Reading recommendations - community and friendship version
May 29, 2013 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting a reading/discussion group on the topic of communities and friendships. What are some good articles/essays/books/websites for us to read?

I'm interested in anything AskMe thinks might relate, but especially readings touching on: community building, mental health, the role of technology, feminist/queer/alternative communities, demographic shifts, conflict resolution, family structure, pop culture.

Histories and biographies would also be neat.

Suggested readings can be any length, but longform article length is probably the ideal.
posted by danceswithanonymity to Human Relations (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Shelter of Each Other by Mary Pipher is awesome and addresses a lot those topics. She's a very good straightforward writer, so it's a fairly quick read, but you could also do a chapter or two if you wanted something shorter.
posted by jaguar at 10:45 AM on May 29, 2013

Best answer: I'm certain I've recommended this book before, but The Origins of Virtue is a great look at the concept of human community and family structure from an evolutionary perspective. It's a book, but not terribly lengthy.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:59 AM on May 29, 2013

Steinbeck's East of Eden could keep you guys going for at least a year.

Lauren Groff's Arcadia is all about communities and the interactions within them.
posted by colin_l at 11:22 AM on May 29, 2013

S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders is a YA classic that is all over these topics as well.
posted by colin_l at 11:28 AM on May 29, 2013

For technology & communities, Steven Levy's Hackers is an excellent history of computing. And it deals a lot with the communities and friendships as well as the technology.

It's very accessibly written for non technical folks.
posted by colin_l at 11:31 AM on May 29, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses so far!

I'm definitely looking for non-fiction/history/memoir over fiction.

Any shorter-than-book-length suggestions?
posted by danceswithanonymity at 12:25 PM on May 29, 2013

Shorter-than-book-length stuff makes me think "long-form journalism" like in Mother Jones or Christian Science Monitor or The Economist.

Rather than try to remember specific articles, you might be well served by a trip to your local library, where you can flip through periodicals looking for good candidates.
posted by colin_l at 1:07 PM on May 29, 2013

You might like John Jeremiah Sullivan's article Upon This Rock. It's one of my favorites.

He goes to a giant Christian music festival as an outsider to write about it, describes the community there, makes friends with a few people, and talks about the development of his own youth group community in high school before he left the church. I hope it fits what you're looking for!
posted by mean cheez at 1:22 PM on May 29, 2013

Best answer: Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
It's about how the courage to be vulnerable opens us up for better experiences and more genuine human connection. She's a pretty great writer IMO.
posted by fireandthud at 3:58 PM on May 29, 2013

& 2 of her TED Talks:
posted by fireandthud at 4:00 PM on May 29, 2013

Best answer: Faux Friendship by William Deresiewicz.
posted by jingzuo at 7:22 PM on May 29, 2013

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