Books from Arizona authors to add to your summer reading list

With the hot Arizona sun beating down, sometimes the best way to enjoy your summer free time is inside with a good book. If you’re looking for your next summer read, Arizona Horizon has featured many local authors who talk about their books. We’ve made a list of all of them so you can check them out.

Making it Home book cover

“Making It Home” by Teresa Strasser

“Making It Home” is a comedic memoir that explores Strasser’s grief after losing her brother and mother just four months apart. By watching her son’s first season of Little League, she and her father formed a two-person grief group and supported each other through loss. Despite not actually discussing their grief, Strasser and her father were able to find solace and comfort in the game that her brother loved.

You can learn more about the book and Strasser from her interview with Arizona Horizon and buy the book online.

“Don’t Say A Thing” by Tammy Leitner

Leitner is a former Phoenix resident and journalist who covered a serial rapist victimizing women in the Valley in the 1990s. Leitner became even more involved in the case when the rapist struck at her apartment complex in 1999. She used her knowledge of the case and interviews with victims to write a book about the crimes.

To learn more about the book and Leitner, watch her interview with Arizona Horizon and buy her book online.

Drowning book cover

“Drowning” by T.J. Newman

“Drowning” is a thriller that follows a group of characters who are stuck underwater after their plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean. The professional diver leading the rescue team is the mother and soon-to-be-ex-wife of two of the passengers trapped in the plane. Written by a former flight attendant and current Phoenix resident, this book is sure to bring excitement to your summer reading.

Learn more about Newman and her book from her interview with Arizona Horizon or buy the book online.

The Well Lived Life book cover

“The Well-Lived Life” by Gladys McGarey, M.D.

Dr. Gladys McGarey is 102 years old and still a practicing doctor in Arizona. McGarey focuses on holistic medicine and has been practicing for sixty years. Now she’s written a memoir about how she’s lived her long life with joy and purpose.

Watch her Arizona Horizon interview to learn more about Dr. McGarey and her practice or buy the book online.

A Stolen Life book cover

“A Stolen Life” by Jana Bommersbach

This book looks at another local true crime case, this time the case of Debra Jean Milke, a mother sentenced to death for arranging the murder of her young son. Milke spent 23 years on death row in Arizona before her conviction was overturned. Bommersbach’s book takes readers through the case, what went wrong and how Milke survived in prison for decades despite being innocent.

Learn more about Bommersbach, Milke and the case in her interview with Arizona Horizon or buy the book online.

Collateral Damage book cover

“Collateral Damage” by J. A. Jance

The 17th book in Jance’s Ali Reynolds series follows the former newscaster as she investigates a crash on the highway between Phoenix and Scottsdale. “Collateral Damage” is also the 64th book Jance has written, but she told Arizona Horizon that the book still feels special.

You can learn more about Jance and her long writing career by watching her interview with Horizon and you can buy her latest book online.

Backseat Driver book cover

“Backseat Driver” by Norma Faris Hubele

If nonfiction is more your cup of tea, Hubele’s book about the safety of vehicles might be up your alley. Hubele’s book compiles real life stories and data to create a car safety ranking system to help consumers understand which vehicles are the safest to own and drive.

Learn more about Hubele’s research from her interview with Arizona Horizon and buy her book online.

Awesome Arizona book cover

“Awesome Arizona” by Roger Naylor

Want to learn more about the great state we call home? Look no further than Naylor’s new book, which features 200 facts that make Arizona awesome. The book includes lots of fun information, including a story about a town in Arizona that is the only place in America to still deliver mail by mule.

To learn more about how Naylor compiled the facts, watch his interview with Arizona Horizon. To learn even more fun facts, buy the book online.

Bad Vibes Only book cover

“Bad Vibes Only” by Nora McInerny

McInerny’s book tackles the toxic positivity culture that dominates our society and reminds us that it’s okay to not be okay. After a miscarriage and losing both her husband and her father in just six weeks, McInerny is no stranger to pain and grief and wants everyone to know that they don’t have to be happy all the time.

You can learn more about McInerny’s story by watching her interview with Arizona Horizon and you can buy her book online.

Cover of a comic book featuring black superheroes

“Instant” by Absalon White Jr.

If you love superheroes, White Jr.’s comic book series would make a great summer read. White Jr. wrote his first comic book, “Instant,” at age 14, and now at 22 has his own comic book universe called “Verendus Comics.” “Instant” features a teenager from Chandler who gains the power of super speed.

To learn more about White Jr. and his comic books, watch his interview with Horizon and buy his first comic online.

