Open Phones: Summer Reading

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Call in and tell us one fiction and one non-fiction book on your August reading list.

Comments [138]

candace from Louisiana

I suggest a nonfiction titled "What Ever It Takes, God" by John Oarc. A memoir with vivid details of the authors journey to overcome adultery, pornography addiction and child molestation. An inpirational book on forgiveness

Aug. 14 2007 01:56 PM
Miriam from Rockland County, NY

(historical) fiction: The Physician, by Noah Gordon. A page-turning novel about what it took to become a physician during the Middle Ages. The plot is quite funny.

non-fiction: Man's Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl. This is one of the most influential books I've ever read. I read it three times before returning it to the library and then bought myself a copy.

Aug. 12 2007 09:12 PM
leslie from Brooklyn, NY

Non-fiction: I must second 1491. This book has captured my imagination like no other and has enlightened my understanding of the history and landscape of the Americas.

Aug. 12 2007 08:24 PM
Dan from Nyack, NY

Fiction: Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock--existentialist loser travels back in time and takes on the role of Jesus.

Non-fiction: The Men Who Stare At Goats by Jon Ronson--how a few alternative visionaries influenced military psychologica operations--and not for the better. Weird, funny and ultimately, disturbing.

Aug. 11 2007 10:44 PM
Ray Leiter from Arizona

"Harry's sonata is tinged with existential angst as he moved inexorably to his death in this heart-wrenching novel of a man's searcdh for himself in a world in which he has difficulty fitting"

Aug. 11 2007 03:34 PM
Netania from Hoboken

Non-fiction: I just finished Hitchens' "God is Not Great" but much preferred Dawkins' "The God Delusion."

Fiction: Almost anything by Jose Saramago. Try "Blindness." It's amazing.

Aug. 11 2007 10:56 AM
Judy Bartoli from Califon, New Jersey

Recently read "Red Mutiny" by Neal Bascomb. An action packed non-fiction thriller about the mutiny aboard the battleship Potemkin leading up to the Russian revolution with fantastic character development, this book is a great read.

Aug. 11 2007 08:58 AM
perryj from longbeachny

currently reading doris kearns goodwin-Team of Rivals. Good read. Incredibly well made. a supberb paean to the genius of abraham lincoln.

Aug. 11 2007 08:32 AM
Ray Leiter from Arizona

Citron's Sonata by Arthur Bloom. A first novel. "...a man's search for himself ina world in which he has difficulty fitting." Athena press.

Aug. 10 2007 04:25 PM
H.J. Scheiber from Glen Ridge, NJ

I recommeend (highly) the following two books for summer (vacation) ... and fall reading: (1) Joseph Roth's novel, THE RADETZKY MARCH (Michael Hoffmann, translation; Granta ed.) - a saga of the von Trotta (military) family from the Battle of Solferino (in Italy, 1859), when one of the von Trotta's saves the life of the young Emperor, through the start of World War I, and richly depicting the dissolution - leading to the demise - of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; AND (2) George Konrad's detailed memoir of life in Hungary during the Second World War and the post-War Communist period in Hungary, entitled A GUEST IN MY OWN COUNTRY - A HUNGARIAN LIFE (recently published in English).

Aug. 10 2007 03:56 PM
A Jew

Non-fiction: "The universe testifies" - Avigdor Miller
Fiction:"The origin of the species" -Charles Darwin

Aug. 10 2007 03:10 PM
Karen from Rochelle Park NJ

Fiction - "The World According to Garp" - one of John Irving's older books but definitely one of his best.

Aug. 10 2007 01:35 PM
kathy from NJ

If Brian is taking a break from the daily grind, maybe he shouldn't read at all, but just drink and watch Wheel of Fortune. Or at least go on a news fast. Perhaps something spiritually edifying, something that enables him to get off the merry-go-round and look at it, something that pertains to his eternal destiny. And no, I'm not suggesting he read any of the Harry Potter books.

Aug. 10 2007 11:12 AM
Jeff from Brussels, Europe

Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner: 700 pages of knowledge that every American (and any other) citizen should acquire. About the working of the Company.

Aug. 10 2007 10:34 AM
Jason Howard from Norwalk,CT-not the country

Just finished "Acts of Faith" by Philip Caputo. Though long, it is a well-written consideration of African woes and the various responses to them by Africans and outsiders. Mulitple points of view about what good people should do in response while still a stirring story.

Re-reading "All the Kings Men" Robert Penn Warren. Truly a wonderful political yarn.

Bill Bryson's memoir "The Thunderbolt Kid" is a MUST if you want to laugh out loud. His picture of his 1950's childhood really hits home!

Now, back to preparation for my 8th graders...Have a good trip. We can pray that the major world news will be some great good happening...

Jason Howard

Aug. 10 2007 08:34 AM
peter from switzerland

i would first like to support the other readers who have mentioned the great author haruki murakami.

my recommendations are:
non-fiction: the blind watchmaker by richard dawkins. explains evolution to non scientists without dumbing it down; also has the bonus of being utterly riveting. warning: an addictive author.

fiction: the fortress of solitude by jonathan lethem. i'm probably the last one to read this but it would be a crime to not mention it, especially in these parts ...

Aug. 10 2007 05:56 AM
barbara from Northport

I recommend two threes, both in paperback. Three Julias is an engrossing story. It centers on a gay man from Scotland living in the Village in NyC during the AIDS epidemic. Julia Glass spins a riveting three layered tale of his family, friends and beloved animals. The non-fiction book is "Three Cups of Tea", by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. This is an inspiring and timely story of a former mountain-climber who makes it his life's work to build schools for girls in the mountains of Pakistan before and after 9/11.

Aug. 10 2007 12:37 AM
Matthew Umbro from New Rochelle

ooh Brian I'm gonna miss you. Plumbing won't be the same! Enjoy your vacation :-) I am currently reading "The Varieties of Scientfic Experience" by Carl Sagan. Good vacation reading? probably not. Just finished the Myst books, they were great!!!

Aug. 09 2007 09:22 PM
inDskyz from Harrington Park, NJ

Fiction: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Non-fiction: Joyful Path of Good Fortune by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Aug. 09 2007 08:23 PM
Keith Troester from Kew Gardens, NY

"The Radicalism of the American Revolution" by Gordon Wood - great, heavy reading for those light summer days

Aug. 09 2007 07:24 PM
Safiya from Spanish Harlem

For the first time I finally finished "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston. I get it. If you haven't yet read this classic, do yourself a favor.

Aug. 09 2007 07:18 PM
Sam from Nyack, NY

fiction: The Dream Life of Sukhanov, by Olga Grushin A story of betrayal, a virtuoso performance with a fine sense of of the ridiculous, a true masterpiece.

non-fiction: The Devil in the White City: murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America by Erik Larson.

Brian, How are we going to manage your two week absence? ENJOY YOUR VACATION, YOU DESERVE IT.

Aug. 09 2007 06:14 PM
Jim from Manhatttan

I heard this guy on CSPAN. He was very compelling.

Aug. 09 2007 05:00 PM
Laura from west village

Non-fiction: "A Three Dog Life", a sad and lovely chronicle by Abigail Thomas recounting her life before and after her husband suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Fiction: "The Dogs of Babel" by Carolyn Parkhurst. Kind of a mystery. Could not put it down. It made me miss subway stops I was so engrossed.

Aug. 09 2007 04:50 PM
Helaine from Douglaston, NY

Fiction: Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan

Perfect for vacation! "The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding." Camus

Non Fiction: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

Makes you REALLY think about what you eat - EVERY DAY!

Aug. 09 2007 04:26 PM
Leslie G

Nonfiction: "The White Rock" an amateur explorer's rich and personal account of his journey along the Inca Trail in the early 80's. Fascinating stuff!

Fiction: Finished "Beyond the Great Indoors" by Ingvar Ambjornsen about a week ago. Wonderfully charming / had me laughing too. This is a story of life's daily ups and downs, told from the point of view of a man who is finally living in the City (Olso) after several years in a state mental institution.

Aug. 09 2007 04:07 PM

This summer I've been enjoying:

"up in the old hotel" by Joesph Mitchell

Aug. 09 2007 04:06 PM
Richard from 1 Center Street

Non-Fiction, Gotham, every New Yorker should take the time to read it, or at least more New Yorkers should. or If that’s just too big for your knapsack, "Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold" by Tom Shachtman, it's cool.

Fiction, The Hobbit

Aug. 09 2007 04:03 PM
Raj from Brewster, NY

Kim Stanley Robinson's Antarctica or Years of Rice and Salt. The former is an excellent treatise and story about ecology, global warming, and socio-political dynamics. The second is the most compelling alternative history about the rise of the Chinese and Arab worlds that I have ever read.

Both novels have starling and provocative events but also have some of the most beautiful prose written on seemingly dry and academic material.

Aug. 09 2007 04:00 PM
Barbara Singer from 319 East 24th Street, #3A New York, NY 10010

Non-fiction: "Self and World, An Explanation of Aesthetic Realism" by Eli Siegel. Definition Press, New York, 1981. This book has informed and strengthened me for many years. Relevant today, it throws new light on economics, aesthetics, imagination, self-conflict,love and other important topics

Aug. 09 2007 03:31 PM
Trevor from LIC

Fiction= Against the Day

Pynchon. Now more than ever.

Aug. 09 2007 03:27 PM
Barbara Singer from 319 East 24th Street, #3A New York, NY 10010

Non-fiction: "Self and World, An Explanation of Aesthetic Realism" by Eli Siegel, Definition Press, New York, 1981. This book has informed and strengthened me for many years. Relevant today, it can throw new light on economics, aesthetics, imagination, self-conflict,love and other important subjects.

Aug. 09 2007 03:25 PM
eric e. from LIC

I'm going with the classics here -- if you're a lit novice or expert but has not had the chance to read these, or if you already had read them then just simply re-read them -- then read these:
Catcher in the Rye -- JD salinger
Catch 22 -- Joseph Heller

Non-Fiction -- In Cold Blood -- Truman Capote

Aug. 09 2007 02:35 PM
AHB from Allan Lane, Mount Kisco NY

Non fiction - The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson
A natural history of lobsters alternationg with the lives (and politics ) of lobstermen.

Fiction - The Blind Assissin by Margaret Atwood

Recently reread this and it's just as good. A science fiction love story and a real world storoy of betrayal of all sorts execeelnt!

Also previous suggestions of the Time travelers Wife and the Phillip Pullman His Dark Materials are great.

Aug. 09 2007 02:35 PM
nora from brooklyn, ny

fiction - id have to agree that the moviegoer is wonderful. im currently "loving" the history of love by n. krauss.

non-fiction - i was really enjoying fathers and sons about the waugh family until it felt slightly anti-semitic. Instead, I'd highly recommend Rethinking the Urban Agenda: Reinvigorating the Liberal Tradition in New York City and Urban America, edited by John Mollenkopf [but you may have read this one...]

enjoy your break!

Aug. 09 2007 02:28 PM
Cassidy from Brooklyn

Oh, and also highly recommend anything by Haruki Murakami - THE WIND UP BIRD CHRONICLE, SPUTNICK SWEETHEART - ANYTHING!

Aug. 09 2007 02:07 PM
Cassidy from Brooklyn

Just read THE ROAD by Cormac it in one day and re-read it the next day - powerful...

Also, one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read 1776 by David McCullough - one of the best historical writers there is - an amazing account of the year 1776 and its great because many of the battles take place here in NYC and its amazing to imagine when Brooklyn was just farmland!

Aug. 09 2007 02:05 PM
monduane from teaneck, nj

I am currently reading, "No One Belongs Here More Than You" by Miranda July.
Next on the list "Then We Came to the End" by Joshua Ferris.
And before the end of the month, I want to start, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Kaled Hosseini

Aug. 09 2007 01:56 PM
David Thompson from Upper West Side

For fiction, one couldn't do better than the newly published "Complete Stories" by David Malouf, a lyrical and visceral window on (mostly) Australia past and present. First rate.

In non-fiction, I'm reading the surprisingly readable "Jonathan Edwards: A Life" by John Marsden, great biography of one of the most influential citizens of pre-revolutionary America.

Aug. 09 2007 01:40 PM
mary from Manhattan, NY

Non-fiction: "The Bottom Billion" by Paul Collier; he provides an incredibly well-rounded and objective analysis of why the poorest countries are staying poor. Thorough and well-written, plus the NYTimes gave it a great review.

Aug. 09 2007 01:24 PM
Lazarus Chambers from Harlem

I would suggest Limbo by Bernard Wolfe. Its billed as more satisfying than 1984 and Brave New World, I personally think that claim is not too far off.

for non-fiction, I would suggest the Kebra Negast. It is the Holy Book of one of the oldest empires, the Ethiopian. This will also update you to the upcoming Ethiopian Millennium which will be celebrated on Sept. 12th (usually the 11th) of 2007.

Enjoy Brian!!!

Aug. 09 2007 12:59 PM
Laura from NJ

The House in Paris - Elizabeth Bowen

Aug. 09 2007 12:58 PM

I would like to recommend reading a new release entitled "Finders Keepers" by Michael Dennis McDermott. The book is published by

I it a wonderful suspense/mystery fiction novel revolving around the finding of some found "unknown" Van Gogh paintings. The story covers the finding of the paintings, a plot to steal the paintings, the murder of the young woman who discovered the paintings and the investigation into all of this. It is an excellent read. Highly recommended.

Aug. 09 2007 12:44 PM
Michael R Donohue

'Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress' by William Lee Miller is a great book.
For fiction either the first or last Harry Potter book.
Have a good vacation.

Aug. 09 2007 12:41 PM


Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson.

I'm really enjoying it; and I'm learning about cognitive dissonance and self-justification. Some folks really need to learn how to own up.

Aug. 09 2007 12:38 PM
AB from manhattan

Fiction: SEND ME by Patrick Ryan

Non-fiction: NICKEL AND DIMED by Barbara Ehrenreich

Aug. 09 2007 12:16 PM
allen clark from Rye, NY

I recommend one book that fits both categories: great fiction and great non-fiction. It is Mitch Silver's first novel: "In Secret Service" by Simon & Schuster (Touchstone). It weaves together Ian Flemming, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess, the Royal Family, Princess Di and Churchill -- World War II secrets with modern day intrigue. Witty, involving, fast-paced. A gret one book to take along wherever you go.

Aug. 09 2007 12:14 PM
MLH from Peekskill, NY

FICTION: "The Couloir" by Richard Manichello
Totally enjoyable and unique perspective from a new, literary voice that should be heard. Love, loss, memory packaged in poetry. Hemingway-esque.

NON FICTION: "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert
Insightful and thought provoking and simultaneously entertaining. Didn't know non-fiction could be this much "fun!"

Aug. 09 2007 12:11 PM
Marianna from Toronto, ON

As for fiction, I would like to recommend "Arthur and George" by Julian Barnes.

Also, for non-fiction I would like to suggest "From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice" by Allen Buchanon, Dan W. Brock, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler.

Aug. 09 2007 12:08 PM
lesli from nyc

an apocalyptic trilogy:
waiting for the barbarians (j.m. coetzee)
the road (cormac mccarthy)
in the country of last things (paul auster)
the other america (michael harrington)
what is the what (dave eggers)
1982, janine (alasdair gray)

Aug. 09 2007 12:06 PM
Lavanya Muller from Holmes, NY

Read The Landscape Diaries: Garden of Obsession. It sounds like a garden book, but it is oh so much more! A page-turner with beautiful pictures. Both funny and touching, a quick and easy read that you'll be happy to leave on your coffee table for guests

Aug. 09 2007 12:04 PM
Guy Anglade from Brooklyn, NY

Also, I agree with Andy's choice in choosing Flannery O'Connor's "Complete Stories" collection. I am currently reading it and it contains some vigorous and achingly gorgeous writing, mixed with some odd characters. Enjoy your vacation!

Aug. 09 2007 12:02 PM
Eleanor Cole, Ph.D. from NYC

I recommend my recent book Negative You-Messages. See It can help people avoid escalating arguments that may build resentments in their personal relationships.

Aug. 09 2007 12:01 PM
Koren Reyes from New York, NY

Fiction: The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. Wonderfully simple book on a very complex idea.

Non-Fiction: The Prize. This classic book is still my all-time favorite. If you've never read it, you'll love this history of oil told in stories of real people's lives.

Aug. 09 2007 11:59 AM
chaim from brooklyn

non - fiction

Jewish Wisdom on the Afterlife -
by dovber pinson (a brownstown brooklyn resident)
a interesting look into the subject

and by the same writer

inner rhythms - the kabbalh of music
the mystical workings of music


toward the infinite - the way of kabbalistic meditation
a short easy "how to" on the topic

Aug. 09 2007 11:59 AM
scott tillitt from Beacon

"Awakening Through Love" by John Makransky -- for a Western take on using Tibetan Buddhist practices to "cultivate our capacities for empathy and compassion," as Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence) put it... and why those qualities are so relevant and important.

Makranksy is a lama, Boston College professor, guiding meditation teacher at Dzogchen Center retreats, and close student/colleague of Lama Surya Das.

Aug. 09 2007 11:59 AM

Shame of the nation
Jonathan Kozol

Public schools and NYC

Aug. 09 2007 11:59 AM
MS from east village, nyc

English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee - a very funny story about a mopey young civil servant, often described as "an Indian Catcher in the Rye."

Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford - such an interesting woman & such a pleasure read. I picked it up after reading the Observer review, which is better than any summary I can give:,,1962435,00.html

Aug. 09 2007 11:58 AM
Matt from bowery @ prince st

"The Magus" - John Fowles, I've worked for companies that do the sort of thing this guy is involved in - kind of like "The Game" by David Fincher. Completely compelling and on and on. Classic.

"How to Talk Dirty and Influence People" by Lenny Bruce. Quickest read ever of an interesting life - obviously smart and funny.

Aug. 09 2007 11:58 AM

White Teeth- Zadie Smith
What is the What- Dave Eggers

both fiction sorry! I'm behind on my non-fiction...

Aug. 09 2007 11:58 AM

non-fiction: "The Confessions", Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Rousseau's meandering recollection of his youth is perfect for a summer read. Love (and disappointment) seems a little bit more sweet when it comes from Rousseau.

fiction: "Anna Karenina", Tolstoy.

A gorgeous classic; assigned reading by my wife before our wedding - finished just in time, and great that I did. Kitty and Levin's love story is one for all time.

Aug. 09 2007 11:57 AM
SuzanneF from Upper West Side

In the non-fiction category -- Simon Winchester. Anything by this prolific and engaging writer is worth reading. "The Professor and the Madman" about creating the Oxford English Dictionary. Krakatoa -- about the volcanic explosion. The Map that Changed the World -- about the man who created the field of geology. And his newest about the San Francisco earthquake.

