SHEILAH KAST, host:

Just another summer weekend up in space. Mark Kelly has been piloting the shuttle Discovery and overseeing space walks. Down on earth, his girlfriend, former Arizona State Democratic State Senator Gabrielle Giffords is shaking hands on knocking on doors. She's in the race to replacing retiring Republican Congressman Jim Colby, so of course we wondered what books are making it into her busy life.

Joining us on the phone from her home in Tucson is Congressional candidate Gabrielle Giffords.

Hi. Welcome to the program.

Ms. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (Congressional Candidate): Thank you. Good morning.

KAST: So, much time for reading these days?

Ms. GIFFORDS: I do have a lot of time for reading. I'm one of those people that runs through an airport and picks up a couple of books as I change planes, and I'm always lugging around books with me just to keep up on what's going on in the world.

KAST: So what have you been reading lately?

Ms. GIFFORDS: Well, a couple months ago Mark gave me a copy of First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong, by James Hansen. And as the book opened, it was very similar to what I experienced just a couple days ago.

The book takes place in 1969, on a warm day in July, at the Kennedy Space Center. And when I looked around and I saw all of us Americans anticipating greatness and looking to a few unusual group of men and women to lift off from our planet, and just taking with them all of our excitement and our opportunity and our discovery, it was very exciting. And it was just - it's neat reading that book alongside with what Mark is doing right now.

KAST: That's fun. And what else are you reading?

Ms. GIFFORDS: I'm reading a book actually by Tom Zollner(ph). He found himself in the unfortunate situation of having an engagement ring returned to him. And, he's a journalist. And he...

KAST: So this is not fiction?

Ms. GIFFORDS: No, it's not. It's non-fiction. He sets off across six continents to figure out where these diamonds come from and why in our culture the diamond is considered such a symbol of eternal love.

KAST: Hmm. What else is on your reading list?

Ms. GIFFORDS: I'm actually in the airport. I picked up a copy of An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore. And whether or not you like Al Gore or not, I strongly recommend everyone to read this book.

KAST: You talk a lot about airports. Are you actually going to take a vacation this summer?

MS. GIFFORDS: Probably not. I'm hot on the campaign trail. My primary election is in ten weeks, and I have a six-way primary. This is considered the third-most competitive congressional race now in the country.

KAST: If you had time for a vacation, what book would you pack to take with you?

Ms. GIFFORDS: Oh, you know, I would probably take with me The End of Faith, which I've not had a chance to read yet. But it's about religion and terror and the future of our country and the future of our planet.

KAST: Former Arizona State Senator Gabrielle Giffords joined us from her home in Tucson. Thanks a lot.

Ms. GIFFORDS: Good talking to you.

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