We’re not 100% on all the things that Emma Watson has in common with her Harry Potter character, Hermione, but one thing that we know for sure is that they both love to read. Her passion to encourage other women to read is obvious in the group that she founded, Our Shared Shelf, which was inspired by her work with UN Women as a Goodwill Ambassador. Her book picks focus on books and essays about equality and her group is a place for education and empowerment as much as an overall love of reading. If you want to keep up with all the great books she’s recommending, we’ve gathered a list of what Emma Watson reads.
Sex and World Peace by Valerie Hudson, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli and Chad Emmett
“The book reveals that so much in the state of our world: Security, prosperity, development, democracy, justice and world peace is clearly dependent on and stems from how we treat women and girls. With this highly readable and extensively researched textbook, the authors encourage a holistic view when it comes to national and international relations—the whole tree, not just the branches, but the roots.”
“Here are just a few of the books on my bedside table… Some will make you smile, some will make you cry, others will inspire you and encourage you to rediscover yourself. One thing is for sure though: they are all BRILLIANT.”
Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
“Nothing is too ugly for this world, I think it’s just that people pretend not to see.”
“Our Shared Shelf’s March/April pick is Heart Berries, the touching memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot; an unapologetically honest and immensely inspiring book.”
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
“Have you had a chance to pick up a copy of Our Shared Shelf January/February book choice, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge?!”
The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
At the time that this book came out, it was revolutionary. It created a space and a mindset in which it was normal and encouraged for women to be comfortable with their sexuality as well as to claim ownership of their bodies to prevent violence against them. Since its release and subsequent shows across the country, it has ushered in a new generation of women that are not afraid to discuss the topics broached in the book which is much more than just anatomy.
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem is #femalegoals and has been since she made her mark as a leader and spokeswoman for the feminist movement in the late ’60s. Her work as a columnist for New York magazine and a co-founder of Ms. magazine has certainly encapsulated challenging and life-altering moments, which are included in My Life on the Road. The places she’s been and people she’s met have all played a part in what has come to matter most in her life.
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Columnist Caitlin Moran is witty, acerbic and heartwarming in her cross between a memoir and feminist manifesto. While you may not agree with all her points within How to Be a Woman, you’re likely to be a little more confident by the last page.
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Maggie Nelson takes a deep dive into gender identity and what truly makes a family. Though some passages come across as aggressively sexually explicit, it’s all part of her journey and evolution through her relationship with her partner as well as with herself. Nelson helps to encourage readers to dig deeper into their connections and to love harder.
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel is unlike any you’ve ever read. The images and words are that of a young Iranian girl coming of age while living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. We follow her story as she is sent to Austria for a time for her safety. Marjane sugarcoats nothing in her portrayal of her life and the terror and sexism she witnessed and ultimately survived.
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
You may have first been introduced to Carrie Brownstein via Portlandia but she has been making a ruckus for quite some time as a riot-grrrl in the punk scene in the Pacific Northwest. Her (mostly music) memoir chronicles the struggles she and members of Sleater-Kinney faced in the music industry and what it felt to be labeled a girl band along with groups like the Spice Girls.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
What begins as an English assignment for Laurel soon turns into an ongoing diary of sorts and a way of sorting out feelings she hasn’t yet come to terms with. Laurel’s sister May died at a young age but when she is tasked with writing a letter to someone who has passed, her first letter is to Kurt Cobain. She continues writing letters to dead celebrities like Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart and Janis Joplin. These letters to dead celebrities eventually help Laurel resolve her feelings about May’s death.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Imagine waking from a coma, aware of those around you as well as your circumstance but unable to speak or move. This is precisely what happened to former French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby. From his hospital bed, he dictated the entire book by selecting letters by blinking one eye, which was one of the few movements he could make. How he maintained his sanity and positivity throughout this experience is nothing short of inspiring.
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
Marina Keegan had the world at her feet. She wrote for the Yale Daily News as a student and had written a play that was pending production. She graduated with honors and had an enviable job lined up at The New Yorker. When she passed away five days after graduation, her last contribution to the college newspaper went viral. Her collection of essays captures her essence and serves as an inspiration for readers.
Rookie Yearbook Four by Tavi Gevinson
Rookie Yearbook Four is a fun compilation of the best bits from Rookiemag.com. The website supports teenagers and the struggles and triumphs they experience. In the book, there are rants about hormones, parents and homework. Tips and tricks for writing college essays, the best music to study to, interviews and photography round out this gorgeous book.