Bookworms Carnival – Edition #13 (Relationships)

Edition #13 Hosted by Jenn

This month’s theme for the Bookworms Carnival is Relationships (and not the Harlequin Romance type). There are many types of relationships: sibling, parent-child, spouse, lover, friendship, business. I’m probably missing some. I prowled my personal library and discovered several books I’ve read which revolve around friendship. I love books with this theme – especially friendships between women which are often filled with ambivalence, extremes of emotion (anger, sadness, joy), comfort and meaning. Most will agree that if you have one true and loyal friend in your lifetime, you are doing well. I’ve been lucky to find several friendships which I continue to treasure – each one unique and special to me.

Below are some book selections which I think capture the essence of female friendships. Clicking on the picture of the book will take readers to Amazon to learn more about the books.

Author Elizabeth Berg writes books about friendship better than many writers. And for that reason, she has become one of my favorite authors. Talk Before Sleep, published in 1994 is the story of Ruth and Ann – two friends who face a crisis which tests their friendship. The book highlights the strength of unconditional love and the joy and sadness which comes from loving another person. This book made me laugh and cry. It is a tender and honest look at women’s friendships.

I discovered two new authors this year: Meg Waite Clayton and Marisa de los Santos. Both of these talented women write about friendship.

Clayton’s novel, The Wednesday Sisters, revolves around five women who bond one summer in 1968 and eventually form a writer’s group. The novel is brilliantly executed – a story with heart and substance which brought me to tears. Clayton captures the essence of women’s friendships without being sappy or overly emotional. For more of my thoughts, read my review of this book.

Belong to Me, written by Marisa de los Santos and published this year (following her very successful debut novel Love Walked In) also tackles the theme of women’s friendships. de los Santos has a rare skill – she makes you care deeply about her characters, to climb inside their shoes and feel their joy, sadness, doubt, and fear. The characters in Belong to Me first appeared in Love Walked In…and I would recommend reading the books in order (although I didn’t do that!). To read more of my thoughts on this book, read my review which I published here on my blog in March of this year.

Helen Hooven Santmyer wrote “…And Ladies of the Club” at the age of 88. I’ve read this book three times – remarkable given that I rarely re-read a book even once. The novel spans several decades – from just after the Civil War to the threshold of the New Deal. It follows the lives of two women in a small Ohio town who are part of the Waynesboro ladies’ literary society. This is a book which goes beyond friendships and explores the impact of history on the lives of its characters. Santmyer’s novel is huge (more than 1000 pages) and yet the book is a breeze to read. Deeply satisfying on many levels, this wonderful epic will resonate with women.

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    • dew on July 6, 2008 at 14:14

    I love your interpretation of this theme! Plus: nice button.

    • Wendy on July 6, 2008 at 15:12

    Thanks Dew! I can’t take credit for the cool button – I snagged it from Jenn’s blog 🙂

  1. I loved “…And Ladies of the Club”. The town in Ohio that Helen Hooven Santmeyer based the book on is Xenia, Ohio which is very close to where I live. She wrote a non-fiction book about Xenia called “Ohio Town” which is also very good. It is an interesting slice of early 20th century life in a small Midwestern town.

    • Wendy on July 7, 2008 at 09:14

    Ex Libris: I tried to read Ohio Town some time ago, but I couldn’t get into it…perhaps it was my mood at the time *laughs* But “…And Ladies of the Club” was just so wonderful in all ways.

  2. I’ve read all of these with the exception of And Ladies of the Club. Great list. I plan to set a “women’s friendship” endcap at work in another month or so and all (except Santmeyer’s) will be on it!

    • Wendy on July 8, 2008 at 06:21

    Les: Glad to know I’m on the cutting edge of women’s fiction *laughs*. The Santmyer was a little stretch in this category…but I just love that book!

  3. I just finished Love Walked In this week and I really enjoyed it. I immediately put Belong to Me on hold at the library but it will be some time before I get to it.

    • Wendy on July 11, 2008 at 15:57

    Natasha – oh, you’ll love it! Great book!

  4. I just finished another Elizabeth Berg book, Dream When You’re Feeling Blue, and I just loved it. I agree that she does a good job writing about the ups and downs of relationships. I wanted to be one of the Heaney sisters for a day while I was reading it.

    • Wendy on July 23, 2008 at 08:04

    Jessica: I haven’t read that one yet – but it is on my wish list!

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