8 Books By Wisconsin Authors to Add to Your Summer Reading List

By Christina Lorey
June 30, 2023

DID YOU KNOW? 56% of US adults admit to reading at least one “serious” book in the summer to look smarter.

While we can’t guarantee any of these reads fall under that categorization, we can confirm they’re great books written by local authors. And if you haven’t heard of them, that makes sense: all were released within the past year!

A Death in Door County

The first installment of a new mystery series by Annelise Ryan follows Morgan, a local bookstore owner asked to investigated a series of deaths that just might prove a fabled lake monster is real. With her rescue dog by her side, Morgan goes on a hunt–but if she’s not careful, she could be the next victim.

The Devil’s Element

It’s a riddle: What’s one thing you can have too much and not enough of at the same time? Phosphorus, an element and key fertilizer ingredient to keeping the world fed, is disappearing. Dan Egan, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, lays out the problem, explains who the real villains are, and what could happen if it runs out.

I Could Live Here Forever

Written by UW–Madison MFA alum and the award-winning author of Something Wild, Hanna Halperin’s second novel follows Leah Kempler, a UW student who falls in love with a recovering heroin addict as she tries to break his cycle of self destruction, but finds herself in one, too. 

Imagine Your Life Like This

You’ll find slivers of Midwestern life throughout this collection of short stories by Sarah Layden–from the story of bride-to-be who puts on her detective hat after her groom goes missing to a women who returns to college after escaping an abusive relationship, only to find out her professor is a fraud.

Intrigue in Istanbul

Milwaukee-based author Erica Ruth Neubauer takes readers to 1920s Turkey, where an American widow-turned-private investigator is searching for her missing father–but instead, finds a deadly criminal who can’t escape the past. The book is the latest installment in the Jane Wunderly Mystery series.

The Late Americans

Brandon Taylor, the UW-Madison grad who made waves with his 2020 debut novel Real Life returns with the story that follows four friends living in Iowa City. The group heads to a cabin to say goodbye to their former lives… and face a moment of reckoning that changes them forever.

Small Game

In her debut novel, Wisconsin writer and dog-sledder Blair Braverman tells the story of Mara, a woman recruited for a survival-themed reality show called “Civilization.” But shortly after the contestant arrive in an undisclosed wilderness location, things go horribly wrong.


In 1945, WWII tail gunner Gene Moran fell four miles through the sky without a parachute and lived. Now, his Viroqua neighbor, John Armbruster, is telling the story–of how his friend survived that fall, as well as 18 months as a prisoner of war and a 600 mile death march across Central Europe.

MORE: 46 Books to Put On Your Summer Reading List


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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