The 5 Must-Reads of the Summer, According to a Bookseller

Danielle Mullen, founder of Chicago’s Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery, reveals new releases she couldn’t put down


As Danielle Mullen was walking through downtown Chicago on a summer day, she came across an empty space that caught her attention. Mullen, who has a Ph.D. in literary theory, decided to turn the space into a vibrant Chicago bookshop, born in 2019.

Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery hosts art, a lovingly curated selection of books and most of all — a warm community. (We love the store’s Instagram page.) Plus, it’s currently the only Black woman-owned bookstore in the city. “What I love most about leading the Semicolon team is being surrounded by people who love both books and community,” Danielle told us. “It’s not often that we find ourselves on the same page as people we work with.”

She added: “Bookstores are more important than ever to local communities because we are pillars of knowledge and mental expansion.” As Covid-19 continues to keep us (mostly) indoors, Mullen recommends five great armchair escapes to check out this summer.

Books You Can Read Immediately:

1. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: “It’s gripping, poignant and beautifully written!” (We got a behind-the-scenes look at the book from Brit here.)

2. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: “A great story that applies to current times and forces the reader to see multiple sides of every story.”

3. Less by Andrew Sean Greer: “A little lighter, but still thought-provoking and great for travel reading.”

Upcoming Releases:

1. Luster by Raven Lelani: “This comes out August 4th. Soooo good! A mental and emotional coming of age story that explores womanhood, open relationships, and life’s ability to get completely out of control.”

2. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman: “This Comes out September 8th. Amazing read that focuses on how our relationships change as time passes.”

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Books purchased through our Book Shop links might earn us affiliate revenue. Katie Couric Media will donate those proceeds.

This originally appeared on Medium.