Now that the punishing winds and deep snow drifts of the cold harsh unforgiving winter has given way to blue skies, green grass, with the scorching heat not far behind, many are beginning to make their summer plans. Along with where to vacation in the coming months, who to visit and what to plant in their backyard gardens, equally important-at least for some-is what books will be placed on their summer reading lists.
According to the American Library Association, summer reading programs began in the 1890s as a way to encourage school children, particularly those in urban areas and not needed for farm work, to read during their summer vacation, visit their local library and develop strong reading habits.
Along with the importance of summer reading for school children, adults as well have placed a high priority on what books to dip into while vacationing at select hot spots during the summer months, including many people’s favorite vacation spot: Porchville, that is, the luxury of their own home.
Ever since The New York Times Book Review published a list of the 100 best summer books, beginning in 1897, summer reading has become as popular as baseball, apple pie, and family barbecues on the Fourth of July.
So to get a sense of what other people are reading, I asked some news professionals if they might consider sharing their summer reading lists with me.
Here, then, are some responses that came back.
1.) Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., Publisher of The New York Times.
- James C Goodale’s “Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles”
- Mark Bittman’s “VB6”
- Joan Walsh’s “What’s the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was”
- Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In”
- Rick Atkinson’s “The Guns at Last Light” (the conclusion to Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy)
- Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen, “The New Digital Age”
- David Sanger’s “Confront and Conceal – Obama’s s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power”
2.) Frank Rich, former New York Times columnist and now writing monthly on politics and culture as Writer-at-Large for New York Magazine.
- ``The Son" by Philipp Meyer.
- "Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage" by Jeffrey Frank
- "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel" by Mohsin Hamid
3.) Tucker Carlson, American political news correspondent, commentator for the Fox News Channel, and Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Caller, a news and opinion website.
``I'm embarrassed to admit that from June to September my reading consists almost entirely of P.G. Wodehouse novels and books about fly fishing. Not especially deep, but I have a pretty much inexhaustible supply of both genres.
This year, I'm starting with Nymphs for Streams and Stillwaters, by Dave Hughes, who's not only an accomplished fisherman and entomologist, but also a skillful and charming writer. His book Trout Flies may be the best reference for fly tiers ever written.
I'm also reading ``The Last Resort’’, a memoir by Douglas Rogers about his parents' attempt to survive in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. It's fantastic so far, gripping and weirdly hilarious.
Finally, once I've completed my annual rereading of Psmith in the City and feel good and guilty for being frivolous, my plan is to plow through The Education of Henry Adams. I've always felt bad about not reading it. Hopefully this year I'll pull it off.’’
4.) Ralph Blumenthal, former reporter for The New York Times from 1964 to 2009, who covered arts and culture news before accepting a buyout; additionally served as the paper's investigative and crime reporter (1971-1994) and foreign correspondent (1968-1971) in Germany, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
``My summer reading list revolves around my latest project: a biography of John E. Mack, the Harvard psychiatrist who believed there was some truth to his patients’ stories about encounters with alien beings. I just did a piece on him, which appeared on the Vanity Fair website. So I'm reading Whitley Streiber's excellent "Communion", "Captured" by Kathy Marden and Stanton Friedman, "UFOs and Nukes" by Robert Hastings, and other books on alien abduction. Also Mack's 1977 Pulitzer Prize-winning bio of T.E. Lawrence, "A Prince of Our Disorder."
I just bought Ron Chernow's "Washington" and it's on my list, along with David Nasaw's "The Patriarch." I'm teaching muckraking again at Baruch College in the fall so I want to read Ida Tarbell's "History of the Standard Oil Company," both volumes if possible. I just read her bios of Lincoln and Napoleon and am a huge fan of hers.’’
5.) Richard Stengel, managing editor of TIME, who additionally oversees the domestic, international and tablet editions of the magazine, TIME.com, mobile and TIME for Kids.
``I'm reading Scott Berg's biography of Woodrow Wilson.’’
6.) Greta Van Susteren, host of the Fox News prime-time news and interview program, "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren''
The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. “It’s been sitting on my desk for weeks and I want to get to it soon!”
7.) Chris Matthews, host of ``Hardball'' on MSNBC and ``The Chris Matthews Show.''
``[Robert] Caro and Nassau books.''
8.) Norman J. Ornstein, political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a Washington D.C. think tank.
``I will be reading Marcia Coyle's ``The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution'', Anthony King's ``The Founding Fathers v. the People: Paradoxes of American Democracy'' and John A. Farrell's ``Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century: A Biography''
June 3, 2013