no longer feels big enough. They’re my family or rather, my fate mates — a term I made up to describe the people I believe I was meant to know.

Continue reading

My Top Book Recs for Your Next Holiday Away

Travel prep is fully underway at the Lanning household as my trip to China is only two weeks away (Don’t tell the cats). And while things such as fully understanding the Chinese to American dollar conversion rate should be my top priority, what I actually can’t stop debating is what books I’m going to bring along with me on holiday.

I don’t normally plan my travel TBR list this far in advance but the question was posed to me while on a date last weekend and it felt entirely out of character to not completely overthink it. I mean, we all know that our everyday reading selves can be entirely different from our travel reading selves so some consideration must be paid.

For example, maybe you’re a memoir devourer during the breaks of your 9 to 5 but put you on a beach in the Caribbean, with a mojito in hand, and suddenly you’re all mystery thrillers, all the time. I know it sounds shocking but I’ve seen it happen. Fiction devotees suddenly stealing time away in the nonfiction section of their travel destination’s bookstores; SyFy fans drawn into the pages of the latest romcom — the juicier the better.

So while Brooklyn Carly is really leaning towards packing The Shadows of the Wind, Swing Time, and The Argonauts into my backpack, will vacation mode Carly be just as chuffed about these decisions? Honestly, I’ll probably be so jet lagged I won’t be able to string sentences together but it’s the thought that counts. I’m going to continue narrowing down my choices until the last minute but until then, should you be taking a trip of your own and looking for a good holiday read, here are some of my favorites below. Enjoy!

Continue reading