Mutual admirers Judy Blume and Lena Dunham recently sat down and had a conversation for The Believer, during which they discussed a plethora of things including careers, feminism, adolescence and books books books! And just in case you were hard-up for winter reading material, the two women have plenty of suggestions.
Technically, Blume and Dunham were just discussing books that have left an imprint on them, both recently and in the past, but that doesn't mean you can't repurpose their discussion into a loose winter syllabus. Naturally, plenty of the books discussed were written by Blume herself (Forever, Summer Sisters, a book of short stories she edited called Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers), which seems fair enough. Blume did author a collection of coming-of-age novels that defined an entire demographic and era after all.
If you're not looking to revisit Are You There, God? It's Me. Margaret. don't sweat it. They didn't only talk about novels aimed at teen girls. They talked about all kinds of books, plenty of which you've probably already read.
But if not (or if you're just curious about Blume and Dunham's reading habits), here they are:
- The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman (recommended by Dunham)
- Any work of fiction by John O'Hara, Saul Bellow, and J.D. Salinger (recommended by Blume)
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Blume)
- The End of Alice by A.M. Holmes (Dunham)
- "A Room of One's Own" by Virginia Woolf (Blume)
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (Dunham and Blume)
- Telex From Cuba by Rachel Kushner (Blume)
- The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger (Blume)
The ladies are not fans of 50 Shades of Grey because, in the words of Dunham, "I don't have an illicit, confused relationship to my sexuality, so I don't need a book like that right now in my life." Blume adds, "I have no interest in it, either, which is interesting, because when I was 12, I was going through my parents' bookshelves, I found the most wonderful books, by the best writers, and within those wonderful books were scenes that were real turn-ons."
To the library!
Images via Getty.