Fiction: I'm working my way through Trollope -- take me out of the present. And his understanding of human nature is exquisite.

Aug. 09 2007 11:57 AM
Constantin Serban from Edison, NJ

"Death and the Penguin" by Andrey Kurkov. One of the most entertaining fiction books that I've read lately, works great for anybody going in, or planning a vacation.
"Mao: The Unknown Story" by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday for non-fiction. The title is self explanatory...

Aug. 09 2007 11:57 AM
Andy from brooklyn

Fiction: The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor.

Probably the greatest American writer. Ever. And such a beautiful understanding of some of the most enigmatic aspects of the American character.

Nonfiction: Einstein, Ideas and Opinions

The guy was also a sociological genius. He saw pretty much everything we're dealing with now a century ago, and his opinions are as valuable as relativity.

Aug. 09 2007 11:57 AM
Juan from Long Island

Finally read the Kite Runner, which was terrific.

For non-fiction, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan is a mindblower.

Aug. 09 2007 11:56 AM
Lydia Reynolds from Austin, TX

The American Plauge by Molly Caldwell.

it a great book about what Yellow Fever did to the south, specifically Tennessee.

Aug. 09 2007 11:56 AM
Joseph Arsenault from Harlem

Fiction: Portrait of an Unknown Woman (A Novel) Vanora Bennett. about an adopted daughter in the Thomas More while they are being painted by Holbein

and an old favorite nonfiction:
A Singular Journey (Edward Albee) :
by Mel Gussow... the best biography of a great NewYorker and an interesting time.

Aug. 09 2007 11:56 AM

"End of Faith" by Sam Harris

Religion as source of many of our ills.

Aug. 09 2007 11:55 AM
George from Downtown Manhattan

For Greco-philes

Fiction : 'Gates of Fire'
(if you liked 300 you'll love this, an account of the Spartan battle at Thermopylae)

Non-Fiction : 'A Historical Biography of Alexander ther Great' Peter Greene

Aug. 09 2007 11:55 AM
Paul from Manhattan

I completely agree with the previous caller about "The Time Travelers Wife," it's great!

My suggestions would be:

The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon - Fiction


Inside the Kingdom by Carmen Bin Laden - Non-fiction

Aug. 09 2007 11:55 AM
Guy Anglade from Brooklyn, NY

Fiction: Lorrie Moore's "Birds of America." Perhaps one of the strongest writers in contemporary fiction, Moore explores men and women perched in difficult--and rightfully so--and odd situations. What gets me is her miraculous wit! Standout stories: "People Like That Are The Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk."

Non-Fiction: Toure's "Never Drank The Kool-Aid: Essays." Former Rolling Stones intern and Village Voice writer collects his essays and interviews with Hip-Hop musicians and all things black culture. Simply think of Toure as the black version of Hunter S. Thompson.

Aug. 09 2007 11:55 AM
Mohammed from Brooklyn, NY

Highly recommended: "Season of Migration to the North," a short novel by one of Africa's greatest unknown writer. A fantastical, somewhat a little spooky, novel about the return of a native to his Arabian land.

Aug. 09 2007 11:55 AM
suzanne from NYC

God is Not Great Christopher Hitchens

Aug. 09 2007 11:55 AM
Frank Foss from NYC

Non-Fiction: Paul Rogat Loeb "The impossible will take a little while" be inspired by real stories about HOPE and action. Not politically. Embracing all religions.

Aug. 09 2007 11:54 AM
catherine from katonah, ny

The best new fiction by far this year is SKUNK, A LOVE STORY- by Justin Courter. A wonderful first novel! Fun, fast, heart warming, and inovative. A really bizzare tale of addiction and love, even touching on political and enviromental issues. Enjoy!!!!

Aug. 09 2007 11:54 AM
Richard Storm from Hell's Kitchen

For fiction I recommend Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham. His usual impeccable writing in three short novellas linked by similar characters, each in a different genre and time -- historical novel (past), police procedural (present) and science fiction (future). Fascinating, enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Nonfiction: Movie Love in the Fifties by James Harvey. A completely accessible history of movies in the fifties, largely film noir, full of synopses, backstage stories and photos. Like going to the movies in an armchair, with lots of interesting commentary on what these movies say about the industry and society of the time.

Aug. 09 2007 11:54 AM
markbnj from

an interesting book I picked up in the VERY distressed rack (dollar store)

Goldie Hawn's autobiography "lotus grows in the mud" very spiritual and good read....

Aug. 09 2007 11:54 AM
sharon craig from Morris County, NJ

Bread and Roses by Bruce Watson...non-fiction
Amazing story of the Lawrence, Massachusetts strike in 1912. Would make a great movie!

Aug. 09 2007 11:54 AM
catherine from manhattan

I recommend "On Chesil Beach" by Ian McEwan, and
A LONG WAY GONE, by Ishmael Beah

Aug. 09 2007 11:53 AM
Tiffany from Brooklyn

Fiction: Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Non-Fiction: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Two great books, I am reading them both now!

Aug. 09 2007 11:53 AM
David from Highland Park, NJ

Fiction: Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Non-fiction: Guns, Germs and Steel. Diamond.

Aug. 09 2007 11:53 AM
Meghan Straesser

Non-Fiction: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. A history of mormonism and its uniqueness as an American religion.

Fiction: Sputnkik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami. Loneliness, love and the conflict between following ones dreams and the pressures of assimilating into society.

Aug. 09 2007 11:53 AM
Millie Niss from North Tonawanda, NY

Fiction: Vikram Chandra's _Sacred Games_ a literary novel masquerading as a thriller which is a panoramic view of modern India

Nonfiction_ Steven Johnson's _The Ghost Map_ about the cholera epidemic in London, but also touches on the scientific method, crowdsourcing, politics... very relevant to current issues and trendy science/math.

Aug. 09 2007 11:53 AM
Arthur from Brooklyn

Non-Fiction: Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter for the NY Times. He details the disastrous history of the CIA, and it reads like a tragic, infuriating farce.

Fiction: Absurdistan by Gary Shteingart. Superb post-soviet satire!

Aug. 09 2007 11:53 AM

Nonfiction: The Power Broker (Caro)

Fiction: The Human Stain (Roth)

Aug. 09 2007 11:53 AM
Chari from Manhattan

Fiction: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. First book of "His Dark Materials" trilogy -- read it before the movie comes out in December! Fantasy for people who HATE fantasy. Spirituality for the non-spiritual!

Nonfiction: Morgan: American Financier by Jean Strouse. Published in 1999 & won Bancroft Prize. Amazing biography & history of American finance & politics & museums.

Aug. 09 2007 11:53 AM
Sanda from brooklyn

Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham. I read it recently while I was having a rough time and it was the best and most complete distraction. Beautiful!

Aug. 09 2007 11:52 AM
Elena from Astoria, Queens

I just started Jonathan Alter's "The Defining Moment" --a biography of FDR. I know I love the FDR monument in Washington DC, so I want to know more about the man. I'm in chapter 2 and it's very engaging reading!!

Also non-fiction:
"The Big Year" is fun reading about birders and their crazy yearlong competition to see the most birds in North America.

I recommend "Daughter of Fortune" by Isabelle Allende, for an interesting fictional story about Chileans coming to San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Very fun! Allende's "Zorro" was also a lot of fun, and I adore "Eva Luna"!!

Aug. 09 2007 11:52 AM
Jacqueline from Sunnyside

I have to echo other people's suggestions, and I very strongly recommend the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman.

Atonement by Ian McEwan, sooo good, very surprising.

Non-Fiction: The Third Chimpanzee, by Jared Diamond!! Fascinating and very easy and intriguing book.

Aug. 09 2007 11:51 AM
Wendy from Brooklyn, NY

Non-fiction: Radical Possiblities by Jean Anyon

Fiction: Harry Potter 7, of course!

Aug. 09 2007 11:51 AM
Lindsay Carleton from Brooklyn, NY

"A Prayer for Owen Meany" John Irving

Aug. 09 2007 11:51 AM
Jerry from Elmhurst, Queens

The Rise of American Democracy by Sean Wilentz.

If you think politics are polarized now, try reading this. It's a riveting read - all 800 pages.

Aug. 09 2007 11:50 AM
hjs from 11211

maybe brian is the cause of so many of our troubles. connect the dots where does he REALLY go on vaction??

Aug. 09 2007 11:50 AM
Marcia DeGeer from Brooklyn

I recommend:
Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai SiJie

Aug. 09 2007 11:50 AM
Lis from Middlesex County NJ

Fiction: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Nonfiction: The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter by Colin Tudge

Aug. 09 2007 11:50 AM
sarah from brooklyn

The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian is a great book put out by McSweeny's books. An extra bonus is its beautiful design.

Aug. 09 2007 11:50 AM
Mark from Tuckahoe, NY

I just wanted to put in another vote for the trilogy: "His Dark Materials"

Aug. 09 2007 11:50 AM
Paulo from New Jersey

Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier... a non-fiction account of a boy in Sierra Leone.

Aug. 09 2007 11:50 AM
Sammi from NYC

For non-fiction, I highly recommend "No God But God" by Reza Aslan. Frankly, I think it should be required reading for all Americans and would go a long way to help us understand our friends and our enemies who are often painted with the same brush of "Muslim."

Aug. 09 2007 11:49 AM
Wendy from Brooklyn

Non-fiction: Radical Possibilities by Jean Anyon

Fiction: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!!! (J.K. Rowling)

Aug. 09 2007 11:49 AM
Joshua Eubank from NY

George Orwell's Non-Fiction: Homage to Catalonia and Down and Out in Paris and London.

