Take it to the Lake: Three booksellers share their must-read summer titles

A person reads a book near a lake
Kerri Miller "Take it to the Lake" series features great summer reading recommendations.
Photo by Nguyen Thu Hoai on Unsplash

Are you ready to dive into some summer reading? MPR News host Kerri Miller has nine titles you should put on your list.

On this week’s show, a “Take it to the Lake” special, she asked three people who spend a lot of time recommending books to devoted readers what titles they would put in your hands this season. She also talked to them about what makes a good summer read. Here’s what she heard.

Glory Edim is the founder of Well-Read Black Girl, a podcast and digital literacy platform that celebrates the uniqueness of Black literature and sisterhood.

A woman poses by a tree
Glory Edim.
Courtesy of Tiffany A. Bloomfield

“In the summer, I pick a book that lets me follow the plot. I’m in love with the voice; I’m a very voice-driven writer and editor. So if I can find a story that has a really sensational and powerful voice, I tend to save those reads for the summer, because that’s my fun time. That’s my let’s-get-lost-in-a-story time.”

Summer book picks:

Post-Traumatic” by Chantel V. Johnson

The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer” by Janelle Monáe

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Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop” by Danyel Smith

Dionne Sims is the founder and owner of Black Garnet Books, the only Black-owned bookstore in Minnesota.

A person smiles for a photo
Dionne Sims.
Courtesy of Trista Marie McGovern

“It’s starting to warm up here in Minnesota, finally. I’m feeling that urge to get back into the things that I love — one of which is reading. And I just want to pretend like I have a summer vacation again. I want to carve out the time to travel and make sure I have a couple of books on hand.”

Summer book picks:

Memphis” by Tara M. Stringfellow

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis” a collection of essays edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?” by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

Matt Keliher is the general manager and buyer for Subtext Books, an independent bookstore in St. Paul.

A man poses with his dog
Matt Keliher.
Courtesy of Sam Ziegler

“I work with my colleagues to make decisions about what books we carry and stock. A lot of our displays do showcase things that people are expecting to see when they show up. But we also have a giant display of our favorite books. Personally, as the buyer, I try not to exert my will or interest on the curation. But at the same time, that’s what keeps it interesting for me.”

Summer book picks:

Trust” by Hernan Diaz

The Anomaly” by Hervé Le Tellier

The Sea of Tranquility” by Emily St. John Mandel

Bonus pick from Kerri:

The Long-Shining Waters” by Danielle Sosin

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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