Six Great Books I Have To Read This Week For Writer’s Voice

Francesca’s Bookshelf

I love talking to authors about their awesome books, but that means I have to read — a lot! You’d be shocked at how many authors thank me for actually reading their books (I guess a lot of interviewers don’t.)

Of course, that’s one of the benefits of producing Writer’s Voice: I get to indulge my reading habit and ask questions of the authors.

But there’s so much great stuff coming out all the time that sometimes my desire to devour all of it gets ahead of the time available. That’s when I find myself with more books on my plate than I bargained for. This is one of those weeks. But what books! I just finished the first one: David Laskin’s THE FAMILY. Read on for my take on his book and more.

The Family: Three Journeys Into The Heart of The Twentieth Century is a superbly told tale by journalist David Laskin about three branches of his family, each of which played out a different iconic story about Jewish life in the last century: making it in America (his great aunt was the first great American female tycoon, the founder of Maidenform Bra), pioneering in Israel, and perishing in the Holocaust. Laskin does a masterful job of weaving together the tangled threads of this enterprising, courageous and resilient family to create a story to inspire all families.

Next up on the reading roster is Journalist James Risen’s new book Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War. Obama’s Justice Department is seeking to force Risen to reveal his sources — he’s facing jail if he loses in court. I can’t wait to talk to him about how he’s dealing with the Administration’s chilling attack on freedom of the press, as well as about this book. I’ll also be talking with Matthew Hoh, the former State Department official who blew the whistle on our tragic mistake in Afghanistan. Risen and Hoh will be featured on Writer’s Voice in December.

Next week I’ll tell you how my reading of the other books went: Naomi Klein’s book about climate change, This Changes Everything; E.G. Valliantos’ secret history of pollution and the EPA, Poison Spring; Walter Mischel’s story about the famous test he invented, The Marshmallow Test; and Jenny Nordberg’s book about girls who pass as boys in Afghanistan, The Underground Girls Of Kabul. It’s an embarrassment of riches!

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About Francesca Rheannon

Francesca Rheannon is an award-winning independent radio producer. In addition to hosting Writer's Voice, she's a freelance reporter for National Public Radio and its affiliates. Recipient of the prestigious Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for reporting on substance abuse issues for her news series, VOICES OF HIV, produced for 88.5 WFCR public radio in western Massachusetts. She is also finishing a book on Provence (PROVINCE OF THE HEART) and working on a memoir of her father, THE ARGONAUTS.