Book covers: Friendaholic by Elizabeth Day; On Friendship by Alexander Nehamas; The Friend Who Got Away, edited by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappel; The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow; Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett; Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg; The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas

6 Degrees: Many Forms of Friendship

It’s time for another adventure in Kate’s 6 Degrees of Separation Meme from her blog, Books Are My Favourite and Best. We are given a book to start with, and from there we free associate six books.

This month we start with Elizabeth Day’s exploration of friendship, Friendaholic. Here’s part of the Goodreads description of the book:

As a society, there is a tendency to elevate romantic love. But what about friendships? Aren’t they just as – if not more – important? So why is it hard to find the right words to express what these uniquely complex bonds mean to us? In Friendaholic: Confessions of a Friendship Addict, Elizabeth Day embarks on a journey to answer these questions.


first degree

The book On Friendship by philosopher Alexander Nehamas currently sits on my nonfiction TBR shelf. In this book Nehamas sets out “to understand what friendship is and why it should be considered central to the good life.”

second degree

I read The Friend Who Got Away, edited by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappel, several years ago. The book’s subtitle sums up its contents: Twenty Women’s True Life Tales of Friendships That Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away.

third degree 

In The Girls from Ames, Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow wrote about: 

eleven childhood friends who formed a special bond growing up in Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight different states, yet managed to maintain an enduring friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, a child’s illness and the mysterious death of one member of their group. Capturing their remarkable story, The Girls from Ames is a testament to the deep bonds of women as they experience life’s joys and challenges — and the power of friendship to triumph over heartbreak and unexpected tragedy.

fourth degree

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship is a memoir by Ann Patchett about her friendship with fellow writer and memoirist Lucy Grealy at the Iowa Writer’s program.

fifth degree

Natalie Goldberg, author of the classic Writing Down the Bones, also wrote Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir.

    sixth degree

    Finally, Sandra Dallas’s novel The Persian Pickle Club portrays the bonds of friendship and solidarity between a community of women in the hard economic times of the 1930s in rural Kansas.


    Three more novels about friends:

    • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
    • The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins
    • The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

    I greatly enjoyed putting together this list because I’ve met several close friends through book groups.

    Where did your list take you this month?

    © 2023 by Mary Daniels Brown

    5 thoughts on “6 Degrees: Many Forms of Friendship”

    1. What an interesting chain! I’m interested in the idea of both The Girls from Ames and The Persian Pickle Club, but I’d definitely give all of these a second look.

    2. Although there are lots of books about friendships, I am surprised that Tartt’s Little Friend didn’t get more mentions!

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