Earlier this year Emma Watson started a feminist book club called Our Shared Shelf. It’s a global club hosted on goodreads, which has seen hundreds of thousands of readers join in. They all read, discuss Watson’s monthly recommendations and even interact with the authors themselves.
It’s an entirely brilliant thing for the 26-year-old actress – who to us will always be book-smart Hermione Granger – to be doing. And, now, as we scrabble around for books to read as we lounge by the pool on our summer holidays, it’s high time we all got involved.
Here are the seven “funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering” books Emma Watson has recommended to her fans to far…
This is Emma Watson’s book club book for July and August, so if you read speedily you’ll be done in time to join in with the discussions over here. Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl is Carrie Brownstein’s musical memoir. It’s a “candid and deeply personal look at life in rock and roll”, following Brownstein through her early days in music, through TV comedy Portlandia to today.
Persepolis is “a graphic novel that serves as the memoir of the author, Marjane Satrapi. It’s about a bold and brave young woman and her experiences in 1980s Iran,” writes Watson. “Satrapi grew up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and its aftermath; Persepolis is the story of her childhood.”
“As Iran enters another important period of change, with relations re-opening with much of the world, I think this is a particularly good time to pick up Persepolis. Satrapi’s deceptively simple, almost whimsical drawings belie the seriousness and rich complexity of her story – but it’s also very funny too.”
“The story is about the author’s relationship with artist Harry Dodge, who is fluidly gendered. It’s about their romance, the birth of their son, the death of Harry’s mother and their changing bodies, as Maggie becomes pregnant and Harry undergoes surgery, but it’s also about inclusion and the powers and shortfalls of language,” explains Watson.
“It might require a bit of work but The Argonauts rewards us with an expansive way of considering identity, caretaking, and freedom – along with a liberation from, what Maggie calls, ‘the demand that anyone live a life that’s all one thing.’ I am excited to read this book with you. Maybe it will change the way we think and speak about others and ourselves?”
“[Caitlin Moran] is an English hero of mine who I think you need to know,” writes Watson. “I read [How To Be a Woman] on a plane from London to New York and I laughed out loud and cried so much I think the whole of my cabin, airline staff included, thought I was losing my mind.”
“This book choice is in honour of bell hooks who interviewed me for Paper magazine,” says Watson. “Maya Angelou said of bell’s work, ‘Each offering from bell hooks is a major event, she has so much to give us’. I love hearing from bell, I am pretty excited to start All About Love: New Visions. It’s been on my list for a while.”
“I’ve heard amazing things about this book from a person that I trust,” says Watson. “The musical is currently on Broadway (starring Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson and Danielle Brooks) and a film was made of the book in 1985 by Steven Spielberg. It was Oprah Winfrey’s film debut and introduced Whoopi Goldberg (I love both of these women). I’m excited to read it and maybe do some watching too.”
Feminist, journalist and political activist Gloria Steinem “tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of her life as a traveler, a listener, and a catalyst for change.”