APW Book Club Locations

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief


It’s that time again. It is APW book club weekend! In case you missed it, we’re reading For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage, by Tara Parker-Pope. I need to hustle up and finish it (and I bet you do to), but y’all? It is good. I’m halfway through, and I’ve learned a lot (mostly things we’re doing right, or ways that our relationship is a little different from average). I even made David take some quizzes while we were on vacation in Mexico, poor thing.

Most meetups are happening all over the world on Saturday June 4th, 1pm. Thanks to our long-suffering assistant editor Lauren, we have an update for you on book club locations. 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 (San Francisco is having one, they are just still searching for a location). And side-note… can we talk about how crazy it is that we have so many book clubs all over the country? It sort of boggles me. Also, I pretty pissed that I won’t be attending the meetups in Edinburgh or London or New York City. (Though I swear I’ll make it one day.)

Now! Just like always, 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 For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage and have suggested questions, throw them out in the comment area. Just questions though, no discussion! I’ll post a list of questions tomorrow afternoon, and we’ll follow up next week 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, and send me notes on what happens. I’m out of town where there is no meetup, so I need notes! I need tweets! I need to follow along! And I swear to you, I never get tired of seeing your faces, and cows, and sex club shopping trips, and sparkles.

Till Saturday!


(Note: Need to buy the book?  All links in this post are associate links, which means if you buy the book by clicking through the site, you help support APW. Yay!)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

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  • Hey Meg,

    Does APW still get credit if we purchase the kindle version of the books after clicking the amazon hyperlinks? Just curious. :)

    • meg

      I get credit if you purchase A CAR after clicking my link. Seriously. Go on a crazy shopping spree. (So yes, Kindle is good).

      • Wow, it makes me regret going to Jerry’s Ford for our “new” car. . .

        Thanks for the heads up!

      • Shelly

        I’m glad you mentioned that before – I used it yesterday to link through to buy my husband a gps watch for his birthday. xoxo

      • marbella

        oh! good to know! now i will always link to amazon through here!

      • Doesn’t work for Canada… Can you register with them too? Because I’m not paying $$$$ for shipping and customs…

  • I’m having a hard time wording this, but something about how the book is mainly from a heteronormative point of view and seems to reinforce some gender stereotypes. Did other women read this and identify more with what was stated about men? Did gay couples get anything out of the gendered approach?

    Admittedly I’m only about halfway through so maybe there’s more on that later on.

    • Cindy

      Rachelle, as a married lesbian reading this book, the perspective has been on my mind as I read it. Definitely something I want to discuss in our meetup.

    • There is more! (though not enough), but keep reading!

    • even the section on gay relationships is gender-normative. i decided eye-rolling amusement was preferable to anger (despite research saying otherwise!) and managed to get a lot out of the book anyhow.

      but that is discussion, not a question – so:
      do folks think that there is a way to make discussions of the aggregate anything but normative? alternately, is it normative because scientists are only bothering to study “normal” people, or because the author focused on that, or because averages are pretty much normative by definition?

    • Fiorentina

      Oooooh, I have so much to say about this – Rachelle, I am glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who was getting pretty weirded out by the gender essentialist and hetero-normative stuff. I was worried that I was being hypersensitive and that I might be the only one who had critical things to say at the meet-up.

      -writing under a pseud but I will see you on Friday

    Kristin’s email got sent to my spam, so here’s her contact info: kristingraybeal {at} hotmail {dot} com.

    And DALLAS!
    We’re meeting on the 11th, like we said on the discussion board. That was my cock-up on the sheet, sorry!!!!

  • lolo7835

    Darn-I’m no where near any of those places this weekend. I’m still hoping some APW readers move to the middle of nowhere PA where I live.

    • Just take a road trip up to Toronto. We’ll have you. ;)

    • Margaret

      Aw, I used to live in middle-of-nowhere PA, up until December. Love it there, but I was never able to find any APW readers close enough for an easy meet-up. :-/

    • No where near dont even cut it for me with those locations.

      Try entirely the wrong hemisphere!

      Sometimes I wonder if I am the only southern hemisphere gal reading this here awesome website…

  • For discussion questions I’d like to pose:
    What can hetero couples learn from lesbian and gay couples and vice versa?
    Was there anything about your own relationship/marriage that you felt should be improved after reading the book?

  • Cass

    The author’s personal experiences really colored the perspective and examples in the book. Do you think this helped or hurt the overall message of the book? Do you think it took away from, or added to, the scientific review?

  • FawMo

    Seattle ladies, We’re on for tomorrow (Friday) evening. Email me at efawthrop (at) gmail (dot) com if you need the skinny or directions.

    Fearless Sarah is going to snag us a table. Look for the upturned books.

  • Jo

    -Re: page 39, do you notice yourself choosing your friends differently when you’re in a committed relationships? Friends that are potentially less ‘threatening’ to your relationship?

    -Who in your relationship is the ‘de-escalator’? Have you used any of the warm style of arguing, etc. in your relationship since reading about it?

    -The book describes spreading out support needs to multiple areas in your life as usually property of homosexual relationships, and relying on your partner for everything as a heterosexual norm. Do you think this might possibly be due to introversion/extroversion or another factor instead? Where do you and your partner lie on the scale of social vs solely partner support? Is it the same for both of you, or does one rely more on friends than the other?

    -Is your career second to your partners, greater than your partners, or are they equal? Is your or your partner’s ability to child-bear or child-rear a factor in this? Is it based on possible earnings? Is it based on who has found their ‘dream’ career/calling? Or is it based on schooling required? (I could’ve made this shorter by just asking what criteria was used to establish it and then offering the above as examples…)

    -I’d never before thought of interrupting as ‘conversational dominance’. Discuss. (p. 236)

    -What do you do to protect your relationship? (Last chapter).

