Check It Out Category: Summer Reading Programs

Top Books Read During Adult Summer Reading!

With Summer Reading at a close, we took a look at what readers have been enjoying the most! Grand prize winners will be notified soon, but we can all be proud of reading a total of 2,755 books for adult Summer Reading. The assortment of top books read below make up just a slice of the summer reads pie.

All Systems Red book cover

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids. A team of scientists are shadowed by their a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

People we Meet on Vacation book cover

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

With one week to win back the best friend she might just be in love with, a travel writer plans the trip of a lifetime.

House in the Cerulean Sea book cover

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days. But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps…

Becoming book cover

Becoming by Michelle Obama

An intimate memoir by the former First Lady chronicles the experiences that have shaped her remarkable life, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago through her setbacks and achievements in the White House.

On the Way to the Wedding book cover

On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn

Gregory Bridgerton has fallen head over heels for gorgeous Hermione Watson, despite the fact she is in love with another, and joins forces with Hermione’s best friend, Lady Lucinda Abernathy, to stop the disastrous alliance, but love has its own way of turning everything upside down.

the other black girl book cover

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books, 26-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel is hired until she after a string uncomfortable events, is elevated to Office Darling, leaving Nella in the dust.

Anxious People book cover

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Taken hostage by a failed bank robber while attending an open house, eight anxiety-prone strangers—including a redemption-seeking bank director, two couples who would fix their marriages and a plucky octogenarian—discover their unexpected common traits.

malibu rising book cover

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Four famous siblings throw an epic end-of-summer party that goes dangerously out of control as secrets and loves that shaped this family’s generations come to light, changing their lives forever.

Local Woman Missing book cover

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

When Delilah, who disappeared 11 years earlier when she was only 6 years old, shockingly returns, the residents of a quiet suburban neighborhood want to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

Felix Ever After book cover

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend.

seven days in June book cover

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling writer; Shane Hall is a reclusive, award-winning literary author. As high school seniors, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love before Shane disappeared from Eva’s life–but they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since. When Eva and Shane meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly once again. Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart; but before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered…

legacy book cover

Legacy by Nora Roberts

After launching her own line of yoga and workout videos, Adrian Rizzo begins receiving death threats, which lead her back home to Maryland, where she, with the help of her childhood crush, must find the truth when the threats escalate to murder.

Vanishing Half book cover

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Twin sisters, inseparable as children, ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

the last thing he told me book cover

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

After her husband disappears, Hannah Hall quickly realizes he isn’t who he said he was and that his 16-year-old daughter, who wants nothing to do with her, may hold the key to figuring out his true identity.

Summer Reading Category Spotlight: Art Books

reading colors your world

In a summer celebration of the many ways in which Reading Colors Our World, we cannot overlook the rich experiences offered by books dedicated to art. Whether illuminating technique, striking pictorials, historical context, tools for interpretation, or a fascinating palette of all, these volumes open our eyes to worlds both observed and imagined. Train your gaze upon these curated standouts from MPPL’s collection, or click here for an expanded gallery of works that merge visual and language.

The Art of Love: The Romantic and Explosive Stories Behind Art's Greatest Couples book cover

The Art of Love: The Romantic and Explosive Stories Behind Art’s Greatest Couples by Kate Bryan

The Art of Love tells the stories of the most fascinating couples of the art world, exploring the passionate, challenging and loving relationships behind some of the world’s greatest works of art.

Art of Love is an art piece itself.” ~Amazon.com review

Transatlantic Encounters: Latin American Artists in Paris Between the Wars book cover

Transatlantic Encounters: Latin American Artists in Paris Between the Wars by Michele Greet

The work of Latin American artists in interwar Paris receives overdue attention in this unprecedented survey, which highlights the artists’ significant role in the development of modernism.