Aug. 09 2007 11:48 AM
Ruth from new jersey

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (yes, there are two fs. it is not a typo)

Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte

Aug. 09 2007 11:48 AM

Fiction: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime by Mark Haddon. A few years old, but excellent!! Winner of the Whitbread Prize in 2003.

Aug. 09 2007 11:48 AM
Mary Rosseland from Mountain Lakes, NJ

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" is just about the best book I have ever read. As good, or better, that "The Kite Runner". Insight into Afganistan, well really paced, and incredibly real characters.

Aug. 09 2007 11:47 AM
Mike Selick from Brooklyn, NY

Right now I am reading Paul Theroux - My Other Life, I think it is a great book, Theroux's writing is full of witty observations and comical situations. This book so far has had Theroux living in a lepor colony in Africa, and now he is talking about living in london as a writer.

Aug. 09 2007 11:47 AM
Julee from Brooklyn

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Aug. 09 2007 11:47 AM
Tara Lambert from New York, NY

I am currently reading the non-fiction autobiography titled "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Alli.

Aug. 09 2007 11:38 AM
Robie from Bergen County

Fiction: "The Company" by Robert Littell - pretty good yarn (superior to the miniseries), covers the big Cold War historical moments nicely. He can be a bit ham-fisted as a writer, though.

Non-Fiction: "Gettysburg" by Stephen Sears, best one volume treatment of the battle

"A Savage War of Peace" by Alistair Horne - still trying to understand the Iraq mess, and hey, the President read it, right?

Aug. 09 2007 11:28 AM
Suzanne Michelle from Home Today

For fiction, I'd recommend IMPERIUM by Robert Harris, about Cicero's Rome, towards the fall of the republic and the rise of the empire, based on the writing's of Cicero's literate slave. Interesting implications for today's political climate ... history DOES repeat. On a lighter note, Rowling's Harry Potter series makes a good read ... I re-read 5 and 6, and am on my 3rd read of 7 ... rather good, is a wonderful distraction (as good as Star Trek, and I am a life-long fan!).

For non-fiction, try Bart Ehrman's MISQUOTING JESUS ... a sort of evangelical recovery book ... very interesting how what is _said_ to be in "the book" is not really there. Ehrman has a lot of very readable books about the essentially twisted world of "christian" religiosity. Jesus was an observant Jew, after all. I find Christians really forget that, or actually don't know it. Am looking for a similar book about Islam.

Have a GREAT vacation!!!

Aug. 09 2007 11:22 AM
Dick from Orange,NJ

Fiction - "Plain Heathen Mischief" by Martin Clark. An enjoyable read, paced lightly while exploring various aspects of faith. Not just religious faith, but faith in self and others.

Non-Fiction - "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Torcqueville
Applicable to our times more than might be thought. Amazing insights into America in it's infancy that can now be contrasted to our present state of affairs.

Aug. 09 2007 11:18 AM
Jaynab from Norwalk, CT

I recommend Forever, by Pete Hamill. It is a 'mostly' fiction, published a few years ago. The story starts with the main character, an Irish man, growing up in Ireland who's travels to America in the 17th century to avenge his fathers murder and is granted immortality by a slave who's life he saved. Through his journey Pet Hamill paints an extremely vivid picture of NYC in the 17th century and describes its evolution into its modern day megalopolis. A true work of historical fiction, for anyone who loves NYC.

Aug. 09 2007 11:13 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

"out" by natsuo kirino


and "freakonomics" i forget who wrote it

Aug. 09 2007 11:09 AM
Jennifer Hickey from Manhattan, New York

Fiction: "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien; "Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Non-fiction: "Istanbul" by Orhan Pamuk

Aug. 09 2007 11:07 AM
Trevor from LIC

Forget all this new Oprah bookclub type fiction!

Read any B. Traven novel; they are all great.

Non-fiction: god is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens.

Although his political affiliations are regrettable these days, when Hitchens turns his fire to modern religious thinking, he is as trenchant as ever.

Aug. 09 2007 11:07 AM
TCR from New York City

As per my e-mail:


"Animal, Vegetable and Miracle," by Barbara Kingsolver, for an account of how one family tried to survive for a year on local foods.

(If you haven't already read "The Omnivore's Dilemma," by Michael Pollan -- who's been a guest on your show -- read that one first for a fascinating history of the development of the post-WWII American food industry.)

"The Metaphysical Club," by Louis Menard, is one of the best intellecual histories that I've ever read -- deals with Holmes, Peirce, James and the development of American pragmatism.

Fiction: What can I say? You're on vacation; anything by Trollope.

Aug. 09 2007 11:07 AM
Chris from Phoenix, AZ

Listen to your show every day! I just finished Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and it was very well written.