    • JEM

      Based on your questions I need to get this book. Thank you!

    • Cass

      The Kindle doesn’t have page numbers like that :( Wish I could find a way to correlate “percentage complete” to page numbers.
      Also, I suggest reading Deborah Tannen’s work if you’re interested in interrupting. I did my undergrad thesis related to this, and found her work intriguing (even if I don’t wholly agree with ALL her work).

  • So bummed I can’t make the book club! I will be en route to Boston for work, sadly.

  • Kayakgirl73

    Is anyone going to have there Husband or Wife or Finance read the book? Might be interesting to here the other half’s perspective. I think I might ask my husband to read it or at least parts of it? Of course he’s already reading three other books so we’ll see how that goes. Unfortunately i can’t make my local book club, again. Saturdays are really bad for me.

    • My fiance started looking at it a couple nights ago (not sure how far he got). We haven’t had a chance it discuss it yet, and I dooon’t know if i could convince him to come to the meet-up. :-) I’m going to ask him though, and relay his opinions if I can.

    • ElfPuddle

      My fiance has a to-read list 8yrs. long, so I doubt he will. I have been reading him bits, because I want his input. We’ll see…

  • Ashley B

    Could the statistics provided in the book enable self-fulfilling prophecy? Meaning, if you fit the model of someone more likely to divorce (i.e. married young) would reading this make you doubt the longevity of your relationship? Can science be a negative?

  • Fiorentina

    Many sections of this book seem to give equal credence to biological determinism (i.e., all of our behavior can be explained by evolution) as it does to socialized/learned behaviors (i.e., how our culture expects us to behave, and what we learn from say, our parents’ relationships) as explanations for conflict in marriages/realtionships. Assuming that behaviors neatly delineate along gender lines in hetero marriages (which IMNSHO is a problematic assumption):

    1) Is biological determinism on equally sound footing to be held up as an alternate explanation to socialization?
    1a) If so, is there any middle ground?
    1b) If not, why is biological determinism such a popular theory?

    2) What do both of these theories (biological determinism v. socialization) imply about what we can/do expect from our selves and our partners in a relationship? Which offers the most flexibility for addressing and hope for resolving issues and conflicts within a relationship?

  • Chicago is meeting at Cindy’s house! Join our facebook group here for more info! http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_224903617525050

  • ElfPuddle

    The bits about arguing intrigue me.
    Is eyerolling always a sign of contempt? We roll our eyes at the other frequently, but never in a fight…always when one of us is being goofy. Since one of the things we love about each other is silliness, how can that be a bad thing?
    Are there other things in the studies that one couple might agree have one meaning, but another couple wouldn’t, therefore changing the way the studies (mis)interpret the couple’s behavior?

  • melissa

    I live spitting distance from the Baltimore meet-up location, which makes me think I should get on this APW book club wagon. I just quit my job (!) and school is out. I’m totally excited for next month!!

  • I just wasn’t crazy about this book, despite really *wanting* to like it/find it helpful, after so many rave reviews. It seemed sort of unhelpfully repetitive or simplistic or something… and too much correlation assumed to be causation. I’m still trying to put my finger on why it didn’t jive with me. I’m sure I’ll discuss this at length on Saturday. ;-)

    -From an NPR review: “there’s also plenty of stuff, frankly, I’ve heard before. Its quizzes could have come straight from a magazine […] She focuses on the science of marriage but ignores its evolution — and her book is flimsier for it.” [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126474676]
    Is this an accurate critique? Is there anything to be gleaned by comparing marriage statistics from decades past with those of the ’90s-2000s, considering how much the institution, reasons for entering into it, and its role in society have changed?

    -Is it potentially problematic to view your marriage as an endless improvement project? Or is this the best way to guarantee that it stays vital? How much should a marriage feel like work?

    -A reviewer in “Scientific American” says, “Being with the right person from the outset undoubtedly helps—an issue not explored in the book” [http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=mind-reviews-for-better]
    Parker-Pope talks about the “myth of compatibility” (sorry, don’t have the book w/me to cite – help?). Does inherent compatibility or being with the “right” person play a part in a marriage’s success, and if so, how much? Or is hard work/commitment more important? Is incompatibility (or “irreconcilable differences”) a good reason to get divorced or is the whole idea of compatibility overrated, as Parker-Pope concludes?

    • Re: question #2, here’s an intriguing article on the topic of “what is a good marriage? How good is good enough?”


    • Meredith

      “and too much correlation assumed to be causation”

      YES!! I know no discussion here, so I’ll just leave it at that.

      And I love your question about viewing you marriage as an endless improvement project.

    • MegsDad

      Margaret and Fiorentina:
      For correlation/causation and for biological determinism/socialization, you might look at

      Harris, Judith Rich, “The Nurture Hypothesis,” 2e (New York: Free Press) 2009.

      “Correlation does not imply causation” was a family mantra when Meg and her sister were growing up.

  • Amy

    Sorry for being very tardy in responding to Lauren – The CT meetup will be Saturday at 1pm at my home. Please email amy.reilly (at) gmail for my address!

  • Sara B

    Hi Michigan ladies! The Detroit/Ann Arbor meet-up has become a Lower Peninsula meet up in Lansing. We’ll be at Gone Wired in Lansing at 1:00.

    • Cass

      This sounds delightful! Hopefully I can arrange plans to come.