Hillary Rodham Clinton is not the only person searching for the answer to the question “ what happened?” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as her recently published memoir was our most requested book in recent weeks. It looks like WPL customers also want that fly-on-the-wall feeling as she leads the reader through what must be one of the most disappointing moments of her political life. The question is what would be a good book to read while you are waiting to read Hillary’s book, What Happened, or to read after you have finished it – in that post-reading glow you have when a book is finished and you want to continue your reading journey on that theme. Our shelves are bursting with books that can supplement that interest.
You will find other books in our catalogue written about Hillary Clinton and you could dip your toes right back into her own writing with her 2014 book Hard Choices where she provides readers with her perspective on her role as the Secretary of State in the years 2009 to 2013. She wrote this book cautiously, knowing that a presidential run might be in her future, without giving away too many secrets although she is frank about her discouraging loss to Barack Obama in 2008. Hillary recently said that her defeat in the 2016 election would have felt entirely different if it had been to any other Republican candidate and it could be interesting to compare her reactions in these two memoirs.
Maybe you could just take a break from the U.S. election (it’s probably a good idea when you can) and dig into the lives of other remarkable women through their biographical writing. Although Hillary Clinton was born in 1947 and Joni Mitchell in 1943 they have much in common – both have had long careers in the spotlight and faced criticism for making unpopular decisions. In her own words is actually a combination of interviews, photographs and reproductions of Joni’s paintings and could possibly inspire you to take a trip to browse our CD shelves as well. A change of pace and a chance to listen to some fantastic music.
How about a recent memoir by Saudi activist Manal al-Sharif? It’s still a memoir about a powerful woman but it is the transformational story of one from a modest family who became frustrated by the constrictions of having to be chauffeured around despite having a car in the garage and a license she had obtained while working in the U.S. In her book, Daring to drive : a Saudi woman’s awakening, she shares her experiences of growing up in a culture where a guardian’s permission was required for virtually all decisions she made in her life and how this helped to transform her into the face of the Women2Drive movement. In September of this year that longstanding ban was overturned and Manal turned to Twitter to say that she is working on her next campaign which is to end guardianship laws with a hashtag #IamMyOwnGuardian.
It’s always a good idea to turn to books from home when you are in the mood for a good read. There really is nothing more exciting than when an author references a street name that you are familiar with or you read that they are eating in a restaurant or visiting a hotel that you have been to. Reading Vij Vikram’s 2017 memoir, Vij, is like worldwide travel and cooking inspiration in book form. lara Hughes is so relatable and can always bring people to their feet whether you are cheering for her on your TV screen, listening to her on the CBC, or reading her 2015 story about her struggle with depression. You could also learn more about our own Canadian politicians with Elizabeth May’s Who we are: reflections on my life and Canada or Tom Mulcair’s Strength of conviction. It might be a good time for us to reflect on the future of our own country now that we have read, or are going to read, the thoughts of Hillary Clinton. Using the autobiographical writing of any person can be a fantastic opportunity to sort through your own life – consider where you are going and think about where you have been. You might have your own ‘what happened’ moment, with or without the question mark.