Reading Lists

Reading Lists

Books make the best gifts -- never the wrong size and relatively inexpensive. But how to choose from the infinite variety of options?

Books make the best gifts -- never the wrong size and relatively inexpensive. But how to choose from the infinite variety of options?

Twice a year, The Kojo Nnamdi Show shares book recommendations for you, the kids, your boss and anyone else in your life. We also call on book editors and experts from small independent bookstores to help seek out the quality reads that are often overlooked by mainstream media.

2014

Summer 2014 Kids And Young Adult Summer Reading

School's out for summer, but reading -- both assigned and for pleasure -- continues for kids of all ages. We consider the latest titles creating a buzz, from colorful picture books that appeal to toddlers to novels in verse that can draw in even the most reluctant teen readers.

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Best-Selling Political Memoirs

For our show on The Art of the Political Memoir, we pulled together the best-selling memoirs by political figures from May 2004 to May 2014, based on sales at independent bookstores across the United States.

This list was produced by the American Booksellers Association.

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Summer Reading

The lazy, hazy days of summer are approaching, which makes it the perfect time to hit the beach or post up in the park with a great book. We consider the enduring appeal of page-turning thrillers, novels that take us to faraway locales, and revealing biographies.

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2013

Winter Reading For Kids & Young Adults

Looking for holiday inspiration for gifts for the good little kids and teens on your list? We've got book suggestions for the littlest readers and most mature young adults alike.

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Winter Reading Show

E. Ethelbert Miller, Barbara Hoffert and Mary Kay Zuravleff round up their favorite novels, short stories and nonfiction of 2013.

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Summer Reading For Kids & Young Adults

Whether your kids are reluctant readers or literature lovers, Monica Hesse and Edie Ching have suggestions for series, picture books and novels the whole family can read together at the beach or in the backyard hammock.

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Summer Reading Show

Novels, biographies and thrillers you'll want to pack for your next vacation, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Recommendations by editor Barbara Hoffert, bookstore owner Eileen McGervey and freelance writer John Wilwol.

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Books Set In Washington, D.C.

The D.C. area has been the backdrop for many books, whether short stories, novels or nonfiction. Our guests highlight the best books set primarily in and around Washington, including those penned by authors with local roots and books with strong allusions and mentions to the area.

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2012

Winter Reading Show: Cookbooks

The year's best cookbooks, as selected by Bonnie Benwick, food editor at The Washington Post, and Sally Swift, managing producer of The Splendid Table. The books span a variety of culinary categories: vegetarian, desserts, Latin American, poetry and more.

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Winter Reading Show: Children's Books

Edie Ching, member of the ALA Notables Childrens' Book Committee, "The Prophecy Series" author Ellen Oh and Joe Callahan, executive director of 826DC, share their recommendations for the best children's and young adult books this winter season. Suggestions range from picture books such as "Sleep Like a Tiger," a magical bedtime story, to young adult favorites, like "Son" by Lois Lowry.

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Winter Reading Show

Book critic Mark Athitakis, BookDragon blogger Terry Hong and Library Journal editor Barbara Hoffert share their favorite reads this winter season. On the list are Paul Auster's "Winter Journal," a history of the author's body and its sensations, and Deborah Ellis's "My Name Is Parvana," about the difficulty of girls' lives in war-torn Afghanistan.

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Summer Reading Show: Children's Books

Guests Kathie Meizner, library manager with Montgomery County Public Libraries, and author Maureen Johnson recommend the best summer children's books, including Laura Vaccaro Seeger's picture book "Green" and John Green's "The Fault In Our Stars," which tells the story of a kids-with-cancer support group.

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Summer Reading Show

Guests Ron Charles, Barbara Hoffert and Despina Kakoudaki share their favorite reads this summer, including Nancy Gibbs' The Presidents Club, which tells the inside story of the world's most exclusive fraternity, and The Stories of Ray Bradbury, an author-selected anthology of 100 stories.

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2011

Winter Reading Show

Guests Barbara Hoffert, Michael Dirda, and Marcela Valdes share their favorite reads this winter, including Andrew Graham-Dixon's Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane, which traces origins of the dark artist's genius and demons; and The Phantom Tollboth: 50th Anniversary Edition.

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Winter Reading Show: Children's Books

Guests Vicky Smith, Jane Gilchrist, and Jon Scieszka offer their suggestions for the best children's books of 2011, including Chris Van Allsburg's delightful (if dark) The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales / With an Introduction by Lemony Snicket; Irish author Oliver Jeffers' latest lovely picture book, Stuck; and an unusual young adult ghost story, Tighter.

