Hillary Clinton Is Reading a Lot of Mystery Novels and You Should Probably Join Her
A complete breakdown of the whodunits, sagas & poetry volumes helping the former Secretary of State through this difficult time
There are many admirable qualities about former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and her penchant for reading (not just the news and briefings) is one of them. Now that she a bit more free time on her hands, without having to run an entire campaign and all that, she’s seized the opportunity by revisiting old favorites and and discovering a few new books, too. Yesterday, at the American Library Association conference, Clinton indulged the audience with how she likes to spend her free time these days, giving a very relatable answer of drinking wine, hiking, and reading. Sounds about right. She also listed a number of books that have made their way across her nightstand of late, so keep adding to your summer reading lists because she’s named some good ones, and let’s be honest, you want to form a book club with Hillary Clinton. Two glasses of wine in, think of the stories.
1. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
Clinton said that she finished all four of Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, which revolve around two female friends who grow up in post-war Italy, and which detail the coming-of-age of not only a strong relationship but of a city and a country. Also focusing on themes such as class and power, these books definitely sound right up our former Secretary of State’s alley. And everyone’s, frankly. There’s a reason why they’re an international sensation.
2. A Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny
I didn’t peg Hillary Clinton as the mystery-loving type, but at the conference, she confessed that she “devoured” Penny’s novels. The Great Reckoning is one of the author’s many thrillers about Chief Inspector Gamache of Quebec, this one dealing with Gamache’s challenging new role as commander of the Sûreté academy in light of an unexpected murder of a former friend and colleague…Dun dun dun.
3. Death at La Fenice, by Donna Leon
Similar to Penny’s novels, Leon’s mysteries focus on the fictional Commissario Guido Brunetti and take place in Venice, Italy. Death at La Fenice is the first in the series, in which a high-profile conductor is poisoned during intermission at the opera house. In a classically brilliant mystery move, the hero Brunetti sets out to discover who the killer is.
4. Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear
Continuing on with European-set mysteries, Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series is about a young maid who becomes a London PI in the aftermath of the Great War. Hillary definitely loves some good, old-fashioned female power.
5. A Test of Wills, by Charles Todd
After years of fighting in WWI, Ian Rutledge returns to his job in Scotland Yard. Struggling with a bad case of shell shock and having to battle his inner demons, Rutledge must investigate the murder of a retired officer.
6. The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Henri Nouwen
When Nouwen encountered Rembrandt’s painting The Return of the Prodigal Son, he was cast into a spiritual journey. This book, which seems in fitting with Clinton’s faithfulness, is a moving meditation on the various themes of the parable, including homecoming, compassion, reconciliation, and love.
7. Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? by Maya Angelou
Angelou stated that she pledged her loyalty to Hillary Clinton and her campaign ever since Bill Clinton was inaugurated in 1993. The support and admiration clearly goes both ways. Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? is Maya Angelou’s fourth volume of poetry, published in 1983. Written during one of the most productive moments of Angelou’s career, the volume contains powerful poems including “Caged Bird” and “A Plagued Journey.”
8. A Thousand Mornings, by Mary Oliver
Given her love for hiking, it comes as no surprise that Clinton enjoys the work of Mary Oliver, which chronicles the poet’s observations of nature and everyday life.
9. The Jersey Brothers, by Sally Mott Freeman
Based on the real lives of three brothers, The Jersey Brothers tells the story of their experiences during WWII. When the youngest brother is captured in the Philippines, the other two try to bring him home.
10. The View From Flyover, Country by Sarah Kendzior
The View from Flyover Country is the most topical selection on the former candidate’s nightstand. A collection of essays by St. Louis journalist Sarah Kendzior, the book explores issues such as labor, gentrification, media bias, and the economy.