The festive season is one of the best times of the year to curl up with a book and lose hours (or even days).
And because we celebrate women a lot here at SHE DEFINED, we thought it was fitting to shine a light on female authors for our recommendation of holiday reads.
Whether you’re spending time at home over the holidays, travelling afar or simply want a new read to take to the beach or the park, these books offer some great options.
From complicated reflections on a relationship to a page-turning memoir, here are five great books by female authors to read over the holiday season.
1. The Pisces by Melissa Broder
Melissa Broder’s first novel The Pisces is a story about a woman’s battle with sex and love addiction.
Lucy, the central character, is a PhD student whose dissertation on Saffo’s poetry is going nowhere. Dissatisfied with life, her attempt to shake up her stable long-term relationship with her boyfriend backfires when he readily agrees to separate.
Lucy relocates to Venice Beach to look after her sister’s dog for the summer and attend therapy sessions for obsessive romantics.
Life takes an interesting turn when Lucy meets a swimmer at the rocks on the beach who turns out to be a merman.
The Pisces is equal parts unsettling, funny and erotic, and delivers a read like no other.
2. Normal People by Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney’s second novel Normal People is about the relationship between Marianne and Connell – two people who grew up in the same rural town of Ireland.
When they both attend Trinity College in Dublin, their connection grows stronger and leads them down an intertwined path in the coming years.
This is a love story that delves deep into the intricacies of a relationship between two people and how a person can profoundly change another’s life.
Normal People explores themes of domination, legitimacy and privilege, and is an incredibly intimate read.
3. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis
Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies is a collection of essays from extraordinary women, including actresses, journalists and activists, who share what feminism means to them and how they found their voice.
Curated by British journalist and activist Scarlett Curtis, the book includes contributions from Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Jameela Jamil, Keira Knightley and Zoe Sugg, to name a few.
Published in conjunction with Girl Up, the UN Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, this empowering collection of reads shows how each woman found a different path to their understanding of feminism, with the intention to inspire other women to do the same.
4. Becoming by Michelle Obama
Women seeking inspiration will find it in droves in Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming.
The former First Lady of the United States of America invites readers into her world and she shares the experiences that have influenced her – from her childhood in the south side of Chicago to her years working as a lawyer to the challenges of balancing work and motherhood.
The book also delves into the intricacies of race, the highs and lows of Michelle’s marriage with Barack, and the ugly, often nasty side of politics.
Becoming is insightful, frequently funny, and sometimes enraged and raw.
5. Milkman by Anna Burns
Milkman by Anna Burns has been one of the most challenging books I’ve read this year.
The story takes place in an unnamed location, though there is a distinct likeness to the author’s hometown of Belfast during the politically unstable times in Northern Ireland, known as the Troubles.
Also, none of the characters are named – it is narrated by an unnamed 18-year-old girl who is being pursued by an older male, the milkman. Other characters are called “brother-in-law” and “maybe-boyfriend”.
Even though the themes are inspired by events that took place decades years ago, they are still relevant for today’s world – terrorism, harassment and division are all at the heart of the plot.
For a story that is challenging yet rewarding, give 2018’s Man Booker Prize winner a shot.
TELL US: Have you read any great books by female authors recently? Be sure to share your recommendations in the comments section below.