Happy Galentine’s Day!
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, Galentine’s Day was introduced on Parks & Recreation as a day for ladies to celebrate ladies and has transcended the show to become a day in which women can celebrate their friendships with, and admiration for, the other women in their life.
I’m all about women celebrating women, the majority of my closest friends are women and they’re the best, but I think Galentine’s Day is a day in which pretty much anyone can celebrate their friendships at a time of year when everyone’s focused on the more saccharine, lovey-dovey stuff.
And if you’re into the lovey-dovey stuff, that’s great! I’m not here to tear down Valentine’s Day because I think it gives a lot of couples a chance to go out and appreciate each other, but I also think there’s so much pressure on people to have the ultimate Valentine’s Day that it’s kind of gross? People can tell their partners that they love them any day of the year, not only when there are heart-shaped chocolates for sale.
So today I’m sharing some books that I think would be perfect gifts for your closest friends, or the perfect books to read with your friends, this Galentine’s Day!
How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much
by Samantha Ellis
Are you a Cathy Earnshaw or a Jane Eyre? This is the conversation playwright Samantha Ellis had with her best friend that led to her writing her memoir in which she revisits her favourite heroines, from her childhood through to adulthood, and explores what made her love them when she first read them and whether those stories still hold up now. It’s so readable, and would make for a really fun conversation starter between you and your best friends – which heroines have defined your life?
by Celia Rees
I loved Celia Rees’s work when I was younger and it still has a very special place in my heart. This novel set in the 18th century features two girls, Nancy and Minerva, who run away from an unwanted marriage and slavery respectively to become pirates. If that doesn’t make you want to read it, then I’m not sure what to say to you. I haven’t read it in years, but Nancy and Minerva’s friendship is still something special.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
by Mackenzi Lee
Speaking of pirates, this companion novel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue features yet more pirates, an ace/aro heroine and a science girl gang. There was so much about this book that I loved, but in particular I loved our heroine Felicity’s journey as she got over her internalised misogyny and reconnected with her childhood friend, Johanna. This is the kind of book that will remind you just how amazing your lady friends are.
by Kurtis J. Wiebe and various artists
The later volumes in this series haven’t been great, I’ll be honest, but the first couple of volumes were so fun that I can’t not recommend them. If you ever wondered what The Lord of the Rings might have turned out like if Tolkien were an incredibly drunk and vulgar woman, it’s Rat Queens. It’s a little like watching the outcome of a super tipsy D&D game and it’s so entertaining. This is a group of women who swear and drink and have one night stands and kick ass despite being severely hungover 99.9% of the time, and they’re so much fun.
Whether you love poetry or you don’t tend to read it much, I recommend Megan Beech’s poetry because she specialises in spoken word poetry that’s so much fun to read aloud. I think it’d be even more fun to read it aloud with your friends, especially as her poetry has such a fantastic feminist punch. Why not host a poetry night with your friends, read some of it aloud and then try to write your own? With snacks and drinks included, of course!
by J.K. Rowling
As much as I’m not a fan of Rowling’s more recent work and would really like her to just stop for a minute, the Golden Trio are always going to be friendship goals. If you were part of the Harry Potter generation or you have a lot of nostalgia associated with this series, or perhaps you’re someone who wants to start up a book club for some younger readers, you can’t really go wrong with this book. Not only does it introduce us to the glory that is Hermione Granger, but this entire series is an exploration in friendship and family, and how that kind of platonic love can help to overcome trauma and grief.
Whatever you do today, I hope you find a spare moment to let your friends know how much you love them this Galentine’s Day!