So, what did you read this summer?

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Late August. Back to school or work.

beautifulruinsHere’s the question: how many of the books you hoped to read did you get to? And, what did you love? (or hate?)

Between work at the station, including a lot of miles logged around the region, plus farm duties–gardening, haying–I didn’t read as much as I hoped, but enough to have two recommendations for you. One fiction, one non-fiction.

Jess Walter‘s “Beautiful Ruins” is a novel that shifts back in forth along the timeline of the lead characters’ lives, and back and forth between North America and the Italian coast. Walsh is a writer who shapes people you can easily imagine, and who tells a compelling, complex story. This book impressed me enough to make me want to read his other work, including the novels “The Financial Lives of Poets,” “Over Tumbled Graves,” and “The Zero.”

blackcountTom Reiss’s “The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the real Count of Monte Cristo” is at least two things: a biography of the remarkable bi-racial father of author Alexandre Dumas, and a fresh look at France and Europe during the years of the French Revolution and its aftermath, including the rise of Napoleon. Reiss tells a detailed and compelling story, bringing a new perspective to a piece of history all of us studied in school…or thought we did. “The Black Count” won the Pulitzer. The author bases much of the text on original source materials he was able to access in France–materials locked away for centuries. Also by Reiss – “The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life.”

Your turn. Did you read any books this summer that you immediately wanted to share with friends? Or warn them off of? Share those titles here.

Coming Friday, September 27 at 11:00 am: John Ernst joins me on air to talk about books by authors from the American West. Plan to join the conversation with your favorites.