After surviving an abusive upbringing in the Child of God cult and a rape at the hands of one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, actress and dragon slayer Rose McGowan has become a galvanizing force for the #MeToo movement. The “original woman who refused to shut up,” as The Guardian put it, McGowan has been a crucial voice for speaking truth to power, and has mobilized an army of fellow victims in her fight.
On the impactful role social media played in finally getting her voice heard, McGowan says: “It’s nice being able to speak for myself. Every interview I did for so many years and every time I was in front of the camera, pre-Twitter, there was no way for me to speak for myself. Every interview started with, ‘What was it like to work for this man?'”
And in early 2018, she released a book of memoirs entitled Brave, a raw and deeply personal manifesto on her fight to reclaim control of her life. Calling language a means to “pierce the brain,” McGowan’s own favorite reads cover the importance of free will in questioning authority, power structures, and the nature of reality itself.
Read on for a list of Rose McGowan’s 10 favorite books.
The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
“Through Eva Luna and her stories, I went on a shimmering odyssey of the mind. Allende’s writing has such texture, she makes me hear, see, feel, smell the world with her words.” -RM
“‘I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.’ This is an important book that as a young girl showed me that we can be indomitable, regardless of whether we are seen or not.” -RM
“I imagine how delightful it must’ve been to write about mind altering characters. We all fall down the rabbit hole now and then. Such fierce creativity implanted young will last a lifetime.” -RM
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
“The hopelessness of character assassination and being trapped by evil people’s lies is something I know a little about. I fell in love with Dàntes and his quest for justice long ago. Dumas’ writing helped form me. I wish I could thank him in person, but this’ll have to do.” -RM
The Weight Of Ink by Rachel Kadish
“The author says she asked, ‘What does it take for a woman not to be defeated when everything around her is telling her to sit down and mind her manners?’ Kadish answered the question by writing a superb novel. Reading it, I gasped out loud more than once with the sheer joy at Kadish’s use of language and intricacy of thought.” -RM
“I was working at a funeral home when I found this novel. Being 14, I did a lot of thinking about death, and, conversely, how to live. Love in the Time of Cholera made me feel as if I were walking next to the characters as they laughed, loved, lived and died in a world filled with spirits. Márquez raised my consciousness by taking me gently into other realms.” -RM
Henry and June by Anaïs Nin
“I recently reread this study of feminine pain and pleasure that makes the heart and body and mind feel all the feelings. Mind sex is good sex.”
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
“‘Consorting with Angels’ is one of my favorite Sexton poems, but with so much raw power it is hard to choose. ‘I was tired of being a woman, tired of the spoons and the post, tired of my mouth and my breasts, tired of the cosmetics and the silks.’ Sexton was and is so vital and so brazen. Mad respect.” -RM
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
“If you enjoy a good snort or cackle as I do, then this may be the book for you. The title pretty much says it all.” -RM
“Luckily, I found this book in paperback when I was eleven. It is a book that should be required reading at a young age. Malcom X’s mind, struggle, fight, pain and truth will live on because this book will keep popping brains open. Look past the propaganda machine that reduces his role in history; there is a whole world of thought here, and that is a world I like to be in.” -RM
(via One Grand Books)
Books by Rose McGowan