Our impromptu feminist book club started when Emily got two copies of Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl for the holidays the year before last. We had all been wanting to read it—we being my oldest BFFs Emily and Jasen, and I—so Emily did the only logical thing she could. She offered to keep both copies and lend me one, with the condition that, when I was finished reading, I would pass it onto Jasen. Deal.
As soon as I was done, without a word to Jasen, I slipped the hardcover book into a padded envelope, along with the sage I’d gotten him for his house, and a fourteen-year-old flier for an art show I’d recently found, and sent the package off through the mail. (I had been using the flier as a bookmark while I read, and thought Jasen might want to do the same.) Two days later, I got a text that read: “Yay, best mail surprise ever!” Our book club had begun.
While Not That Kind of Girl was fresh in our heads, the three of us tried to figure out whom the young British playwright was that Lena wrote about (it was Polly Stenham); and we shared the link to the Times article she referenced about the vegan dinner party she had as a teenager. (In case you’re curious too.) When we were all done reading the book, the obvious next question was: What next? We never paused to ask, should we start a book club?; what kind of books would we read?; or, what would the parameters be? It was just, what were we in the mood for, and who wanted it first.
Selecting books was effortless. The books practically chose themselves—we had been friends for 20 years, and had a shared taste in almost everything. When Miranda July, Roxane Gay, Mindy Kaling, and Amy Poehler were suggested, it wasn’t a question of should we or shouldn’t we, it was simply, in what order. We also never made the decision to read books predominantly written by feminist women—those were just the kind of books we liked to read. (I do plan on suggesting Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me as one of our next reads, though!)