2021 Summer Book Guide: Adult Readers


Summer is here. It’s time to dive into a good book – and it’s time to Talk about Iowa annual summer book exhibition.

Host Charity Nebbe is joined by independent Iowa booksellers Jan Weismiller and Tim Budd of Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City and Hunter Gillum of Beaverdale Books. Whether you’re looking for scientific exploration, a compelling dissertation, or the opportunity to get lost in a novel, we’ve got something to make your reading list.

Guests:

fiction

“Abundance” by Jakob Guanzon
“Abundance” is the story of a father and a son who find themselves homeless and poor. The story is told in flashbacks that “push (the reader) into their situation, sometimes feeling the system working against them.”
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“Circle 3: Aftermath” by Carl Frode Tiller
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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Brandon Taylor’s “Dirty Animals”
“If you liked Brandon Taylor’s novel ‘Real Life’ (shortlisted for the Booker Prize), you’ll love ‘Filthy Animals’. In this collection of stories, Brandon Taylor brings his keen eye and eloquent ear to the life of characters navigating the eternal issues of youthful love and self-definition in an overly contemporary world of these characters, but they are subordinate to the larger concerns of the soul. “
Recommended by Jan Weismiller
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Brandon Taylor will be present Talk about Iowa next week to discuss his new book.

“Five wounds” by Kirstin Valdez Quade
“Five Wounds” takes place over a full calendar year, from Good Friday to the next. In a family drama, “you get (each character) their own personal ideas, but also how they connect as a family”.
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“Great Circle” by Maggie Shipstead
This breathtaking and impeccably documented saga makes it seem like it could only have been told by Maggie Shipstead, whose strange sense of character is swayed by her grand vision and her own experience as a traveler. and travel writer. It’s proof that gender-defying women – both historical and contemporary – have a lot to tell us about bravery and perception, both in relation to the human and natural world. a time when we all need something to broaden our vision, ‘Great Circle’ is a novel to savor and devour. “
Recommended by Jan Weismiller
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“Grand feu” by Shirley Hazzard
“If you’re in the mood for a deeply moving love story with a truly scrupulous protagonist, ‘Great Fire’ is the book for you.”
Recommended by Jan Weismiller
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“Night always comes” by Willy Vlautin
This gritty book can look like black south at times. It is about “the efforts of people to help their families and… achieve the American dream”.
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“The Old and Future Witches” by Alix E. Harrow
“A high fantasy novel that combines historical facts with a modern #MeToo sensibility. An entertaining and engaging read.”
Recommended by Tim Budd
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“Hail Mary Project” by Andy Weir
From the author of “The Martian” comes the story of a college science teacher named Ryland Grace. “With his signature humor and tons of science and math, Mr. Weir is another hit with readers who really like science in their sci-fi. A great summer read.”
Recommended by Tim Budd
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“The Prophets” by Robert Jones, Jr.
“This first novel is a love story that takes place in the most unlikely place – a pre-war cotton plantation in Mississippi – and between the most unlikely of lovers – two slaves named Isaiah and Samuel.” Budd describes Jones’s handwriting as “earthy, majestic, and new.” I still try to process a lot of the novel because it’s so rich.
Recommended by Tim Budd
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“The Abducted” by Brandon Hobson
It is “a book that you must read with someone because you will want to talk about it”.
Recommended by Tim Budd
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“The Remembrance Museum: Stories” by Elizabeth McCracken
Recommended by Jan Weismiller
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“The Softness of Water” by Nathan Harris
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu” by Tom Lin
This novel is a completely original western with a touch of fantasy.
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“The Untold Stories of Allan Gurganus” by Alan Gurganus
Recommended by Jan Weismiller
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“We start at the end” by Chris Whitaker
Recommended by Tim Budd
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non-fictional works

“Broken (in the best possible way)” by Jenny Lawson
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“Bubbleball” by Ben Golliver
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“Come Fly into the World: The Story of the Age of Pan Am Women’s Jets” by Julia Cooke
“Mrs. Cooke, herself the daughter of a Pan American executive, takes us into the world of Pan American flight attendants between the years 1966 and 1975, when the airline was at its peak as the gold standard of travel. Limited by rules about height, weight, age and marital status, one way or another, these women have found the freedom to see the world instead of just seeing the kitchen. “
Recommended by Tim Budd
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“Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese-American Heroes in World War II” by Daniel James Brown
Recommended by Tim Budd
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“Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York” by Alexander Nemerov
A great companion to Mary Garbriel’s ‘Ninth Street Women’, released in 2018, ‘Fierce Poise’ focuses on Helen Frankenthaler and paints her life as vividly as her paintings. From her first encounter with Jackson Pollack’s paintings to her first solo exhibition in a gallery in its break with the eminent art critic Clement Greenberg, this biography of an increasingly important American painter is also a close portrait of an era. “
Recommended by Jan Weismiller
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“Float Like a Butterfly, Drink Mint Tea” by Alex Wood
Wood’s book is a “sort of recovery memory”, but “because he’s a comedian it sometimes makes you laugh out loud, not to mention addiction.”
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War” by Louis Menand
“It’s a critical roadmap for the decades of the middle of the last century. From Sartre to Mailer, from Jackson Pollack to Andy Warhol. Susan Sontag to Betty Friedan, Elvis to Dylan and the Beatles, Richard Wright to James Baldwin and Stokely Carmichael – the list goes on and on. Menand’s range of interests, depth of understanding, and the unemotional spirit that drives his prose make this book a delight, whether you read it from start to finish. or whichever interests you choose. away with a better understanding of 20th century politics and art and their relationship to each other. “
Recommended by Jan Weismiller
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“A Little Devil in America: Notes of Praise for Black Performance” by Hanif Abdurraquib
“Abdurraquib wrote poetic essays about the performance of black people – everyone from Otis Redding to Beyoncé – in America and how those performances influenced culture in general.”
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“Mike Nichols: A Life” by Mark Harris
“Mike Nichols was a great director with an amazing ability to get the best out of the people he worked with. This chronicle of his life in film, theater and stand-up is funny, insightful, and complete.”
Recommended by Jan Weismiller
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“We are what we eat: a Slow Food manifesto” by Alice Waters
Recommended by Jan Weismiller
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“What happened to Paula?” By Katherine Dykstra
Recommended by Hunter Gillum
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“Why peacocks? An unlikely search for meaning in the world’s most magnificent bird ”by Sean Flynn
“When the opportunity arises to host three peacocks, award-winning journalist Flynn and his family jump at the chance – without any knowledge of these birds. It’s a ‘family odyssey … you’ll laugh hysterically.’
Recommended by Tim Budd
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And if you need more book content, check out the Talk about Iowa Reading Club. The July selection is “Clap When You Land” by Elizabeth Acevedo. Join the discussion on July 20. You can also discuss book club selections and other literary interests with Charity and hundreds of other readers in the Talk about Iowa Book Club Facebook group.

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