There are few things more special than friendship.
With good friends, we can celebrate our success and triumphs, admit to mistakes, and wallow in self-pity. The transformative power and joy of laughter among companions is undeniable.
And that's why the UN General Assembly initiated the International Day of Friendship – celebrated globally on 30 July – in 2011.
It aims to appreciate and promote how friendship across people, countries, cultures, and individuals can inspire peace efforts and bridge gaps between communities.
The UN encourages governments, international organisations, and civil society groups to contribute to promoting a positive dialogue surrounding solidarity, mutual understanding, and reconciliation.
Platonic friendships have been the subject and catalyst for writing throughout history.
Many fiction and non-fiction classics portray the richness and profundity of the connections we have with non-familial, non-romantic companions, and are not to be missed.
In honour of this, we've rounded up the books that celebrate friendship in all its forms – from fictional favourites to memoirs. Here's to companionship.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
'The Interestings' by Meg Wolitzer, published by Vintage Publishing: £9.99, Waterstones
Told from the perspective of six teenagers who meet at summer camp, The Interestings is about how they form an all-consuming bond through competition, companionship and shared goals. The story unfolds as the characters navigate their lives, from teenagehood to middle age, all taking different paths as they grow older. It's not without moral rigour, touching on selfishness and envy, as it becomes clear that not everyone can sustain the high of that summer.
'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini, published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC: £6.99, Blackwell's
Set in Afghanistan during a time in which societal pressure and violence dominate, A Thousand Splendid Suns tells the story of Mariam and Laila, a friendship that spans four decades against the backdrop of starvation, brutality and fear. A heartfelt and gripping tale that encompasses love, personal and political intrigue, and the onslaught of war and dispossession.
'A Little Life' by Hanya Yanagihara, published by Picador: £8.57, Blackwell's
A Little Life follows the friendship of four men – Jude, Willem, JB and Malcom – over three decades, from their years as college roommates to the heights of their professional successes. The book is rooted in how they support one another while dealing with a trauma that occurred during their coming of age. Unflinching and intense, this epic narrative is at once dark and disturbing and deeply moving.
'Everything I Know About Love' by Dolly Alderton, published by Penguin Books: £7.49, Waterstones
Equal parts heartbreaking and wildly funny, Dolly Alderton's coming-of-age memoir navigates everything from jobs, loss, and love, all against the backdrop of female friendship. Essential reading for millennials.
'Conversations with Friends' by Sally Rooney, published by Faber & Faber: £7.99, Foyles
Sally Rooney's debut novel, Conversations with Friends, delves into the dynamic between four people: two school friends Frances and Bobby, and a married couple Melissa and Nick. The two couples become messily entangled in this mordantly funny book. Rooney's writing has landed her as a formidable new voice for the millennial generation.
‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeymoon, published by HarperCollins Publishers: £6.99, Waterstones
A smash-hit debut from Honeymoon tackles themes of childhood abuse, loneliness, and alcoholism, but with a considered element of humour. It follows Eleanor as she forms an unlikely companionship with a bumbling IT guy from work. Their friendship unfolds, and Eleanor's damaged past is teased out. At times deeply moving as well as laugh-out-loud. Unmissable.
'Swing Time' by Zadie Smith, published by Penguin Group: £7.89, Amazon
Swing Time follows two childhood friends living on neighbouring housing estates in London after they meet at a community dance class. What follows is a fearless examination of identity and difference, as well as coming-of-age and the compromised opportunities of adulthood. Exuberant and delightful.
'The Essex Serpent' by Sarah Perry, published by Profile Books Ltd: £7.99, Waterstones
Few books delve into the platonic friendship between men and women, so this is where The Essex Serpent stands out. Set in the late 19th century, it follows Cora's story after the death of her husband as she abandons social life in London in favour of coastal Essex. It is here where she meets William. While the duo disagree on almost everything, their debates lead them into a fierce friendship. And for once, this male/female companionship is not a precursor for a relationship.