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APW Book Club: Not That Kind Of Girl

Book club is back! Version 2.0.

Last week, when we published our article on Lena Dunham’s first book Not That Kind of Girlit became clear that there were lots of readers in the APW audience who were planning on reading it (including pretty much the entire APW staff). It also became clear that you guys might have a lot more to say about it. So we figured this might be the perfect time to resurrect the APW Book Club.

This is where I have a confession to make: I’ve been holding a bit of a torch for the return of the APW Book Club since I joined the APW staff last year. I started reading APW more regularly just after the final book club assignment, and I was pretty bummed that I missed out. Because, nerd alert, I love a good reading assignment. Especially ones I can do with a drink in my hand. So with not-so-gentle prodding from me, we’re bringing back book club (at least for the month of October). For the few of you that remember APW Book Club 1.0, the difference this time around is that we won’t be facilitating in person meetings, just reading the book and talking about it online. Easy, peasy. But if you personally want to meet up with people in your town, feel free to organize that in the comments below. For newer arrivals, here’s how it works:

  • Go buy (or borrow) Not That Kind of Girl
  • Read it sometime between now and October 27th.
  • Come back here on October 28th, and we’ll discuss our thoughts, book club style.
  • Extra credit: Got something interesting to say about a specific chapter and can’t wait? Meeting up with friends in real life for drinks and discussion? Use the hashtag #apwbookclub so we can keep up!

Meg, Maddie, and I just started reading this week, but here are a few discussion questions to consider as you’re reading—just like in school, but more fun, and you can also have wine while reading without being docked points off your grade:

  • Dunham bares a lot in this book and has a reputation for being an over-sharer. She recently expanded on her thoughts about “over sharing” on Fresh Air, and the idea that society uses the TMI response as a way of trivializing female experiences. What do you think of “over sharing” in this context? Is there such a thing as too much information, and how does that relate to your own experiences?
  • Lena Dunham’s work often serves to push viewers and readers outside their comfort zones. Were there any parts of the book that made you uncomfortable? Why? Do you think it’s important for books to push you out of your comfort zone in this way?
  • A lot of people dislike Lena Dunham (as we discussed before.) Likeability is an overvalued currency for women in Hollywood that Dunham doesn’t always trade in. How do your feelings about Lena and the characters she’s created play into the way you received the book?
  • For those who watch Girls, have you ever found yourself confusing the character traits of Hannah Horvath with the personal traits of Lena Dunham? What do you think of the idea that the characters women create are facets of their own personality, whereas characters created (or portrayed) by men are not typically seen this way?
  • Extra Credit: Already finished the book and want to add a discussion point of your own? Leave it in the comments!

Extra-Extra Credit: The next book we’ll be tackling is Roxane Gay’s Bad FeministSo go ahead and order the book and start reading now. More details on that coming soon! In the meantime, if you have a recommendation for a future book club book (usually within the scope of weddings, marriage, or feminism, but we’re open to other options), feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.

With that, happy reading! Come back here on the 28th for the discussion. We’ll be waiting with drink in hand, ready to dive in.

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