Summer Reading

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Authors and independent bookstore owners Louise Erdrich, owner of Birchbark Books & Native Arts, and Emma Straub, owner of Books Are Magic, offer their recommendations for summer reading including books by Natalie Diaz, Sarah Gerard, and Lesley Nneka Arimah.

Books for Living

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“For me, books are the things that tell you what you need to do in life and they’re also the things that help you make sense of your life.” Will Schwalbe, author of Books for Living (Knopf, 2016), speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown about the importance of reading and the books that have taught him life lessons such as Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train (Riverhead Books, 2015), James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (Dial Press, 1956), and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon (Knopf, 1977).

Jeff Shotts on Rejection

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“The vitality of poetry right now, I think, is at a high pitch.” Jeff Shotts, executive editor of Graywolf Press, speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffery Brown about the independent press’s success, poetry submissions and rejections, and why there’s never been a better time than now for poetry publishing. 

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Jackie Kay

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“I wrote the poems that I wanted to read and I wrote about the experiences that I wanted to find.” Jackie Kay, Scotland's first black national poet, speaks about her memoir, Red Dust Road (Picador, 2010), which chronicles the search for her birth parents, and what she hopes to share through her poetry.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez

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“It took me a very long time to learn how to write about Colombia.” At the 2015 National Book Festival, Juan Gabriel Vásquez speaks with PBS NewHour’s Jeffrey Brown about his literary influences and journey to write stories about Colombia, where he was born. Vásquez’s fourth novel, Reputations (Riverhead Books, 2016), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Shaka Senghor

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"Literature played a profound role in turning my life around, but it was also journaling as well, like being able to really write and ask myself those tough questions..." Shaka Senghor, author of the memoir, Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison (Drop a Gem Publishing, 2013), speaks with Jeffrey Brown about how reading and writing helped him to examine his life, and the need for American citizens to understand the prison system.

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