Update (June 15): This story has been updated to include comments from Laura Lippman.
Those looking for a good summer read with a local spin don't have to look much further than Baltimore. You can take Oprah's word for it.
The July issue of O, Oprah Winfrey's magazine, includes a list of the "best books of summer." Baltimore author D. Watkins' edgy memoir “The Cook Up” made the list, as did the dark crime thriller “Wilde Lake” by former Baltimore Sun reporter and best-selling author Laura Lippman.
The 60 books on the list were split into 10 categories. “Wilde Lake” made an appearance under the "Hear Them Roar" section, a thoughtful categorization of the crime thriller's strong and ambitious main character — a state's attorney in Howard County who, amid trying a man for a murder, revisits some painful and puzzling memories.
Lippman was pleased to learn that her book had been featured on the summer reading list via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.
“I think as an author, one is used to seeing one’s books categorized all sorts of ways. I think ‘Hear Me Roar’ is as good a category as any,” Lippman said.
Watkins' book, which recounts his life growing up in East Baltimore amid drug dealing and the death of his brother, was featured under the "Saints and Sinners" section.
“I think I fit both” of those labels, Watkins said during a layover en route to San Francisco, where he's traveling to speak with community groups and youth centers in the area. He'll return to Baltimore next week, and he said he'll likely take some down time before his next venture — ice cream.
The author has teamed up with local ice cream cooperative Taharka Brothers for a new flavor based on "The Cook Up." Taharka and Watkins will be hosting a reading and tasting at Red Emma's on June 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Lippman, a fan of Taharka ice cream, joked that she's wondering when she'll get her own flavor.
“I haven’t heard about getting my own brand of Taharka ice cream. I’ll just wait by the phone," she said with a laugh.
You can find more information about the event here.