“This book goes beyond the study of Latin American art to become a must-read for anyone interested in modern art in the first half of the twentieth century.” ~Katherine Manthorne

Postures: Body Language in Art book cover

Postures: Body Language in Art by Desmond Morris

Never before given such dedicated attention, Postures argues that the gestures portrayed in a work of art can reflect the mores of a particular period in history, the customs of a certain culture, or a fashion in artistic styles.

“Accessible and enjoyable… Most effective when it uses art to draw attention to power dynamics and how behaviors can give insight into social structures.” ~Choice

The Art of Being Bill: The Many Faces of Awesome book cover

The Art of Being Bill: The Many Faces of Awesome by Ezra Croft

The Art of Being Bill is the first illustrated collection of Bill Murray, highlighting the star like you’ve never seen him before: Bill Murray at The Last Supper, Bill Murray as an Indian god, Bill Murray as a knight, Bill Murray as Superman, and numerous other artistic tributes that will amuse and inspire you.

“When you see the cover of this paperback, showing a tattooed Bill Murray looking straight at you, your fingers itch to open it. And what a treat when you do.” ~TwinCities.com

Summer Reading Category Spotlight: Kindness & Community Fiction

reading colors your world

Studies have shown that when we witness kindness, we are inspired to be kind to others. Also, reading fiction encourages empathy and increases understanding. Experience for yourself a hopeful combination of these two truths by enjoying stories like these favorites about people and/or communities helping others. For more kindness and community inspired fiction, venture to Lists & Suggestions.

Anxious People book cover

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Taken hostage by a failed bank robber while attending an open house, eight anxiety-prone strangers—including a redemption-seeking bank director, two couples who would fix their marriages and a plucky octogenarian—discover their unexpected common traits.

Witty; Moving

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend book cover

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist–even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books.

Quirky; Charming

Real Men Knit book cover

The Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

Determined to keep his late adoptive mother’s Harlem knitting shop open, one of four brothers accepts the help of a craft-savvy businesswoman who is hiding her secret crush on him.

Big-Hearted; Sweet

Bring on the Blessings book cover

Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins

When a post-Reconstruction community succumbs to a desperate need for funds and purpose, its mayor puts the small town up for sale and finds a buyer in Bernardine Brown, who believes the town’s sale to be a sign from God.

Engaging; Heartwarming

House in the Cerulean Sea book cover

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days. But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps…

Hopeful; Offbeat

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune book cover

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim

Inheriting her grandmother’s restaurant in a crumbling San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood, Natalie Tan is advised by the local seer to prepare three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to help their struggling community.

Engaging; Sweet

The Switch book cover

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Ready for an adventure in the months after her husband of 60 years departs, a woman from a picture-postcard Yorkshire village offers to swap places with her burned-out adult granddaughter to pursue romance in bustling London.

Funny; Uplifting

The Thursday Murder Club book cover

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Meeting weekly in their retirement village’s Jigsaw Room to exchange theories about unsolved crimes, four savvy septuagenarians propose a daring but unorthodox plan to help a woman rookie cop solve her first big murder case.

Likeable; Suspenseful

Summer Reading Category Spotlight: Science Books

reading colors your world

Astronomer and scientist Carl Sagan said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Read one of these science books for your Summer Reading journey, and learn something incredible! If your curiosity demands more, an expanded list of did-you-know titles is only a click away.

The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think book cover

The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman

Have you wondered: Which bird impales its prey on thorns, but is also a beautiful singer? Which birds feed their siblings? Which give gifts, or create stunning works of art? Which destroy other birds’ creations? Is it true birds think?

Learn about these and many more idiosyncrasies in the amazing world of birds.

Accessible; Engaging

Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live book cover

Apollo’s Arrow by Nicholas A. Christakis

Have you wondered: What will be the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic on American society? What will our nation’s recovery look like in the coming years? Was this the worst epidemic ever? Has the pandemic changed the way people view scientific information?

A science-backed look at where America could be headed in the future as the pandemic recedes.

