The best books about strong independent women who succeed in a male-dominated world

Who am I?

In my freshman year at the University of Missouri-Columbia I started out as a journalism major. I joined Sigma Kappa where I met my “sister” Anne who worked at KBIA. I worked with her the rest of that year. Back home in Ellenville, NY, I convinced the station manager to hire me. I was the very first female radio announcer and engineer to work at the station. When my best friend was killed in a tragic accident, I needed to heal my loss by using the only method I knew would help; writing. Combining my experiences and passion for radio I wrote Red Wine for Breakfast to honor her memory.


I wrote...

Red Wine for Breakfast

By Raven West,

Book cover of Red Wine for Breakfast

What is my book about?

KKTM radio star Jenny Reed is a 34-year-old independent woman who plays macho Monopoly by her own rules; winner takes all. Her career was all she needed. Success was all she wanted until Johnny King became her on-air partner and challenged her to play his own game. The day she beat him was also the day she lost her best friend in an apparent suicide ... or was it murder?

In a business drowning in testosterone, Red Wine for Breakfast is the story of strong, determined New Yorker who has to shake off the laid back attitude of L.A. to overcome the challenges of an industry that threatens to turn her off and a man who only wants to turn her on.

The books I picked & why

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Atlas Shrugged

By Ayn Rand,

Book cover of Atlas Shrugged

Why this book?

If you can answer the question “Who is John Galt?” a recommendation for Ayn Rand’s epic novel Atlas Shrugged isn’t necessary. Putting aside the Libertarian and Objectivist political movements her novel inspired, at its core the true hero of Atlas Shrugged is not Galt, but the female lead Dagny Taggart. Written in 1957, long before the women’s movement of the 60s, Taggart is and remains the most inspirational woman character of all generations then and now.


My Years with Ayn Rand

By Nathaniel Branden,

Book cover of My Years with Ayn Rand

Why this book?

Nathaniel Branden’s account of his relationship with Rand is honest and deeply emotional. For a psychologist who writes mainly on the theme of self-esteem, this book is a bit of a departure from his usual works, but for any fan of Rand and her volatile relationship with a man nearly half her age, it is well worth the read.


The Sleep of Reason

By E.M. Dadlez,

Book cover of The Sleep of Reason

Why this book?

As the saying goes; “Write what you know” and E.M. Dadlez, a professor of philosophy at the University of Central Oklahoma, certainly puts the saying front and center!

Dadlez takes the reader on a tour of the absurdities of higher education and sprinkles the ride with a corrupt provost and an English department rebellion. Dadlez replaced philosophy with English, Oklahoma with Kansas, and there is no doubt that she is Jane Fairfax and at some time in her career, she has crossed paths with a “Virginia Borensen” type.

Truth and fiction combine in a wonderful read that goes way outside the norm!


Radio Girls

By Sarah-Jane Stratford,

Book cover of Radio Girls

Why this book?

Stories about women in radio are few and I was thrilled to find Radio Girls. Although it’s fiction, there is a real sense that the author did their research combining fact with fiction in the very early days of the BBC. In 1926, American-born Maisie Musgrave meets the challenges of rising from a secretary in a predominated male industry to become an unexpected heroine at a time when very few women were given the chance.  


The Crazy Ladies

By Joyce Elbert,

Book cover of The Crazy Ladies

Why this book?

Before there was Carrie, Maranda, Samantha, and Charlotte, there was Simone, Anita, Beverly, and Lou—the Crazy Ladies of Joyce Elbert’s bestselling novel of the late ’60s.

I first bought this book when I was all of 13. My mother threw it away… I bought it again. After the fourth time, she finally gave up and I’m very happy to say I still have that first edition with very worn pages in my nightstand today.

Many years later, I became long-distance friends of Ms. Elbert. I learned that several of the characters in her book, including Jack Bailey, were, as I had surmised, based on real people!

She was one of the very best writers of her time. If you can find this book, and the sequel The Return of The Crazy Ladies, as well as all her other titles, buy them. You will not be disappointed! 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in psychologist, World War 2, and London?

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