The actress' company, Lenny Imprint, just released a collection of essays about Michelle Obama

By Julie Jordan
November 01, 2017 10:28 AM
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Lena Dunham thought she was prepared for the end of her HBO series Girls.

Yet after the finale aired earlier this year after six seasons, the actress, 31, “found myself wandering around my house eating crackers at night and feeling confused about what my life meant,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “Then I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I’m a little more emotional about this than I thought!’ ”

Dunham is now channeling her energy into her work. Lenny Imprint, her company with Jenni Konner, just released its first non-fiction book, Courage Is Contagious, a collection of essays about Michelle Obama.

“My dream is that young girls are going to be excited and want to read it because I feel like it’s at a moment where there are women in the administration who aren’t necessarily perfect role models for them,” Dunham says. “To look back on Michelle Obama and hear women who are role models and people who share their values talk about her, it’s a really important time for that.”

  • For more of Dunham’s interview, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Edited by Nick Haramis, the book features 19 essays from writers including Alice Waters, Hollywood stars such as Tracee Ellis Ross and Rashida Jones, and activists including Gloria Steinem.

“There’s so much to admire about Michelle Obama, it’s at times impossible to know where to start because she’s sort of maddeningly delightful on every level,” says Dunham. “Every day there’s something in the news media that gets you down, makes you angry, and the class and style and patience with which she dealt with those kind of situations is so remarkable.”

WATCH: ‘Girls’: Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner Break Down the Series Finale

Aside from work, Dunham is also enjoying downtime with her boyfriend of five years, musician Jack Antonoff.

Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

A perfect day off entails “sleeping in a little bit with our dogs. Go to brunch, maybe see our families and stop at some weird book store and have a leisurely dinner. Binge something on television and have an early bedtime, it’s like the most banal yet wonderful thing,” she says. “And Jack being home especially because he’s had such a busy year. That’s a true treat for me.”

Yet what makes her most happy now is “giggling my face off with my dogs,” she says of her two pups, Karen and Susan. “Five years ago I would have said pizza, but I’ve grown a little.”