Way back when I was in high school, the administration finally added what was generally a creative writing/theater arts class to the curriculum—the first and only one of its kind—during my senior year. Because it was so new (and unusual) to have anything of the kind on offer (and note how they felt the need to smash all the arts together in one class), everyone took it. One project was to write a monologue (and perform it) that had something to do with someone we admired. (I think.) Point is, I chose Princess Leia. My monologue was about how smart she was, how in charge of her life, how she didn’t take shit from anyone—she was basically a perfect role model for a teenage girl who had long been labeled as “too bitchy” for standing up for herself.
When I think of Princess Leia, I think, girl, she’s too busy to be bothering with much reading. I’m not sure what the new movies will bring, but in the extended universe (books) she’s pretty busy running, well, the universe. So in all honesty when she gets a break (as if!) she’s probably going to be down with reading the Star Wars universe version of Twilight or Game of Thrones—easy, mindless entertainment to take her mind off the never ending politics of managing the New Republic.
If I were going to make suggestions, though, and she had a random week off (or a really long space voyage?), I might suggest the following:
The Dune Series, Frank Herbert
This is the first thing that pops into my mind, because at the end of the day Princess Leia is a diplomat and politician, and you can only get so far away from those things. Dune (especially after the first book) is nothing if not an endless series of political machinations. Also, being trapped on a desert planet (she has some experience with that) and kick ass women who have some eldritch powers (even if Leia never truly embraces her Jedi abilities).
The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Neffinger
Again, I’m speculating into the Extended Universe version of Leia, because she’s really the Leia I know well. In the future (and I think we’re going to see this in the new movie…?) Han and Leia are together (of course), but torn in opposite directions as they try to establish a new government, and of course save the universe from the bad guys. This is not just a time zone difference, we’re talking light years apart. I think Leia would really appreciate a story about lovers who have a hard time being in the same place at the same time.
Ender’s Game, or really, Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card
Leia always has some issues with Luke, her surprise twin brother that she meets as an adult. Luke wants her to be a Jedi, but she’s a little busy with the whole making peace between warring planets thing. I think she would really associate with the struggles of Ender and Valentine as they voyage across the universe, not to mention the struggles of coping with xenocide and living side by side with an alien race. All things that Leia has to deal with on a daily basis.
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
I haven’t read this, but it’s been recommended as one that’s got a lot of interesting politics, fighting against an unjust system, and interesting questions of gender, all of which would be interesting to Miss Leia. Also, space. I have a hard time imagining Leia reading too many fantasies, what with all the space travel. Also, what passes for a fantasy novel within the Star Wars Universe? When a young Jedi wants to kick back with some kick ass fantasy, what do they read? Inquiring minds want to know.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, NK Jemisin
Now, this one might be a little too fantastic for Leia, what with all the gods running around doing magical things. She’s a pretty down-to-business kind of woman. However, I think the concept of trying to keep a hundred thousand kingdoms in order would be of interest to her (since that’s her day job) and also the extreme racial prejudices of the ruling class in the city of Sky (see: Empire, The) and how Yeine has to battle them to make a safe world for people of all races, as Leia does for the thousands of species of beings in her universe.
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Ok, yes, I had to throw this one in. One, it’s easy to read and entertaining, which you really need after a couple long senate sessions. Two, it’s about a young girl overthrowing a corrupt government. Leia was meant to be 18 or so when the events of A New Hope take place. I think she would love to read about Katniss, a mere teenage girl, taking on the evil Capital. Sure, there are no space ships, but a dystopia with a kick ass female lead should resonate across all galaxies, no matter how far, far away.
What books would you recommend to Leia?
Photo: Legion of Leia