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The Swiss Summer by Stella GibbonsPeople like lists. There's something comforting about an organized presentation of items, to be considered, ordered, completed. Checklists, to-do lists, grocery lists - all come with a sense of hope, of fresh starts, of good intentions.

Summer reading lists are no different. Each year newspapers, bloggers, magazines and celebrities put together their summer reading lists. They can mean different things to different people. For some, like me, they are a list of what they intend and hope to read over the summer (subject to change entirely and later be unrecognizable, for any or no reason). I chose a few new books I was excited about, as well as a book I've been meaning/dying to read for ages.

For newspapers and publishers, a summer reading list can be somewhere between an advertisement and a prediction - what will sell well? What will others pick up as the next hot book this season? For still others, like Stephen King or Oprah Winfrey, they can be an endorsement - a way to use their fame to spread a message and boost the sales and visibility of the titles they enjoy and find worthy. New books are often strongly promoted, but classics, like Hemingway's A Moveable Feast for instance, show up as well.

For your list-perusing pleasure, we've compiled some of the best summer reading lists of the year thus far.



Summer Reading Lists

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson

Stephen King's 7 Great Books For Summer

(Entertainment Weekly)
  1. Shatter
    Michael Robotham
  2. Quicksilver
    Neal Stephenson
  3. The Tourist
    Olen Steinhauer
  4. Drood
    Dan Simmons
  5. Dog On It
    Spencer Quinn
  6. Handle with Care
    Jodi Picoult
  7. Little Dorrit
    Charles Dickens

The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky

The Wall Street Journal

  1. The Food of a Younger Land
    Mark Kurlansky
  2. American Heroes
    Edmund Morgan
  3. Young Woman and the Sea
    Glenn Stout
  4. The Snakehead
    Patrick Radden Keefe
  5. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
    J. Randy Taraborrelli
  6. The Girl Who Played with Fire
    Stieg Larsson
  7. South of Broad
    Pat Conroy
  8. The Secret Speech
    Tom Rob Smith
  9. The Angel's Game
    Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  10. My Father's Tears
    John Updike
  11. Ravens
    George Dawes Green
  12. Let the Great World Spin
    Colum McCann
  13. Do Not Deny Me
    Jean Thompson
  14. A Happy Marriage
    Rafael Yglesias
  15. Fragment
    Warren Fahy
  16. Border Songs
    Jim Lynch
  17. It's Beginning to Hurt
    James Lasdun
  18. That Old Cape Magic
    Richard Russo
  19. Heroic Measures
    Jill Ciment

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Oprah's 25 Books You Can't Put Down for Summer

  1. Let the Great World Spin
    Colum McCann
  2. Heroic Measures
    Jill Ciment
  3. Yes My Darling Daughter
    Margaret Leroy
  4. Dreaming in Hindi
    Katherine Russell Rich
  5. What I Thought I Knew
    Alice Eve Cohen
  6. A Pearl in the Storm
    Tori Murden McClure
  7. Columbine
    Dave Cullen
  8. The Glister
    John Burnside
  9. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
    Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
  10. Admission
    Jean Hanff Korelitz
  11. The Food of a Younger Land
    Mark Kurlansky
  12. The Peep Diaries
    Hal Niedzviecki
  13. Farm City
    Novella Carpenter
  14. Plan Bee
    Susan Brackney
  15. Poems from the Women's Movement
    Honor Moore
  16. Stormy Weather
    James Gavin
  17. Eye of My Heart
    Barbara Graham (ed.)
  18. One D.O.A., One on the Way
    Mary Robison
  19. The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards
    Robert Boswell
  20. A Meaningful Life
    L.J. Davis
  21. A Moveable Feast
    Ernest Hemingway
  22. Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange
    Amanda Smyth
  23. Camilla
    Madeleine L'Engle
  24. Essential Pleasures
    Robert Pinsky (ed.)
  25. Provenance
    Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo
Vefa's Kitchen by Vefa Alexiadou

