Claire Underwood might be the most fascinating character on television today. If you’re watching or re-watching the most popular drama on Netflix, House of Cards, (and who are we kidding, of course you are) you might enjoy the following list. Mrs. Underwood appears cold and calculating on the surface, but the seasons slowly reveal a far more layered character. Her husband, the scheming and draconian Frank Underwood, may appear to be the puppet master in this dark political drama but true fans will know that Claire holds the reins. What kind of women is she, anyway? She jogs through graveyards as families mourn, she discusses her affairs with her husband and she doesn’t seem to have a friend in the world. We know her husband loves her “more than a shark loves blood,” but what interests her besides extramarital affairs and ruling the free world? Will we ever know? Let’s take a look at her imaginary bookshelf.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
She can really get behind the idea of being the wife of the protagonist, so Claire likely enjoys reading about Lady Macbeth because there would be so few people she can relate to.
Richard III by William Shakespeare
Another obvious choice. Her husband, clearly cut from the same cloth as this Machiavellian King, can be summed up with this famous line from one of the Bard’s best: “What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by. Richard loves Richard; that is, I and I.”
Catherine The Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
It isn’t all about Frank, even though she lets him think it is. She’s rising up like a cobra ready to strike and she needs the inspiration of other great women to keep her motivated. This Pulitzer prize winning novel is also just a great read.
Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn
She isn’t all business. A girl’s gotta have a beach read. Claire likely identifies with the more sinister characters in this book but I will let you read it to find out who they are. Even if you aren’t the adulterous wife of a deliciously evil President, you’ll still enjoy this one.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Isn’t Washington just a slightly more civilized version of this novel about human nature and the death of the common good? Claire may be looking for clues to taking down the Old Boy’s Club.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
As Dr. Frankenstein creates his monster, so then does Claire. We haven’t been treated to enough back story just yet, but I think you’ll see she’s been planning her husbands rise and potential fall for decades.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Even Claire Underwood needs a little smut now and then. What better way than to read about a woman who uses adultery to escape her existence. Mrs. Underwood might understand a little about that pastime.
No doubt, Mrs. Underwood’s bookshelf is overflowing with books but these might be the ones she reads again and again. A character this complex cannot simply be defined by what she reads, after all, we’d need to know more about what she watches on Netflix to do that.