Light Em' Up book cover

“Light Em’ Up” by Sami Garcia

For fans of thrillers, “Light Em’ Up” tells the story of a bomb ordinance team that is facing threats from a local serial bomber. Garcia, a local author, has experience in corrections and law enforcement, giving her a unique insight into the world she writes about.

If you want to learn more about Garcia’s law enforcement background, watch her interview with Arizona Horizon and buy the book online.

Dancing Across the Lifespan book cover

“Dancing Across the Lifespan” by Karen Schupp

For those who love to dance, Schupp’s book explores how our relationship with dance changes as we age. Our relationship with dance can change depending on our identity within the community and even the generation during which we danced. Ultimately though, people of any age can find and maintain a relationship with dance.

To learn more about Schupp’s dancing background, watch her interview with Arizona Horizon and buy the book online.

Hellraisers and Trailblazers

“Hellraisers and Trailblazers” by Jana Bommersbach and Bob Boze Bell

This book is great for lovers of western history. It explores the stories of fearless, smart and inspiring women of the Wild West. Normally known for male outlaws and cowboys, the authors feature the forgotten women of the time period who were powerful in their own right.

To learn more about the authors and their research, watch their interview with Arizona Horizon and buy the book online.

The Stench of Politics book cover

“The ‘Stench’ of Politics” by Joseph Russomanno

For those who are interested in the Supreme Court, Russomanno’s book on the polarization of the Court will be an interesting read. The book argues that the Court has become just as political as the two other branches of government, despite its best efforts to remain nonpartisan. Russomanno also offers solutions to depolarize the Court, including changing its structure to be more similar to that of federal courts.

Learn more about Russomanno and his research from his interview with Arizona Horizon and buy the book online.

The Cipher book cover

“The Cipher” by Isabella Maldonado

This crime novel by a local author is part of a series that follows an FBI Special Agent as she must face the serial killer she escaped as a teenager. The story was inspired by Maldonado’s own experiences in law enforcement before she retired to start a family and pursue her writing career. The book has been purchased by Netflix to be turned into a movie starring Jennifer Lopez, so be sure to read it before you see it!

To learn more about Maldonado and her law enforcement background, watch her interview with Arizona Horizon and buy her book online.

“Securing Borders, Securing Power” by Michael Slaven

This book explores how immigration became the most prominent issue in Arizona politics between 2003 and 2010, long before it became a hot topic nationally. Slaven, using political journalism and interviews with local politicians from the time, unpacks how extreme views can spread among politicians of any party and then to the people.

To learn more about Slaven’s research, watch his interview with Arizona Horizon and buy the book online.

How to Avoid F@#$%^&* Up in College book cover

“How to Avoid F@#$%^&* Up in College” by Matthew McCarthy

This book is great for students or parents of students who are heading into college this fall. McCarthy, a professor at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business, wrote the book after reflecting on his experience of dropping out of college twice. Now a college graduate, professor and father of college graduates, McCarthy is sharing his secrets for success.

Learn more about McCarthy’s story by watching his interview with Arizona Horizon and buy the book online.

Stepping Back From the Ledge book cover

“Stepping Back From the Ledge” by Laura Trujillo

This heartbreaking memoir explores the grief felt by those who loose a family member to suicide. In 2012, Trujillo’s mother jumped from the edge of the Grand Canyon. Trujillo writes about her journey to find answers about her family’s trauma and her eventual return to the beautiful place where her mother took her own life.

You can learn more about Trujillo’s story by watching her interview with Arizona Horizon or buy the book online.

“Fixing the Framers’ Failure” by Robert McWhirter

This book details how the Framers of the Constitution failed to address the issues of freedom and slavery, leading to a civil war only 73 years after the document was written. It explores the immense effort it took to pass the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. McWhirter takes his readers through history with not only his words, but illustrations, pictures and annotations.

To learn more about McWhirter’s research, watch his interview with Arizona Horizon and buy the book online.

Kismet novel

“Kismet” by Amina Akhtar

Kismet is a thriller that takes place in Sedona, following a New Yorker who journeys to the red rocks of the desert to find her true self. However, amidst the yoga and hikes, health gurus are turning up murdered, and the main character begins to fear for her life.

To learn more about the author and the inspiration behind the book, watch her interview with Arizona Horizon and buy the book online.

Enjoy more Arizona authors by reviewing our Winter Reading List from January 2024!

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Celebrate Juneteenth with Arizona PBS

Super Why characters

Join a Super Why Reading Camp to play, learn and grow

Koryn Woodward Wasson, artist
aired June 6

‘Flirting with the Desert’ art exhibit opens at Scottsdale Public Art

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: