An Alabama Booksmith Picks 3 Books To Read This Summer Jake Reiss, owner of Alabama Booksmith in Homewood, Ala., recommends James McBride's Kill 'Em and Leave, Don Keith's Mattie C.'s Boy and Joshua Hammer's The Bad-Ass Librarians Of Timbuktu.
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An Alabama Booksmith Picks 3 Books To Read This Summer

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An Alabama Booksmith Picks 3 Books To Read This Summer

An Alabama Booksmith Picks 3 Books To Read This Summer

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's nothing more luxurious than time - time to just dig into that stack of books that have been waiting for you. To help build the perfect stack, we're talking to booksellers from all over the country this summer to help you Pack These Pages.

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CORNISH: We found a one-of-a-kind store in Homewood, Ala.

JAKE REISS: Every book in the store is signed. We don't carry paperbacks. We only carry hardback books that are signed by the author. And folks ask us, is there another one of these in Alabama? I don't think there's another one on the planet.

CORNISH: That's Jake Reiss, owner of The Alabama Booksmith. He recommends three nonfiction books that are bigger than life.

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REISS: Well, the first book I'd like to brag about is - the title is "Mattie C.'s Boy: The Shelley Stewart Story" by Don Keith, as told by Shelley Stewart. And he makes Horatio Alger seem like an aristocrat. He watched his daddy kill his mother with an axe. And this is in the 1940s in Alabama. And he went on to become a famous DJ in these parts and then eventually bought the station. It's a book you absolutely cannot read without being inspired.

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REISS: "The Bad-Ass Librarians Of Timbuktu: And Their Race To Save The World's Most Precious Manuscripts." The author is Joshua Hammer, and the book reads like fiction - amazing story of a government librarian in Timbuktu who risked his life to smuggle 350,000 ancient and priceless manuscripts out of the city. And this is under the watchful and murderous eyes of al-Qaida and their ilk.

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REISS: And National Book Award winner James McBride - "Kill 'Em And Leave: Searching For James Brown And The American Soul. This is a - really a spellbinding biography, and it unearths much that we've never been told about the Godfather's private life. I didn't realize James Brown had a huge amount of wealth that he accumulated that rivaled some of the greatest stars ever. And he was a very generous man. He left his fortune to help educate children of the South, black and white.

CORNISH: That was Jake Reiss, owner of The Alabama Booksmith. Once you're done with these three, be sure to check out many more Pack These Pages picks to help keep you cool at npr.org.

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