These Books on Friendship Will Cure Quarantine Loneliness


Alice Wu

Director of films including ‘The Half of It’ and ‘Saving Face’

“‘My Friend is Sad’ is the most brilliant instruction manual on how to be a good friend. Yes, it’s also a picture book for 5-year-olds that will make you snort with laughter. For those reasons, Mo Willems deserves a Nobel. In Colum McCann’s ‘Let the Great World Spin,’ each chapter sweeps a light across a new character—until almost imperceptibly, you come away from the whole feeling strangely less alone. That feels relevant—sheltered-in-place in our separate chapters, yet there is a larger book that binds us all together.”

Rachel Shukert

Showrunner of the Netflix series ‘The Baby-Sitter’s Club,’ who’s also known for her work on the series ‘Glow’

“Mary McCarthy’s ‘The Group’ is one of the greatest novels to explore the intricacies of female friendship, and the loneliness and isolation of its absence. ‘Just Kids,’ Patti Smith’s account of her lifelong friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe, gives you the feeling that great friendships do when you’re young, like you could conquer the world. I’m reading the Paddington books to my son—they remind me of how true friends will be on your side even if you’ve destroyed a department store.”

Jasmin Darznik

Author of ‘Song of a Captive Bird,’ ‘The Good Daughter,’ and the upcoming ‘The Bohemians’

“Through two vaudeville performers, Sarah Waters’s novel ‘Tipping the Velvet’ beautifully depicts how friendships help us reimagine ourselves. Jeff Hobbs’s ‘The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace’ is about the author’s friendship with his charismatic college roommate and the struggle to make sense of his death. In Sheryl Tippin’s ’February House,’ you can imagine it’s 1941 and you’re living in a ramshackle house in Brooklyn with W.H. Auden, Gypsy Rose Lee and Carson McCullers.”

—Edited from interviews by Martha Cheng



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