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APW Book Club Locations

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Book Club Locations | A Practical Wedding


It’s that time again. Thanks to our long-suffering assistant editor Lauren, we have an update for you on book club locations for our book club meetup this Saturday March 5. Please click the above image (twice!) to see it nice and big, and see exactly where your local meetup is being held. If you have any questions go to Facebook for more information and find your cities meet-up thread.

Now! Just like last time, we’re going to crowd source some book club questions to kick off discussion and break the ice. If any of you have already read or are currently reading The Bitch In The House and have suggested questions, throw them out in the comment area. Just questions though, no discussion! We’ll follow up with lots of online discussion for those of you who can’t make it to the book clubs.

As for the rest of you, get reading! And after the book club, please consider posting pictures in APW’s Flickr pool. I swear to you, I never get tired of seeing your faces (and besides, rumor has it that the NYC book club is going to wear all sparkles!)

See you Saturday (in spirit or in person, depending).


Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit

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  • Jo

    Cincinnati, OH Meetup: Roh’s Street Cafe 245 W. McMillan St Cincinnati.

    My contact info: johannahharper (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Email me for my phone number if you need it! If you’re in town and need a ride, let me know!

    • Morgan

      Calgary, AB meetup: TBA location. Higher Ground if no one has a better plan. Saturday, Mar 12. mpk042 (at) gmail (dot) com

    • Kristin

      New York, NY Meetup: Ginger Man (11 E. 36th between 5th & Mad) at 1pm

      You can email me at kristin.maffei (at) gmail. See you all there!

  • Ali

    1. How do you plan to resolve the probable conflict that will arise if you desire to “have it all” (kids, career, housekeeping, vacation)? Are you willing to sacrifice something, or are you likely to turn into The Bitch in the House when your burdens inevitably become too great?

    2. Do you plan to experiment with different marital arrangements (ie. open marriage, etc)? Would you follow in your mother’s footsteps, or do you have different aspirations for yourself?

    • Zan

      Taking off from Ali’s first question, what do you make of the, “You can’t have it all” message in light of these two passages and in light of the idea that, as Ali expressed, there is an sense of inevitable doom for those who attempt to “have/do it all”:

      Passage 1:
      ” ‘Oh my,’ Eudora said, “Are they [the children] yours? Do they belong to you?”
      ‘They’re mine,’ I answered, ‘Aren’t they funny?’
      ‘Why would you need anything else?’ she said. ‘Why would you need to be a writer?’

      I did not understand what she was saying to me but I do now. Eudora had no children of her own and that year she had lost her father and her brother. Her mother was in a nursing home. Think how my riches must have looked to her.” (255)

      Passage 2:
      “Like my dad, I get enormous personal satisfaction from career success. But the smoothness with which my career flows makes life at home even harder to manage.” (165)

  • Kimberly

    Are you already The Bitch In the House?

    I kid, I kid. (Kindof.)

    • Lauren

      Best comment ever.

    • Caitlin

      HA. I REALLY hope this makes it into the final list of questions.

    • meg


  • Christina

    Is this book scaring the crap out of you?
    I kid too :)

    • Ali

      I thought I was the only one…My advice is to read this book after you’re happily married – NOT when you’re six weeks away from the wedding and in the midst of planning stress and trying to buy a house!

    • Margaret

      I know you said you were kidding… but I think it’s a good question!! (esp. WHY does it freak us out?)

      It reminds me little of this article:

    • Tina

      I had this same feeling just reading the introduction. I feel like it touched on a lot of themes that are already regularly discussed on APW. At the same time it wrapped up everything that’s been on my mind lately in a nice little package. Maybe it’s because we’ve been delving into the “important questions to ask” conversations lately. All this to say, I think it’s a valid question, even if you were kidding.

  • Amy

    Based on the post-script to the book (in which one of the author’s mothers writes a letter to the author refuting many of the conclusions the author drew about how difficult her life was) – What do you think your own mother’s letter to you would look like?