Aug. 09 2007 11:06 AM

Nonfiction for a Traveler: "The Art of Travel" by Alain de Botton - really makes you think about the whole experience of travel: why we do it, what we think we will get from it, how we can make it more meaningful

Fiction: The Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart - not at all what the title would make you think it is, a quick read but very well written

Aug. 09 2007 11:06 AM
Dave Goessling from High Bridge, NJ

1491 - Fascinating and eye-opening history of new research into pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas

Aug. 09 2007 11:06 AM
Tom Parker from NYC

Fiction: Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union"

Non-Fiction: Bruce Bawer's "Stealing Jesus"

One is fun - the other is scary!!!

Aug. 09 2007 11:05 AM
hiram from brooklyn

Space is the place by John F. Szwed. A biography of Sun Ra.

Aug. 09 2007 11:01 AM
RC from queens

Invading the sacred
An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America

Aug. 09 2007 11:01 AM
Daniel from Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn

Fiction: "Then We Came to the End," a recent novel by Joshua Ferris. It's an extremely well-crafted comic novel about people in an advertising office, which touches on the depth and the tragic elements within the lives of a group of people at work.

Non-fiction: "Dry Manhattan," an account of New York City during Prohibition, by Michael A. Lerner. Engrossing and full of wonderful detail.

Aug. 09 2007 10:59 AM
Crusty Fruitcake from More-Uptown-Than-Thou

Maybe it doesn't sound like summer reading, but my summer project is to re-read all of Shakespeare, and it has been a real hoot. For nonfiction, I recommend Antonio Damasio's "Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain".

Aug. 09 2007 10:55 AM
lb from ft.greene

i also agree with amy, His Dark Materials...amazing trilogy. it combines quantum physics, other dimensions, and a very human story.

non fiction:
Bury Me Standing...a must read on the history and current situation and persecution of the Gypsy population worldwide.

Aug. 09 2007 10:46 AM
Gretchen from Atlanta

Fiction: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Non Fiction: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Aug. 09 2007 10:41 AM
gabby from new york

Fiction: To Kill a Mocking Bird. It warms the most distressed heart. More importantly, it's a good story.

Non-fiction: Me Talk Pretty One Day. It makes you laugh out loud.

You've probably read both already. But they are worth re-reading.

Aug. 09 2007 10:40 AM
melly from Queens

I'm currently reading and loving a novel by Ian McEwan, Atonement. I believe there's a movie adapted from this to be out soon.

Aug. 09 2007 10:36 AM
Letizia Diamond from Brewster, NY

Just finished the latest Harry Potter book and started "The Shadow of the Silk Road" by Colin Thubron.

Aug. 09 2007 10:35 AM
nbm from Brooklyn

The Newby is a wonderful book!

I've just read a beautifully observed and very moving novel set in Belfast in 1979, THIS HUMAN SEASON by Louise Dean. She imagines terrorists, prison guards, and those who love them, largely avoiding caricature.

Aug. 09 2007 10:27 AM
Eric from Santa Fe, NM

The Places in Between by Rory Stewart. An acct of the author's walk across Afghanistan just a few months after the fall of the Taliban. Companion volume: Eric Newby: A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush

Aug. 09 2007 10:22 AM
kate from new york, ny

I just finished Mary Modern, a novel by Camille DeAngelis. It's a beautifully written updated version of Frankenstein, touching on themes of love, politics, and infertility. I immediately wanted to start reading it again.

Aug. 09 2007 10:17 AM
Rebecca from New Haven, CT

Antonia Juhasz, "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time"

Witold Gombrowicz, "Ferdydurke"

Although I also second His Dark Materials. They are truly beautiful to read.

Aug. 09 2007 10:16 AM
charlie from battery park city

"God is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens

Aug. 09 2007 10:15 AM
John from Staten Island

Non-Fiction: Critical Condition by Donald Barlett and James Steele published in 2004. How Health Care in America Became Big Business and Bad Medicine.

Aug. 09 2007 10:10 AM
Judy from Greenlawn, NY

I just finished "Divided Minds" by Wagner and Spiro, a beautiful and very sad memoir of twins, one with schizophrenia.

Also just finished "The Namesake;" loved it; so well written.

Aug. 09 2007 10:10 AM
Amy from Boulder, CO

the young adult fantasy trilogy , His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman. The first book is The Golden Compass.

Aug. 09 2007 09:57 AM
Sparkle from Brooklyn

Fiction: "The Moviegoer" by Walker Percy
New Orleans, ennui and a little convertible. One of my all-time favorites.

Non-Fiction: " Following the Bloom: Across America with the Migratory Beekeepers"
by Douglas Whynott
Entirely engrossing from cover to cover.

Aug. 09 2007 09:46 AM
Betty Welker from Upper West Side, Manhattan

"Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali for an insider's look at the status of women in Muslim society, politics and a whole range of other issues. A great read.

Aug. 09 2007 09:41 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.