NPR's 10 Best Cookbooks of Summer 2009

Recommended by T. Susan Chang
  1. Cooking Know-How
    Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
  2. The Flavors of Asia
    Mai Pham
  3. Memorable Gatherings: Favorite Recipes to Share with Family and Friends
    Renee Behnke with Cynthia Nims
  4. The Modern Vegetarian
    Maria Elia
  5. Preserved
    Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton
  6. Real Cajun
    Donald Link
  7. Soaked, Slathered and Seasoned: A Complete Guide to Flavoring Food for the Grill
    Elizabeth Karmel
  8. The Spice Kitchen
    Michal Haines
  9. Tacos
    Mark Miller
  10. Vefa's Kitchen
    Vefa Alexiadou
Castle by J. Robert Lennon

NPR's Five Best Novels of Summer

Recommended by Jessica Crispin
  1. Castle
    J. Robert Lennon
  2. Dark Places
    Gillian Flynn
  3. Follow Me
    Joanna Scott
  4. The Good Parents
    Joan London
  5. The Scenic Route
    Binnie Kirshenbaum

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

NPR's Best Mystery, Crime Novels for Summer Sleuths

Recommended by Maureen Corrigan
  1. Awakening
    S.J. Bolton
  2. Black Noir: Mystery, Crime and Syspense Fiction by African-American Writers
    Otto Penzler (ed.)
  3. The Scarecrow
    Michael Connelly
  4. The Shanghai Moon
    S.J. Rozan
  5. The Way Home
    George Pelecanos

Beth's Best Bets for Summer 2009 (or 'What I'll Be Reading')

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir
Haruki Murakami

I love Haruki Murakami's writing. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a book I enjoyed tremendously. Where does Murakami come up with some of the bizarre, surreal and always imaginative material in his books? What makes him tick? Apparently, in part, running. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in running. I couldn't care less about running, personally, but I'm curious enough about the methods behind Murakami's madness to be very excited about this book, even if I need to do leg-stretches before diving in.

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Fool by Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore

Recently my friend Angela lent me Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job. I was skeptical, I admit. I thought it would be too zany or wacky for my tastes. My humour tends to run more to dark or dry than slapstick or madcapped antics. And it was unmistakably zany in parts, but it was also clever, engaging, endearing and funny. The interactions between characters are touching and believable, and the plot, while ridiculous, is also a lot of fun. I enjoyed the book tremendously. Fool, Moore's latest, appears to be the story of Shakespeare's King Lear, but told from the perspective of Pocket, the king's beloved court jester. Am I skeptical? You bet - messing with Shakespeare takes a big pair, if you ask me. But last time I was skeptical, it turned out pretty well for me.

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Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk

I've long been a big fan of Fight Club. I think it's one of the few examples of a book whose film adaptation equals it. But I digress.SinceFight Club, I've read a lot of Palahniuk - Invisible Monsters, Choke, Survivor, and Haunted with mixed feelings. I loved most, though certainly none rivalled Fight Club, and didn't love others so much. But eve the ones that didn't strike quite the right chord with me still blew my mind with the quality of writing. Palahniuk possesses the rare capability of description that leaps off the page in heartbreaking beauty or - arguably more often - visceral, gut-churning horror. His writing so impresses me that I will continue to read whatever I can of his, and Pygmy, the story of a diminutive exchange student in America, sounds funny and fascinating.

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Sometime Never by Roald Dahl

Sometime Never
Roald Dahl

I'm bonkers about Roald Dahl. I think I own almost everything he ever wrote. From his gleefully gruesome children's books to his chilling and ironic adult writing to his captivating autobiographical books, I can't get enough. Sometime Never may well be the last of Roald Dahl's writing I've not yet read. I've been holding off reading it, making myself wait, like saving the best bite of the cookie with the most chocolate chips until the end. But I think I've waited long enough. The thing is... the book tanked. Yup. Flopped entirely. Couple that with the fact that it was published in 1948, and there aren't too many copies around. It was the first book about nuclear war to be published in America after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it IS Roald Dahl, so I'm sure I'll love it nonetheless.

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