Here are seven awesome summer reads by women for women to fuel your summer with inspiration, laughter, and lessons learned.
This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare (Hardcopy, $13.60)
Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom's apartment.”
Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true.
Micro-Resilience: Minor Shifts for Major Boosts in Focus, Drive, and Energy (Hardcopy, $11.77)
Learn powerful, science-based techniques to boost focus, drive and energy hour-by-hour throughout the day--every day.
As leadership consultants and executive trainers, Bonnie St. John and Allen P. Haines have heard the same complaints from clients for years; periodic burnout, lack of focus and low energy. So they dug into the latest research on neuroscience, psychology and physiology looking for big answers. Instead they found small answers; proof that small adjustments in daily routines, including thought patterns, food and drink, rest and movement can fight the forces that sap our energy and store focus and drive. They call these amazing efficient restorative techniques "micro-resilience." Thousands of men and women from all walks of life have already found effortless ways to incorporate these little changes into the busiest of schedules. Dozens of entertaining anecdotes from real people using micro-resilience demonstrate that when our brains fire faster, our energy increases and we can cope with almost any surprise, pressure or crisis.
And Then There Was Me: A Novel of Friendship, Secrets and Lies (Hardcopy, $18.27)
Bea and Awilda have been best friends from the moment Awilda threw her fourteen year-old self across Bea’s twin-sized bed as if they had known each other forever. Bubbly, adventurous Awilda taught sheltered, shy Bea how to dress, wear her hair and what to do with boys. She even introduced Bea to her husband, Lonnie, in college, who pledged to take good care of her for the rest of their lives. But philanderer Lonnie breaks that promise over and over again, leaving Bea to wrestle with her self-esteem and long time secret addiction.
Recently Lonnie has plopped the family in a New Jersey upper class suburb, which lacks the diversity that Bea craves but has the school district and zip code envy that Lonnie wants. The demands of carrying a third child and fitting into this new environment while pretending that her husband is not cheating on her again, is more than she can handle. And just when she thinks things can’t get any worst, the ultimate deception snaps the little thread that was holding her life together and all comes tumbling down.
Sadeqa Johnson's And Then There Was Me is the story of love and friendship, heartache and betrayal. It’s the journey of a woman stripped down to her lowest point and needing to find the will to press on.
Startup: A Novel (Hardcopy, $17.10)
Set in the New York tech scene, this funny novel centered around the new age of technology is filled with a cast of seemly real characters whom work for a startup called TakeOff. An assured, observant debut from the veteran online journalist Doree Shafrir, Startup is a sharp, hugely entertaining story of youth, ambition, love, money and technology's inability to hack human nature.
Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea. His mindfulness app, TakeOff, is already the hottest thing in tech and he's about to launch a new and improved version that promises to bring investors running and may turn his brainchild into a $1 billion dollar business--in startup parlance, an elusive unicorn.
Katya Pasternack is hungry for a scoop that will drive traffic. An ambitious young journalist at a gossipy tech blog, Katya knows that she needs more than another PR friendly puff piece to make her the go-to byline for industry news.
Sabrina Choe Blum just wants to stay afloat. The exhausted mother of two and failed creative writer is trying to escape from her credit card debt and an inattentive husband-who also happens to be Katya's boss-as she rejoins a work force that has gotten younger, hipper, and much more computer literate since she's been away.
Before the ink on Mack's latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message hints that he may be working a bit too closely for comfort with a young social media manager in his office. When Mack's bad behavior collides with Katya's search for a salacious post, Sabrina gets caught in the middle as TakeOff goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As the fallout from Mack's scandal engulfs the lower Manhattan office building where all three work, it's up to Katya and Sabrina to write the story the men in their lives would prefer remain untold.
My Mrs. Brown: A Novel (Hardcopy, $13.06)
Sometimes a dress isn’t just a dress.
Emilia Brown is a woman of a certain age. She has spent a frugal, useful, and wholly restrained life in Ashville, a small town in Rhode Island. Overlooked especially by the industries of fashion and media, Mrs. Brown is one of today’s silent generations of women whose quiet no-frills existences would make them seem invisible. She is a genteel woman who has known her share of personal sorrows and quietly carried on, who makes a modest living cleaning and running errands at the local beauty parlor, who delights in evening chats with her much younger neighbor, twenty-three-year-old Alice Danvers.
When the grand dame of Ashville passes away, Mrs. Brown is called upon to inventory her estate and comes across a dress that changes everything. The dress isn’t a Cinderella confection; it’s a simple yet exquisitely tailored Oscar de la Renta sheath and jacket—a suit that Mrs. Brown realizes, with startling clarity, will say everything she has ever wished to convey. She must have it. And so, like the inspired heroine of Paul Gallico’s 1958 classic Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris, Mrs. Brown begins her odyssey to purchase the dress. For not only is the owning of the Oscar de la Renta a must, the intimidating trip to purchase it on Madison Avenue is essential as well. If the dress is to give Mrs. Brown a voice, then she must prepare by making the daunting journey—both to the emerald city and within herself.
Timeless, poignant, and appealing, My Mrs. Brown is a novel for every mother in the world, every woman who ever wanted the perfect dress, and every child who wanted to give it to her.
I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool (The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman) (Hardcopy, $14.95)
The bestselling and “perennially hilarious” mother-daughter team is back with a new collection of stories from their real lives, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Join Lisa and Francesca as they regret drunk-shopping online, try smell-dating, and explore the freedom of a hiatus from men - a Guyatus. They offer a fresh and funny take on the triumphs and facepalm moments of modern life, showing that when it comes to navigating the crazy world we live in, you’re always your own best lifeguard.
How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life, by Heather Havrilesky (Doubleday, $24.95)
Should you quit your day job to follow your dreams? How do you rein in an overbearing mother? Will you ever stop dating wishy-washy, noncommittal guys? Should you put off having a baby for your career?
Heather Havrilesky, the author of the weekly advice column Ask Polly, featured in New York magazine’sThe Cut, is here to guide you through the “what if’s” and “I don’t knows” of modern life with the signature wisdom and tough love her readers have come to expect.
How to Be a Person in the World is a collection of never-before-published material along with a few fan favorites. Whether she’s responding to cheaters or loners, lovers or haters, the depressed or the down-and-out, Havrilesky writes with equal parts grace, humor, and compassion to remind you that even in your darkest moments you’re not alone.
Have a book that you'd like to share with our community? Leave a comment below.