What was your favorite summer read?

On Monday, we’re looking back at the reading we’ve done so far this summer. What were your favorites? We’ll share some of your picks on air at 11.

My favorites in the last couple months: “Age of Miracles,” “Vaclav and Lena,” “Ten Thousand Saints,” and “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” I am planning to get to “The Wild Trees,” “Dune” and “Down the Mysterly River” before the summer ends. I’m not giving up on summer just yet!

–Emily Kaiser, associate digital producer

  • imareader

    I am savoring every word of “By the Iowa Sea” by Joe Blair. I have a stack of books for my vacation later this month. I am still open to recommendations for additions to the stack.

  • Thanks for the suggestion! Make sure to tune in Monday at 11. We’ll also collect quite a list here, I hope! I’m always looking for more good recommendations.

  • Travis

    I was completely enthralled by “Laman’s River” this summer. Written by local author Mark Munger of Duluth, this fast-and-tight murder mystery set the standard for my summer reading list. It’s currently my most recommended read to all who inquire. I’m waiting to get my copy back from the third borrower, so I can give it yet another read.

  • M. McLaughlin

    Hands down the best read of the summer …. the year! ….is “Potato In A Rice Bowl” by fellow Minnesotan, Peggy Keener. A page turner of the first order, readers report that sleep has been lost, houses left uncleaned, company ignored and children neglected while they relished the unwitting charm and humor of this book.

    Recipient of four international awards:

    1. Readers Favorite “Best Memoir of 2011”

    2. Readers Favorite Finalist for Best Nonfiction History/culture

    3. Readers Favorite Finalist for Best Nonfiction Humor

    4. International Book Awards Finalist for Best Memoir

    At last count, 46 five-star reviews on Amazon.com

    In this true story, Keener recalls how she clawed out a place for herself and her three babies in a 1960s post-war Tokyo. Without batting an eye, “Potato In A Rice Bowl” reveals cultural secrets Japan would undoubtedly prefer remain secret, along with excruciating explanations of its perplexing customs. The Land of the Rising Sun is not altogether inscrutable when a naive, Minnesota housewife is on the scene translating it through her sincere, though decided twisted Midwest logic. Readers declare that “Eat,Pray,Love” should step aside in the face of “Potato’s” cultural tour de force. For nearly 30 years, Keener lived on the “other” side of the world, a place where her breathless misadventures will leave you dazzled and your knee sore from repeated slaps as you laugh your way through her life

    .”Never in the farthest reaches of my mind did I ever imagine I would one day die on the other side of the world. That I would die in water on the other side of the world. And yet, that is exactly what I was doing.” Thus begins this soul searching, uncalled for, laugh-out-loud memoir, a story you will never forget.

  • Scott Brazil

    Every July, I look forward to the release of the new Daniel Silva novel. This year’s installment of the Gabriel Allon Series, “The Fallen Angel,” was outstanding!

    I am currently reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and loving it! I had put off reading it, despite the great reviews, due to the 850-page length, but I have found it to be a most enjoyable experience (I am just over half-way through it).

    Still on the horizon are Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” and Tana French’s “Broken Harbor,” both of which I am just awaiting my turn in the library rotation. I did read the first three of French’s novels earlier this summer and loved them – persoanly, I thought each one was better than the one that proceeded it, so I am really looking forward to “Broken Harbor”!!

  • Cynthia Anthony

    I met Mark Munger through another work that he did (review of Wind Without Rain) and quickly became a big fan of his blog. Our friendship developed, and I was fortunate to receive a signed copy of Laman’s River when it was published. I found the story to be unique, but it was the stunning imagery he is able to create with words that totally drew me in. Mark clearly draws on his immediate surroundings and translates what he sees into a seamlessly effective backdrop for the story. Like Travis, above, my copy is also now out on a second loan. Other works on my summer reading list include Streeter Aldrich’s Spring Came On Forever, Winther’s Take All To Nebraska, Johnson’s Now In November, and Flint’s The Old Ashburn Place.

  • Paul Theobald

    As a native of Minnesota I’ve always been a little sheepish about the fact that I have never read anything by Sigurd Olson–that changed this summer when a friend loaned me a copy of The Lonely Land. Loved it. I am impressed by the praise for Laman’s River, especially given its north woods setting, and it is next on the list!

  • Dick

    Terrific book, new author. “Walk Across The Sun”, Corban Addison. Topic is abduction and selling of young girls. It’s fiction but the topic is real and worldwide. Mostly takes place in India. A must read and you won’t put it down.

  • wayne mostek

    Check out the book, The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore. A fascinating story about two black men with the same name who grow up near each other. One becomes very successful, the other convicted of murder in prison for life.

