Political leader, voting rights activist and bestselling author Stacy Abrams made history in 2018 as the first Black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the U.S., and was nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for her impactful work promoting nonviolent change at the ballot box.

An accomplished writer, Abrams has penned two political memoirs (Lead from the Outside and Our Time is Now) along with eight romantic suspense novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery. Her latest book, a legal thriller entitled When Justice Sleeps, comes out in May.

In a reading list for Vanity Fair, Abrams shared 7 of her favorite books that explore love, history, and political leadership. Find her literary picks below, and complement with the bookshelves of AOC and Kamala Harris.


The Dictator’s Learning Curve by William Dobson

“William Dobson investigates how authoritarianism has taken on the trappings and lessons of modern institutions to strengthen its ability to strip nations of their democracy. A timely handbook for current political times around the world.” -SA

Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

“Alan Lightman’s exploration of the iterations of Einstein’s theories of relativity offer brief glimpses into the nature of time and human relationships. In sharp, short vignettes, he imagines what complex ideations would mean in our daily interactions.” -SA

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (also rec’d by Jane Goodall,Rose McGowan, Stevie NicksUrsula K. Le Guin)

“This remains a perfectly told, ethically challenged gothic novel of love, betrayal, and redemption. (I might also recommend a fantastic offshoot story: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.)” -SA

The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro

“President Johnson is one of America’s most complex and effective leaders, one capable of humanity and grace while being deeply flawed as a man and a leader. With each installment, I learn more about how to be a stronger leader, as well as how to guard against the hubris inherent in political power.” -SA

The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami

“Her novel about Estebanico, a Moroccan slave who was part of Narváez expedition, uses the narrative device of a fictional memoir to excavate the horror faced by African slaves and native peoples in 16th-century Florida. His story makes the reader uncomfortable, angry, and bereft by turn—yet willing to endure all to see it through to the end.” -SA

Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts

“Nora Roberts’s ability to blend suspense and romance, and to craft intense characterizations without losing the thread of any story delights the mind and the heart. Plus, her heroines are fiercely independent and her heroes are flawed and dashing, excellent romantic fare.” -SA

The Between by Tananarive Due

“Tananarive Due crosses and interweaves genres without losing the reader or the story—difficult to do and fascinating to read.” -SA

(via Vanity Fair)