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Chill Summer Reads
Grab a cozy spot and unwind with a new release


July 2016

"Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube" by Blair Braverman

In stores and available online July 5; meet the author at Boswell Book Company on July 21

The book: A memoir of a California girl who heads to Norway to learn dogsledding and consequently must navigate a man’s world and harsh landscape.

The buzz: In a starred review from Kirkus, "Ice Cube" garnered the following praise: "Indelible characters, adventurous spirit and acute psychological insight combine in this multilayered debut. … Her external experiences are extraordinary in the frigid north, but it’s what happens internally that both sets this memoir apart and gives it universal resonance."

The author: An Iowa Writers’ Workshop grad, Braverman makes regular visits to Milwaukee. She lives in Mountain, Wis., where she is training a team of sled dogs for the Iditarod.

Favorite book: "The book I’ve reread the most is Annie Dillard’s ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,’" Braverman says. "She’s the only writer I know of who is horrified by nature to the point of transcendence."

Summer picks: "I want to finish Charles Bowden’s ‘Blood Orchid’ trilogy, which has been haunting me for a year," Braverman says, "and I’m looking forward to Bronwen Dickey’s ‘Pit Bull’ and Rob Moor’s ‘On Trails.’"

"The 100 Year Miracle" by Ashley Ream

In stores and available online now

The book: This thriller follows a scientist studying bioluminescent creatures that live for just six days every century — and may provide a cure to her suffering if she can uncover their life-saving powers and breed them.

The buzz: Gillian Flynn, author of the megahit "Gone Girl," blurbed the book: "‘The 100 Year Miracle’ is already one of my favorite novels of 2016. Ashley Ream has an absolutely astounding voice — she is one of the most compelling, sharpest writers working today."

The author: Ream worked for Wisconsin Public Television while finishing "Miracle" and wrote in her car during her lunch breaks — even in winter. "I’d climb into the backseat, crank up the heat, and type wildly for an hour at noon every day before running back to work," she says.

Favorite book: "Into the Beautiful North" by Luis Alberto Urrea.

Summer picks: "‘A Perfect Life’ by Eileen Pollack, about a scientist trying to find a genetic marker for the deadly Valentine’s Disease, which she and the man she loves may both carry," Ream says. "‘I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This’ by Nadja Spiegelman, a memoir by the daughter of ‘Maus’ creator Art Spiegelman and New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly. ‘Enchanted Islands’ by Allison Amend. This book takes place on the Galápagos Islands, and the setting just sounds delicious."

"Luck, Love & Lemon Pie" by Amy E. Reichert

In stores and available online July 12; meet the author at Books and Company, Oconomowoc, on July 12 and Boswell Book Company on July 18

The book: Reichert’s second romance-tinged novel set in the Milwaukee area moves the action from the dining table of the first to the poker table. When MJ fears she’s losing her husband to gambling, she joins him at the casino as a way to spend more time with him, but she discovers a hidden talent for the game — and wins an admirer.

The buzz: From Kirkus: "Reichert follows her debut, ‘The Coincidence of Coconut Cake,’ with another title featuring an engaging plot and excellent storytelling. …A thought-provoking exploration of a modern-day marriage in midlife crisis."

The author: A Manitowoc native, Reichert came to the Milwaukee area for grad school 20 years ago at Marquette University and made Cream City her permanent home.

Favorite books: "‘Attachments’ by Rainbow Rowell — a romantic comedy with the right combination of humor, sweetness and top-notch writing," Reichert says. "‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien. ‘Come Away With Me’ by Karma Brown — a beautifully written book with a twist you won’t see coming."

Summer pick: "‘One True Loves’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Her writing is the perfect mix of funny and sad," Reichert says. m

"As Good as Gone" by Larry Watson

In stores and available online now

The book: Set in the 1960s, this story follows a cowboy loner who returns to his estranged family in a small Montana town. In dealing with his grandchildren’s troubles, the wild card from the Old West instills an order not exactly by the law and bonds with the girl and boy.

The buzz: "Gone" made the July Indie Next List, top recommendations from independent booksellers across the country. "This is a compelling novel about a man who is unable to let go of his past or move on with the times that he lives in," says Sharon K. Nagel, a bookseller at Boswell Book Company on Milwaukee’s East Side.

The author: A visiting professor at Marquette University and Milwaukeean since 2003, Watson has published several novels, including "Montana 1948" and "Let Him Go."

Favorite book: "Light Years" by James Salter. "I reread it every year," Watson says.

Summer picks: "I’ll be reading work by and about Ernest Hemingway, since I’m teaching a course on his fiction in the fall," Watson says, mentioning the five-volume biography by Michael Reynolds. "Hemingway led a fascinating, if less than admirable, life."

This story ran in the July 2016 issue of: