What we're reading this summer

Summer — the perfect time to grab a beach chair and a good book, enjoy the sunshine and warm breeze, and take a moment to escape to your own personal retreat. The Breathe Free Essentials tribe is full of women who love to stretch our minds and explore new places, even if only through a book.

Breathe Free Essentials is here to offer some titles to round out your summer reading list from some of our favorite female authors — because we are all about sisterhood and celebrating women from all walks of life. We hope that as you read these, you find knowledge, power, courage, entertainment or whatever else you are looking for in a good book.

We’ve also included reviews from some of the most respected critics in the business, including those from The New York TimesThe New YorkerVogueReader’s DigestThe Boston Globe, and others to give you a peek inside the cover and a headstart on selecting your next read or two. So grab your favorite Breathe Free Essentials blend and let’s get reading!


1. Sorry I Missed You by Suzy Krause 

Sorry I Missed You is so quirky and original, full of humor, wit, and warmth. I loved how three such different women forged a genuine friendship—and of course, that mystery. A real page-turner.” —Josie Silver, New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December

2. Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

“Kalisha Buckhanon’s characters are both fearless and haunted, brave and burdened by the past. Speaking of Summer gives us a powerful song about what it means to survive as a woman in America.” ―Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award winner and author of Sing, Unburied, Sing

3.  Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney

“[Rooney] has invented a sensibility entirely of her own: sunny and sharp, free of artifice but overflowing with wisdom and intensity. . . . The novel touches on class, politics, and power dynamics and brims with the sparky, witty conversation that Rooney’s fans will recognize.” —Vogue


4. American Harvest: God, Country, and Farming in the Heartland by Marie Mutsuki Mockett

“Mockett, writing with a gentle self-consciousness, offers a compassionate portrait of conservative evangelicals, along with lucid musings on agricultural science, Native American history, and the quiet majesty of the Great Plains.”―The New Yorker

5. Your Hidden Superpower: The Kindness That Makes You Unbeatable at Work and Connects You with Anyone by Adrienne Bankert

“This deeply honest and well-written book delves into the author’s incredibly rich and culturally diverse stock of corporate and personal experiences to emphatically position kindness not as a weakness, but rather as the force multiplier and blueprint for empathy our organizations, our communities, and our souls so desperately need.” ― Christopher H. Smith, Co-Director, Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California


6. The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl

“Hampl [is] an eloquent apologist for solitude.  It is not just important to the creative life, she proposes, but a cornerstone of spiritual well-being.  Its prime function, and prize, is a closer experience of reality.” – The Boston Globe

7. You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe

“Alexis Coe jolts readers with a fresh retelling of the first president. It’s Washington without the pomp—the United States’ first president like you’ve never seen him before.” —Reader’s Digest

8. Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
“Samantha Irby’s Wow, No Thank You is a gift that everyone should give themselves and each other. She writes with such wisdom about our culture and such honesty about herself. And nobody—but nobody—is funnier. Every time I read Irby, I feel freer.” —Glennon Doyle, Hello Sunshine

We hope you enjoy these titles and are able to breathe in some peace and calm this summer. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to throw your favorite Breathe Free Essentials blend into your pool bag to really round out that moment for yourself.

Have other recommendations we should include in our next reading list? Leave a comment below!

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