If you are like me — or seemingly half of America — you spent most of Valentine's Day weekend binge-watching the second season of House of Cards. Even President Obama is a fan of the show, publicly tweeting his anticipation of Season 2. This critically acclaimed series revolves around Frank and Claire Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), two Machiavellian power players who scheme, lie, and betray their way to the top. If the show's popularity and acclaim have shown anything, it is that Americans are fascinated by people who grab power by any means necessary. Although Frank and Claire commit all sorts of crimes, including murder, to get ahead, people want to root for them. Take, for example, the debate about whether or not Claire Underwood — a woman who cuts off another woman's health insurance and tells her, "I'm willing to let your child wither and die inside you if that's what's required" — is or is not a "feminist warrior." Whether we are attracted or repulsed by characters like the Underwoods, we all want to see what they will do.
With some much appreciated help from fellow writers, I've compiled a variety of fiction and nonfiction books to read while you wait for Season 3 to be filmed. These books feature ruthless rulers, Machiavellian plotters, devious political machinations, intrepid journalists, and other elements that fans of House of Cards will love.