    • Fiorentina

      Oh damn, I already know what my mother’s letter to me would look like. :P

  • Amy

    And totally random, but it surprised me a bit – was anyone else a little surprised that there were a number of “anonymous” authors in the book? The idea that these stories were considered by the author private enough to ask to be anonymous in a book seemed a bit antiquated to me in the time of blogs/over-sharing personal essays/”bad mother” columns on babble etc.

    • Alyssa

      Yeah, but in 2003? I don’t think there was that much sharing when the book was published in the same way there is now, even though it wasn’t that long ago…

      That would be an interesting question in itself. Do you think the authors would write the same kind of essay today that they wrote for the book initially?
      And what about oversharing in general. Would you be able to write an essay like this and publish it with your name? Does the breadth of blogs and bloggers revealing details affect your marriage or how you view your marriage?

    • Fiorentina

      Building off of this: where do you (personally, as well as in participation with your partner) draw the line about what/how much/with whom you share your relationship/life satisfaction struggles? On the one hand, talking about the hard stuff often makes the hard stuff easier. On the other hand, at what point is that a breach of privacy/respect for your partner and relationship?

  • Mary Jo

    In several of the essays there was this tendency to view knowing someone very well as a deterrent to desire, ie, the more you know about someone the less sexy they are. Do you find this to be true, or is this a false dichotomy?

    Personally, I think greater knowledge of another = greater emotional intimacy = increasing sexiness, so I was kind of confused by this perspective, though it’s definitely a common one.

    • Zan

      Just gonna add some citations here like a big NERD because I was thinking about this one too and I find citations helpful. But then, that might just be the nerdschool talking.

      “Can a couple be too harmonious? … I’m just as happy to sleep in my pj’s and go to bed with a book. Is this a problem? Depends on how you look at it.” (p. 97-98)

      “We respond sexually to the stranger, the unknown, the unfamiliar.” (p. 131)

  • chilingwang

    My partner started calling it the “man hating book” when I first started reading it. The book rattled some nerves early on, since I am in the middle of planning my own wedding. More surprisingly, he sensed, with alarming accuracy, when I had just finished a section that sparked any negative sentiments about men or marriage. I suppose my question is, “anyone else have a partner feel like reading this book made their reading counterpart unnecessarily uneasy (and sometimes easily agitated)?”

    • Katie

      I’d be curious to know how partners reacted, too. I don’t want to steal the thunder of the meeting itself, but my husband is anxious to read the book as soon as I finish. He sees it as a way of getting behind my feelings that surface occasionally.

      Just for the record, the editor, Cathi Hanauer, convinced her husband to edit a male companion piece called The Bastard on the Couch.

  • Allison

    This looks really awesome! Could we get a little more notice next time, though (Unless I missed something, in which case ignore me)? I JUST made plans for Saturday and can’t make it. :(

    • meg

      We’ve been planning this for weeks. We even voted to pick the day we would meet a few weeks back.

      • http://http// Krista

        I was so stoked for the book club meeting because I missed the last one. Alas, I run a money group the first Saturday of every month, so I’m not able to make it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed though that the next meeting falls on a different day so I can meet some of these wonderful readers. :)

  • Donnica

    Where are all the ATLANTA girls!?!?!? :)

    • Denzi

      We’re here! There are at least four of us meeting at Mary Mac’s, and you’re welcome to come too. I’m sure once we actually get off the ground (this is the first time we’ve managed a meet-up!) more people will show up and we will be mighty.

      (We’re already mighty, yo. See you there. :D )

  • Natalia

    NYC people- can we get where and when update in the comments for us non facebook users!

    • Kristin

      Not sure if you saw this up at the top, but just in case, we’re meeting at the Ginger Man (11 E. 36th between 5th & Mad) at 1pm

      You can email me at kristin.maffei (at) gmail. See you there!

  • Becky

    Wait, what is this about the NYC group wearing sparkles?! I missed that part of the facebook discussion…

    • Amy

      I think Maddie mentioned wearing sparkles earlier this week, but we stole her for the CT meet-up :::insert evil laugh and devious mustache twirling here:::

    • Katie Jane

      We wore sequins to our last meetup two or three weeks ago. Here is a link to the APW NYC chapter:

      • Becky

        Ooh, I didn’t realize there was a separate group. I thought it was just the discussion on the main APW page on facebook. Thanks–just sent a request to join!

      • meg

        If you don’t email me a picture of that Katie Jane, I will shiv you. Be scared.

        • Cara

          I don’t believe there exists photographic evidence (does there??) However, there was a priceless moment when the bartender came over and asked us if it was, in fact, sequins day.

  • Linsey

    –Is it society, women themselves or a combination of both that sets up seemingly unreal expectations of women in the role of lover, wife and mother?

    –What practical, concrete ways can we take to avoid becoming “The Bitch in the House?”

    –Is it all doom and gloom? To what degree should we expect the worst?

  • Liz

    What, no book club meetup in Kabul, Afghanistan?!

    I kid, I kid. But seriously, I look forward to attending one of these meetups once I’m back stateside.

  • Katy C.

    In several of the essays, particularly in the beginning of the book, authors defined themselves as either “never the girl who dreamed of her wedding” or “the girl who dreamed of a big, white wedding.” (hoping to provide citations for this later today…)

    How did that characterization affect their approach to marriage/relationships later in life? How did it affect their actions in their relationship(s) or how their viewed/wrote about their relationship(s) in the book?

    Do you define yourself in that way and how does it affect your approach to/view of marriage?

    • Margaret

      Not sure if these are the ones you were thinking of, but here are 2 examples:

      “[…] I never dreamed of being a bride” (p. 15).

      “All my life, I had been taught that a romance headed for Weddingville was the Holy Grail, the answer to every question” (p. 24).

  • Margaret

    Not quite done with the book yet, but a few questions bouncing around in my mind right now: (more to follow…)

    “If you avoid motherhood, you avoid activating the Bitch” (p. 205).
    Agree or disagree?
    Is it helpful to have a “Bitch” side to your personality to keep you “vital and strong” (p. 215), or is this rage unhealthy? Is this anger normal or symptomatic of a dissatisfaction w/one’s life choices?

    “We can deal with men in therapy, we can deal with men crying, but I don’t think gender equality will ever reach the point where we can deal with men broke. […] Women might lose credibility as people when we are struggling financially, but it doesn’t interfere with our identity as women. It does not make us less sexually attractive. When the situation is reversed […] this is not the case” (pg. 41).

    Is this true? Fair? A gender difference/expectation we should accept or work to change?

    Almost all of the women mention either
    a) purposely trying NOT to turn into their mother OR
    b) wishing they could emulate their mother’s behavior/walk in her footsteps

    Is this dichotomy inevitable? Are we always living in reaction to our mother’s choices and experiences? If so, do you (sub?)consciously gravitate toward a or b? Is there a third option?

  • Elissa

    Dear Austin APWers… I know you exist! Come out, come out!!!

  • ruchi

    A lot of the essays deal with the dueling dichotomies of your own expectations for marriage, family, kids, life and the societal or cultural expectations of your marriage, family, kids, life?

    (eg Divakurni’s essay on having to be the perfect host to conform with her family’s and her own cultural expectations of the good Indian wife)

    How do you reconcile your expectations with cultural/societal expectations in your own relationships and lives?

  • Amanda

    Many of the authors talk about the difference between passion and comfort. One author says that passion, after the initial fueling, must be fueled by anger. Where does passion come from within your relationships, and is it true that if there is a comfort and ease then passion dwindles? What is passion?

    • Peacock Feathers & Diamond Rings

      “…the few married couples I know who do have passionate sex after the first couple of years (or the first kid) fuel their passion with anger” (pg. 98) and then “I may have compromised but I didn’t settle” (page 99).

      Is it unrealistic to expect to always (as in until the relationship ends – although perhaps not on every occasion) have passionate sex within marriage?

      Is “to have compromised but not settled” enough?

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  • Julia

    Chicago? Are you out there? Where are we meeting? Sunday at Lovely? Next weekend in the northern burbs?

  • Rachel

    Houston meetup contact

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