Summer time and the living is easy, or at least easier. During the rest of the year, many of us are too busy with work, school, or family matters to crack open a book. So we fantasize about finding a cool place in the shade and curling up with a good book on vacation. Authors have the same daydreams. So we asked well-known writers who recently have appeared on “Today” what is on their reading lists this summer. Here’s what they have bookmarked:
Newt Gingrich, author of “Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America,” (Regnery Publishing Inc.)
I am currently reading: Lou Cannon’s “Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power,” an interesting study by a reporter who first began covering Reagan in 1965, and David Hackett Fischer’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” a brilliant analysis of the role of citizenship in training and arming the Massachusetts citizens who stood up to the British Army in April 1775.
Read the rest of Gingrich’s summer book list and an excerpt of “Winning the Future”
John Updike, author of “Terrorist” (Knopf)
“John Constable: A Kingdom of His Own” by Anthony Bailey. A sedate and sensitive life of the great English landscapist tells a story not committed to book length since the 19th century; it gives the American reader new eyes with which to look at Constable's beautiful paintings.
Listen to his interview on MSNBC. Watch his interview on “Today” and read an excerpt of “Terrorist.”
Janet Evanovich, author of “Twelve Sharp” (St. Martins Press)
“The Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly is a terrific story — tightly-plotted, brilliantly written. I'm reading it right now and don’t want to stop for anything!
Read an excerpt of “Twelve Sharp”
Patricia Cornwell, author of “At Risk”(Penguin Group USA)
The book for my summer reading is “The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World” by Guido Majno. It’s an absolutely fascinating look at the evolution of medicine over thousands of years, and beliefs about what to do with the dead and what death means. It also is related to the new novel I’m writing.
Watch her interview on “Today.”
Calvin Trillin, author of “A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme”(Random House)
“Untold Stories” by Alan Bennett. The English writer is best known here as a playwright — his "History Boys" is now on Broadway — but he is also a superb writer of prose. I greatly enjoyed his first collect, “Writing Home.” This is his second. “Sweet and Low," by Rich Cohen. This is sort of a family tale entwined with a history of the sweetener industry. It’s had terrific reviews. “Justine” by Lawrence Durrell. Yes, this is for a book group.
Watch his interview on “Today” and read an excerpt of “A Heckuva Job”
Augusten Burroughs, author of “Possible Side Effects”(St. Martin's Press)
My first summer read is “Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival” by Anderson Cooper. Why? Because it’s by Anderson Cooper.
Watch his interview on “Today” and read an excerpt of “Possible Side Effects”
Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of “Love in the Present Tense” (Flying Dolphin Press)
I want to read two books by two terrific authors who publish in the young adult category, but whose books seem perfectly suitable for grownups to me. I read and loved Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief.” Now I want to read one of his earlier books, “I Am the Messenger.” I also plan on reading David Levithan's and Billy Merrell’s “The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities.” I'm having a great time exploring the new young adult genre. It isn’t what young adult fiction used to be.
Watch his interview on “Today” and read an excerpt of “Love in the Present Tense”
Howell Raines, author of “The One That Got Away”(Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
I plan to read “On Beauty” by Zadie Smith. I thought “White Teeth” was acutely observed and elegantly written. It was a dazzling performance for a young novelist, or for that matter, for a writer of any age.
Read an excerpt of “The One That Got Away”
Linda Ellerbee, author “Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table”(Penguin Group USA)
For me, a summer book must be fun, so I'll be reading “As Dog Is My Witness,” the newest book in the Aaron Tucker mystery series, by Jeff Cohen. He tells a helluva story, and like all women, I'm in love with Aaron Tucker, who may not be the kind of guy we thought we wanted, but always ends up being just the kind of guy we need.
Lorraine Bracco, author of “On the Couch” (Penguin Group USA)
I plan to read “At Risk” by Patricia Cornwell, because I am a huge Patricia Cornwell fan!
Watch his interview on “Today” and read an excerpt of “On the Couch”
Carol Evans, author of “This Is How We Do It: The Working Mothers’ Manifesto”(Penguin Group USA)
The book I most want to read this summer is Madeleine Albright’s “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs.” I miss Madeleine as our secretary of state and this book will give me a piece of her marvelous brain to visit with over the summer. I can’t wait to hear how she synthesizes all aspects of these complex and important subjects. I am also looking forward to reading Linda Kaplan Thaler’s and Robin Koval’s
soon-to-be-published book, “The Power of Nice.” Linda challenges conventional wisdom by proving that nice guys and gals often finish first. I want to know about that!
Watch his interview on “Today” and read an excerpt of “This Is How We Do It:The Working Mothers’ Manifesto”