Share 13 Lena Dunham-Approved Books You Need to Read Right Now

13 Lena Dunham-Approved Books You Need to Read Right Now

After several years in the Subsidiary Rights Department at Atria Books, Hilary Krutt now works as an editor at L&T, a brand publishing company. A former member of the Off the Shelf editorial board, Hilary continues to be an avid consumer (and sometimes reviewer) of contemporary fiction and memoir. She hails from Boston but currently calls Brooklyn home.

Lena Dunham seems to be everywhere these days. Best known as the creator, writer, and star of the HBO series Girls, now in its fifth and penultimate season, and the author of Not That Kind of Girl, she has emerged as a feminist voice for the millennial generation. She is a voracious reader, frequently highlighting her favorite books on Instagram and in Lenny Letter, her recently launched feminist newsletter. Just last week, she announced that Lenny Letter will begin publishing books as an imprint with Penguin Random House. Here, we have highlighted thirteen fantastic reads that have already fetched Lena’s stamp of approval.


Dietland
by Sarai Walker

Part coming-of-age story, part revenge fantasy, this is a bold, original, and funny debut novel that takes on the beauty industry, gender inequality, and our weight-loss obsession—from the inside out, and with fists flying.


Animals
by Emma Jane Unsworth

Laura and Tyler, both women in their twenties, are the very definition of party animals. But when Laura becomes engaged to Jim, she must make a difficult decision between her carousing lifestyle and society’s definition of adulthood—and between her best friend and future husband.


The First Bad Man
by Miranda July
In this whimsical novel, Miranda July tells the story of Cheryl, a vulnerable, uptight woman. When Cheryl’s bosses ask if their twenty-one-year-old daughter Clee can stay at her house, Cheryl’s eccentrically ordered world explodes. But Clee—the selfish, cruel blond bombshell—teaches Cheryl what it means to love and be loved and, inadvertently, provides the solace of a lifetime.

Life At the Dakota
by Stephen Birmingham

A deliciously entertaining social history detailing the lives of the rich and trendy who have lived at the Dakota, a New York apartment house daringly erected in 1884 and whose tenants have included Leonard Bernstein, Lauren Bacall, and John Lennon.


Luckiest Girl Alive
by Jessica Knoll
Lena's Lenny Letter recently published Jessica Knoll's essay "What I Know" in which she bravely shares for the first time that she was raped as a teenager. This real life event informed the writing of her page-turning novel, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE, which details a young woman's struggle to build a seemingly perfect life while trying to hide her difficult past. Knoll has also written the screenplay for the upcoming film being produced by Reese Witherspoon.

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
by Anna North

Gripping and provocative, this is a haunting story of fame, love, and legacy told through the propulsive rise of an iconoclastic artist. As Lena puts it: “This novel is perceptive, subtle, funny and lingers in unexpected ways. The analysis of a woman who puts her art above all else is equal parts inspiration and warning story.”


The Night of the Gun
by David Carr
From the recently deceased David Carr, a good friend of Lena’s, this is a revelatory memoir of his years as an addict and chronicles his journey from crack-house regular to columnist for The New York Times.

Prelude to Bruise
by Saeed Jones

A debut poetry collection examining identity in all its forms—racial, sexual, geographical, and more—with both incisive intensity and tenderness.


One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses
by Lucy Corin

This dazzling collection is powered by one hundred apocalypses: a series of short stories, many only a few lines, that illuminate moments of vexation and crisis, revelations and revolutions. An apocalypse might come in the form of the end of a relationship or the end of the world, but what it exposes is the tricky landscape of our longing for a clean slate.


You
by Caroline Kepnes
When a young, beautiful writer named Guinevere Beck walks into the bookstore where he works, Joe Goldberg is smitten. So, he does what any twenty-first-century person would do: he Googles the name on the credit card she uses. Her Facebook page, he learns, is public. She tweets all the time, revealing details about herself and where she’s going. Hoping to get to know Beck (her nickname, he discovers), Joe orchestrates a number of “chance encounters” and moves from stalker to boyfriend to potential murderer.

Church of Marvels
by Leslie Parry

This novel is set in vibrant, tumultuous turn-of-the-century New York City, where the lives of four outsiders become entwined, bringing irrevocable change to them all. Moving from the Coney Island seashore to the tenement-studded streets of the Lower East Side, to a brutal, terrifying asylum, this ravishing debut takes readers back to a city of hardship and dreams, love and loneliness, hope and danger.


Fates and Furies
by Lauren Groff
Groff spins the breathtakingly beautiful tale of Lotto and Mathilde and the secrets at the heart of their marriage, over a twenty-four-year span. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, this literary masterpiece stirs both the mind and the heart.

Ghettoside
by Jill Leovy

On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man is shot and killed, one of the thousands of black Americans murdered that year. This is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and an inquiry into why murder happens in our cities—and how this epidemic might yet be stopped.


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