What books would Hermione Granger read as an adult?

She’d indulge in literary snobbery.

For the most part, I see Hermione’s taste as being rather high-brow and - dare I say - she’d probably be a huge snob when it came to her bookshelves. She’d read all the big awards - which in recent times includes Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (winner of the 2013 Man Booker) and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize) - as well as the classics. I don’t really envision Hermione getting into experimental fiction with much enthusiasm (let’s all agree she’s unlikely to be a Tao Lin fan) but rather, I imagine she’d likely love epic tales and big inter-generational sagas. Think Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall!

Also, remembering that Hermione had ‘persuaded’ her parents to relocate to Australia upon Voldemort’s return (after wiping their memories of her from their mind - which, as an aside - seems to me, an extremely painful and horrifying experience that is not given its due in the series) I feel sure she’d have an interest in our homegrown literature and would’ve read Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites!

She’d have a soft spot for crime fiction.

Given Hermione’s knack for problem-solving, and her showy cleverness, there’s no doubt in my mind that Hermione would later grow up to be an avid crime reader - the kind who likes to solve the mystery before the author reveals it. (I suspect Nancy Drew was one of her favourite characters as a child.) I tend to think her interest would largely lie in classic English crime novels, mostly from female authors such as P.D. James, Ruth Rendall - though of course all the Sherlock Holmes tales would also make the cut. And, without getting too meta on everybody, J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling would most definitely be on our intrepid wizard’s bedside table.

And while it’s unlikely the latest Scandinavian crime vent would be her favourite, I feel if Hermione ever ventured to Melbourne on her Australian travels, she’d quickly develop a taste for Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series, albeit with a slightly guilty conscious. (And let’s all agree that she’d have been a Veronica Mars fan also.)

She’d be addicted to reading about news and politics in a big way.

Hermione had already demonstrated a strong inclination toward politics (yes, I am talking about S.P.E.W.) and reportedly after leaving high school works in the Ministry of Magic. So think books like Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot by Masha Gessen or The Undesirables: Inside Nauru by Mark Isaacs.

Also demonstrated is how much Hermione likes to be the smartest person in the room and so staying up to date on not just politics, but all current events would definitely be a priority for her, making her a total news junkie. She’s read papers and digital, and if she was living in Australia she’d definitely be a Quarterly Essay subscriber.

I can also easily imagine Hermione coming out strong as a feminist in a big way once she enters university and I think it’s likely she’d start hunting for biographies of influential women. Like me, she’d be excited for Julia Gillard’s upcoming autobiography! (Am I projecting here? Surely not.)

hermione-reading

Her biggest guilty pleasure would be reading muggle books about wizards.

This one is maybe a little bit of wishful thinking but I always felt one of the best things about being a muggle who attends Hogwarts, rather than someone raised in the wizarding world, would be the strange juxtaposition of what you thought wizards were with what they actually are. I like to believe that Hermione would get a real kick out of this too, at least once she grew into adulthood and mellowed a little, and I’m picturing her having a small stack of children classics stashed away somewhere quiet - Roald Dahl’s Witches, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle for example.

And well, okay, she’d probably read anything and everything.

In the books, Hermione is obsessed with gaining knowledge and (unlike a bad haircut) I don’t see her ever growing out of this post high-school. She’d still be game to read anything someone recommended her - even if just to prove herself right that it wasn’t worth reading in the first place!


Bronte Coates is the Online & Readings Monthly Assistant. She is a co-founder of literary project, Stilts.