Tales of Home: Favorite Summer Reads From Around Our Neighborhoods


Becca Siegel

– VOL. 15

Many of us seek out summer reading books that will transport us “elsewhere,” to another time, another place or another era. 

But what about books that take us home, to the streets, alleys and avenues we know, through the lens of an author, a memoir writer or a storyteller?

For your end-of-summer leisure reading, look no further than your neighborhood. As Venn neighbors know, sometimes the best stories unexpectedly come from our own backyards. Check out the list below to find awesome neighborhood-based books that take place in Venn cities around the world, from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv. 

Bushwick, Brooklyn | Bushwick Nightz by Dallas Athent 

Set in the famed Bushwick, in Brooklyn, NY, this collection of short stories includes everything that happens in a neighborhood, from drinking, to incredible meals, to entertainment. The book touches on pertinent topics affecting neighborhoods, like gentrification and addiction, in an honest and self-aware tone. This one’s sure to paint a picture of a neighborhood that truly never stops changing for all who reside there. 

Looking for this book at a local neighborhood business in Bushwick? Visit Molasses Books at 770 Hart Street, Brooklyn, NY 11237. 

Downtown Los Angeles | The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

This “love letter to L.A.” comes from humorist and Los Angeles native (and current resident!) Maurene Goo, known for her warm and relatable stories. Her novel The Way You Make Me Feel is a celebration of friends and family, written with massive amounts of soul and heart. Taking place in Los Angeles with hints of Korean-American food truck life, it’s a tale of falling in love and finding yourself, as the book’s main character balances the pressure of her father’s business with some new and unexpected connections. 

Eager to locate this book at a neighborhood bookseller in Los Angeles? Visit The Last Bookstore at 453 S Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013. 

Midtown, Kansas City | BIRD: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker

Jazz pioneer and legend Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City, KS, and grew up in Kansas City, MO. This biography paints the picture of his music and recordings, and artfully weaves together firsthand accounts from those who knew him, with new information about his life. This portrait of “Yardbird,” as he was known, reveals the troubled man behind the music, illustrating how his addictions and struggles with mental health affected his life and career. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn extensively about one of the greatest figures to come from KC. 

Ready to pick up this book at a local Kansas City bookshop in the neighborhood? Visit Afterword Tavern and Shelves at 1834 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64108. 

Shapira, Tel Aviv | The Seven Good Years: A Memoir by Etgar Keret

A master storyteller and genius with words, Etgar Keret tells stories of his family through the constant backdrop of war in their home country, Israel. This is a wise and witty memoir, told in the frank and clever manner of the author, as he depicts anecdotes that readers can relate to. From siblings who’ve all chosen different paths in life, to birth, and to death, Etgar’s memoir culminates in telling how a family can come together through grief and love. This book is full of humor and you won’t want to put it down!