Hard Choices, by Hilary Rodham Clinton, promises to be a clear-eyed look back at her years as Secretary of State under Barack Obama. While you wait for its June 10 release, why not hear from the other side of the aisle in the controversy-generating Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, by Robert Gates, who served in the same role under George W. Bush?
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast, is a hilarious, heartfelt memoir of living with aging parents that combines text, cartoons, and found objects. If you’re looking for something in the same vein, Ethel & Ernest, by Raymond Briggs, is a classic example of the form. Through dense, lovingly detailed drawings, Briggs tells his parents’ life story, from their first meeting in the 1920s to their eventual decline and death. They didn’t lead great lives—how many of us do?—but they lived, and are remembered.
Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed, by Michelle Knight, shares the author’s true account of her kidnapping and the decade she spent as the captive of a terrifying, controlling monster. It’s the stuff of powerful fiction, but all too achingly real. Room, by Emma Donoghue, at least provides the insulating comfort of fiction—it tells a similar story (inspired by true events) through the eyes of a young boy who has spent his entire life in one room with his mother. The fact that, for him, a terrible ordeal is simply the only world he knows is what gives this book its terrible power.
I Heart My Little A-Holes, by Karen Alpert, tells you all the terrible things that no one ever admits about being a parent until it is far too late (and if you read it before having kids, you won’t really understand how true it is until you’re on your ninth outfit change of the day and it’s only noon, and you aren’t even sure what you’re covered in this time). For more advice you should probably heed if you ever want to sleep in past 6 a.m. again, take a look at I Just Want to Pee Alone, a collection of hilarious essays brought to you courtesy of the internet’s funniest parent bloggers.
If you’re one of the rabid fans awaiting the next book in the best-selling Outlander series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon, I’ve got just the literary methadone you’re looking for. The Kushiel’s Legacy series, by Jacqueline Carey (which begins with Kushiel’s Dart), takes place in an alternate version of historical France known as Terre D’Ange and offers a well-considered look at what the world might have looked like if politics and religion had twisted in different ways. But that’s not why you’re reading; you’re reading because they’re also an engrossing mix of fantasy, adventure, romance, and blush-inducing sexytimes with a pair of star-crossed lovers: Phèdre nó Delaunay, a courtesan whose unexpected influence will change everything, and Joscelin Verreuil, her stoic bodyguard.
What’s next on your to-read list?