As longtime readers of our blog know, we have an office book club that meets once every couple of months. I’ve also mentioned a time or twenty that I’m a member of a neighborhood book club in my town. Clearly, I’m a fan of book clubs—and not just because of the wonderful marriage they broker between literature and wine. I find that I learn a great deal from the opinions of other readers. Even when I am convinced that they are tragically wrong in those opinions (Sharon Pelletier and Michael Bourret’s wrongheadedness about The Goldfinch comes to mind), the points of view expressed generally reveal something new and different (about the work, about the person championing it) to me. Books are the most efficient and effective repositories of ideas mankind has ever come up with, in my opinion, and only good things can come from people discussing those ideas in a respectful* and thoughtful way.
Which is why I’m so excited about Emma Watson’s feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf. In an era when there seems to be a great deal of ambivalence, at best, and disdain, at worst, for feminism, I think Ms. Watson’s mission is excellent. For all the important gains the founding mothers of the feminist movement achieved (our own Phyllis Chesler among them), we still have a long way to go in attaining equality and, in many cultures, basic human rights for women.
How cool is it that Hermione Granger’s alter ego is spearheading this movement? I’m totally fangurling!
*Not always the case at DGLM gatherings, I confess.