25 Fascinating Female Friendships in Literature and More Critical Linking

Critical Linking is sponsored today by Penguin Random House and Room & Board. Enter here for a chance to win a modern reading nook stocked with books (or just click the image below).

In my view, Claire Messud was on point when she said (in a now-famous response to an interviewer balking at an “unlikeable” character) that “if you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble.” But that only applies to friends for yourself. That is, because, at least for me, reading about friendship — fraught and bad and dangerous as it may be — is one of my deepest pleasures, particularly when the friendships are between women. But while Ferrante Fever is still in full swing, it’s amazing to me how rare it still is to find complex female friendships in literature for adults (YA has it a little more locked), and even the whiff of a good one can send me straight to the bookstore. In case you’ve been having the same feeling, here are 25 books that investigate female friendship in one form or another. More please.

I love this list of fascinating female friendships in adult fiction. We see a lot of lists like this for YA, but it’s equally important to see these books and challenges in adult books, too.


Nearly every savory dish included “drippings” (something, as a squeamish vegetarian, I tried to flip past as quickly as possible). The prairie folk seemed very committed to making foods that were never meant to be spherical into balls. And I would 100% not have made it as a contemporary of Laura Ingalls Wilder — even before you consider the lack of hand sanitizer.

One brave girl taste tests the culinary lives of some of our favorite childhood characters. Totally worth the short slideshow.



Bookstores = great. Bookstores with resident cats that slink around = even better. With so many adorable bookstore cats out there, we think it’s time to create a monthly series. Get ready for roundups of sleeping cats and misbehaving bookish kitties, as well as features on individual bookstores with many cats—maybe even a bookstore cat of the month. For now, let’s start with the basics: adorable cats lounging with books.

This post is purr-fect. #SorryNotSorry


But what made it-narratives possible and appealing to readers was that this was a time when an object could plausibly travel farther than a single human would. By the publication of Chrysal in 1760, Britain was a growing colonial power, with possessions in North America, the East and West Indies, and India, as well as established trade routes to Africa and China. Objects, sometimes coming from places inconceivably distant, were increasing in abundance and the Western public’s relationship to those objects was in flux. “What connects the world is not shared religion or nationality, it is trade, it’s an object passing from hand to hand,” explained Blackwell. “I think increasing access to goods and changing relationships with things is part of what’s going on in these texts.”

Histories of niche genres in literature fascinate me. This look at books told through the perspective of inanimate objects is no different. “It narratives” is a great genre name, too.

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Kelly Jensen: Kelly is a former librarian and a blogger at STACKED. Her latest book is HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD, a YA anthology of essays, art, interviews, and more about feminism. Follow her on Twitter @veronikellymars.