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Best Summer Reads For 2014

“The Vacationers,” “Land of Love and Drowning,” “Midnight in Europe” – we’ll look at this summer’s great books, hot reads.

Alan Furst's "Midnight in Europe," Emma Straub's "The Vacationers" and Tiphanie Yanique's "Land of Love and Drowning" are just a few of On Point's suggested summer reads for 2014. (Courtesy Random House / Riverhead)

Alan Furst’s “Midnight in Europe,” Emma Straub’s “The Vacationers” and Tiphanie Yanique’s “Land of Love and Drowning” are just a few of On Point’s suggested summer reads for 2014. (Courtesy Random House / Riverhead)

Happy “Bloomsday” everybody!  It’s June 16th, the day James Joyce had his Leopold Bloom stroll Dublin in Joyce’s masterpiece “Ulysses.”  Big “Ulysses” may or may not be in your beach bag, on your reading list, this summer.  But we’ve got options for you.  All kinds of great summer reads.  On Joyce.  “Euphoria.”  The deep sea.  Little Rock.  Omaha.  Papua New Guinea.  Great readers on “The Bees.”  “The Most Dangerous Book.”  “Song of the Shank.”  “The Swan Gondola.”  This hour On Point:  Great reads.  Hot reads.  For the summer of 2014.

– Tom Ashbrook


Parul Sehgal, book editor at the New York Times Book Review. (@parul_sehgal)

Maggie Galehouse, book critic for the Houston Chronicle. (@MaggieGalehouse)

Paul Ingram, book buyer for Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, IA. (@Prairie_Lights)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: When the Water’s Too Cold, Something Else to Dive Into — “we have entered the fun season with the sandy nickname, the one known for books impossible to put down. (For novelty’s sake, no words rhyming with reach, teach or bleach will be used in the text of this review.) Whatever your taste, the publishing world has an offering for you, whether it’s sci-fi populated by talking bees (Laline Paull’s ‘The Bees’) or the would-be Proustian Norwegian literary event of the season, ‘My Struggle,’ by Karl Ove Knausgaard. (Volume 3 comes out next week.) For those playing catch-up, Michael Lewis’s ‘Flash Boys’ is the most urgent nonfiction horror story of the year.”

Houston Chronicle: 21 summer book recommendations – “From a good spy to a ‘bad’ girl, from World War II France to the dodgy, present-day suburbs of Las Vegas, 2014′s recommended summer reading list reaches wide and deep. Staffers at Houston’s high-profile independent bookstores – Blue Willow Bookshop, Brazos Bookstore and Murder By The Book – weighed in on new novels, thrillers, mysteries, nonfiction and books for teens and younger readers.”

Los Angeles Times: Summer Books Preview 2014 – For some, summer brings long days stretched out by the pool with a hardcover or juicy paperback; for others, an e-book on the phone or audio book in the car can do the trick. Whatever the season has in store, it provides ample opportunities to kick back with a book, and we’ve got more than enough titles to keep you reading.

Read Our Guests’ Top Ten Summer Reads At Our Blog

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  • Ed75

    Scott Hahn just published a book called ‘Consuming the Word’ about the Eucharist and the Bible in early Christianity, very good reading. (In the program guide for the program discussing the book it mistakenly reads ‘Consuming the World’.)

  • Dab200

    For interesting travel through reading I recommend all Jo Nesbo detective stories. First in a series The Bat transfers you to Australia, the next
    moves to Bangkok and so on….

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Read them all. Not the children’s books he pens. And I’ve just finished The Son. It’s very good even without Harry Hole.

      • Dab200

        I have read The Son the day it was published on Kindle (May 13th) since I was on a long flight to Europe, I’ve read The Snowman, The Leopard, Headhunters and now started from the beginning of Harry Hole chronology since The Bat was the latest published though it is the first story in the life of Harry. Jo Nesbo says that his American publisher is after all Random House – they publish books at random order!

  • http://onpoint.wbur.org/about-on-point/sam-gale-rosen Sam Gale Rosen

    On Ulysses and beach reading, two of the best and weirdest chapters in Ulysses take place on the beach.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Add the David Ignatius novel: The Director. It’s a thriller. And a read.

    It plays against the backdrop of what most of us think happens in Washington, D.C. to begin with.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I hope this hour isn’t going to turn into a recitation of all that artsy fartsy stuff you can find in Vanity Fair and the NY Times Friday online supplement.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    David Downing’s new book Jack of Spies is good. It leaves behind his Station series, those who’ve read them know what I’m referring to. Quickly into the new novel, you’re in Port Arthur just ahead of the Great War. Like I said before: it’s a read.

