Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up

In this groundbreaking collection of essays, borne out of the prolific Drinking Diaries blog, editors Caren Osten and Leah Odze Epstein take women’s drinking stories out of the closet. With contributions from celebrated writers, including Kathryn Harrison, Ann Hood, Ann Leary, Joyce Maynard, Daphne Merkin, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Asra Nomani and Elissa Schappell, Drinking Diaries is a candid look at the pleasures and pains of drinking, and the many ways in which it touches women’s lives.

A sneak peak…

Sex and drinking. Parenting and drinking. Work and drinking. Family and drinking. Culture and drinking. Health and drinking. If there is one theme that runs through this book, it is that—for so many women—drinking carries an emotional charge. It is loaded. Not necessarily bad, but loaded still.

We drink for different reasons: to quench thirst, to loosen up, because it tastes good, to enhance a meal, because we’re addicted, to self medicate, as part of a ceremony, to celebrate, to mourn. We drink when we’re happy. We drink when we’re sad. And then there are the non drinkers, for whom abstaining may be as much of an issue as drinking. 

Alcohol shows up everywhere we go—from home to the office party, date night to ladies’ night, happy hour to sports sidelines. Even where alcohol is not present on the surface, it often lies beneath, a palpable absence. In this book, you will read the details, the deep questions, the wide and wild range of drinking experiences. These stories testify to the varied relationships women have with alcohol. We started by sharing our own. Then we asked other women for stories. And out they came.


“Thought-provoking and poignant, Drinking Diaries will inspire readers to consider the role that drinking has played in their own lives—for good and for ill.”

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

“This book delivers smart women, small glasses and big, dark fun. It makes you wish to pour two fingers of something and utter that strange and underused old toast: “Here’s to the confusion of our enemies.”

Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Every woman has a drinking story, and yet it’s often the unspoken conversation at the party, sometimes layers in shame or secrecy. In a wonderful tapestry of voices and experiences by accomplished authors, Drinking Diaries offers readers an intimate look into ourselves through the glass.”

Lee Woodruff, author of Those We Love Most

“In these provocative, compelling essays, the good, the bad and the ugly of women’s drinking can be found. Drinking Diaries is full of insight, honest and hard-won humor.”

Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion