This International Friendship Day we’re sharing all our favourite reads that centre pals, mates, buds and besties. From a manual from top podcasters on how to value your friendships, to a novel about one woman’s relationship with man’s best friend, we’ve got something for every Virago.
by Aminatou Sow
by Ann Friedman
An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of friendship, from the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend
'Deeply compelling' ROXANE GAY
A New York Times bestseller
A close friendship is one of the most important relationships a human life can contain. But most people don't talk about what it takes to stay close for the long haul.
Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book. Through interviews with friends and experts, they also come to understand that their struggles are not unique.
This book is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity, to actively choose them and sometimes, fight for them.
'A deeply funny and immensely heartfelt look into what makes a friendship last despite time, distance, trials and major life changes' ELLE
'An inspiration' ARIEL LEVY
'Wonderful' HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
'Thoughtful and highly readable' New York Times
'Wonderful' MARIAN KEYES
'A gorgeous exploration of the messy and fragile nature of friendship and all the many forms of love' IRISH TIMES
'A perfect page-turner. I loved it' DOLLY ALDERTON
After a tough few years floundering around the British film industry, experimenting with amateur pornography and watching her father's health rapidly decline, Charlie and her best friend Laura journey to her ancestral home of Clipim, an island off the west coast of Ireland. She knows this could be the last chance to connect with her dad's history before she loses him.
But when the girls arrive, Charlie begins to question both her difficult relationship with Laura and her father's childhood stories. Before long, she's embroiled in a devastating conspiracy that's been sixty years in the making . . . and it's up to her to reveal the truth.
'One of the most intelligent, well observed depictions of lust, loss, envy, betrayal, friendship and love that I've ever read' DAISY BUCHANAN
'A moving and extremely funny look at family, roots and the myth of Irishness' THE i, ESSENTIAL SUMMER READS
'Witty, tender and insightful . . . O'Donoghue is a perceptive, clever writer' GUARDIAN
'A darkly humorous, keenly observed blend of millennial drift and murder mystery from a razor-sharp writer' RED
A Washington Post Notable Book of 2017.
Deborah Tannen's bestselling You Just Don't Understand: Conversations Between Women and Men made us aware of the deep and subtle meanings behind the words we say. She has since explored the way we talk at work, in arguments, to our mothers and our daughters.
Now she turns to that most intense, precious and potential minefield: women's friendships.
Best friend, old friend, good friend, new friend, neighbour, fellow mother at the school gate, workplace confidante: women's friendships are crucial. A friend can be like a sister, daughter, mother, mentor, therapist or confessor. She can also be the source of pain and betrayal.
From casual chatting to intimate confiding, from talking about problems to sharing funny stories, there are patterns of communication and miscommunication that affect friendships. Tannen shows how even the best of friends - with the best intentions - can say the wrong thing, how the ways women friends talk can bring friends closer or pull them apart, but also how words can repair the damage done by words. She explains the power of women friends who show empathy and can just listen; how women use talk to connect - and to subtly compete; how fears of rejection can haunt friendships; how social media is reshaping relationships.
Exploring what it means to be friends, helping us hear what we are really saying, understanding how we connect to other people; this illuminating and validating book gets inside the language of one of most women's life essentials - female friendships.
by Mary McCarthy
* 'I consider it a masterpiece' HILARY MANTEL
* 'A brilliant novel: honest, engaging and sharp as a tack' SARAH WATERS
* 'One of my favourite books ever' INDIA KNIGHT
When first published in 1963, The Group was on a bestseller for almost two years. This groundbreaking novel, with its frank depiction of friendship, sex, and women's lives, was a revelation, and continues to inspire today.
Mary McCarthy's most celebrated novel portrays the lives and aspirations of eight Vassar graduates. 'The group' meet in New York following graduation to attend the wedding of one of their members - and reconvene seven years later at her funeral. The women, fresh from college, vowed not to become stuffy and frightened like their parents, but to lead fulfilling, emancipated lives; who really achieved this - and what sacrifices and compromises had to be made?
'McCarthy's characters confront many of the same issues as their modern counterparts: sex and contraception, career and marriage, love and lust, fidelity to one's husband versus loyalty to one's friends and the attempt to carve out a place for oneself unconstrained by the gender limitations of previous generations. Its continuing relevance is one of the book's most extraordinary attributes' ELIZABETH DAY
by Sigrid Nunez
A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog.
WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD * A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
'A true delight: I genuinely fear I won't read a better novel this year' FINANCIAL TIMES
'Loved this. A funny, moving examination of love, grief, and the uniqueness of dogs' GRAHAM NORTON
'Delicious' SUNDAY TIMES 100 BEST SUMMER READS
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, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building.
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.
'Very, very clever. Mature. Entertaining. Eminently readable and re-readable. Absolutely delightful' IRISH TIMES
'I loved it . . . It's one of my favourite books and it moved me' WHOOPI GOLDBERG
A New York Times Notable Book of 2018 * A Financial Times 2018 Best Book: Critics Pick * A Buzzfeed Best Book of 2018 * A Bustle Best Fiction Book of 2018 * An NPR Best Book of 2018