Central Perk Reading List: Book Recommendations Based on Your Fave Friends Character

Rachel’s hair. Chandler’s WENUS. Phoebe’s … everything. Friends may have gone off the air more than a decade ago, but the blockbuster TV show remains one of the biggest pop culture touchstones to ever come out of the small screen. Thanks to Netflix and long-time syndication, we can still belly-laugh about Smelly Cat and Miss Chanandler Bong, and thanks to Kelsey Miller‘s I’ll Be There for You, a retrospective on our favorite show, we can read about all the moments that made up the magic, including lots of stories from behind the scenes.

I'll Be There for You by Kelsey Miller

And if you’re looking for more reading material, take a look at our book recommendations based on your favorite character. Are you a Rachel, concerned with appearances but also with being a good person? Or are you more of a Chandler, clever and pithy and really quite sensitive once you get to know him? Whoever you’re favorite character is, we have a book we think you’ll enjoy. Could we be bigger fans of this list?

 

If you related to Phoebe’s creativity, her unwavering individualism and her sympathy towards cats of unrelenting pong, check out these great books:

 

The Secret Language of Cats by Susanne Schötz

The Secret Language of Cats by Susanne Schötz

The Secret Language of Cats offers a crash course in the phonetic study of cat sounds. Schötz introduces us to the full range of feline vocalizations and explains what they can mean in different situations, and she gives practical tips to help us understand our cats better.

 

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Full of humor, emotion and surprises at every turn, this book brings to life a remarkable cast of quirky, deeply human characters who must learn to adapt to the unconventional, or else risk losing one another. This is the story of a family falling to pieces—and the unexpected way they put it all back together.

 

Rachel presented well, but real fans know she was always a bit of a disaster. Though her tenacity and ambition got her the life she wanted, there were lots of bumps along the way.

 

Meternity by Meghann Foye

Meternity by Meghann Foye

Liz has spent years working a gazillion hours a week picking up the slack for coworkers with kids, and she’s tired of it. So one day when her stress-related nausea is mistaken for morning sickness by her bosses—boom! Liz is promoted to the mommy track. She decides to run with it and plans to use her paid time off to figure out her life: work, love and otherwise. It’ll be her “meternity” leave.

 

The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise

The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise

Alex is living in southern China, where he reluctantly assumes the helm of the family shoe company, but soon comes to a grim realization: employees are exploited, regulatory systems are corrupt and Alex’s own father is engaging in bribes to protect the bottom line. When Alex meets a seamstress named Ivy, an organizer of a pro-democratic Chinese party, his sympathies begin to shift. Will Alex remain loyal to his family legacy? Or will the sparks of revolution ignite?

 

Monica was the rule follower—especially the rules she made up herself. She was meticulous and exacting in every part of her life, well, every part except her personal life. Proving that you can only control so much

 

Hot Mess by Emily Belden

Hot Mess by Emily Belden

Allie Simon is used to playing by the rules—until Chicago’s most sought-after, up-and-coming culinary genius, Benji Zane, walks into her world and pulls her into his. The only thing more renowned than Benji’s mouthwatering masterpieces and equally luscious good looks? His struggle with addiction and his reckless tendency to live life on the edge, no matter the havoc he wreaks along the way. But loving someone means supporting him no matter what, or so Allie tells herself.

 

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

For Susan Green has a perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic and an “interpersonal arrangement” that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is realized. She is losing control.

 

Joey was like the puppy of the group—always happy, ready for anything and likely to hump your leg if you let him. Not sure if Joey was much of a reader beyond movie scripts, but if you were a fan of his, we bet you’d like these books as much as you liked him.

 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

 

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben

A 217-year-old dog searches for his lost master through the courts and battlefields of Europe, over several centuries. Befriending both animals and humans and falling in love (only once), Tomorrow marvels at the human ability to make music, despairs at their capacity for war and gains insight into both the strength and frailties of the human spirit.

 

Chandler was the often the butt of the joke, but he knew how to dish it as well as he could take it. Sarcasm may have been his shield, but when he let his guard down, he was sweet and sensitive—could it have something to do with his mother being a famous romance writer? We still don’t know what he did for a living, but if you were a Chandler fan, check out these book recos:

 

The One by John Marrs

The One by John Marrs

A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for. Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

 

Lincoln’s Last Trial by Dan Abrams and David Fisher

Lincoln’s Last Trial by Dan Abrams, David Fisher

Before he was president, Abraham Lincoln was an esteemed attorney. Chronicling the waning days of Lincoln’s pre-presidential career as a defense lawyer and the case that may have helped change the course of history, this is a tale of crime and intrigue, politics and loyalty with one of America’s most important figures at the center of it all.

 

For somebody that spends his days playing with dinosaur bones, you’d think Ross would be a little more laid back. But we do see sparks of levity in our favorite neurotic and they are good for some of the biggest laughs the show elicited. If you think they were on a break, you’ll like these books:

 

The Reluctant Fortune Teller by Keziah Frost

The Reluctant Fortune Teller by Keziah Frost

Norbert Zelenka has always lived life on the sidelines. It’s why at seventy-three years old he’s broke and alone except for the company of a Chihuahua. But when “Carlotta’s Club”—three strong-willed seniors with plenty of time on their hands—decide to make Norbert their latest project, he reluctantly agrees to their scheme: establishing himself as the town’s fortune-teller. Soon his life begins changing in unexpected ways.

 

Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick

Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick

Benedict Stone has settled into a complacent and predictable routine. Business at his jewelry shop has dried up; his marriage is on the rocks. His life is in desperate need of a jump start—and then his niece arrives at his door. Reckless and stubborn, Gemma invites herself into Benedict’s world and turns his orderly life upside down. But she might just be exactly what he needs to get his life back on track.

 

Ready to spend time with old Friends? Let us know what you think!

    Karen Green

    Karen Green is a freelance writer and big city ex-pat now living in rural Ontario. She writes for numerous print and online publications, and considers her library card to be one of her most valuable possessions.

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