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Winter Reading Show: Cookbooks

Guest Tanya Steel selected some tempting picks covering food from Texas-style to Moroccan. Steel also flagged a few food-related memoirs, including chef Gabrielle Hamilton's riveting life story.

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Summer Reading Show

Guests Barbara Hoffert, Alan Cheuse, Eileen McGervey, and Angela Dodson share their favorite reads from this summer's lineup, including The New Yorker's "20 Under 40" author Chris Adrian's The Great Night, which borrows Titania's woes from A Midsummer Night's Dream and transports them into a present-day San Francisco park with similarly grieving humans. Other picks include Pete Hamill's Tabloid City and Alexandra Fuller's Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness.

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Summer Reading Show: Children's Books

Micki Freeny, Director of Children and Youth Services at the D.C. Public Library, and Heidi Powell, Manager of the Children and Teens Department at Politics and Prose, share their picks for the best summer reads in children's books.

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2010

Winter Reading Show

Guests Barbara Hoffert, Terry Hong, and E. Ethelbert Miller share their picks for reads ranging from the delightful children's It's a Book to the wry How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming.

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Summer Reading Show

Guests Barbara Hoffert, Ginnie Cooper, Trish Brown and Sarah Cornish Debraski share their picks for some of the best reads of the season, from moving non-fiction like David Finkel's account of the U.S. military's surge in Iraq in 2007 to beloved children's author Sandra Boynton's Perfect Piggies.

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2009

Winter Reading Show

Guests Alan Cheuse, Robin Whitten, and Daphne Gaskins highlight some of the year's best nonfiction, like William Kamkwamba's and Bryan Mealer's true story from Africa, and Robin Whitten suggests some of the year's best audio books for those long holiday trips.

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Summer Reading Show

Guests Alan Cheuse and Barbara Hoffert offer as best bets author Lev Grossman's fantasy novel about a magical world and Rita Dove's latest poetry collection.

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2008

Winter Reading Show

Barbara Hoffert, Todd Stewart, and Megan Graves highlight some delightful finds, like Irish author Oliver Jeffers' story of an unlikely friendship between a boy and an alien and Steve Kurtz's ode to tribute bands.

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Summer Reading Show

Barbara Hoffert, Carla Cohen, and Traci Giganti present a range of picks, including Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth and an absorbing historical non-fiction book about courageous British politicians in the run-up to WWII.

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2007

Winter Reading Show

Winter picks include a novel intertwining language, romance and self-discovery from Xialou Guo and Nobel Prize-winning Nadine Gordimer's new short story collection. Guests Barbara Hoffert, Candida Mannozzi, Dinah Paul, and Todd Stewart reveal their favorites.

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Summer Reading Show

Travel books are on our experts' minds with picks like the unconventional Bad Lands by Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler and another recommendation focused on exotic cuisine. Barbara Hoffert, Candida Mannozzi,
and Dinah Paul, Owner once again point us to their favorites.

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2006

Winter Reading Show

Guests Barbara Meade, Dinah Paul and Todd Stewart pick a mystery from familiar D.C.-based author George Pelecanos and Elizabeth Gilbert's travel memoir focused on food, love, and God.

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Summer Reading Show

Guests Dinah Paul, Barbara Hoffert, Carla Cohen, and Bridget Warren include a wide variety of wonderful children's stories, including the latest in the "Olivia" series, and Kevin Brockmeier's intriguing tale of how the last surviving human's memories impact those in the afterlife.

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2005

Winter Reading Show

Guests Barbara Hoffert, Barbara Meade, Steve Moyer and Clara Anthony present their winter picks, including a centuries-old art mystery involving a lost Caravaggio and a Caldecott honor book for kids about a wise panda.

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Summer Reading Show

Audio books for long trips are included in this summer's list; among them are Ian McEwan's latest and the new installment in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Guests Carla Cohen, Barbara Hoffert, Sheilah Egan, and Angela Dodson tell us what they're reading this summer.

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2004

Winter Reading Show

Guests Sheilah Egan, Bridget Warren and Barbara Hoffert discuss their favorite new books across genres, including a cookbook focused on chocolate and holiday gift books for children.

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Summer Reading Show

Recommendations from Barbara Hoffert, Bridget Warrne, Cecilia Cackley, and Brother Kaba for a mix of light and more serious reading, including a former New York Times' bureau chief's take on African countries ravaged by disease and Jim Patton's latest thriller.

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.