Ed. note: This is Melissa's Footnote, as delivered on today's show and seen below. We've added links to the books she describes. Happy reading, #nerdland.
Summer is the season of books. Life slows down just enough to make room for us to read something more than our Twitter feed.
So for today's Footnote, this is my Summer Reading List, based on some of the topics we've covered during 2012.
This election is all about the economy, but our conventional wisdom about economic downturns just might be wrong. Alexander Fields' "A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth" offers a surprising argument that American productive capacity actually grew during the depression and laid the foundation for post war expansion.
In #nerdland, we talk a lot about fairness and equality. Catch up on the long history of progressive political action with Michael Kazin's "American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation."
Let's be fair, there are some great conservative reads out there right now. My favorite at the moment is David Gelernter's "America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats)." That title just kind of says it all doesn't it? Speaking of conservatives, at the end of the summer Mitt Romney is going to choose a running mate. If you think V.P. picks aren't interesting, just read "The 18-Day Running Mate: McGovern, Eagleton and a Campaign in Crisis." This is the story of an epic political fail, and it is fascinating.
Did you love our black-hair segment and want to read more? We recommend "Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America." Remember our discussion of First Ladies? Read about the most beloved in Hazel Rowley's "Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage."
#nerdland producers had some favorite picks: Kevin Smith's "Tough Sh*t: Life Advice for a Fat, Lazy, Slob who did Good" is a surprisingly fun, motivational and entreprenurial read.
Need more inspiration? Especially in this sporting summer? Read "Road To Valor," the story of cyclist and Tour de France winner Gino Bartali, and how he secretly aided the Italian resistance to save Jews during World War II.
And just for fun we are reading Sadie Jones’ "Uninvited Guests." And I’m not going to tell you which us is addicted to the young-adult Delirium series. But after all when Maurice Sendak passed away, we made an argument for the importance of children's fiction.
"Zeke Pippin," the young pig with a magical harmonica. The dragon-slaying "Paper Bag Princess" and the life-affirming "It's Okay to be Different" are #nerdland faves. And then there is Lloyd Alexander's "The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha," a book that one #nerdland producer remarked:
"It made me believe storytelling is the world's greatest profession."
Books change lives. Read one today.