Giveaway | Not That Kind of Girl: A Night With Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham Not That Kind of Girl Toronto

Lena Dunham has been someone I’ve admired for quite a while. I think that she’s an important public figure in that she seems like a pretty down-to-earth person with a lot of interesting things to say, especially about gender relations and mental health. I am a huge fan of her show GIRLS and I devoured her newly-released memoir Not That Kind of Girl in two days (in my opinion, I read it a little too quickly, but that’s what re-reads are for, right?). So, when I managed to snag tickets to see her in Toronto, I was over the moon.

When I watched GIRLS for the first time, I was in a place in my life where I felt like I was getting it together but also not really getting it. I found a lot of myself (and my friends) in the girls in the show, and the honesty with which it portrayed women (or, at least, a group of women) really impressed me. I finally felt like there was a show that was real; it wasn’t sugar-coated or tied up neatly. I could relate to it. Oh, and did I mention that on top of that it’s also funny and thought-provoking? Because it’s both of those things too.

I’m happy to report that Lena in person is just as impressive as Lena on screen or Lena in writing. Her answers to interviewer Johanna Schneller’s questions were smart, humorous, and honest. She was very articulate and charming and I agreed with a lot of the things she said. Since I was basically in awe the whole time I was at the event (honestly, it felt like such a surreal night), I didn’t think to write down any quotes; luckily, Jessica from Paper Trail Diary has a wonderful re-cap that I urge you to check out.

After her on-stage interview, Lena signed copies of her book. She was incredibly friendly and really took the time to talk to each of her fans. She even personalized each book, which I wasn’t expecting her to do since the line up was so long. I was a jumble of nerves when talking to her but I managed to get a few words out and I’m glad I got the chance to tell her how much I love her work. It was truly a magical night.

Now, here’s the fun part! I want to share my love for Lena Dunham with YOU! I was able to get an extra copy of the book signed, so I’m giving it away to one lucky reader!

**CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY**

CONTEST RULES:
1. No purchase necessary.
2. Open to residents of Canada + the United States only.
3. If a winner is picked and their Twitter account only has giveaway entries, I will choose again.
I want the winner to genuinely enjoy these books!
4. Have fun and good luck!

Are you a fan of Lena Dunham? Will you be checking out (or have you read) Not That Kind of Girl?

Book + Pilot Review PLUS Signed Giveaway | The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers Tom Perrotta Book Cover Book Review HBO Pilot Review One More Page

I haven’t always been very clued in about new releases so when Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers came out in 2011, I was totally oblivious. Luckily for me, I was invited by Random House Canada to attend an advanced screening of HBO Canada’s show of the same name (premiering this Sunday the 29th – tomorrow!) this past week so I, being one of those people who prefer to read the book before its movie/show comes out, went and bought a copy of the book so I would be prepared for the screening. (Please note that my invitation to the event does not affect how I feel about the novel or show.)

The Leftovers starts with us learning that something terrible has happened. On October 14th, a Rapture-like event happened, wiping out millions of people all over the world. Where did everyone go? It was as if they had all vanished into thin air. But this wasn’t the Rapture – everyone was a victim, from non-believers to believers – so instead, the incident is referred to as the Sudden Departure. Everyone is grieving and confused in their own way and because there is no way for “the leftovers” to fully understand what happened, it’s taking a long time for the grief to subside. The book and the show is set in the city of Mapleton where we find a variety of characters trying to get on with their lives. In the center of the novel is the Garvey family and Nora Durst. Though no one in the Garvey household was taken away, the absence of their neighbours and friends are greatly felt. Each Garvey (Kevin, Laurie, and children Tom and Jill) is affected in a different way and their coping mechanisms are wildly different. In contrast, Nora Durst lost everyone during the Sudden Departure; her husband and children were among those who disappeared. Nora is understandably distressed, and she is haunted by the Sudden Departure every day. So how does a community move on when so many of its citizens are mourning?

This is a fundamental question posed in The Leftovers. We are introduced to quite a few characters and each of them has their own issues and ways of dealing with their losses. If I had to summarize this book in a sentence, I would say that it’s an exploration of grief and how we attempt to help each other when hard times arise.

As compelling as the characters and events are in the book, I kept feeling like I didn’t “get” it. It’s a fascinating story and plot in terms of sociology and psychology, but I wonder if the novel has anything to say. Is it that time heals all wounds (or at least makes them more bearable)? Is it to prove that sadness can lead us to do extreme things sometimes? The novel left me wanting a little bit more from the story. For this reason, I’m extremely excited that the novel has been adapted to a show – from what I’ve seen it’s going to be able to add a whole different layer to the story and I cannot wait to see how the show explores these themes. Plus, the book is full of dramatic, cinematic moments and I cannot wait to see them all unfold on screen.

The Leftovers trailer on Youtube courtesy of HBO

What I really enjoyed about the pilot episode was its ability to capture the essence of the book and evoke a solemn, desperate, and chaotic mood. It was also comedic at times, and this brings a lightness to an otherwise serious show. I truly believe that this show is going to breathe new life to the novel and add a secondary layer to the story. I’m hoping that the questions I had about the novel will be answered by watching the show and, honestly, after seeing the first episode I have very high hopes. Plus, I have not been disappointed by HBO yet; they always manage to produce high quality, entertaining, and thought-provoking shows. I think this will be no different. Looking for more reasons to watch the show? Reeder Reads has a brilliant article listing 10 reasons you should start watching HBO’s The Leftovers. PS. See if you can spot Tom Perrotta in the pilot – he has a brief cameo!

Now – the fun! I received a copy of The Leftovers to give away from the always generous Random House Canada and, because Tom Perrotta was at the advanced screening, the book I’m giving away is signed. So for those of you who would prefer to read the book before watching the show, here’s your chance!

 **CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY**

Have you read The Leftovers? What did you think? Will you be watching the show? I know I will and I would highly recommend it!

CONTEST RULES:
1. No purchase necessary
2. Open to residents of Canada only
3. Please do not cheat on the tasks, I will be checking them once a winner has been chosen
4. If a winner is picked and their Twitter account only has giveaway entries, I will choose again. I want the winner to genuinely enjoy these books!
5. Have fun and good luck!

Wishlist Wednesday | Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham Book Cover

Source: Goodreads

[Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop hosted by Pen to Paper]

I’m not normally a huge memoir/autobiography reader, but after reading and loving Elaine Lui (Lainey Gossip)’s Listen to the Squawking Chicken, I’m looking forward to reading my next one! When I heard Lena Dunham was writing a book, I was instantly sold. I’m a huge fan of her HBO show Girls and have high hopes for Not That Kind of Girl.

Of the book, Dunham says, “If I can take what I’ve learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile. This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about ambition and the two existential crises I had before the age of twenty. About fashion and its many discontents. ” (from the book’s Goodreads page)

Needless to say, I can’t wait to read this book. I think it will be full of Dunham’s trademark humour and wit. And if her work on Girls is any indication, Not That Kind of Girl is going to be insightful, hilarious, and relatable.

Are you as excited for Not That Kind of Girl as I am? Are you a fan of Girls? Did you add anything new to your wishlist this week?