I read Clinton’s latest book because I really wanted to know. What happened?
I have a better understanding of the 2016 debacle of a US Presidential race now, but mostly I have an increased admiration for Clinton.
She’s eloquent and warm—the book feels like sitting down and listening to a friend talk about a pivotal time in her life, which also happened to be pivotal to world history. This is Clinton’s story from her perspective.
I’m sure there are other stories to be told —perhaps some not flattering—but Clinton doesn’t absolve herself of blame. She takes it squarely like the statesperson she is, and also sets out the myriad of external factors with which she and her team were confronted. (Spoiler: you’ve heard them all before, but maybe not as clearly, unemotionally and concisely laid out.)
Clinton’s intelligence and breadth of knowledge shine throughout the book. That’s no surprise of course, but her warmth, love and pride in her family, and spirit of service are also on display. And that’s a side of her that didn’t get much press—at least in Australia. It’s impressive and inspiring.
Also inspiring: the books she scatters throughout by way of quotes or recommendations. They make quite the reading list. I’ve read only a few of them, but have added the rest to my Book Depository wish list with plans to get to (most of) them over the next few years.
In case you’d like to try some too, here are the 21 books from which she quotes or mentions as motivating, inspiring or enjoyable (in order of where they fall in the book):
1. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century - Timothy Snyder
2. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements - Eric Hoffer
3. Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers - Anne Lamott
4. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
5. Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton - Bill Shilliday
6. The Return of the Prodigal Son - Henri Nouwen
8. The Clue of the Tapping Heels – C Keene (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories)
9. Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
10. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead - Sheryl Sandberg
11. The Destruction of Hillary Clinton - Susan Bordo
12. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
13. The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran
14. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
15. The Mind’s Eye - Oliver Sacks
16. With Liberty and Dividends for All: How to Save Our Middle Class When Jobs Don't Pay Enough - Peter Barnes
17. A Black Man in the White House - Cornell Belcher
19. Democracy in America - Alexis de Tocqueville
20. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community - Bob Putnam
21. Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990 - Vaclav Havel
Also, 6 authors HRC says she enjoys:
Louise Penny - of the best-selling Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec series.
Jacqueline Winspear - the award winning Maisie Dobbs series that explores the aftermath of World War I.
Donna Leon - writer of hugely successful eco-detective novels set in Venice.
Charles Todd - Charles Todd is a pen name for Charles and Caroline Todd, a mother and son writing team, authors of The Inspector Ian Rutledge series.
Elena Ferrante - Elena Ferrante is the pseudonym of an Italian novelist. Her wonderful writing has become a phenomenon and something of a cult.
Elizabeth Stone – wrote Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins, and HRC referred to this article.
And for younger readers, HRC mentions these three:
Presumably that’s a tiny slice of Clinton’s reading over her adult life—wouldn't a list of everything HRC has read be fascinating?
P.S. If you’re a bit of a footnote/referencing nerd, like me, the lack of both might drive you crazy —but it’s a memoir not a thesis I suppose.
P.P.S. A couple of pro-HRC picture books here.