Photo: Bunches and Bits {Karina}

Inspired by this week’s Longreads Member Pick (“Friendship is Complicated,” by Maria Bustillos), this week’s Reading List is about the joy, power and struggles of friendship.

1. “The Genius of Taylor Swift’s Girlfriend Collection.” (Anne Helen Petersen, BuzzFeed Ideas, January 2015)

From holidaying in Hawaii with Haim to baking cookies with Karlie Kloss, Taylor Swift has amassed a powerful coterie of friends. While I don’t necessarily agree with Petersen’s conclusion in this essay, I appreciate her sharp insight into the world of brand maintenance, female friendship and celebrity status.

2. “I Knew I Loved You.” (Claire Comstock-Gay, Midnight Breakfast, January 2015)

Not only does Claire Comstock-Gay serve The Rumblr as Madame Clairvoyant, she writes mean fiction about teen girls at summer camp.

3. “Mean Girls in the Retirement Home.” (Jennifer Weiner, New York Times, January 2015)

Your worst nightmare is real: high school cafeteria politics live on in the nonagenarian community.

4. “Trying to Make Mom Friends is the Worst.” (Meaghan O’Connell, The Cut, December 2014)

“My baby is 6 months old and I have no mom friends. This is a problem that worries others on my behalf: I am supposed to have a little meet-up group of babies born in the same month and we’re supposed to pass around clothes and tips and nannies and Facebook likes.” Meaghan O’Connell shared her riveting/terrifying birth story for Longreads. Now that literal labor is over, the work of forging friendships begins.

5. “Friendship and Race and Knowing Your Place.” (Nicole S. Chung, The Toast, January 2015)

“I think during my freshman or sophomore year, a friend said to me: “You know that everyone who looks at you sees ‘Asian’ first, ‘woman’ second, and everything else after that, don’t you?” I thought about her words for days, weeks, turning them over and and over in my mind, embarrassed and fearful and a little bit angry, too… I had been raised not to think about these things, had learned to feel grateful when my friends didn’t seem to notice (or mind) the face I presented to the world.”