Author/Booksellers on Summer Reading

Highlighting authors who are also bookstore owners, PBS News Hour invited two of them, Louise Erdrich, owner of Birchbark Books, and Emma Straub, who recently opened Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, to share their summer reading suggestions.

Ironically, an indicator of the success of these recommendations by indie booksellers is that several of them leapt up Amazon’s sales rankings.

Death at La Fenice: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon (HC/Harper Perennial, 2004; OverDrive Sample) got the biggest bump. Erdrich says “there are 25 of Donna Leon’s crime mysteries set in Venice. Venice itself becomes a character in these books … You become so wrapped up in these compelling characters, that I think you could go through all 25 this summer … Each one is better than the last.”

Sunshine State: Essays by Sarah Gerard (HC/Harper Perennial; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). Straub calls this essay collection about Florida “a deep dive into identity and weirdness and location and family.”

Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays by Durga Chew-Bose (Macmillan/FSG Originals; OverDrive Sample). Another Straub pick, she says it “looks like a work of art and is a work of art. They are essays about identity, and family, and becoming an adult.”

Coming out next week, the LibraryRead’s title, Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy (PRH/Riverhead; RH Large Print; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) also leaped.

Warning “that it’s almost cruel to recommend for vacation reading … because it is [about] a vacation gone extremely, horribly, horribly wrong,” Straub says “it’s an incredibly gripping thriller. It’s one of those books that you really will stay up late to read … it’s so delicious when you get one of those books.”

The full list of titles the pair suggests is on the PBS website.

Both author/bookselers also contributed to a similar story by the NYT recently, joined by Ann Patchett, Jonathan Lethem, Jeff Kinney, Judy Blume. Blume, who owns Books & Books in Key West, Fla. also suggests Sunshine State.

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