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In January this year Emma Watson launched her feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, inspired by her own exploration of brilliant literature about women and equality. As she wrote at the time, ‘there is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode… I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too’.

Emma has chosen three Virago titles in a row for Our Shared Shelf. Here is a run-down of the inspiring works book club readers have been discovering.

‘In the first decade of the twentieth century, it was not a good time to be born black, or woman, in America.’

So begins Mom & Me & Mom, a stunning portrait of Vivian Baxter Johnson: the first black woman officer in the Merchant Marines, purveyor of a gambling business and rooming house, and mother to one of our most cherished literary figures.

For the first time, Maya Angelou – one of America’s most celebrated memoirists and poets, a living legend treasured by presidents, world leaders, entertainers, and book lovers of all ages – shares the deepest personal story of her life: the story of her relationship with her mother.

Discover more here.

Half The Sky

Half The Sky: How To Change The World is a call to arms against the most pervasive human rights violation of the 21st century: the oppression of women in the developing world.

In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth, it was totalitarianism. In the twenty-first, Kristof and WuDunn demonstrate, it will be the struggle for gender equality in the developing world. Fierce, moral, pragmatic, full of amazing stories of courage and inspiration. Half The Sky is essential reading for every global citizen. Find out more here.

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Before Carrie Brownstein became a music icon, she was a young girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest just as it was becoming the setting for one of the most important movements in rock history. Seeking a sense of home and identity, she would discover both while moving from spectator to creator in experiencing the power and mystery of a live performance. With Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein and her bandmates rose to prominence in the burgeoning underground feminist punk-rock movement that would define music and pop culture in the 1990s.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is an intimate and revealing narrative of her escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue.

Accessibly raw, honest and heartfelt, this book captures the experience of being a young woman, a born performer and an outsider, and ultimately finding one’s true calling through hard work, courage and the intoxicating power of rock and roll. You can read more about the book here.

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