It’s time for another fictional bookshelf, where we imagine the books our favorite characters might have lining their shelves. Since it’s also Emmy week here at Booktrib, we wanted to pick an Emmy-nominated performance we’re most definitely rooting for. The choice was easy – Viola Davis’s Annalise Keating from ABC’s smash hit, How to Get Away with Murder.
Soapy and twisty, HTGAWM is everything you could want out of a Shonda Rhimes-helmed show. Complicated defense attorney Annalise Keating is the glue that holds it all together as she kicks ass in the courtroom, deals with her crazy and meddling students, and tries not to crack under the pressure of all those murders. Played by Davis, Annalise is the type of character we don’t quite fully like (or hate), but who we’re still rooting for anyway. Season 4 of the show airs September 28th on ABC and we’re already taking bets on just who might end up murdered this year.
For this year’s 69th Emmy Awards, Davis has been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and it’s easy to see why. She plays Annalise with nuance and range, taking a woman who could easily be one-dimensional and giving her impressive depth. Her performance is so strong in fact, that Davis has already won an Emmy for her work on HTGAWM. In 2015 she made history by being the first actress of color to ever win the award of Lead Actress in a Drama.
Because Davis’s Annalise is smart, tough, and informed, we know that she would have a pretty impressive bookshelf, stocked full of classics and new releases to choose from. Here are the 5 books that we’re 100% sure she’d keep tucked on her shelves:
What Happened, Hillary Rodham Clinton (Simon & Schuster, September 12, 2017)
We’re fairly certain that Annalise would have voted for Clinton in the last election, or at least, would have wanted to get to the bottom of what happened during her campaign. She’s no stranger to fighting for the underdog, or to confronting those who wrong her – two traits she clearly shares with Clinton. What Happened is a close look inside the Clinton campaign, and an analysis of exactly what went down during the 2016 election. Written closely in Clinton’s point of view, the memoir is both honest and subjective, creating a portrait of a complicated woman dealing with a high-pressure situation. Sound familiar? It’s a perfect read for Annalise, who definitely knows a thing or two about how to deal with the consequences of events that start to spiral out of her control.
New People, Danzy Senna (Riverhead Books, August 1, 2017)
For both Annalise and Maria (the protagonist of Senna’s acclaimed novel), life is a lot more complicated than what people see on the surface. In Annalise’s case, she’s a woman who seems to have it all together, even if personally and professionally she feels like she’s falling apart. For Maria, it’s about questioning whether the ‘perfect’ life she’s established with her fiancé is what she really wants. Like Annalise, Maria doesn’t always make the right choices, and it can be hard to sympathize with her actions. Fantasy and reality collide when both are forced to face the reality of their worlds. These similarities are exactly why we could see Annalise reaching for New People again and again.
Blood Defense, Marcia Clark (Thomas & Mercer, May 1, 2016)
Clark creates a pretty complex character in Samantha Brinkman, a criminal defense attorney who’s ambitious, no-nonsense, and not always likable. Which, honestly, is exactly how we’d describe Annalise. In the first book in Clark’s series, Sam is trying to figure out who killed a TV star, and whether or not a local detective is responsible. As she investigates the crime, she quickly realizes that the case is more complicated than she thought and that she’s being lied to at ever turn. Now she doesn’t know who she can trust, even as she’s still dedicated to discovering the truth. Annalise is no stranger to unsolved murders, and we’re sure she’d find value in reading Sam’s story.
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (Crown, June 5, 2012)
Gone Girl is on its way to becoming a modern classic, and there’s no way that Annalise wouldn’t appreciate Flynn’s twisty tale. She’s used to dealing with plenty of twists of her own, of course, and Flynn has constructed a masterful mystery at the heart of her bestselling thriller. The intense marriage between Nick and Amy Dunne is made even more complicated when Amy goes missing, and Nick is the one who everyone blames. Their tale of lies and intrigue seems perfectly suited to Annalise – after all, she went through her own marriage that was filled with plenty of secrets. She might even see herself in Amy, whose outward perception masks the complex person she is on the inside.
Since We Fell, Dennis Lehane (Ecco, May 9, 2017)
Speaking of twists and turns, Lehane’s latest novel is a rollercoaster from the first page. It tells the story of Rachel Childs, who has shut herself away after a very public meltdown. But when things at home start to unravel too, Rachel is pulled into a plot that she can’t predict or control, forcing her to face her fears as she hurtles toward an inevitable conclusion that will leave her (and you) reeling. It’s almost impossible to predict where this story is headed – much like Annalise’s own story in HTGAWM. This thrilling novel would be both informative and entertaining for her… even if it does hit a little too close to home.
What other books could you see Annalise stocking her shelves with? Let us know in the comments!