Emma Watson has chosen the first selection for her newly launched feminist book club, "Our Shared Shelf."
The book club will see the "Noah" star — and fellow readers — digging into a book every month. A month after the title has been picked, an online discussion will follow, and Watson has promised that "[w]henever possible, [she hopes] to have the author, or another prominent voice on the subject, join the conversation."
First up on the docket is Gloria Steinem’s memoir "My Life on the Road." The Ms. Magazine founder released the book in October of last year.
"I’m reading it with a pen in hand so I can do some underlining and margin writing," wrote Watson in a post on the book club’s Goodreads page.
How delightful is it that the woman famous for portraying one of popular culture’s most beloved bookworms (Hermione in the "Harry Potter" franchise) is herself an unabashed one? And don’t forget that Watson will also be playing another famous reader, Belle, in Disney’s upcoming live-action version of "Beauty and the Beast."
So, what’s next for "Our Shared Shelf"? The book-loving feminists of Women and Hollywood can certainly recommend a few.
Watson began the book club because her work with UN Women has inspired her to "read as many books and essays about equality as [she] can get [her] hands on," as well as "share what [she’s] learning" and hear other people’s thoughts.
With this context in mind, here are a few fiction and nonfiction picks that we’re confident would lead to compelling dialogues about the lives of girls and women. Descriptions courtesy of Amazon.
"What is feminism? In this short, accessible primer, bell hooks explores the nature of feminism and its positive promise to eliminate sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression. With her characteristic clarity and directness, hooks encourages readers to see how feminism can touch and change their lives — to see that feminism is for everybody."
"Part coming-of-age story, part revenge fantasy, ‘Dietland’ is a bold, original and funny debut novel that takes on the beauty industry, gender inequality and our weight loss obsession — from the inside out, and with fists flying."
"The United States is obsessed with virginity — from the media to schools to government agencies. In ‘The Purity Myth,’ Jessica Valenti argues that the country’s intense focus on chastity is damaging to young women. Through in-depth cultural and social analysis, Valenti reveals that powerful messaging on both extremes — ranging from abstinence-only curriculum to ‘Girls Gone Wild’ infomercials — place a young woman’s worth entirely on her sexuality. Morals are therefore linked purely to sexual behavior, rather than values like honesty, kindness and altruism. Valenti sheds light on the value — and hypocrisy — around the notion that girls remain virgins until they’re married by putting into context the historical question of purity, modern abstinence-only education, pornography and public punishments for those who dare to have sex. ‘The Purity Myth’ presents a revolutionary argument that girls and women are overly valued for their sexuality, as well as solutions for a future without a damaging emphasis on virginity.
A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun.’ Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion — for each other and for their homeland.
What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes — and build yourself … Imagine ‘The Bell Jar’ written by Rizzo from ‘Grease.’ ‘How to Build a Girl’ is a funny, poignant and heartbreakingly evocative story of self-discovery and invention, as only Caitlin Moran could tell it.
[via Entertainment Weekly]