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Why Emma Watson Is Hiding Books Throughout Paris

Do you believe in book fairies? Emma Watson does. On June 22nd, Watson once again paired up with The Book Fairies in Paris, where the actress hid 100 signed copies of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Book Fairies is a group of volunteers from all around the world who hide copies of donated books in public places for anyone to find. According to the website, “The Book Fairies can be anywhere, and could be anyone you know. The Book Fairies are not restricted by countries, transport, or anything else.”

So far the group has hidden 50,000 books in over 100 different countries. The Book Fairies were happy to have a little help from Watson, and shared that she helped them launch The Book Fairies on International Women’s Day after she hid feminist books around New York City.

Watson reportedly hid the books in order to continue her feminist campaign and to highlight Atwood’s dystopian novel. Atwood’s novel is set in the future and, according to The Book Fairies website, “describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population. The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order.”

It is apt that Watson chose this book since Hulu recently released a new TV series, in which Atwood’s dystopian world of gender oppression is dramatized. Watson also included a handwritten French note in each copy of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Atwood’s novel, as Watson would likely agree, is a work of art that sticks with you. It grabs you, shakes up your thoughts, and challenges your assumptions. Many critics called and still call the novel a feminist tract; however, Atwood made sure to tell the New York Times that “novels are not slogans.”

She explained, “If I wanted to say just one thing I would hire a billboard. If I wanted to say just one thing to one person, I would write a letter. Novels are something else. They aren’t just political messages. I’m sure we all know this, but when it’s a book like this you have to keep on saying it. The book is an examination of character under certain circumstances, among other things. It’s not a matter of men against women. That happens to be in the book because I think if it were going to happen in the United States, that’s the form it would take. But it’s a study of power, and how it operates and how it deforms or shapes the people who are living within that kind of regime.”

Thanks to Watson and the Book Fairies, women worldwide will get the opportunity to experience this powerful work of literature.

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