Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support independent journalism with your sustaining membership.
The Exchange
• Check out our list of New Hampshire museums, galleries, performance venues & independent bookstores, sorted by region.• You can also find art exhibits, book readings, live music and more on our Public Events Calendar.

2018 Summer Book Show


Whether it's for a tablet, phone, or hardback, booklovers are always on the lookout for what to read when life slows down in the summer.  We hear what's new in fiction,  including a thriller co-written by a best-selling author and a former President.  For non-fiction fans, we review new works of History, Humour and Self-Help.  And as always, some N.H. authors make the list.  Get your pen and paper ready if you are looking for help with ideas for your reading list this summer! 

This program will air on Wednesday, July 4 at 9 a.m., and will be rebroadcast again at 7 p.m.  It was originally broadcast on June 13, 2018.




2018 Summer Book Recommendations from Water Street Books


  • The Immortalists: A Novel by Chloe Benjamin
  • The Underneath: A Novel by Melanie Finn
  • First Person: A Novel by Richard Flanagan
  • *Florida by Lauren Groff
  • *The Mars Room: A Novel by Rachel Kushner
  • Desert Boys by Chris McCormick
  • *Circe: A Novel by Madeline Miller
  • *Warlight: A Novel by Michael Ondaatje
  • Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
  • *The Book of Essie: A Novel by Meghan Maclean Weir    


  • *Lexington and Concord: The Battle Heard Round the World by George C. Daughan
  • Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America by James Fallows and Deborah Fallows
  • On Grand Strategy by John Lewis Gaddis
  • Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour
  • *How to Change Your Mind:   What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
  • Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush
  • The Hidden Life of Life: A Walk Through the Reaches of Time by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
  • The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss
  • *Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
  • Legend of the Slow Explosion: Eleven Modern Lives by Baron Wormser

 *indicates it was discussed during the show - listen above to hear about it!

2018 Summer Book Recommendations from Gibson's Bookstore

Fiction, hardcover

  • *There, There, by Tommy Orange
  • *Florida, by Lauren Groff
  • *Bearskin, by James McLaughlin
  • My Ex-Life, by Stephen McCauley
  • *The Book of Essie, by Meghan Maclean Weir
  • *The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner
  • Tin Man, by Sarah Winman
  • Mrs., by Caitlin Macy

 Fiction, new in paperback: 


*indicates it was discussed during the show - listen above to hear about it!

Other Books Discussed During the Show

  • Baracoon, by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Grand Forks, by Marilyn Hagerty with foreward by Anthony Bourdain
  • Fly Girls, by Keith O'Brien
  • Locked In, by Victoria Arlen
  • Small Town, Big Oil, by David Moore
  • Starland, by Jessica Purdy
  • The Wounded for the Water, by Matt Miller
  • The Restless Wave, by John McCain
  • Half-Light, by Frank Bidart

Listener Recommendations

"Thought I would share the college admission summer reading list I compiled for the Washington Post a few weeks ago.  Some books related to education and others for fun.  What admission deans are reading"

“Just finished ROBIN by Henry Holt, which as a (still mourning) Robin Williams fan I … did enjoy reading about him and being reminded about some interesting events.  Picking up today The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton.”

“Our book group holds an end-of-year pot luck in June and always chooses a book that supports a particular food theme. This year we chose Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend which is currently  being filmed as a mini series by HBO.”

“…Two recent favorites, both about strong world leaders:  River of Doubt about Teddy Roosevelt’s adventure into the Amazon River basin late in his life; and Hero of the Empire, concerning Winston Churchill’s ventures during the Boer War, early in his career.”

“In our southern Vermont bookstore, Everyone’s Books, we all loved Marlboro,VT author Robin McArthur’s Heart Spring Mountain- about an extended family’s time after tropical storm Irene, as well as history and the effects of substance abuse on a family.”

“Two books I recently enjoyed:  How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt gives the reader an historical and global perspective on our modern politics; A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles reminds you of the charm of civility.”

“I’ve just finished a delightful new book by Alexander McCall Smith, The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse. This one is a stand-alone novel, rather than  part of his many series (e.g. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency).  It’s a poignant story of wartime, written with McCall Smith’s great gentle insight into human nature. “

“I just read Raven, Tell a Story” by Anne Donaghy from Meriden, NH. I found it to be a great read and a page turner.”

Just finished Whiskey and Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith. Poets and Writers magazine called it a "quiet novel," in that it's not full of thrills. However, it's written in the voices of the three main characters, exposing the backstory in increments that held my interest. There is an unexpected plot turn that gives the novel substance…  For those who want relationship stories with some depth, a good read.

“I recommend James Rebank's book, A Shepherd's Life, about his life as a sheep farmer in the Lakes District of England. Not only is a great read in the James Herriot vein, the real strength is how he takes pride and ownership in being native to and working a beautiful landscape that others only visit. For New Hampshire, with our dependence on yet often rocky relationship with what a tourist economy means for local community and pride, this is a bolstering read.”

“I would recommend anyone wanting to delve into a new-to-you author to read anything by Tom Robbins.  His two more well known books are Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Roadside Attraction.  My personal recommendation for reading would be Skinny Legs and All and/or Jitterbug Perfume.  Mr. Robbins is a phenomenal writer.”

Trevor Noah - Born A Crime

“These are three of my all-time favorites.  Hour of the bees,  The war that saved my life, The war I finally won.  All are must reads for those who haven’t yet!”

“My favorite local author is Jodi Picoult. She is from I believe, Hanover area. She always write writes about hard topics….[the] current one I'm reading, Small Great Things, is about racism. She has an amazing way of making you think from a different perspective. She uses fiction to start conversion about important issues.”

“My all-time favorite book is non-fiction “Just Mercy” by Bryon Stevenson, who also founded the Equal Justice Initiative.  A black man who attended Harvard Law School, moved south after he graduated to represent death-row inmates.  The book has a number of amazing stories.  I have read it twice and will read it multiple times in the future.”

“I recently read "A Colored Man in Exeter" and loved the book. It provided me with perspective and an experience that I otherwise would never have had. In addition it was a great read.” 

"Cosmic Coincidences: A Memior of Cosmic Proportions, stories involving NH and connected to the cosmos are fascinating and backed by facts and dates." 

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.