Of all the book-loving book characters there are to love in literature, Hermione Granger has got to be one of my absolute favorites. She’s the lady who ran to the library when all seemed lost (and plenty of other times too) and for whom there wasn’t a problem that a little “light reading” couldn’t solve. The brainiest member of Hogwarts’s student body of magical witches and wizards, Hermione could be counted on to have her nose in a book more often than not — and that’s one reason fellow bookworms can’t help but love her. So, a TBR pile compiled by the Wizarding World’s most literary of heroes? That’s bound to be every book loving Potterhead’s dream.
What we know for sure about Hermione’s reading habits is that she’s a lover of history and hard science — she wants the facts, and she wants to know how to use them to her advantage: be it getting perfect grades or helping her besties out of life-or-death dramas. She’s also not afraid to read a banned book or two (or twenty,) what with all that time sneaking around the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library. Hermione is also Hogwarts’ most literary activist: forming both the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare and Dumbledore’s Army during her time at Hogwarts.
Here are 18 books Hermione Granger would definitely want you to read — and as the most magical book nerd I know, her reading recs are ones you wouldn’t want to miss.
'The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements' by Sam Kean
As the student who could mix any potion with skill well beyond her years at Hogwarts, Hermione would definitely encourage fellow alchemy masters to check out Sam Kean’s The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, a collection of stories from science, history, finance, mythology, art, medicine, and more that all center around one of science’s crowing achievements: the Periodic Table.
'The Things That Nobody Knows: 501 Mysteries of Life, the Universe, and Everything' by William Hartston
Hermione loves knowing things that nobody else knows (and, let’s be honest, she’s pretty good at it.) But even though she schools her schoolmates on all sorts of obscure information that only a gal wizard like Hermione keeps stored in her brain, she’d probably still love a friend or two to swap fun facts with. That’s why she’d probably encourage you to check out The Things That Nobody Knows: 501 Mysteries of Life, the Universe, and Everything by William Hartston — a playful and scientifically rigorous look at some of the more obscure (but nonetheless interesting) questions of the universe.
'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson
Another book filled with the kind of timeless facts that library-lover (and Hogwarts: A History reader) Hermione would seriously geek out over (and share with you!) A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson seeks to understand some of the great questions that have kept humanity curious since the beginning of time.
'Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World' by Rachel Ignotofsky
What is a witch but a scientist with some extra-special magical skills to add to their resume? As everyone’s favorite witch/scientist/feminist, there’s no doubt Hermione would love to share Rachel Ignotofsky’s Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World with you — an illustrated book for readers of all ages, that features 50 women throughout history who changed science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
'Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women' by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
Another gorgeously illustrated book for feminists and rebel girl world-changers, Hermione would definitely appreciate Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo — especially since, despite her rule-loving and library-occupying ways, she’s definitely a rebel girl in her own right.
'Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt' by Sarah Jaffe
Sure, Hermione doesn’t love getting into trouble — especially if it could put her at risk of expulsion. But she’s definitely up for some "necessary trouble", when causes of justice are at stake (remember S.P.E.W.? Or how about that time she was the brain behind the formation of Dumbledore's Army?). Sarah Jaffe’s Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt takes a look at the recent social and political movements in the United States, and it’s a great way for Hermione to share her activist interests with her friends across the Atlantic.
'I Call Myself A Feminist: The View from Twenty-Five Women Under Thirty' edited by Victoria Pepe, Rachel Holmes, Amy Annette, Alice Stride, Martha Mosse
Written by and for young feminists like Hermione herself, I Call Myself A Feminist: The View from Twenty-Five Women Under Thirty is a collection of essays by millennial feminists that covers everything from why young women are becoming feminists to experiences of feminism and misogyny around the world today.
'The Mother of All Questions' by Rebecca Solnit
If there’s one thing Hermione loves, it’s asking and answering complicated questions — which is why, young wizarding feminist that she is, I’m sure she’d be all about Rebecca Solnit’s The Mother of All Questions, an essay collection that asks and seeks to answer hard questions about current politics, rape culture, misogyny in art and literature, and more.
'In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens' by Alice Walker
As a girl who had to traverse the barriers between the Muggle and Wizarding world, Hermione has demonstrated her ability to break through all kinds of differences — so I can definitely see her recommending Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, a collection of Walker’s “womanist” prose that tackles not only feminist issues, but topics like nuclear weapons, the Civil Rights Movement, and more.
'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood
Not only would Hermione (and her real-world counterpart Emma Watson) totally recommend everyone check out the Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a feminist classic about a totalitarian theocracy where women are valued only for their reproductive capabilities, I’m guessing they’d both also recommend you take in the Hulu adaptation too (but seriously, do like Hermione would and read the book first.)
'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak
Hermione is especially known for loving books — and as a student who has her fair share of experience with the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library, she’d definitely love The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It's a historical novel about a young girl who helps preserve banned literature during the Nazi book burnings in 1939.
'Reading Lolita in Tehran' by Azar Nafisi
Another book about books that I imagine would be totally Hermione-approved is Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran — another story that fights the practice of forbidding books by describing a reading group Nafisi hosted in her house for Iranian women interested in reading the (government-banned) Western classics.
'The Lost Book of the Grail' by Charlie Lovett
A mix of antiquated literature and bookish mystery, all set in the English countryside? Definitely a book I can imagine Hermione lending out to all her literary pals. The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett is a mystery about the Holy Grail — one filled with old books, ancient languages, cloth bindings, ink quills, and more.
'An Unsuitable Job for a Woman' by P.D. James
As someone who loves answering questions and solving mysteries (and someone who knows women are always the ones to get things done right) there’s no doubt Hermione has some classic English crime novels featuring female detectives in her TBR pile. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James tells the story of private investigator Cordelia Gray, who’s tasked with solving the mysterious death of Cambridge dropout Mark Callender.
'The Body in the Library' by Agatha Christie
A book that blends an English crime mystery with a library? Totally up Hermoine’s literary alley. Agatha Christie’s The Body in the Library features Miss Marple — a female detective who appears in dozens of Christie’s books and stories, and has the kind of nose for solving mysteries that Hermione would totally respect.
'Akata Warrior' by Nnedi Okorafor
Is it too cliché to imagine that Hermione would be up for adding some magical realism — especially magical realism featuring totally badass witches — to your TBR pile? Maybe, but I also think as a Muggle adjusting to the Wizarding World, there are probably some magical realism titles on Hermione’s own shelves. One might be Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Warrior, a YA novel about American-born Nigerian Sunny Nwazue, who is discovering, evolving, and perfecting her own magical powers in order to use them to the fullest.
'American Street' by Ibi Zoboi
Another Hermione-approved (IMO) YA novel about magical young women breaking through social and cultural barriers is Ibi Zoboi’s American Street, nominated for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, and featuring a teenage Haitian immigrant Fabiola Toussaint, who travels to Detroit to live with her American cousins — aka: a girl navigating two worlds as seemingly different as the Muggle and Wizarding worlds themselves.
'The Rules of Magic' by Alice Hoffman
Though the title makes this one sound like the kind of straightforward, no-nonsense Hogwarts textbook Hermione would love, it’s actually a novel filled with all kinds of witchy happenings. Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic tells the story of the magical Owens family, who must transcend a curse in pursuit of love. And really, isn’t that what the Harry Potter series was all about to begin with: the magical depths people will go to for love?