Popular authors, Las Vegas luminaries share summer reading lists

Finally, a chance to stop checking Twitter and open a book — for pleasure.

But what to read? For a little help, we asked some popular authors: What are you planning to read this summer and why?

Ann Patchett, author of “Commonwealth”

I’ll want a book that’s thrilling and artful, a true page-turner that will leave me feeling smart, so I’ll read Maile Meloy’s “Do Not Become Alarmed.” Roxane Gay’s “Hunger” will be at the top of the stack for life-changing memoirs (she is brilliant). And of course I’ll be reading David Sedaris’ “Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002” because a summer in which there is a new Sedaris book is the very definition of a good summer.

Colson Whitehead, author of the Pulitzer Prize winner “The Underground Railroad”

Mohsin Hamid’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” “Exit West” and “Ethan Frome” were good discoveries this spring. This summer, I have rereads for “Sula,” “Things Fall Apart” and “Waiting for the Barbarians” lined up. Short and sweet!

Jodi Picoult, whose novels include “My Sister’s Keeper” and “Small Great Things”

I have three books on my summer reading list! “The Stars Are Fire” looks like Anita Shreve at her best, exploring real-life New England history through the lens of complex characters. I’m also looking forward to “Everyone Brave Is Forgiven,” by Chris Cleave, a love story cast against the backdrop of World War II. Finally, “The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas, a YA novel that brings the Black Lives Matter movement to life through the eyes of a young black girl who witnesses the shooting of her friend at the hands of the police.

Tana French, author of “The Trespasser”

I’m finally going to finish Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House.” No one does eeriness like Shirley Jackson; no one breaks down the boundaries of your reality and draws you into hers with quite the same inexorable power. I started “Haunting” once before, and it spooked me so badly that I stopped, so I’m hoping that reading it on a sunny beach will defuse it a little. I’m also planning to read Marlon James’ “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” and I cannot wait to read Dennis Lehane’s “Since We Fell,” about a woman who finds both her marriage and her mind threatened after she spots her husband — or his doppelganger — somewhere he’s not supposed to be. Lehane writes expert, compelling thrillers that dive into mysteries much more universal and more urgent than just whodunit; he’s one of the game changers who smashed the imaginary boundary between genre and literature, proving that we can have the best of both at once.

Diane Rehm, radio personality and author of “On My Own”

I’m totally hooked on Elizabeth Strout. First I reread “My Name Is Lucy Barton.” Now I’m reading “Amy and Isabelle,” and finishing up her latest, “Anything Is Possible.” Her characters, their stories, their interwoven lives have me mesmerized.

Philip Kerr, author of “Prussian Blue”

I’m planning to read “The Essential Paradise Lost,” by John Carey. “Paradise Lost” was once celebrated throughout Europe as one of the sublime achievements of mankind. Today, this masterpiece is little read except by students. It’s years since I was forced to read Milton’s poem in school, and, in an attempt to bring it to a wider audience, Carey has shortened the text and reveals new insights into the poet’s sources of inspiration.

Imbolo Mbue, author of “Behold the Dreamers”

Recent or soon-to-be-released books I would love to read this summer include Naoki Higashida’s memoir of living with severe autism, “Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8”; Jonathan Dee’s “The Locals” (it sounds very ambitious and seemingly explores several social issues our country is currently dealing with); Stephanie Powell Watt’s “No One Is Coming to Save Us”; Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s debut novel, “Kintu”; Jesmyn Ward’s “Sing, Unburied, Sing”; and Jim St. Germain’s “A Stone of Hope,” a memoir that I’ve heard presents an exceptional argument for criminal justice reform.

Nathan Hill, author of “The Nix”

I’m finishing a book tour this summer, and the novels I’ve packed to keep me company on airplanes are “Private Citizens,” by Tony Tulathimutte, “The Muse,” by Jessie Burton, and “Imagine Wanting Only This,” by Kristen Radtke. I’m also looking forward to “Blind Spot,” by Teju Cole, a book that combines two of my favorite hobbies: photography and reading Teju Cole.

Angie Thomas, author of “The Hate U Give”

At the top (of the list) is “Ramona Blue” by the incredible Julie Murphy. I absolutely loved “Side Effects May Vary” and “Dumplin’,” so I know I will love this one, too. I also can’t wait to finally read “When Dimple Met Rishi,” by Sandhya Menon. Just from the excerpt I’ve read, I adore the voice already and know it will be a great read.

Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series and “Seven Stories to Stand or Fall”

People plan their reading? Takes all kinds. … Books just find me. They converge upon me like flocks of benevolent vultures. They follow me home, wagging their tails. I’m pretty sure they breed in the dark, too, like mushrooms. When I finish a book, I pick up whatever looks most appealing from the tottering piles at hand. What’s on top now, though, is “The Last Hack,” by Christopher Brookmyre, “Creatures of Will and Temper,” by Molly Tanzer, and “The Murderer’s Maid,” by Erika Mailman — all batting their eyelashes at me.