Incisive; Persuasive

Chemistry for Breakfast: The Amazing Science of Everyday Life book cover

Chemistry for Breakfast by Dr. Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim

Have you wondered: Why does your alarm clock nearly send you reeling from your bed? How does toothpaste work on your teeth? Why do the cookies or cake you bake sometimes turn out dry? What does chemistry have to do with falling in love?

This book shows that chemistry can provide the answers to life’s quirky questions.

Captivating; Accessible

Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going book cover

Cosmic Queries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Have you wondered: How old is the universe? Is there intelligent life beyond Earth? What is our place in the universe? How will it all end?

An enlightening look at these and other perennial questions about our world.

Thought-Provoking; Engaging

The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet book cover

The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann

Have you wondered: Is the best way to fight climate change up to individual citizens? Are we really making a difference by recycling, flying less, or eating less red meat? Are fossil fuel companies just deflecting blame? How can real change be obtained?

Become an informed citizen in the fight against climate change with the ideas in this book.

Compelling; Hopeful

The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth book cover

The Musical Human by Michael Spitzer

Have you wondered: Where did music come from? Why does music play such an important part of our lives? Does music have a connection with the animal world? How did cultural attitudes through the centuries define music?

An in-depth look at the fundamental role music plays in human lives.

Thought-Provoking; Engaging

A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and its Assault on the American Mind book cover

A Terrible Thing to Waste by Harriet A. Washington

Have you wondered: What is environmental poisoning? Do chemicals and toxins actually lower intelligence? Why are high levels of harmful chemicals disproportionately found in communities of color? What can citizens do to advocate for less toxic environments?

This important book has the ability to provoke outrage and inspire debate about the damage being done to marginalized communities due to high levels of toxins.

Well-Researched; Evocative

Summer Reading Category Spotlight: Positive Change Makers

reading colors your world

The Positive Change-Makers in Nonfiction category for Summer Reading highlights those who have impacted communities and history for the greater good. A few of our favorites are featured below, and even more lives of inspiration may be discovered here.

She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman book cover

She Came To Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

A lively, informative and illustrated tribute to one of the most exceptional women in American history–Harriet Tubman–looks at a heroine whose fearlessness and activism still resonates today.

Engaging; Well-Researched

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love book cover

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love by Jonathan Van Ness

The style-expert star of Queer Eye shares deeply personal stories from his Midwestern childhood, revealing how he channeled his passions and setbacks into the positive energy that shaped his signature brand.

Funny; Upbeat

The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke book cover

The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart

The definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Explore the education of Alain Locke, including his becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University, and his long career as a professor.

History; Inspiring

Fearless Women: Courageous Females Who Refused to be Denied book cover

Fearless Women: Courageous Females Who Refused to Be Denied by Toby Reynolds

Profiles thirty-six women who fought for freedom, and forged new paths to help change society, including such notables as Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, Jane Goodall, Maya Angelou, and Amelia Earhart.

Thought-Provoking; Well-Researched

Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster book cover

Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down American’s Most Powerful Mobster by Stephen L. Carter

Author Stephen L. Carter traces the story of his grandmother, an African-American attorney who, in spite of period barriers, devised the strategy that sent mafia chieftain Lucky Luciano to prison in the 1930s.

True Crime; Engaging

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare book cover

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblat

A portrait of Elizabethan England and how it contributed to the making of William Shakespeare discusses how he moved to London lacking money, connections, and a formal education and rose to become his age’s foremost playwright.

History; Richly Detailed

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina book cover

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

Documents the author’s emotionally dynamic effort to become the third African-American soloist in the history of the American Ballet Theatre, describing the harsh family difficulties she overcame including her mother’s highly publicized custody battle to halt her career.

Inspiring; Moving

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations...One School at a Time book cover

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations-One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson

Traces how the author, having been rescued and resuscitated by Himalayan villagers after a failed attempt to climb K2, worked to build schools that would particularly benefit the young girls who were forbidden an education by Taliban restrictions.

Impassioned; Thought-Provoking