Ms. Magazine: Find Your Favorite Feminist Fiction for the Holidays


Thank you to Ms. Magazine and Carmen Rios for publishing my article: “Feminist Fiction Books to Curl Up With for the Holidays

One of the things that makes me the happiest is to have a brand new book—so, in the spirit of the season, I wanted to share my favorite new reads written by some of my favorite authors (and a few of my friends).

Talking with an author about her characters is magical—and so was meeting Rachel Kadish when she came to Los Angeles to speak about her book, The Weight of Ink, before we saw the Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit at Skirball Cultural Center. This book is historical fiction with a side of philosophy set in London, and it explores choices for women in different time periods. What impacts your choices? Do you have candles to read by? Do you have access to books, mentorship and education? What will it take to bring your passions to life? You’ll think about all that and more as you read this novel.

I have absolutely loved each and every book by Lisa Genova, who is a neuroscientist and incredible author. I wrote about her book, Every Note Played, for Ms. in “The Virtual Search for IRL Empathy.” This book is a story of family drama with a side of medical science.

Danielle Wood (aka Minnie Darke) and I met on a cruise ship nearly 25 years ago when I was working for Princess Cruises. Her latest book, Star-Crossed, is about childhood sweethearts: Justine, a Sagittarius and serious skeptic, and Nick, an Aquarius and true believer. It’s about astrology, with a side of Shakespeare—Justine takes a turn at writing horoscopes, and the ripple effects impact everyone’s choices. I enjoyed it so much.

What will you do with today, tomorrow and the rest of your life? Do you want what you have or are you ready to hope for more? Have you ever thought: “I want more than this?” If so, Diane Barnes’ book More Than may really speak to you! The main character has twins who are about to leave for college, and she has to face her soon to be empty nest and the candy wrappers and ice cream cartons that taunt her.

It was an honor to meet author Nicole Dennis Benn when she was interviewed by Carmen Rios, the Managing Digital Editor of Ms., at their Book Club in Los Angeles. The characters in Patsy are gritty with real issues. If you want to read a book where you take on another person’s perspective that is not often covered in books, step into Patsy‘s world in Jamaica.

Do you make resolutions for New Year’s Eve? Before you do, go out and grab Rachel Friedman’s new book, And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential, and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood, on December 31! Friedman came to Los Angeles in 2011 to speak at a We Said Go Travel event about her travel book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure, and, in a way, this new book continues the conversation—she seeks out her childhood friends from arts camp who wanted to be artists, dancers and musicians, and asks how their childhood dreams turned into adult lives with partners, jobs and realized hopes.

“What’s the right way to go about… our lives?” she asked in The Guide. “Should you do what you love, what’s outrageous and unpredictable, and worry about the future later? Or plug away at a steady job first and go off and have your fun when you retire?” I recommend both of her books—and seeking the answer to those questions—as you begin a new decade!

I was mesmerized as one day in a reproductive health services clinic evolved in Jodi Picoult’s powerful book, A Spark of Light. I had to examine my judgements as more information appeared about the intersecting lives of participants in this drama. I could not put it down.

Christina Dalcher’s Vox also surprised me. I found the book challenging to read, as I felt I could see women’s rights to speak slipping away. What would you say with your words if you were only allowed a certain number per day? What would you tell your loved ones?

All of the books on this list so far are written by women, many of whom I know personally, but I must add a book that I read during my divorce when I was depressed and unsure of my next steps. I have quoted it to myself and recommended it to many others going through trauma and transition. Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success helped me find hope. When I read, “forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different,” it really started me on a path to healing. I was focused on the past, but you cannot find your future only watching the rear-view mirror.

As authors, Feldman and Kravetz wrote, “Rather than dwelling on the past, she found herself asking the hopeful and forward-looking question: ‘What now?’” As we enter 2020, we should all dream up big answers.

Read this article on Ms. Magazine at

Feminist Fiction Books to Curl Up With for the Holidays

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.7 million views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.7 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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