'Talk of the Nation' Summer Reading List

Cover of 'Becoming Justice Blackmun'

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Cover of : 'Everyman'

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Guests

Laura Miller, book critic for Salon.

 

Oscar Villalon, book editor, San Francisco Chronicle.

 

Charlotte Abbott, senior editor, Publishers Weekly.

Cover of 'Absurdistan'

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NPR Summer Reading 2006

Memorial Day means summer and summer, of course, means time for reading. Book critics and guests offer their take on what's new and interesting.

Picks from Laura Miller, book critic for 'Salon'

The Ruins by Scott Smith: An uncompromising tale of adventure and horror about five backpackers who become trapped under mysterious circumstances in the jungles of Mexico. Don't start reading it if you have anything else you need to do in the next 8 hours, or if you're faint of heart.

End of Story by Peter Abrahams: Abrahams is the best writer of psychological suspense around. His plots are unfussy but always addictive. In this one, an aspiring writer becomes convinced that the convict she meets in a prison teaching program is an innocent man.

The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard: A moody, twisty historical mystery set during the years that Edgar Allan Poe was a cadet at West Point. Poe comes to the aid of a detective trying to solve a string of murders on the campus.

The Dead Hour by Denise Mina: The second in Mina's series of crime novels about Paddy Meehan, a junior reporter and the only woman reporter for a newspaper in 1980s Glasgow, Scotland, trying to figure out who killed a lawyer. Mina's depictions of gritty working-class Catholic life and Paddy's valiant struggle to make something of herself are even more engaging than the novel's central mystery.

'San Francisco Chronicle' Book Editor Oscar Villalon's Picks

Adam Hochschild's Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves: A beautifully written narrative history about the first human rights campaign in Western history. Truly inspiring.

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, with a foreword by Eric Schlosser: Reissued by Penguin, the book deserves to be read again, if only to give people an appreciation of how far the country has come in the past century but also how tenuous our welfare is.

Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go: a coming-of-age story and initiation into loss in the guise of a sci-fi story about human cloning

Elizabeth McKenzie's novel in stories, Stop That Girl: I think it would be perfect for teen readers.

Jessica Abel's graphic novel, La Perdida (also recommended for this summer by All Things Considered critic Alan Cheuse

Luis Alberto Urrea's novel The Hummingbird's Daughter

Oakley Hall's novel Warlock, reissued by The New York Review of Books: Excellent genre stuff, a riveting Western that's also a work of literature.

E.L. Doctorow's The March: Highly entertaining and thrilling as well as being literary.

Philip Roth's Everyman: Perhaps the "serious" book of the list

Judy Budnitz's story collection Big American Baby

Out of Danger: Poems by James Fenton

The Rain in the Trees by W.S. Merwin

Picks from Charlotte Abbott, senior editor at 'Publisher's Weekly'

Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home by Nando Parrado: travel adventure returning to place of Alive

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

Elephant Rocks: Poems by Kay Ryan

The Niagara River: Poems by Kay Ryan

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

Strange Piece of Paradise, by Terri Jentz (True crime story)

Neal Conan's Picks:

The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War by Nathaniel Philbrick

The Pride of Baghdad by Brian Vaughan

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

Reader Picks

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Becoming Justice Blackmun by Linda Greenhouse

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763 - 1789 by Robert Middlekauff

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson

Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945, by David M. Kennedy

The Sept. 11 Commission Report Omissions and Distortions by David Ray Griffin

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, pocketbook from the Cato Institute

The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga by Edward Rutherford

Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential by Joel Osteen

Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics, by Peter Kreeft

John Adams, by David McCullough

American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips

State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, by James Risen

The Last Season by Eric Blehm

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart

The Truth (with Jokes) by Al Franken

The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, by Dalai Lama XIV

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Feint of Art, An Annie Kincaid Mystery by Hailey Lind

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Black Box by Frank X. Walker

Buffalo Dreams The Journey of York by Frank X. Walker

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

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