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The Book Of Friendship [Hardcover]

Josie Barnard
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
Price: 14.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Nov 2011
Aristotle prized friendship. Kierkegaard judged it sinful. But from playground to grave, friendships play a critical role in our lives. Friendships define and even replace relationships with siblings and parents; they can last decades longer than some marriages, and be just as turbulent and passionate. With 'the big society' and social networking dominating the headlines, modern friendships and how we create and maintain them are very much under debate. In The Book of Friendship, Josie Barnard explores this elusive and potent phenomenon. Moving seamlessly from Boudicca to Jennifer Aniston, from Nietszche to Morecambe & Wise, she examines how friendship is affected by class, gender and geography, and the circumstances that can turn a passing acquaintance into a lifelong friend. The Book of Friendship discusses with wit, intelligence and sparkling insight every aspect of this alluring, uplifting, vital relationship.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (3 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844085481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844085484
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

* A beguiling and thoughtful account of the culture of friendship

About the Author

Josie Barnard has been an editor, journalist and radio broadcaster. Her first novel, POKER FACE (Virago), was the winner of a Betty Trask Award. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What are Friends for? 27 Dec 2011
By Eve Kay
Format:Hardcover
No man is an island. We are social beings. It's fashionable in this climate of global pessimism to regard other people as a problem; there are too many of us taking up too much room and using up the earth's resources. Barnard refreshingly bucks the trend and has written a book that celebrates other people in the form of friends. Delving back into philosophy, history, literature and popular culture, she has given us a clear, readable, entertaining, erudite and friendly book about the thing we can't live without - friendship.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment 31 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I like to think that I'm well read. I'm in my mid 30's and have read all of my life from the classics through to contemporary literature. I have a background in the arts so don't consider myself a philistine. I do however have to disagree with the other reviews on here about this book.
I love the idea of a book giving an account of the joys and pitfalls of friendships, relationships, our day to day socialising with other members of the human race. When reading this book however I find my mind wandering off as my eyelids start to droop and yet I try to persevere.
The author seems to just reference from one page to the next friendships from history, literature and film without giving any real thought or insight into friendship and social interaction whatsoever. I'm aware that Harry Potter has some friends, as does Carrie from Sex & the City as she points out one example after the other. Some historical figures also seemed to have some friends as does the author who plays tennis with them and seems to drink a lot of coffee with them too.
This book reads like one long reference or a students essay about friendship rather than the insightful, witty book I was hoping for. Then again I have just read Caitlin Morans hilarious How to Be a Woman and Jonah Lehrers insightful Imagine: How Creativity Works. These are two books where the authors have offered their own experiences and insights into their subjects as well as Jonah Lehrers extensive research and explanations of relevant studies contributing to the subject he's writing about.
All this book does is declare that friendship exists and most people have some friends, it's also extremely boring. I'd much rather go and hang out with my mates!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book and super gift 2 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book for a dear friend.After scanning the bookshop shelves for something appropriate I came
across this beautifully bound book. I was surprised to find that it was quite difficult to find a book for my
well read friend and was pleasantly surprised ,after reading the first page at how well written and engaging this book seemed to me.
My friend read the book and was very effusive about it and has since lent it to me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a good friend or has been a good friend! An informative and stimulative read,
thankyou Ms Barnard.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars lacks a unifying theory 12 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There's no doubting the breadth and width of the reading and research that has gone into this book - a good deal of philosophy (Aristotle, Seneca), of literature (Tom Brown's Schooldays, Lord of the Flies, In Memoriam), of contemporary culture (The Simpsons, The Spice Girls, Sex and the City) and contemporary psychology (Winnicott, but also sociological analysis) has gone into this. And it reads smoothly as it takes through friendship in childhood, making and losing friends, and friendship in the internet age.

But what the book does not have is any unifying theory of friendship - any close relationship would seem at some point to have been called friendship by someone or other. (For example, the Quakers are a society of friends.) 'What's the essence here?' - and even 'so what?' were the questions I was left with after working through this literature survey - despite its erudition and its charms.
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