November 3, 2016

Emma Watson paints the town read


Commuters in London were in for a surprise yesterday, when actor Emma Watson (aka Hermione Granger) (aka Belle in the upcoming “live action” Beauty and the Beast movie) planted copies of Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom around the city’s underground tube. The action was undertaken in collaboration with Books on the Underground, a UK-based non-profit that the surreptitiously—you guessed it—puts books on the Underground for lucky commuters to find. (They also have a stateside affiliate, Books on the Subway.)


The book is the latest selection in Watson’s feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, which launched earlier this year and has included Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, and Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman.

Watson has been a prominent spokeswoman for equality issues worldwide. As a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Watson helped launch HeForShe, a campaign “to galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality.”

In a conversation with bell hooks for Paper, Watson said of her efforts, “I don’t want to preach to the choir. I want to try to talk to people who might not encounter feminism and talk to them about feminism.”

“My understanding that has allowed me to feel so much more accepting and love of myself as a woman,” she said, “It came through reading.”

📚👀 @booksontheunderground @oursharedshelf #Mom&Me&Mom A video posted by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on

Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.