Girls' Night Out
Longtime pals Tamara Kreinin and Barbara Camens call their Girls' Night Out (Crown) a celebration of women's groups across America, ranging from Rosh Chodesh in Philadelphia, whose members begin their candlelit gatherings by invoking their matrilineal heritage ("I am Elaine, daughter of Ruth, daughter of Celia, daughter of Bessie"), to the Phenomenal Ladies Motorcycle Club, who gleefully burn rubber in Prince George's County, Maryland. But what this delightful book really celebrates is female friendship—that boundless, blessed way so many women have of embracing each other's lives, including the messy parts. Consider the Mah-jongg Girls (above), young New Yorkers who meet every other Tuesday to click the tiles, who recently saw one of their members through a weepy depression lasting months ("We have lived our lives in each other's presence," they say). At one point, I wondered why everybody in Girls' Night Out, from young teens to suburban eightysomethings, is so good-looking. Then I remembered: Love makes women beautiful.

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