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We'll be adding new lists from our critics throughout the summer.

Lit, Illustrated: Five Fantastic Graphic Novels()  

An illustrator works on a graphic novel.

August 15, 2012 These panels are filled more with extraordinary storytelling than with standard-issue superheroes. Each book is created by a singular writer/artist, and offers a wholly unique point of view in both narrative and illustration.

Summary

A World On The Page: Five Great Travel Memoirs()  

Illustration: A woman treks across a book landscape.

July 31, 2012 This summer, don't be a tourist — take a journey with these travel memoirs instead. Open these five books and meet a future First Lady, a one-booted hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail and a young Angela Davis. You'll encounter beauty, bravery, and chilling strangeness — without ever leaving the couch.

Summary

Laughing Matters: Five Funny Books With Substance()  

Illustration: A comedy mask reads a book.

July 17, 2012 Who says humor books can't be serious? Critic Heller McAlpin recommends some light but not weightless reads on mostly modern dilemmas: the pitfalls of class snobbery, what to do with those expensive higher degrees, the challenges of long marriages, and why otherwise rational women wear high heels.

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What's The Big Idea? 5 Books To Inspire Innovation()  

Illustration: Lightbulb

July 10, 2012 Where do ideas come from and how can we have more of them? Science writer Jonah Lehrer recommends five books that explore the mysteries of the creative mind, and document the strange and beautiful world that our ideas have helped create.

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Reading Romance Between (And Under) The Covers()  

Illustration: Romance Reads

June 26, 2012 Love knows no bounds, and in these five books, passion leaps from the page. You'll be swept off your feet by three novels and two memoirs that take up the mischievous matters of the heart.

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Rich Reads: Historical Fiction Fit For A Queen()  

Illustration: Castle made of books

June 23, 2012 These five books will give you literary jet lag — a yearning to linger in the world of the author's imagination, and a reluctance to return to your own. The research is so deep it becomes invisible, and these writers are trusted guides, gently nudging and leading you through each tale.

Transcript

On Weekend Edition SaturdayPlaylist

Summer's Best Sci-Fi: Planets, Politics, Apocalypse()  

Illustration: Solar system of books

June 19, 2012 These five books will suck you into strange worlds, but leave you full of questions about our own. These page turners have pleasingly complicated political and social subtexts, morphing space battles into philosophical debates and zombie hordes into political satire.

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Want A Winner? These Books Made The Critics' Cut()  

Three books with medals stand on a podium.

June 17, 2012 Lynn Neary talks to three critics about books you shouldn't miss. One critic says it's a particularly rich literary summer because in election years, publishers release the juiciest books before fall.

Transcript

On Weekend Edition SundayPlaylist

Book Party For One: A Loner's Summer Survival Guide()  

Loners illustration

June 11, 2012 Summer is a trying time for introverts, what with the barbecues and the graduations and the picnics by the pool. If you'd always choose a good book over a good party, critic Maureen Corrigan has a list for you.

Transcript

On Fresh AirPlaylist

Summer Books 2012

Nancy Pearl Unearths Great Summer Reads()  

Illustration: Digging books up from the garden.

May 21, 2012 For Nancy Pearl, beach reading doesn't mean light reading. NPR's go-to librarian has dug up a diverse mix of titles old and new — a selection of mystery, memoir and more.

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On Morning EditionPlaylist

Lesser-Known Lit: Seeking Summer's Hidden Gems()  

Illustration: A lighthouse casts its beam on a book in the water.

July 3, 2012 Passing along a book that no one has heard of is like telling a really good secret. NPR's Barrie Hardymon recommends a hot Southern thriller, a scathing evisceration of the newspaper biz, a slightly ridiculous, totally gratifying romance, and one extra gem that's been hiding in plain sight.

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Sail Into Summer With Novel Picks From Alan Cheuse()  

Illustration: Windsurfing with books.

June 14, 2012 Hang on tight. These five new works of fiction will take you on an exhilarating ride. Brace yourself for a noir he-said-she-said, an R-rated version of Marie Antoinette's life and death, a haunting tale from a back-to-nature commune and Toni Morrison's lush Home.

Transcript

On All Things ConsideredPlaylist

Teen Reads: Summer Books For You And Your BFF()  

Illustration: Two teens sit back-to-back, reading books.

June 7, 2012 If there's one thing that teenagers of all stripes spend their energy on, it's friendship. These outstanding new novels for young adults explore friendship wherever it blossoms, whether in the extremes of a dystopian future or the more mundane emotional extremes of high school.

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Pack Your Bags For Six Flights Of Fantasy()  

Illustration: Packed Bags

June 6, 2012 Need a ticket to otherworldly adventure? Look no further. Even if you're stuck at home this summer, these captivating fantasy novels offer great escapes — to the lands of dragons, cyborgs, lizard men and elven princesses.

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5 New Mysteries Return To The Scene Of The Crime()  

Illustration: Handcuffed hands hold a book.

May 31, 2012 Critic Maureen Corrigan's list includes the latest installments in long-running series by mystery genre veterans. She says coming back to familiar plots and characters is as rewarding as returning to a favorite vacation spot each summer.

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15 Summer Reads Handpicked By Indie Booksellers()  

Illustration: Booksellers pick books from a tree.

May 25, 2012 Not sure what to read? NPR's Susan Stamberg asked three booksellers to share their top five picks for the books you shouldn't miss — tales of con artists, grade-school spies, refugees and ranchers.

Transcript

On Morning EditionPlaylist

Plant Eater's Paradise: 2012's Best Summer Cookbooks()  

Illustration: Strawberries shaped like books grow in a garden.

May 23, 2012 These cookbooks take fruits and vegetables fresh from the field and the farm stand to delectable extremes. Writer T. Susan Chang has gleaned 10 top cookbooks that will make even the most devoted carnivore slip into accidental vegetarianism.

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Literary Look Ahead: 13 Great Books On The Horizon()  

Illustration: Flying books on the horizon as viewed through binoculars.

May 24, 2012 Critic Michael Schaub offers a sneak peek at some of the most hotly anticipated books of the summer: An Obama bio. A sparkling debut. Thrillers of both the fictional and body-science kind. Even Lincoln is reborn in this season of sun, sand, renewal — and reading.

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Summer Books 2012: The Complete List()  

Illustration: Girl reading in an innertube.

May 1, 2012 Need some cool reads for hot days? Find recommendations for fiction, non-fiction, mystery, memoirs, cookbooks and more. Here are all of NPR's summer book recommendations in one place!

Summary

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