  • Madeline

    I simply could not put down Peggy Keener’s “Potato In A Rice Bowl”! Never have I read a more endearing true story. “Potato” tells of a young, spunky Minnesota housewife who finds herself in the 1960 era of post-war Japan. You will laugh out loud in public places at her gritty efforts in making a life for her and her three babies in a no-nonsense Tokyo neighborhood, a place as perplexingly different as could possibly be from her Minnesota roots.One of the most inexplicable twists of fate is that she ends up as a popular personality on national TV. Chapter after chapter, story after story will leave you weak from laughter while at the same time in awe of Keener’s audacious efforts at creating a new norm for her family. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that the book has earned four international awards, plus dozens of 5-star ratings on Amazon.com. Do yourself a favor and bury yourself in this book. My only warning is that you should clear your schedule for you will have difficulty putting it down. And to sweeten the deal, Peggy will happily visit your book club! What could be better – an enthralling story and a chance to meet the author who lived it?

  • Claire Hoyum

    One of the most profoundly affecting books I’ve read this summer is Deanna Thompson’s “Hoping for More: Having Cancer, Talking Faith, and Accepting Grace.” It is a generously frank memoir that leads the reader from the severe backache that turned out to be a metastasis of previously undiagnosed breast cancer through treatment, recovery, and eventual return to a life that will never be completely normal again, to important questions and wise reflections on the power of faith and hope.

    Deanna is a theologian and professor of religion whose job is to help students wrestle with their natural doubts, urging them to use the truths of their lives and the lessons of their world to challenge and refine and deepen their personal beliefs. In her own journey, Deanna refuses to lean on pat religious answers. She does not believe her pain is God’s will; she does not see her illness as a blessing. She grieves the very real possibility of having to leave her daughters before they have grown and part from the husband who is her steadfast companion on this journey she did not choose.

    But Deanna does find blessing in the many ways, throughout that journey, she has been graced by the kindness, faith, and love of others—the family and friends who silently saw her family’s practical needs and stepped in to fill them and who stitched their love into a quilt that warmed her in her most chilling moments; the colleagues and students who fueled her drive to return to teaching; and the community of friends, friends of friends, and strangers, who still, through her Caringbridge site, surround her and reflect the inspiration she has been to them. As of today her site has logged nearly 54,000 visits.

    Full disclosure: Deanna is a friend of mine. I have witnessed her journey. I know her loving husband and her beautiful daughters, whose lives of accomplishment and promise keep Deanna hoping for more. I’m sure others who read her book will hope for more, too—for Deanna and her family, for the souls behind those 54,000 hits, and for themselves as they glimpse in her writing a grace very much alive.

  • vicki marlowe

    Our book club read, The Scent of God, by Beryl Singleton Bissell. Very interesting read. We’re reading The Language of Flowers by Vannessa Diffenbaugh for next month and I can hardly put it down. It’s about a young girl who’s bounced from foster home to foster home and her fascination with flowers and their meanings. Great read!

  • Meggan

    My book club gals are highly recommending “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. Will be starting that his weekend.

  • Kathe

    O my gosh — I absolutely loved “Angle of Declination” by local new authors,Doug and Sally Mayfield; the characters draw you in, making connections to each other, framed by Minnesota landscapes. Our book club is reading this as our first selection – I can’t wait to talk about this book!

  • Melinda

    Be sure to read Larry Watson’s latest – “American Boy” published by Milkweed Editions. Set in, Willow Falls, Minnesota, 1962, this coming-of-age story pulls you in with a gunshot and won’t let you go until you finish it. A must-read for adults and teens. Watson is coming to Stillwater Public Library, Oct 4, 7 PM for Club Book program, free and open to the public. “American Boy” tops “Montana 1948.”

  • Gerry

    I prefer to do my reading in the winter. In the summer the outdoors calls to me to come out and play. Even so, I have picked up a couple books in the past two months. Both are set primarily in northeastern Minnesota. I’ve re-read Lynn Laitala’s book about the Ely area – “Down From Basswood” – which I hear will soon be back in print. Another book mentioned here a couple of times – Mark Munger’s “Laman’s River” was impossible to put down. I heard him being interviewed at a book sale in Duluth – he’s great to listen to. Have him on your show!

  • Lindsay

    “A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World’s Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor” by Caroline Stoessinger was fascinating in its subject matter. I’d never heard of this vibrant, delightful 108-year old pianist and her remarkable story.

