In a year where Hobby Lobby was able to set women’s rights back a few decades, it’s more important than ever to look to our female role models for guidance and advice. And luckily for us, a ton of them wrote memoirs and novels this year. Here are five of our favorite books from women we wholeheartedly admire in 2014:
Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
Is there anything Poehler can’t do? She’s a comedian, an actor, a director, a producer, a mother and now even a debut author. Her first book, Yes Please, is part autobiography, part self-help, and full of inspirational stories and advice. Not only do we hear about her rise to fame (and all the struggles that accompanied it), but we also get haikus about plastic surgery and a chapter written by Seth Meyers. The collective-style narrative is eclectic, fun, and touching. But what else could we expect from the founder of a girl-empowerment site like Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls? This book is a must-read for anyone who’s struggling with their career, who likes to laugh, and who’s looking for tips on how to become best friends with Tina Fey.
Prince Lestat, by Anne Rice
Rice is the reigning queen of vampires — and for good reason. Her Vampire Chronicles have spawned two movies and 11 books, including the classic Interview with the Vampire. She was one of the first mainstream authors to dabble in erotic fiction, and she’s partly responsible for the modern sexualized-vampire. In other words, without Rice, we never would have had Edward Cullen or Twilight. Her newest novel, Prince Lestat, brings back everyone’s favorite vampire, Lestat de Lioncourt, who returns to restore order to the vampire world. Fans have been waiting years to see Lestat in action again — and Rice doesn’t disappoint.
Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham
From the controversial content to the over-the-top advance, there’s a lot of talk around Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham’s first book. But if the creator of Girls knows anything, it’s how to entertain. Dunham takes her sharp eye and unflagging honesty and turns it on her own life, chronicling her childhood, early sexual encounters, and experiences in the male-dominated Hollywood. It’s hard not to be charmed by Dunham’s heartfelt, earnestly funny tone.
All Fall Down, by Jennifer Weiner
Over the past few years, Weiner has repeatedly been in the press – and not just for her contemporary, chic-lit style novels. She’s also become the voice of women’s commercial fiction, publicly fighting for the kind of attention and acclaim that “literary” writers (mostly male) often receive. And while the debate is clearly complicated, it’s hard not to admire someone so outspoken and honest. In her newest novel, All Fall Down, Weiner tells the story of Allison Weiss, a woman who seemingly has it all — including a developing Percocet addiction. With her usual humor and feel-good writing style, Weiner tackles Weiss’s marriage, drug use, and what it really means to get your happily-ever-after.
Hard Choices, by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Clinton has risen from First Lady to political powerhouse, and now she spends her days helping to shape our nation, running for president, and rocking some pretty badass shades. Her newest book, Hard Choices, focuses on her years as Secretary of State, serving with President Obama and the, well, hard choices they had to make along the way. The book is as much an examination of our global political climate as it is a memoir — a grueling task for any author. But, like everything else, Clinton makes it look easy.