Celebrating Diversity With Our Shared Shelf

Adina Staff Image

Are you looking for a way to recognize Women’s History Month this March? Are you seeking an environment to discuss books, politics, culture, and so much more with thousands of people from around the world? What about challenging your reading list for 2016?

If so, check out Harry Potter actress Emma Watson’s new book club on Goodreads.com.

Everyone knows Watson from her role as Hermione in Harry Potter, but more recently, Watson became a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for women’s equality.

If you haven’t watched Emma’s speech introducing the HeForShe campaign for equality, see the video below.

As part of her work with the UN, Watson started an online book club in January called “Our Shared Shelf.” Within the first month, the group’s membership surpassed 100,000. Right now the number stands at 120,947.

What makes this book club so special? Watson’s fame draws large and diverse groups of readers from around the world into a discussion about gender, equality, politics, culture and more. Some discussion topics include “Books and Censorship,” “Fighting Domestic Violence” and “Feminism for All.” Other discussions focus on the books themselves, planning in person meet-ups around the globe, and pay-it forward schemes to pass along copies of books for those who need them. I love checking up on the group and reading through the conversations posted, occasionally sharing my own thoughts.

My Life on the Road cover

The first title was My Life on the Road by longtime activist Gloria Steinem. This memoir acknowledges the rich history of women’s rights activists (like Steinem and many others), who worked tirelessly for so many years to advance women’s rights in the United States. While highlighting some of the key moments in the Women’s Lib movement, Steinem also focuses her book on traveling and the important friendships she made throughout her journey.

Color Purple Cover

Our Shared Shelf celebrated Black History Month in February with The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. Even though I read this book a few years ago, I decided to re-read with a fresh perspective and hear what so many other group members had to say. For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to read this powerful novel, I highly recommend reading the book or watching the movie adaptation (starring Oprah Winfrey). There’s even a Broadway musical based on the book!

All About Love cover

March’s selection honors another American author and feminist, bell hooks in All About Love: New Visions. A meditation on love in modern society, hooks explores the ways men and women have been conditioned by their culture to express and receive love. Hooks emphasizes our need to love more respectfully, selflessly, and honestly. I’m very excited to start reading this month’s book!

If I’ve caught your interest and you want to keep up on what Emma Watson is reading, head on over to Goodreads and read some of the conversations going on right now! In the ever-flowing dialogue about equality, each voice makes a difference. Share yours in the comments!

All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

Reserve All About Love

Adina enjoys cooking and eating (mostly eating), ranting about books and watching movies with her friends.  You can find her clerking at the West End branch or relaxing in her cozy apartment.