    Another favorite this sumer has been “Max Perkins: Editor of Genius” by A. Scott Berg. Perkins was the friend and editor of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe, and there is as much if not more unprecedented biographical detail about these men as there is about Perkins. I can’t imagine the research that went into this, and then I think Berg was a genius in how he brought it all together. Wow! I haven’t finished this one yet. I’m reading it slowly to savor it.

  • Jennifer Wutz

    “Laman’s River” by Mark Munger was one of my favorites this summer. It worked great for a short vacation I was on, started it on the plane ride out and when I got home I had to finish it before even unpacking. I love the way he describes his characters and the surroundings. I realy am able to picture these people, plus it helps to know the surroundings that he’s speaking of since it’s based in the area. My favorite part – the twist at the end that I never saw coming.

  • Peg Sweeney

    Best I have read this summer. Great to read a local author and have read most of his books and also follow his blog @cloquetriverpress.com. This was a very fast moving book that I had trouble putting down as I got so involve. A must read if you enjoy mystery with a local flavor and if you just want a good read try this one.

  • Peg Sweeney

    I was so excited to read the book and sent my previous comments without telling you that the book was Laman’s River by Mark Munger. Best I have read this summer.

  • Yvonne Holter

    My favorite book at the moment – and one of the best and most thought-provoking I’ve read in a long time – is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I give it my highest recommendation!

  • Mike Puncochar

    “Once an Eagle” by Anton Myrer is a phenomenal book that was suggested to my MBA class by a local CEO. This novel goes over a Nebraska man’s life and how his ethics, morals, and leadership style get him to the ranks he is at. However the other character in the book has completely different ambitions yet still gets to the same career/life ranks. It is a required read for West Point cadets as well.

  • Bela Kaul

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading “A famished road” by Ben Okri. With his mystical style of storytelling, the author took us to a place where our mere human minds have limited capacity to go. Very inciteful and very thought provoking.

  • Crystal

    Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson-Walker was GREAT! And it was wonderful seeing her at Magers & Quinn, as well!

  • Michael

    The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is absolutely wonderful. It really captures the end of college/ few years after that so many people go through, relationally, in seeking the meaning of life, and finding one’s direction through the lens of a few fascinating and intriguing characters.

  • Mary

    I’m reading Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger. I love reading his books because he sets his books in northern Minnesota where we camp often. It’s really fun to read a book that is set in places I know right down to the roads his characters travel. He is another great Minnesota author.

  • Bonnie

    I’m a big fan of local author Erin Hart. She was written up recently by the Star Tribune in their “Best of Minnesota” article as best mystery writer. I’m a sucker for a great mystery!! Her fourth book “The Book of Killowen” should be out soon. Her writing voice is almost lyrical in style. The story lines are beautifully entwined with connections and hidden symbols. I’m always delightfully enraptured when I read one of her stories.

  • Sarah Ketchum

    In spite of the horrors described, Under the Banyan Tree is one of the most extraordinary reads in a long time. Based on the true story of author Vaddey Ratner’s childhood in Cambodia during the genocide by the Khmer Rouge, her family’s displacement and struggle for survival is told with the poetic voice of a 7-yr old with a belief in the goodness of life not unlike the young Anne Frank. Heartbreaking and disturbing, this is the story of a

    period of history we know little about and of the strength of spirit we can all embrace.

  • Michael Rush

    These were not published this year, but I recently read

    Twin Cities by Trolley


    Lost Twin Cities

    They both document Twin Cities history extremely well, have great pictures and insightful accounts.

  • Michael

    I wouldn’t say Seeds of Terror by Gretchen Peters is a novelesque non-fiction book like some that have been described but I consider it well-written, well-researched, and a must read for anyone who wants to understand how the opium trade has continuously destabilized Afghanistan and the region.

  • Cari-Ana

    The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. Beautiful! Magical! A wonderful telling of Masada through the experiences of very different female leads. Hoffman never disappoints me, and she did an absolutely amazing dive into historical fiction.

  • Erin

    Reading Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward and seeing the film The Beasts of Southern Wild this summer was a powerful experience in seeing hurricane Katrina happen all over again but in a completely new way. I would recommend them both, and they compliment one another in really interesting ways!

  • Bill

    I read Hot Minnesota Sex Death by M. R. Nesheim and couldn’t put it down. Don’t let the title fool you it’s this crazed/fantastic mix of allegory and parable about the financial crisis. Everyone should definitely check it out.

  • Beth

    I absolutely loved The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. The Oscar Wao character is so funny and touching, an excellent read. I also read a book by a new author, who I think is local too, M. R. Nesheim who wrote the book Hot Minnesota Sex Death, very funny and a bit deep too, the Looc and Lopz character(s) is hilarious.

  • Hey don’t call me names lady!!! *slaps you around with a wet fish* Only kidding…