Nathan Tannenbaum, Vegas PBS, and host of “Playing Favorites” on KUNV-FM and “Varsity Quiz”

I’m in the middle of “The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told.” It’s a collection of 30 different stories by authors you’ve probably heard of, from Roger Angell to John Updike to Doris Kearns Goodwin, essays they’ve written about baseball. O … Then, just for fun, I dug up the (Philip K. Dick) novel “The Man in the High Castle” because the TV series captured me and I wanted to see what the book was all about.

Drew Cohen, co-owner, The Writer’s Block

Given my schedule at the store, (summer reading) is kind of year-around, for better or worse. But I do tend to tackle more ambitious, longer or more demanding books in the summer because there’s a sense there’s more time opened up for reading. So, I’m actually reading “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens, which is super-long. And I have to admit that I’ve attempted it three or four times before and never managed to finish it and always have to start up again. So I’m determined that I’ll finish it this summer.

Beverly Rogers, bibliophile, Black Mountain Institute supporter, chairman of the board of The Rogers Foundation

One is Charles’ Dickens’ “Bleak House.” (Drew Cohen of The Writer’s Block) kept going on and on about how great it is, so he got me to read it, and Drew and I plan to read “Anna Karenina.” Those are my two serious ones.

I just bought “Thumbsucker” by Walter Kirn. I’ve gotten to know Walter pretty well and I love his style. Then, Vendela Vida, who is Dave Eggers’ wife, has a novel called “The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty.” I’m going to read Janet Malcolm’s “Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder.” … I usually mix it up between classics and contemporary and favorite authors, and I take recommendations.

Jason Feinberg, “Fox 5 News This Morning” and “More”

(Reading: “The Groom’s Instruction Manual: How to Survive and Possibly Even Enjoy the Most Bewildering Ceremony Known to Man” by Shandon Fowler) We moved up our wedding date (Feinberg is engaged to Dr. Azin Azma, a Las Vegas neurologist), so instead of March, it’s January of 2018. So that’s one of the big ones. And, also, TheKnot.com, has this notebook-looking book online and I have that. It has exactly when you have to do this, when you have to do that, when to pick the colors, when to send off invitations.

Vicki Pettersson, author of “Swerve” and the “Signs of the Zodiac” and “Celestial Blues” series

I really love social science. So, “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed” by Jessica Lahey, which basically talks about the risk of helicopter parenting. Then Angela Duckworth’s “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” has been on my list for months now. It’s great to read if you have children and are looking to instill grit in them, but it’s also applicable to adults wherever you are in your life and still striving to learn and do new things. And the third one is “Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking Our Kids — and How to Break the Trance” (by Nicholas Kardaras). I’m going to give our kids cellphones and we need to be aware of how powerful (tech devices) are.

Robyn Carr, author of the best-selling “Virgin River”and “Thunder Point” novels and the upcoming “The Summer That Made Us”

HarperCollins just turned 200 and they asked a group of librarians and booksellers worldwide to provide a list of 200 iconic titles to celebrate their birthday (“Virgin River” is one of them). … This summer, I am reading from that list — and doing some re-reading from that list — including books I have treasured like “Wuthering Heights” and “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and some I haven’t read but have always meant to, (such as) “Profiles in Courage,” “The Shipping News,” “All The Light We Cannot See.” … Oh, and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” I read that when I was 12. That was magic. I want to re-read that.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman

I really like biographies and just finished “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life” by Sally Bedell Smith. Now I am reading “New York: The Novel” by Edward Rutherfurd.

Laura McBride, author of “ ’Round Midnight” and “We Are Called to Rise”

I’m reading “Dodgers: A Novel” by Bill Beverly, but I can’t tell you anything about it yet. It was recommended to me by a wonderful bookstore owner in Wichita, Kansas. She recommended another book, “The Luminaries: A Novel” by Eleanor Catton. It’s really good, but also big and complicated, so I think I’m going to set this down for a minute and pick up “Dodgers.”

Joshua Wolf Shenk, executive director, Black Mountain Institute

I just finished an astonishing book called “A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor” by John Berger, a portrait of a country doctor that is also a meditation on the nature of care and, as I read it, a very sharp alternate model of care to the hyper-specialized, highly technical medical practice. I’m in the thick of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle Volume I,” also, essays by Rebecca Solnit, and a memoir called “Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life” by Yiyun Li.

Review-Journal writer John Przybys contributed to this report. Contact John Przybys at jprzybys@reviewjournal.com. Follow @JJprzybys on Twitter.

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