Leaving 100 books on the Tube

Actress Emma Watson sharing images and video of dropoffs on the London underground.
Actress Emma Watson sharing images and video of dropoffs on the London underground.PHOTO: EMMA WATSON'S INSTAGRAM

Actress Emma Watson drops off books on the London Tube as part of her book club initiative to bring copies to travellers

LONDON • Travellers on the London Tube who find themselves without anything to read should keep their eyes peeled: Emma Watson has been leaving copies of Maya Angelou's memoir Mom & Me & Mom on the Tube.

Angelou's portrait of her mother, Vivian Baxter Johnson, is the latest title selected for Watson's feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, and opens with the line: "The first decade of the 20th century was not a great time to be born black and poor and female in St Louis, Missouri."

The actress shared images and video of dropoffs at various locations on the London underground.

Watson left a note inside the copies she distributed, asking commuters to "take special care" of the book and "when you are finished, please leave it on the Tube again for someone else to find".

The initiative is part of Books On The Underground's project to bring new and used books to travellers, with 100 copies of Angelou's memoir distributed on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

"We are so excited to have such an amazing book shared by such an inspiring person as Emma Watson and look forward to seeing the reactions of people who find them," said the organisation.

Watson, who is the United Nations Women's Goodwill Ambassador, launched her book club in January on Goodreads.

"As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on," she wrote on the book review website 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 decided to start a feminist book club as I want to share what I'm learning and hear your thoughts too."

Our Shared Shelf now has about 150,000 members on Goodreads, with titles discussed by the group including Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, Caitlin Moran's How To Be A Woman, Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Gloria Steinem's My Life On The Road.

Watson told the book group last month that she had already read Mom & Me & Mom and that it was "one of my favourites".

"It was the first book to focus on Angelou's mother, who abandoned her when she was a child, and it portrays their complicated relationship," she wrote, hailing the writer's depiction of her mother as "a fiercely unapologetic figure, imperfect but admirable" and how Baxter Johnson "had a hand in Angelou's evolution as a black woman but also in her feminist perspective, her independence and self- awareness".

"As a result," Watson added, "this is perhaps the greatest window into what shaped Angelou as a writer and poet and a fitting end to a lifetime of amazing works."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'Leaving 100 books on the Tube'. Print Edition | Subscribe