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Listeners' Summer Reads

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On the show last Thursday we talked summer books with critics and an independent bookseller. We had a tremendous response to the show from callers and from listeners online. Many people wanted to know more about the books that On Point listeners were talking about. So here’s the rundown of those “listener picks” that you may have heard on air. Thanks to all for contributing.

jury-of-her-peersOne of our regular callers -- David from San Francisco —  recently borrowed and read “A Jury of Her Peers,” by Elaine Showalter, from his public library.
wind-up-bird-chronicleFor those who have been recently laid off, listener Germaine in New York City recommended, “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel,” by Haruki Murakami.

First-time caller Beth in Lexington, Massachusetts recommended “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” by Ishmael Beah. [Note: In 2008, questions were raised about the truthfulness of Beah’s memoir.]

[Update, 6/12/09: Ishmael Beah's editor at FSG, Sarah Crichton, points out that questions were raised about certain details of Beah's narrative only by one newspaper, the Australian. See her statement posted below.]

Richard in Framingham, Massachusetts told us that the last thing that he had read was “Indignation,” by Philip Roth. But the reason he called us was to recommend a short story, “The Adventure of a Reader,” from the collection “Difficult Loves,” by Italo Calvino.

pride-and-prejudice-and-zomDrew commented online about the new mashup book, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. There’s been quite a bit of buzz about it, including on NPR.

Another web commenter, Jean, said that she had recently finished an outstanding but rather depressing book, “The Vagrants: A Novel,” by Yiyun Li, set in China after the Cultural Revolution.

Bruce called in from Bethany, Connecticut to talk about a nonfiction book he recently finished reading… “Getting the Sex You Want,” by Tammy Nelson. He said it’s geared more for women but it opened his eyes dramatically as a man.

seen-the-gloryShauna in Hamilton, Massachusetts was looking forward to reading Martha’s Vineyard writer John Hough’s new book, “Seen the Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg.”

Alex called in from Norfolk, Virginia to say that she just read “The Fountainhead,” by Ayn Rand. She’s 23 and just discovered Rand.

David from Hartford, Connecticut made a special note of P.G. Wodehouse and his Blandings Castle novels, in particular “Service With a Smile.” David said that he has to read the book at least once a year, and it’s the only book that makes him laugh out loud uncontrollably when he reads it.

sawtelle“City of Thieves: A Novel,” by David Benioff was another online listener recommendation, as well as “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” by David Wroblewski, “Bridge of Sighs: A Novel,” by Richard Russo, and Dust Bowl stories from “The Worst Hard Time,” by Timothy Eagan.
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