By Alison Bunis
Happy Galentine’s Day! What’s Galentine’s Day, you ask? Essentially, for those of you not in the know, what started as a made-up holiday on the tv-show Parks and Recreation has become a real holiday. The day before Valentine’s Day, the most couple-y of holidays, gal pals everywhere put aside their partners and say to each other, “I appreciate your friendship and I love you.” How you celebrate is up to you, of course. Leslie Knope of Parks and Rec obviously goes for breakfast food, because that’s her love language. But for us here at Forge, our love language is obviously books. So to celebrate Galentine’s Day this year, we’ve put together a list of books celebrating women!
These books are by women or about women. Some of these women kick ass. Some of these women bake magic pies. Some of them tell you about their parents’ divorce and how not to join a cult, and some of them write about ISIS occupations. It’s a wide range, because there’s no predetermined way to be a woman, or to be a gal-pal. So grab your BFF, grab a couple of books, and get reading. Ladies celebrating ladies by reading about awesome ladies. What could be more Galentine’s Day than that??
For the Non-fiction Gal
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark
Pick up this book if you’re into Karen & Georgia’s podcast, My Favorite Murder! But even if you’re not a podcast person, don’t worry, this book is an excellent read for anyone looking for an honest, open, hilarious memoir about the struggles of dealing with mental health issues, addiction, and being a True Crime fan.
Father of Lions by Louise Callaghan
This one is a touching story of humanity in the midst of war, told by award-winning journalist Louise Callaghan. Callaghan is one of the youngest Middle East Correspondents ever hired by the Sunday Times (UK), and she has had pieces published in The Sunday Times Magazine, Vogue, and the Times Literary Supplement. Talk about an impressive lady. Father of Lions is a must-read if you’re interested in a story that will make you view war and conflict in a new light, or if you want a good book about brave animals.
To Get Your Pulse Racing
The Retreat by Sherri Smith
We’ve all got that one friend who’s way too into the latest wellness craze. Maybe we are that friend, and no one’s told us yet. Doesn’t matter, this is just the book to break the spell: four friends go for a weekend getaway at a wellness retreat. By the end, only one of them is left standing…
Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Hank Phillippi Ryan is an award-winning investigative journalist, so when she sits down to write a book about a journalist looking for the truth in an unbearably brutal story, you can bet she delivers. Trust Me is full of all the psychological suspense and manipulation that any thriller reader could ever desire.
A Hint of Magic
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber
For your friend who believes in magic, for your friend who believes in love, for your friend who loves to bake, for your friend from a small town, for your friend with a close family, for your friend with serious family issues: Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe checks all the boxes. But have baked goods on hand: you’ll definitely want a snack while reading.
Remembrance by Rita Woods
Do you want to spark a discussion with your friends? Want to dive into the deeper issues surrounding the Haitian Revolution and the Underground Railroad? Or do you just want to sink into an enthralling read about four women, connected across different times and places, struggling to make their way in a world that doesn’t have a place for them? (Hint: If you liked The Underground Railroad or The Orphan Train, this is definitely the book for you.)
Historically Accurate Friendships
Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble
Okay, this one’s for the gal pal groups who watched Downton Abbey together. The movie helped, sure, but it was just one movie. So if you’re suffering from Downton Abbey withdrawal, Shelley Noble is here to help you out with her delightful mystery set in Gilded Age Manhattan, where horse racing, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And our plucky heroine Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.
Of Irish Blood by Mary Pat Kelly
This vivid, compelling epic is a great read for anyone interested in Irish heritage or family history, because author Mary Pat Kelly based the story on her own great-aunt’s life. Following heroine Nora Kelly as she travels through Europe in 1903, readers will meet all kinds of exciting real-life characters such as Gertrude Stein, William Butler Yeats, and James Joyce!