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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Our summer reader this week is Carolyn Hax, the Washington Post nationally syndicated advice columnist, and she joins us from Newport, Rhode Island.

Hi, Carolyn. Welcome to the program.

Ms. CAROLYN HAX (Syndicated Columnist): Well, thanks for having me.

HANSEN: So what are you reading this summer?

Ms. HAX: Well, I am trying to read a few things. One of them is Freakonomics. I'm actually a parasitic reader in that I don't have any time to do any research on good books. I don't - I'm not able to read book reviews, for example. And so I just pick up what other people have. And so my husband was reading Freakonomics, and while he was reading it, I started it. And then of course - but he was reading it...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. HAX: ...so I would have to wait until he put it down, which wasn't very often. And then, of course, we moved mid-summer and it got swept into the move. So now it's gone.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. HAX: Now I'm in one place and my book is in another. So I'm completely hopeless. But he's also picked up another book that looks fascinating called An Unequal Childhood. And he's reading that now, of course, but I'm a couple of pages in again, because he leaves it lying around.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: You don't get books on your on. You'd rather take your husband's books.

Ms. HAX: You know, I don't have the time. I've got three toddlers and so, really, what I read is what I stumble across. But this actually inspired me, having to report what I'm reading, and so I talked to my sister, Debbie, who is a really reliable source for good titles. And she said that I need to read The History of Love. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go get that so that I stay out of Kenny's Unequal Childhood.

HANSEN: Right. So Unequal Childhood, that's by Annette Lareau?

Ms. HAX: Yes, it is.

HANSEN: And History of Love is Nicole Krause.

Ms. HAX: Right.

HANSEN: And Freakonomics by Steven D. Leavitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

Now, you write a daily advice column. Tell me about it. Do you have to read some books professionally that help you write your column?

Ms. HAX: It's not necessarily like I pick up psychology texts, because, I think, that's just not what I do.

HANSEN: Mm hmm.

Ms. HAX: But I do try to stay up to date on my surroundings, and that can current trends in social research, or that can be what people are talking about. It's all kinds of things. I need to know what ridiculous things are going on in the wedding industry. So I just mostly - I get that information from periodicals, and snapping on the TV every once in a while and just getting a feel for what's happening outside my four walls.

HANSEN: So imagine you had all the time in the world, you didn't - your toddlers were being taken care of by somebody else, your husband is out of the house, you could settle in and you could read one book. What would that be?

Ms. HAX: Ooh. If you gave me the conditions where I could just immerse myself, I would choose fiction. And I think I would choose Don DeLillo.

HANSEN: Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax. She joined us from Newport, Rhode Island.

Carolyn, thanks a lot.

Ms. HAX: Thank you.

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