Photo courtesy of HBO

Lena Dunham

Golden Globe-winner Lena Dunham is best known for her work as screenwriter, director, producer and actor on HBO’s Girls, for which she also won the 2013 DGA Award for Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series (the first woman to do so). Lately she has been adding a new role to her resume, as a campaigner of women’s rights (including an affiliation with Planned Parenthood). Beyond her achievements politically and in film/TV, she’s also garnered solid attention as the author of her own book, Not That Kind of Girl, and for her newsletter, Lenny. When she’s not at her HBO day job, “flashing [her] tits on TV,” (in her words) she’s becoming a voice of her generation, encouraging her peers and contemporaries to speak up along the way.

Below are Lena Dunham’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.


Lolita × 1

Vladimir Nabakov
This book is unusual in many ways, and gets lots of credit for changing the face of modern fiction—but not enough credit for how fully realized a character Lolita is, despite the fact that we are seeing her through the lens of her stalker. The use of language is just impossibly great.
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Minor Characters × 1

Joyce Johnson
This memoir of the beat generation is unusual in that it is from the female perspective, letting us know that the beats were as bad at being boyfriends as they were good at making art.
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Be Here Now × 1

Ram Dass
Equal parts radical self-help and fascinating insight into the moment when Eastern religion reached Western Minds. It's pretty psychedelic.
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Love Poems × 1

Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni's poetry is deceptively simple and addictively romantic.
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Holidays On Ice × 1

David Sedaris
This contains the most perfect parody of a family newsletter and was my first taste of humor writing and what an incisive tool it can be.
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Women × 1

Chloe Caldwell
Sexy, sexy novel/memoir hybrid that could turn anyone into a lesbian, at least for a summer.
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Mating × 1

Norman Rush
This novel—about a white woman living in Africa—explores race, class, and sexuality with humor and precision and would make such a fucking good movie.
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How To Have A Lifestyle × 1

Quentin Crisp
This masterful eccentric serves up lessons on how to be an iconoclast—I have my father's signed copy with me always.
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Crazy Salad and Scribble Scribble × 1

Nora Ephron
These are perfect specimens of creative nonfiction—Nora pioneered a kind of modern, personal journalism that is now taken for granted.
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Kitchen × 1

Banana Yoshimoto
A perfect jewel of a novel, delicious and comforting and pure.
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