Our Shared Shelf: A Feminist Book Club

by Lee

Ever since British actor Emma Watson appeared in the Harry Potter films as Hermione Granger, I have always felt connected to her. We are both women. We were born in the same year. We seem to like the same things, we have similar ambitions. Emma has been in the public eye for a long time now. I respect her most for using her influence to try and make a difference in the world, rather than merely focusing on her career as an actor. She understands and acknowledges her privilege as a wealthy, white woman. She understands what it means to be a feminist, and – most importantly – she is not afraid to identify as one. (Thank you, Emma!)


Photo from tricks ware on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

My admiration for her has only grown since she’s become a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and a more than adequate representative for the HeforShe campaign. In a recent article for Paper magazine, Emma revealed to American writer and feminist bell hooks that she’s taking a year off from acting to focus on “personal development” by doing a lot of reading and listening. As a result she created a feminist book club called Our Shared Shelf on GoodReads in January this year, which seeks to motivate members to discuss and learn from the club’s selected feminist works. The first book the group members analysed was Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road. It was followed by Alice Walker’s The Color Purple in February and this month is dedicated to bell hooks’ All About Love: New Visions.

If you are an Emma Watson fan, you love reading and/or you’re simply interested in feminism, I would urge you to create a GoodReads account (if you haven’t done so already) and join the book club. I’ve had a GoodReads account for a few years now because I love the idea of a social media platform which focuses on books. There are many different online book clubs on GoodReads and I’ve joined a handful of them in the last couple of years. Unfortunately, they always failed to engage me on a meaningful level. I wanted to have more complex discussions than “I liked the book because…” or “I hated it because…,” which probably stems from being a literature graduate. I am excited to see that Emma’s book club appears to be much more engaging. It attracts so many feminist book lovers from all over the world. I also appreciate that Emma tries to get interviews with some of these wonderful writers. A couple of days ago, for instance, she shared an interesting conversation she had with Gloria Steinem. It’s a great talk and you should take some time to watch it, even if you have no idea who Gloria Steinem is.

I haven’t read any of the suggested books yet as I have only recently discovered the club. However, today I ordered hooks’ All About Love and hopefully I will be able to join the discussion sooner rather than later. I encourage you to do the same and I really hope I’ll see/read you there. Happy reading!