Headed to the beach? Going on vacation? As summer kicks into gear, so does our summer reading conversation.Over the next three months we're recommending beach reading for our listeners and then talking to the authors behind the books. In June we're having producers pick the books, followed by Celeste Headlee's picks during July and John Hockenberry's choices in August.
But what about you? Check out these Top Five reading lists from our guests, and add your own! You can also join the conversation with us on Twitter. Include "#TakeawayReads" as you tweet your lists and we'll publish your picks here.
1."Man Gone Down" by Michael Thomas.
2."The Pale King" by David Foster Wallace.
3."Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"by James Joyce (re-reading).
1."The Tiger's Wife" by Tea Obreht. The story of a deaf-mute woman who befriends an escaped tiger is just one of the threads that is woven into this intricate tale of family, secrecy and myth in former Yugoslavia. An amazing debut novel.2."Blood Harvest"by S.J. Bolton. A book about a claustrophobic village that borders a dismal English moor in which a family of newcomers builds their home on top of a graveyard — sounds predictable, right? But this thriller doesn't need gore or shock value to keep you on the edge of your seat.3."Nothing Daunted" by Dorothy Wickenden. More than just a story about two strong, smart spirited women, more than an eloquent portrait of a forgotten time in America when the west was still very wild - this book is breaks my "summer is for fiction" rule, but when non-fiction is this fun, it's worth throwing in your beach bag.
4."State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett. Patchett calls this a kind of "Heart of Darkness story," complete with imperial Amazonian women, poison arrows and native cannibals. This is really about the complicated and dramatic journal of a new drug from theory to drugstore, but the sights and sounds along the way make it totally compelling.5."The Paris Wife: A Novel" by Paula Mclain. I have to admit that I'm not a fan of Hemingway's writing, but I totally enjoy reading about the 20-year-old passionate groom. The story is told in the voice of Hemingway's first wife, who is not all that admirable as a role model, but recreates 1920's Paris with affection and careful research.
1."The Gods of Greenwich" by Norb Vonnegut.
2."The Bonfire of the Vanities"by Tom Wolfe (rereading).
3."The Privileges: A Novel" by Jonathan Dee.
4."How I Caused the Credit Crunch" by Tetsuya Ishikawa.
5."The Financiers" by Theodore Dreiser.
1. "Go the F**k to Sleep" by Ricardo Cortéz. A profane children's book aimed at adults. It's already a bestseller at Amazon and it's not even out yet!
2. "State of Wonder"by Ann Patchett. A suspenseful Heart of Darkness-style story for the 21st Century, exploring the dark side of a pharmaceutical company working on a drug deep in the jungles of the Amazon.
3. "Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories, 1963-1973." A Library of America collection from a great writer writing the best work of his life.
4. "Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base" by Annie Jacobsen. The utterly crazy story behind the most conspiracy-laden place in America.
5. "The Snowman" By Jo Nesbø. Everybody calls him the next Stieg Larsson. But he's always been better!
1. "The Submission: A Novel" by Amy Waldman.
2. "The Kid" by Sapphire.
3. "Long Drive Home" by Will Allison.
4. "The Girl with the Sturgeon Tattoo: A Parody" by Lars Arffssen.
5. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde.
1. "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline.
2. "Embassytown" by China Mieville.
3. "The Devil All The Time" By Donald Ray Pollock.
4. "Fuzzy Nation" by John Scalzi.
5. "Feed" By M.T. Anderson.
1. "One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir" by Binyavanga Wainaina
2. "Waiting for the Barbarians" by J.M. Coetzee
3. "The Tiger's Wife" by Tea Obreht
4. "In a Strange Room" by Damon Galgut
5. "Dogs at the Perimeter" by Madeleline Thein
1. “A Moveable Feast” and “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway. When summer rolls around, I have a tendency to gravitate back to the books I read during summers past, books that have strong associations for me. Somehow, that inevitably includes either A Moveable Feast or The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway---depending, of course, on whether I end up on a beach or urban holiday.
2. “Queen of Kings” by Maria Dahvana Headley. The only disadvantage of reading Maria Dahvana Headley's Queen of Kings before its scheduled publication earlier this year was being stripped of enjoying it as a summer literary blockbuster. Blending magic, history and a delightful pantheon of monstrosities, Queen of Kings turns the Cleopatra story on its head, delivering a new legend that's not for the faint-of-heart.
3.”To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. I'm not sure when I stopped experiencing Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird as a mere school read and recognized that it was a true masterpiece I wanted to learn from and read again and again. Perhaps it was the sweltering claustrophobia of small-town Maycomb, or the nostalgia of childhood phantoms and fears, or my ability to finally tap into Scout's admiration of her father Atticus that combined to make it an absolute summer must for me.
Check back with us as we add more Top Five lists, and put yours in the comments section!