Forget Valentine’s Day, a “holiday” (extra air quotes needed) that needlessly makes those without a significant other feel lesser and makes those with a significant other feel obligated to buy teddy bears and chocolates.
No thank you! I’ve never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. Instead, I much prefer its more female and friend-focused counterpart, which comes the day before on February 13, GALENTINE’S DAY!
What is Galentine’s Day?
Never heard of Galentine’s Day? Well, let me introduce you to the wonderful TV-created holiday. (I will take a TV-created holiday over a Hallmark one any day of the week. Yay Festivus!!)
During a 2010 episode of the great comedy, Parks and Recreation, the perpetual ray of bright sunshine and waffle-loving Leslie Knope decided it was time to celebrate something very important – friendship. She gathered together her best gal-friends for brunch and games. And thus Galentine’s Day was born.
“Every February 13, my ladyfriends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”
– Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
The creators of Parks and Recreation may not have known their fictional holiday would become so popular, but it has. On February 13th Galentine’s Day memes flood Facebook and Twitter. (I’m a culprit. I think Galentine’s Day is a fantastic holiday.)
In honor of the wonderful holiday, here are some great gal-pal themed books to help you celebrate!
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Brashares
The quintessential girlfriend book, Sisterhood celebrates the bonds of friendship, which traverse time, geography and flout the laws of established clothing sizes. One pair of pants represents a bond that distance cannot break. How very Galentine!
Beaches by Iris R. Dart
Yes, this is a movie that made me cry a million times and call my best friend whenever I watched it. That famous movie is also based on a book! Cee Cee and Bertie meet as children in Atlantic City and over the next thirty years their friendship bends and stretches, but never breaks. Time to break out the tissues again…
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The novel explores the friendships of four immigrant Chinese women who form a mahjong group. Similar to a book club experience, mahjong turns into something so much more. Their game time grows into venue for sharing stories, supporting other and solidifying friendships.
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
For you fantasy YA fans out there who want to read a book where two best girlfriends take on the patriarchy, well look no further than Truthwitch. Although a little slow at the start, there is no doubt the best part of this book is the bond between besties Safiya and Iseult.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Having “sisterhood” in the title of a book is probably a good clue for a story about female friendships. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is no exception. The book follows a group of friends, their bond forged in childhood, who come to the aid of one of their own Ya-Ya sisters, struggling to fix her bond with her daughter. Galentines forever!
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Because no list for me is complete without a Shadowhunters book… Cassandra Clare often focuses on romance over friendship in her books, especially when it comes to females. (In her first Shadowhunter book, City of Bones, there was initially a very catty undertone to the female friendships that I personally didn’t like, although she corrected it in the later books in the series.) But, from the outset, Clare got it right in Lady Midnight. Emma and Cristina’s friendship is solid and unbreakable with the pair never dissolving into pettiness or ridiculous competition. Definitely a good example of Galentines!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Sure Cath and Regean don’t have a conventional galentine friendship or really a friendship at all at the start of the book. However, what makes this book galentine worthy is the progression of their relationship. These two opposites learn to appreciate and care about one another, showing us that friendships can come in unlikely places and with unlikely people.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The power of female friendship is at the heart of this book about the abuse and humiliation of African American women in the early 1900s at the hands of men and society. In the books, the friendships between women serve as a form of discovery and redemption, helping the women find their strength, voice and identity. The Color Purpose is a weighty, powerful galentine day book.
Anyone else of books about female friendship they love for Galentine’s Day?