Reading on the beach (flickr: cmcgough)

We're out to help make the most out of your precious summer vacation time as you lounge around with some good books.  We'll be talking with authors who you'll want on your 'must read' list, making sure to include fiction and non-fiction.  We bet at least a few books here will be ones you won't want to put down.

Recently in Reading List: Summer 2010

Summer Reading: Terry McMillan on 'Getting to Happy'

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

All summer long we've been compiling a list of great summer reads. Now that Labor Day is behind us, we tack one more book onto the list: "Getting to Happy." It's the highly anticipated sequel to author Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale.


Summer Reading: Mona Simpson's 'My Hollywood'

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We're continuing our summer reading series with a look at modern parenthood and childcare. Mona Simpson's new book, "My Hollywood," looks at the relationship between modern parents and the nannies they hire to take care of their kids. 


Excerpt: Mona Simpson's 'My Hollywood'

Tuesday, August 17, 2010



“Come on comeon comeon comeon comeon. Come to Lola. I have something for you.” Because he is very angry.

Today it is the mother he was hitting. She has her hand over her eye and I dab ice, the way I do his boo-boos. She lets her face in my hands. Then I take him away. But Williamo, he is strong. I cannot so easily hold. And Lola told a lie. I do not have anything. So I make promises. “Some-a-day,” I whisper, “I will bring you home with me. And there we will make the ice candy.”

He lies still, not any longer fighting. His bones fall in a pattern, like the veins of a leaf.

“I will put you in my pocket and feed you one candy every day. You will be happy. Because the ocean at our place it is very blue. The sky higher than here. And the fruits that grow on trees, very sweet.” Jack-fruit, durian, lanzones. Attis. Santol.

“In my pocket I will give you one lychee. You can bounce for a ball.”

“If you were a kangaroo you would have a pouch,” he grumbles, better now, slower the heart.

Read More


Summer Reading: Carl Hiaasen's 'Star Island'

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Best selling author Carl Hiaasen has made a living shamelessly stealing outrageous stories from the headlines of Florida's newspapers. He rips them from the headlines because their real flavor lends a sense of realism to his satire. Hiaasen's latest novel, "Star Island," is no exception.

Comments [1]

Why Young Adult Books Matter

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The books we read as adolescents can have a huge influence on our lives. We talk about the ones that matter to us and the evolution of the young adult novel over the years with Essence senior editor Patrik Henry Bass and S.E. Hinton, legendary author of such young adult classics as "The Outsiders," "Tex," and "Rumble Fish."

And we're asking you, What was the first book that changed your life? What book do you remember most from your youth? Let us know.

Comments [23]

Jennifer Egan's New (Kinda, Sort of) Novel, 'A Visit From the Goon Squad'

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

If you’ve read any of Jennifer Egan’s previous work, you know that her writing style is rarely predictable. In her new book, “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” she takes that unpredictability to a whole new level.

Comments [1]

Gary Shteyngart on His 'Super Sad True Love Story'

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gary Shteyngart has been at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, is one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, and was just recently selected for the New Yorker’s “20 under 40” list. We talk with him about his new book, “Super Sad True Love Story.”


Summer Reading: 'Lucy'

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This summer we’ve been making a list of great beach reads or books to crack open poolside.  We’ve talked to Justin Cronin, author of 'The Passage' and Hilary Thayer Hamman about her novel ‘Anthropology of an American Girl.’ This week, Laurence Gonzales' 'Lucy' is at the top of our list.


Summer Reading: 'Empire of the Summer Moon'

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We continue our summer reading series with journalist S.C. Gwynne, who brings us his new book, "Empire of the Summer Moon," about the final battles between Comanche Indians and white settlers. It's the story of the last great chief of the tribe that was once the most powerful in the nation. 

Tell us: What summer reading would you recommend?

Comments [4]

Summer Reading: 'The Passage'

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Planning a summer vacation? We’re making a summer reading list to help you pick some really good books to delve into during your free time. Last week we spoke to Hilary Thayer Hamman, the author of "Anthropology of an American Girl." We also asked you about what’s on your reading list for this summer. Calypso, from Oklahoma, wrote in to our website with his suggestion: A romance/mystery novel called "Paper Towns" by John Greene. A good thriller always delivers, too, and author Justin Cronin’s new book "The Passage," is getting a lot of attention for its apocalyptic twist on the vampire theme.

Comments [1]

Summer Reading: 'Anthropology of an American Girl'

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hilary Thayer Hamann earned a cult following after she self-published her debut novel, "Anthropology of an American Girl," in 2003. The book did so well that she submitted it to editors in the mainstream publishing world four years later. Speigel & Grau significantly edited and re-published the 600-page book this spring and the book has been getting rave reviews ever since.

Comments [7]

Excerpt: 'Anthropology of an American Girl'

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chapter 1

Kate turned to check the darkening clouds and the white arc of her throat looked long like the neck of a preening swan. We pedaled past the mansions on Lily Pond Lane and the sky set down, resting its gravid belly against the earth.

“Hurry,” I heard her call through the clack of spokes. “Rain’s coming.”

She rode faster, and I did also, though I liked the rain and I felt grateful for the changes it wrought. Nothing is worse than the mixture of boredom and anticipation, the way the two twist together, breeding malcontentedly.

I opened my mouth to the mist, trapping some of the raindrops that were just forming, and I could feel the membranes pop as I passed, which was sad, like breaking a spider’s web. Sometimes you can’t help but destroy the intricate things in life.


Read More