How the Biggest Book Club on Goodreads Is Making a Real-World Impact
When Emma Watson starts a book club, readers pay attention. On January 6, the British actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador announced her intention to start a feminist book club. It took less than 24 hours for Watson to turn her intention into reality. By January 7, Our Shared Shelf was up and running—and less than a month later, it became the largest group on Goodreads with 100,000 members (and counting).
Watson wrote on Our Shared Shelf's group page. "There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering!" Her plan is to select one book a month to read and discuss with her fellow book club members. Her first pick was My Life on the Road, journalist and feminist activist Gloria Steinem's 2015 memoir. This month, the club is reading The Color Purple by novelist and feminist activist Alice Walker.
But Our Shared Shelf is more than just a place to find reading recommendations.
Watson's sitting down with leading feminists (and you're invited).
Tickets went fast for the first interview, but more events are on their way. To prepare for her discussion with Steinem on February 24, Watson asked her book club members for questions. She'll be sharing the video of the entire event on Our Shared Shelf.
Have a question about feminism? Ask, answer, and discuss!
Our Shared Shelf has become a thriving community of curious, passionate readers who want to know more, understand more, and share more about the social issues that affect all of us. From comparing what feminism means around the world (China, India, Brazil, and more!) to telling stories of personal struggle, this is a place to embrace the challenges and rewards of feminism.
It's got ties to the UN's HeForShe solidarity campaign.
Watson hasn't wasted any time since her UN Women Goodwill Ambassador appointment in 2014. Besides starting her feminist book club here on Goodreads, she also helped launch the UN Women's HeForShe campaign with a powerful speech at the UN Headquarters in New York City. HeForShe seeks to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality. So far, over 1.3 million men and boys have taken the HeForShe pledge. Some of those same men and boys are now on Our Shared Shelf, citing Watson's UN speech as their eye-opening introduction to feminism.
Members are meeting up and organizing all over the world.
Some things are too good to keep online. Book club members are organizing in-person discussion groups from Los Angeles to Sydney. Others are teaming up for email campaigns to promote girls' education in Yemen and Pakistan. And if you're in a corner of the world without an Our Shared Shelf presence (yet)? Meet up with your fellow book club members on Skype!
Are you already a member of Our Shared Shelf? Tell us about your experience in the comments! (And if you haven't joined, check out what you're missing here.)
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