Local Librarians, Book Lovers Offer Summer Reads

Patch asked book enthusiasts throughout our coverage area to share their favorite summer reads. Here's a collection of great books, covering just about every genre you can think of.

Looking for a good book? Patch asked librarians and literary types from throughout the Milwaukee area to share their favorites for summer reading. Try one of these out, if you're looking for a new read, and leave a note on your recommendations in the comments. 

Phil Gerbyshak, Glendale

  • Finch Effect, by Nacie Carson. Great book for those job seeking or under employed.
  • Small Town Rules, by Barry J. Moltz and Becky McCray. How your big business can be more like a small business.
  • Tribes, by Seth Godin. Awesome stuff on how EVERYONE can be a leader.

Jen Gerber, Library Director, Oscar Grady Public Library, Saukville

  • The President’s Club, by Nancy Gibbs. Explores the private relationships among the last thirteen presidents, uncovering and exploring the partnerships, private deals, rescue missions, and rivalries of those few men who served as commander in chief. The Presidents Club was born at Eisenhower's inauguration when Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover first conceived the idea. Over the years that followed — and to this day — the presidents relied on, misunderstood, sabotaged, and formed alliances with one another that changed history. The world's most exclusive fraternity, The Presidents Club will change the way you think about the presidency, showing that the club itself is an instrument of presidential power. 

Susan McPherson, Retired ex-English major/economist/journalist/voracious reader, Fox Point

Books on her bedside table:

  • Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
  • Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel
  • Calling Invisible Women, by Jeanne Ray 
  • Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
  • The Masters Muse, by Varley O'Connor
  • The Midwife of Venice, by Roberta Rich

David Nimmer, Director WJ Niederkorn Library, Port Washington

    When I think of summer reading suggestions I think strategy more than a specific books. Summer is for enjoyment and fun but not to completely forget those ideas that peak our interest. So my recommendation is to find your favorite subject and find fiction about that subject.

    This summer I am thinking a lot about about the exceptional abilities of man. The Olympics our upon us, the end result of years of training and hard work. In addition I seem to constantly see images of people who have suffered tragedies but through technical innovations can now walk, run and hear. These people will never be allowed to perform in the Olympics proper and that makes me contemplate the future of man as these technologies start to enhance the human being as a whole. Will we all be considered humans in the future? 

    Well I stumbled upon a book that puts on all these weighty thoughts into a fiction form, it is Amped by Daniel Wilson. I just started but already I have been thinking about what it means to be human all day long. That is wonderful for the summer. So read Amped if you are also interested in this subject or search the library catalog for your favorite subject and look for the word “— Fiction” at the end. Amped has this curious subject entry: Human experimentation in medicine — Fiction.

 Jenna Czaplewski, Greenfield Patch Book Blogger

  • A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness (Shadow of Night, book two, comes out July 10)
  • Jeneration X, by Jen Lancaster
  • Heaven is Here, by Stephanie Nielson 
  • Overseas, by Beatriz Williams
  • The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

Susan Falk/ RIF — Reading is Fun!, Falk Group Public Relations, Bayside

  • The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities, by Will Allen and Charles Wilson. Will Allen is a pioneering urban farmer and MacArthur “Genius Award” winner, who  points the way to building a new food system that can feed — and heal — broken communities. Best part is Will is from Milwaukee and his amazing work is taking place right in our back yard on Silver Spring Drive.
  • Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. Unbroken, the inspiring true story of a man who lived through a series of catastrophes almost too incredible to be believed. In evocative, immediate descriptions, Hillenbrand unfurls the story of Louie Zamperini — a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story that will keep you glued to the pages, eagerly awaiting the next turn in the story and fearing it at the same time. You’ll cheer for the man who somehow maintained his selfhood and humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered, and you’ll want to share this book with everyone you know.

Kathy Klager, Director, Pauline Haass Public Library, Sussex

  • Signs of Life, by Natalie Taylor
  • Switch, by Dan and Chip Heath
  • The Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball
  • Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen
  • This I Believe and This I Believe II (audiobooks)
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder
  • Any poetry collection, by Billy Collins

Susan Nolte, Bayside

  • State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett. It's about a doctor who travels to the Amazon to investigate the death of her colleague. She stays with a tribe that is being studied to help develop a new fertility drug because the women in this tribe have babies into old age.

Eric Grob, Adult and Teen Librarian, Pauline Haass Public Library, Sussex

Beat the heat and read some chilling Scandinavian crime fiction! 

  • Jo Nesbø's detective series is gritty, suspenseful, and mostly set in Norway. If you want to start close to the beginning, read The Redbreast (the first book in the series, The Bat, won't be published in the U.S. until the fall). Later, more widely available titles such as The Snowman and The Leopard will keep you up late and in suspense until Nesbø's new book, The Phantom, arrives in October. 
  • Henning Mankell is considered one of Sweden's best mystery writers, and his stellar series starring flawed but brilliant detective Kurt Wallander provides countless twists and surprises. Start with Faceless Killers.

Brookfield Public Library Staff (staff members comments after selections)


  • 2030: The Real Story of What Happens in America, by Albert Brooks ("The future is happening now" — Edell)
  • The American Heiress: A Novel, by Daisy Goodwin ("Set at the turn of the 20th century, this book brings to mind Downton Abbey" — Mary S.) 
  • When She Woke, by  Hillary Jordan ("A novel of self-discovery and the importance of knowing and being yourself" — Nina)
  • The Lantern: A Novel, by Deborah Lawrenson ("Beautifully atmospheric and reminscent of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca" — Mary S.)
  • The Night Circus: A Novel, by Erin Morgenstern ("An amazing book that defies description. It is happy, depressing, heartwarming, cynical, realistic, fanciful and magical" — Nina)
  • No Rest for the Dead: A Novel, by various authors ("A great introduction to a number of different authors" — Cathy)
  • What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty ("Cleverly done, fascinating read" — Nina)
  • Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell ("You'll form your own attachments to the immensely likable characters in this light and breezy read" — Maura) 
  • The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes: A Novel, by Marcus Sakey ("Full of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end — and after" — Cathy)
  • The House at Tyneford, by Natasha Solomons ("A gripping story of pre-World War II" — Shirley)
  • Abide with Me, by Elizabeth Strout ("Excellent character study!" — Shirley)
  • Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo ("An emotionally moving novel, thanks in part to the nuances in narrator William Dufris' voice on the audiobook" — Sue G.)


  • Who Moved My Cheese? An A-mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and In Your Life, by Spencer Johnson ("Universal fable still applies — maybe more than ever" — Carole)
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: And How to Overcome Them, by Graham Tomlin ("This compelling, beautifully written book clarifies the age-old concepts in this modern day discussion of sin and its effect on yourself and others" — Jean L.)
  • Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, by Richard Rohr ("A very readable discussion of how one's spiritual life can be deepened through contemplative prayer" — Shirley)
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell ("Absolutely fascinating. This book is a bestseller for a reason" — Maura)
  • Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers, by Ellen Schultz ("Very scary" — Linda)
  • Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times: 250+ Ways to Buy Smarter, Spend Smarter and Save Money, by Clark Howard ("Good money-saving tips and web resources" — Tammy)
  • Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case of America's Unknown Child, by David Stout ("Very interesting" — Susan G.)
  • The Professor and the Madmen: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, by Simon Winchester ("An easily readable book that is part mystery, part history and part biography" — Sue G.)
  • Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills, by Carol Bradley ("Heartbreaking at times, but a story that needed to be told. A must-read" — Sherri)
  • The Elements of Pop-Up: A Pop-Up Book for Aspiring Paper Engineers, by David A. Carter ("The illustrations and clear explanations enable you to duplicate the desired results" — Judy)
  • Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America, by Leslie Knope (fictional author) ("If you are a fan of the show, you'll love, this hysterical look at the lovable bizarre characters and places in Pawnee" — Maura)
  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, by Eric Newby ("A classic travel adventure that is as exciting as when it was first published in 1958" — Edell)
  • River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, by Candice Millard ("A gripping page-turner about a true adventure in the Amazon jungles" — Edell)
  • One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, A Marriage and the Language of Healing, by Diane Ackerman ("I loved learning about the intricacies and plasticity of the brain and was touched and inspired by the love and dedication this couple devoted to the journey of healing." — Vicki)
  • The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion ("Didion's raw emotions resonate with all readers" — Sue G.)
  • Learning to Live Out Loud: A Memoir, by Piper Laurie ("Old 1950s Hollywood at its best" — Robin)
  • I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This: And Other Things That Strike Me as Funny, by Bob Newhart ("A comedy legend proves tha the is as charming as his TV personas" — Maura)
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, by Candice Millard ("It reads like a novel, bringing to life a president and period in our country's history" — Steph)
  • Penny Loafers & Bobby Pins: Tales and Tips from Growing Up in the 50s and 60s, by Susan Sanvidge ("Funny and sweet, this book is the perfect read for anyone who grew up in Wisconsin in the 50s and 60s" — Mary W.)
tosamom4 July 09, 2012 at 02:08 PM
So if this is a Wauwatosa online paper, where's the Wauwatosa Library and The Little Read Book, Tosa's only independent bookseller for 26 years!?
David Nimmer July 10, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Now I am even more intrigued by the considerations going on in the sporting world on whether to let Oscar Pistorius, "Blade Runner", actual enter and run this summer. An intriguing question and I have a book to enjoy at the same time. Can't ask for more in a summer read. Read more on Oscar online at: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/05/sports/la-sp-plaschke-pistorius-20120706


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