    I’ve just finished Jo Nesbo’s The Son. Gripping even without Harry Hole.

    Starting Alan Furst’s latest now: Midnight in Europe. Can’t wait for evening when I bring out the novels and read to the early hours.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Flash Boys was great. Author: Michael Lewis. Scared the hell out of me to the point I’m closing my Ameritrade account and ploughing my money in the backyard.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB
  • stacey

    We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider….He ‘s a genius

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB
    • Ray in VT

      How was Guns at Last Light? I’ve read the first two books, but I haven’t gotten to that last one. I’ve wondered what, if anything, new or unique Atkinson could add about such well traveled terrain such as Overlord.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    No one reads Proust at the beach, anymore? No 98# weaklings, anyway.

  • KDS

    What was the title/author of the PNG (Papua New Guinea) book?

    • nkandersen

      That book was “Euphoria” by Lily King.

      nick andersen
      web producer | on point adio

  • Paul900

    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde – clever science fiction involving literal immersion in literature. Or anything else by Jasper Fforde. For something less escapist – Inside the Soul-Crushing Corporate Machine by Peter Kynikos, a combination of stories, humor, and rants about the working world. Might not be the obvious choice for a summer read but still interesting and entertaining (like a real world Dilbert).

  • LinRP

    Next time skip Paul Ingram. Man, does he like to hear himself talk to the exclusion of everyone else. Prattle, prattle, prattle…I found him a bore and annoying.

    • Natashalot

      ….and he dissed the Karl Ove Knausgard work, which is addictively good reading

  • nkandersen

    We definitely know Mr. Eggers’ work, but it didn’t seem like Ulysses meant that particular novel.

    nick andersen
    web producer | on point radio

    • TheLindaJP

      No biggie, but pretty sure that’s the book he meant. He referred to it being divided up into Book I, Book II, etc. which The Circle is. He likened it to the Matrix, Neo, etc which is not far off in terms of its ultimately dystopian & menacing atmosphere.

  • DeMisty Bellinger

    Maya Lang’s debut novel, out this summer, The Sixteenth of June, moves Bloomsday to Philadelphia: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/06/13/bloomsday-reimagined-in-philly/

  • JSM21

    Hello Producers, Is it possible to post a list of the books recommended by the people who called in? Thanks.

  • KathleenKennettiel

    My Uncle Riley
    got an almost new red GMC Canyon just by some parttime working online with a
    laptop. visit their website F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

  • Lawrence

    The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni. One of the world’s masterpiece in literature.

    Incredibly creative sentence structure, interesting characters, imaginative story lines it’s a real page turner.

  • Skip Edmonds

    Ulysses was referring to The Circle Series by Ted Dekker.

    • TheLindaJP

      Ahhhh. Good to know. I misunderstood, thought he said Dave Eggers, The Circle, etc.

Jul 23, 2014
In this Saturday, July 12, 2014, photo, migrants walk along train tracks and boxcars after getting off a train during their journey toward the US-Mexico border, in Ixtepec, southern Mexico. (AP)

Crisis at the US border. What do Latinos on this side of the border have to say? We’ll ask our special roundtable.

Jul 23, 2014
Actor Wallace Shawn attends special screening of "Turks and Caicos" hosted by Vogue and The Cinema Society at the Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, April 7, 2014 in New York.  (AP)

From “The Princess Bride” to “My Dinner with Andre “and “A Master Builder,” actor and writer Wallace Shawn joins us.

Jul 22, 2014
Lt. Col. James Howard Williams, aka "Elephant Bill," is the hero of Vicki Constantine Croke's new book, "Elephant Company." (Courtesy Random House)

We’ll travel to the jungles of Burma for the remarkable true story of Billy Williams—aka “the elephant whisperer”—and his World War II heroism.

Jul 22, 2014
Smoke rises after an Israeli shelling at the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City, Monday, July 21, 2014. The top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip signaled Monday that the Islamic militant group will not agree to an unconditional cease-fire with Israel, while Israel's defense minister pledged to keep fighting "as long as necessary," raising new doubt about the highest-level mediation mission in two weeks. (AP)

The escalated Gaza offensive. We’ll get the views from both sides and the latest developments.

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