Here at HarperCollins, we’ve been celebrating a month of friendship in honour of one of our very favourite fictional characters, Eleanor Oliphant. We’ve assigned staff with ‘buddies’ to perform anonymous, random acts of kindness for each other – it could be taking care of a random work task for someone or buying a them a morning coffee – simple things that brighten up their day!
Another way we love to bond with each other is to ‘buddy read’ – which is where you read a book at the same time as your buddy! If you haven’t tried it before, we can highly recommend it! Whether you’re tackling a tricky classic together, or you both love a particular genre – reading is just better with a buddy. Think of it as a workout buddy for your reading life!
Wondering where to start? Pick a buddy and choose one of these gorgeous books about friendship, read and discuss!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor is our kindness inspiration. Full stop.
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
You Be Mother by Meg Mason
One of our favourite things about this gorgeous novel is the inter-generational friendship between Abi and her neighbour Phil. They make for cosy, funny and charming company.
The only thing Abi ever wanted was a proper family. So when she falls pregnant by an Australian exchange student in London, she cannot pack up her old life in Croydon fast enough, to start all over in Sydney and make her own family. It is not until she arrives, with three-week-old Jude in tow, that Abi realises Stu is not quite ready to be a father after all. And he is the only person she knows in this hot, dazzling, confusing city, where the job of making friends is turning out to be harder than she thought.
Imagine the warmth of Monica McInerney, the excruciating awkwardness of Offspring and the wit of Liane Moriarty, all rolled into one delightful, warm, funny and totally endearing novel about families – the ones we have, and the ones we want – and the stories we tell ourselves about them.
Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty
Poppy’s world has tipped sideways: the husband who never wanted children has betrayed her with her broody best friend.
At least Annalise is on her side. Poppy’s new friend is determined to celebrate their freedom from kids so together they create a Facebook group to meet up with like-minded women, and perhaps vent a little about smug mums and their privileges at work.
Meanwhile Frankie would love a night out, away from her darlings – she’s not had one in years – and she’s sick of being judged by women at the office and stay-at-home mums.
When Poppy and Annalise’s group takes off and frustrated members start confronting mums like Frankie in the real world. Cafes become battlegrounds, playgrounds become warzones and offices have never been so divided.
A rivalry that was once harmless fun is spiralling out of control. Because one of their members is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And she has an agenda of her own.
The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan
Pearl Louie Brandt has a terrible secret which she tries desperately to keep from her mother, Winne Louie. And Winnie has long kept her own secrets – about her past and the confusing circumstances of Pearl’s birth. Fate intervenes in the form of Helen Kwong, Winnie’s so-called sister-in-law, who believes she is dying and must unburden herself of all falsehoods before she flies off to heaven. But, unfortunately, the truth comes in many guises, depending on who is telling the tale…
Thus begins a story that takes us back to Shanghai in the 1920s, through World War II, and the harrowing events that led to Winnie’s arrival in America in 1949. The story is one of innocence and its loss, tragedy and survival and, most of all, the enduring qualities of hope, love and friendship.
The Friendship Cure by Kate Leaver
For the thinkers among you – read along as Kate Leaver expertly points out the importance of friendship along with lots of fabulous anecdotes. You and your buddy will have plenty to discuss after this read!
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.
Every Lie I’ve Ever Told by Rosie Waterland
‘I had made it! All my dreams had come true. I had an operating fridge, I was doing brilliantly, and I had written the memoir to prove it. I even had online haters. I had conquered life at 30 and nothing was ever going to go wrong again!’
It was all going so well for Rosie Waterland. Until it wasn’t.
Until, shockingly, something awful happened and Rosie went into agonising free fall.
Until late one evening she found herself in a hospital emergency bed, trembling and hooked to a drip. Over the course of that long, painful night, she kept thinking about how ironic it was, that right in the middle of writing a book about lies, she’d ended up telling the most significant lie of all.
A raw, beautiful, sad, shocking – and very, very funny – memoir of all the lies we tell others and the lies we tell ourselves.
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.
In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
Posted on April 19, 2018 by Andrea
This entry was posted in Recommendations and tagged All the Light We Cannot See, Amy Tan, Anthony Doerr, Buddy Read, eleanor oliphant is completely fine, Every Lie I've Ever Told, Friendship, gail honeyman, Kate Leaver, Meg Mason, Nicola Moriarty, Reading recommendations, Rosie Waterland, The Friendship Cure, The Kitchen God's Wife, Those Other Women, You Be Mother. Bookmark the permalink.