As the official start of summer approaches, it is time for a time honored nerd tradition: the summer reading list. Ever since we were grade school kids with our first library cards, the nerds of #nerdland have known summer is a chance to delve deep into great books. Here are a few of our picks for 2013.
In non-fiction politics, we love Nation reporter Jeremy Scahill's "Dirty Wars." This impeccably researched text uncovers the truth about America's drone wars and is the basis for a newly released documentary. (See a trailer here.) And don't miss "Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution" by Doug Fine--it just might convince you that legalizing marijuana can save our economy.
Want a meaningful coffee table book? Pick up Leonard Freed's "This is the Day." It contains 57 never-before-published photographs of the August 28, 1963, march on Washington. For memoirs, we recommend Raquel Cepeda's "Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina"--which explores the complicated layers of Latina identity--and Rosie Schapp's "Drinking with Men," which is a must-read for independent women blazing their own paths.
Looking for a little self-improvement this summer? Then you have to pick up "The Power of Habit" by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg. It's a nerd-licious peek into how our brains and behaviors shape our lives. (Here's a trailer for the book.)
Our fave kid pick? Sandra Boynton's "But Not the Hippopotamus" will have the whole family joining in the silliness. And if you've got a teen in the house, join her in reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Adolescent dystopic novels are my guilty pleasure and this is one of my favorites.
But the best reads of summers are the novels you never forget. #nerdland suggests Taiye Selasi's "Ghana Must Go," which complicates what it means to be a part of the black diaspora. Warning, don't start this book if you have anything else to do. You will not be able to put it down. And Edwidge Danticat's "Claire of the Sea Light"--a little girl is missing in a seaside town and the pain, love and human interconnection her loss reveals are breathtaking.
And do not miss Kiese Laymon's "Long Division," taking place in one Mississippi town with two engaging stories in two very different decades. The sharp humor and deep humanity make this debut novel unforgettable.
And you'll fall in love with the ladies of Edward Kelsey Moore's "The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat" as they see one another through the many ups and downs of their lives.
It is summer. Pour an ice tea. Find a chair in the shade. And take some time to read.
See below my extended interview with author Taiye Selasi after her March appearance on "MHP."