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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

10 Books to Read After Binge-Watching “Friends”

Can't get enough of the wacky humor, Manhattan settings, and tight-knit crew? These books are for you!

1 / 10

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Though the heroine’s coworkers are at least as eccentric as those at Central Perk, she’s waiting tables at one of New York’s most exclusive restaurants, a thinly veiled version of the Union Square Cafe, where the author herself once worked. Just make sure you have fixings for a midnight treat; after reading about these delicious dishes, you’ll want one!

2 / 10

Duplicate Keys by Jane Smiley

What if the kids from Friends were sharing a loft performance space, grew up, but no one ever gave back their keys? What if someone was found mysteriously murdered there? And what if the murderer just had to be a someone with a key? Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley ratchets up the tension and twangs the chords of nostalgia at the same time.

3 / 10

Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler

In these intertwined short stories, a group of colorful, varied neighbors all inhabit The Preeminent, a legendary Manhattan apartment building a little like 90 Bedford but a whole lot fancier. As you make your way toward the end you may wind up wishing you lived there and knew them all too. Sound familiar?

4 / 10

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

You never know where you’ll find your real friends. Craig Gilner knows that high school is supposed to be the best time of your life, but his pressured, competitive New York school might be the death of him. Literally. Thinking about suicide, Craig checks himself into a mental institution where, ironically, he finally finds people he can really talk to. Including a pretty girl. Hilarious, biting, and sobering all at the same time. Also a movie. If you’re worried about a friend, check out this article about the warning signs of acute stress.

5 / 10

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Bachman

OK, we’ll admit you would never find Ove, a gruff elderly Swedish guy, sitting around listening to Phoebe’s awful songs on the guitar at a Manhattan coffeehouse. But the author’s dry, droll, understated wit and Ove’s touching, quirky “family” of neighbors give this runaway international bestseller some of the same gently wacky charm of your favorite TV series. And if you love it, don’t miss the movie, now on DVD.

6 / 10

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

What if Friends begat a new group of friends? When a tight-knit clan of once-edgy rockers reached a certain age, they married, had kids, and moved to the same neighborhood in Brooklyn. Now that their kids have reached the same age, how will they rebel? Twists and revelations turn relationships upside down in unexpected and delightful ways.

7 / 10

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn

The one where Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. At first Nick is just hoping for revenge on his ex and her new squeeze, who have crashed his band’s gig at a New York City club. But over the course of one memorable night and with the help of a few friends, the idea takes on a life of its own. Also a great movie.

8 / 10

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

What if you could call your husband’s old self on a magic telephone and be transported back to your carefree college days, before your relationship had acquired all that baggage? When Georgie, a big, busy, self-important TV writer, blows off Christmas in Nebraska with her stay-at-home husband and kids so she can work on a new series pilot, it looks like her marriage is over…until she dials his number on their old landline.

9 / 10

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

A little like Friends goes to Washington, D.C. It’s miserable being the only person at every party who doesn’t have security clearance…until non-political Beth and her husband befriend a popular White House staffer and his wife, attracting admiration, envy, and a host of rumors.

10 / 10

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

What if the kids on Friends met at an arty summer camp when they were all 15 and were inseparable ever after? What if some of them made it big and others…well…didn’t? Would the gulf between the haves and the have-nots finally break up the old crowd? A New York Times review described this New York Times bestseller as “warm, all-American, and acutely perceptive about the feelings and motivations of its characters.”