10 Memphis Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Summer time is the perfect time to curl up with a good book!

Here’s a few Memphis based reads that’ll speak to your inner bookworm:

Beale Street Dynasty: Sex, Song, & the Struggle for the Soul of Memphis

Beale Street Lovers: this is the perfect read for you. Written by Preston Lauterbach, this book talks about the rise of Beale street, and the struggles and obstacles the city went through in order to make the popular landmark what it is today.

“Interesting people in all times and places tend to do two things well—they straddle boundaries, and they bend public perception.”
― Preston Lauterbach, Beale Street Dynasty: Sex, Song, and the Struggle for the Soul of Memphis

Hidden History of Memphis

Dive into the history of Memphis that most don’t know about. This book talks about the start of wireless broadcasting within the city and dives into some never before seen images and letters written by artists and activists that lived in Memphis at the time.

River of Hope

Dig into the history of Memphis between 1865 – 1954, a period when Memphis was at the forefront of black political empowerment.  Author Elizabeth Gritter focuses on political engagements, the Memphis Freedom Movement, and how the small number of black southern voters made a grand impact.

A Little Death in Dixie

Who doesn’t love a spine-tingling mystery? Written by Lisa Turner, this book follows the search and rescue mission of a Memphis socialite gone missing. Foul play is suspected. Is she found dead or alive? Read and find out!

“Every born Southerner knows that good cooking, hard drinking, and going half crazy are hardwired traits coursing through the best families’ bloodlines.”
― Lisa Turner, A Little Death in Dixie

The Memphis Sun

This book is a collection of poetry written by Jim Murphy. With topics ranging from local events to culture, it’s good, quick, and easy read with a few straightforward narratives from popular Memphis figures. You might know them! Do Elvis Presley, Holly Golightly, or Elmore James ring a bell?

Moon Memphis

Written by Margaret Littman, this books talks about the amazing things Memphis has to offer. Looking for something fun to do? This book has everything! From great food to city attractions,  this is a great read for those that would like a little more insight on the city. Who knows, you may just find a few hidden gems!

It Came From Memphis

This books talks about the birth of rock and roll, hence the title It Came from Memphis! Travel back in time as author Robert Gordon discusses several artists that put this city on the map and gave us that Memphis sound we all know and love.

A Summons to Memphis

Written by Peter Taylor, this book describes the life of a family who was forced to leave their home in Nashville during the Great Depression. After the family gets back on their feet the story dives into family structure as the main character is called to Memphis to talk his father out of a life changing decision that may effect their entire family.

On This Day in Memphis History

This wonderful book written by G. Wayne Dowdy, talks about all of the historical events that have happened in the City of Memphis. A lot can happen in 365 days, and Memphis is more than just blues and BBQ.

Woman With a Guitar

Follow the life of one of Memphis’ most talented blues artist, Memphis Minnie. From her lyrics to day to day experiences, get a feel for an artist who’s music influenced some of your Blues favorites, like Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thorton, and Chuck Berry.

“She didn’t take no foolishness off them (men). ..anything she get her hands on she’d use it; ..Memphis Minnie used to be a hellcat,” Johnny Shines on Memphis Minnie.

I hope this list of books helps out with your summer reading list and helps you get to know your city just a little bit better!