This month we read a memoir, In the Land of Men by Adrienne Miller, which is a genre I’ve been very much interested in this year; in fact, I’ve read 8 different memoirs this year alone! I always find each story interesting and the perspectives of others gives me insight into other’s lives. In the Land of Men tells about Miller’s experience as the first literary editor for Esquire. If you read In the Land of Men, take a peek at some of the discussion questions. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and use these with your own book club.
- Miller’s accomplishment as the first female editor for Esquire is historic. What other parts of history can you connect to the accomplishment of women?
- At one point in the story, Miller asks a former boyfriend what he knows about a particular writer. His response to her is powerful and positive. After looking back at this encounter, Miller says, “It is an important reminder to yourself no matter how small the utterances that your words have the power to change someone’s life.”
- What do we know about this statement?
- Who’s life have you changed with your words?
- Who has changed your life with their words?
- Miller tells countless stories about men in her industry that have a lot of power and privilege. She mentioned is Ch. 20 to be careful how much trust you give people in power. This idea comes up again and again throughout the book. Early on Miller writes, “Power is not absolute. You’re just a part of the things even when you want to be the whole.”
- What does she mean by this statement?
- What part do we –as people–play in the world?
- What part do you–as an individual–play in the world?
- The title In the Land of Men, plays a significant role throughout the memoir in her daily encounters with men. Miller writes, “If you are a woman, you will always be underestimated.” In a second section she writes about how people will put limits on you and what you can accomplish. These are clearly some negative outcomes in her career.
- When is time where you have felt underestimated?
- Have you put limits on yourself? If so, how has that impacted moving forward with your goal?
- This memoir is full of figurative language and descriptive word choice to paint a picture of each memory. The author references that she likes to “use three words” when one is all that is needed. As a reader, did you like this style of writing? What type of a writer are you?
- In chapter 21, one’s perception of others is a main topic. David, a man Miller has a complex relationship with during her career, was upset because her perception did not match the one he wanted of himself. The author says, “Social media thrives on our hysteria to manage people’s perceptions.” Social media is an embedded part of many people’s lives. What connections do you have to the author’s statement?
Thanks to those that joined us in October on this collective read. Please share your thoughts in the comments. This is an ongoing, open discussion thread.
For November, 365 Days of New is reading American Dirt by . This book is a fictional story about a mother Lydia Quixano Pérez and her son Luca’s travel to safety after she loses everything. They must flee Acapulco following the path of many migrants that have come before her.
Check out all of 365 Days of New’s 2020 book club choices here.