From old faithfuls to new releases, graphic novels and heart-wrenching memoirs — below are all the recommendations from the team here at WABE. Click on the staff member’s picture to see what they thought of a title or why they are excited to read. And be sure to check out our official WABE Summer Reading List for even more great things to add to your list.

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Jim Burress

Host of “All Thing Considered” and “The Brief”

Christopher Alston

Producer of “All Things Considered”

Stoner” by John Williams

A very straightforward, superbly written novel about the life of a New England professor in the early 20th Century… seems like it would be boring, but somehow isn’t. Also one of Tom Hanks’ favorite books!

Wellness” by Nathan Hill

An excellent satire of modern relationships, internet fads, and pseudoscientific remedies. Hilariously funny.

Jared Blass

SVP of Philanthropy & Corporate Support

Southern Man” by Greg Iles

This is Book #7 in his Penn Cage series. One of my Favs!

A Calamity of Souls” by David Baldacci

Reminded me of “A Time to Kill” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Jim Burress

Host of “All Things Considered” and “The Brief”

The Magic Pill” by Johann Hari  

With the newest class of weight loss medication hitting the market in an unprecedented way, Hari looks beyond the question of whether this is “good” or “bad.” In the process, he takes you on a journey of discovery that makes you think deeply about how we got here. And, if you’re like me, you’ll change your mind at least a few times before the book concludes!

Interview with Johann Hari and Jim Burress

Oath and Honor” by Liz Cheney

No matter your political affiliation, this is a must-read to better understand the circumstances surrounding the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Scotty Crowe

SVP of Audio

Dim Sum Palace” by X. Fang

I first found this book in the Featured Titles section of Daunt Bookstore, all the way over in London this Spring. I brought it home because our toddler loves “dumpling night” — and was so delighted to discover that, much like my mother, the author was born in Taiwan before moving to Atlanta, and “Dim Sum Palace” draws inspiration from Buford Highway. Much like the plot of the story and adventure young Liddy takes, it all felt too good to be true. The book is a fun read that brings culture to life through food and beautiful illustrations

Sherri Daye Scott

SVP of Audience Development and Engagement

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson

I’ve been reading a bunch of memoirs and/or stories with Texas ties. Lots of Larry McMurtry, “Texasville,” “The Last Picture Show,” “Terms of Endearment” … “Friday Night Lights.” And then some Didion. Roxane Gay. I’m currently re-reading “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “Crying in H Mart.” “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” is next up.

Heaven & Earth Grocery Story” by James McBride

A lovely reminder of what community means and the power and strength found in our common bonds. It’s an easy read that delivers so much in terms of history, humanity and humor. I might re-read it again after my Texas Sun phase.

Rebecca Etter

Sr. Digital News Editor

Prophet Song” by Paul Lynch

Is reading a dystopian novel in 2024 good for my mental health? Probably not. Am I going to do it anyway? Absolutely. Excited to dive into this one as I’m sucker for any Irish fiction. And I think it’s important not to look away when creators offer us a glimpse of what it looks like when democracy fails.

All Fours” by Miranda July

I was a big fan of Miranda July’s filmography, but this was the first novel I had ever read by her. It’s a thrilling adventure about a woman approaching middle age who takes a literal and metaphorical detour. Perfectly timed, hilarious, and sometimes extremely uncomfortable — July describes what it’s like to be a woman at this stage in life with the precision of a world-class surgeon.

Summer Evans

Producer of “City Lights with Lois Reitzes”

The Things We Leave Unfinished” by Rebecca Yarros

Beautifully written. It’s told from two alternating timelines between the present day and World War II. There are two love stories, one tragic, and the other a surprise. One of the perspectives is told from a female Air Force worker who is in charge of working the switchboard when the pilots are going off in battle…one of the pilots being her future husband. The other female narrator is the great-granddaughter (present-day), who is in charge of her great-grandmother’s estate and manuscripts. It was a wonderful book about the beauty found in a devastating war that impacted countless lives and echoed through future generations.

Happy Place” by Emily Henry

A fun, easy beach read. It takes place in Maine in the summertime, so you can read all about the delicious seafood (lobster rolls), eclectic shops, and cottage-core aesthetic. It’s about a group of friends who go to their friend’s parents’ summer house in Maine, but the friend’s parents are selling the house due to divorcing, and the group of friends wants to have one last week-long “hooray” before it sells.

Tiffany Griffith

Supervising Producer for “Closer Look with Rose Scott”

The Burnout” by Sophie Kinsella

I’ve loved reading Rom-Coms lately, like “The Burnout” by Sophie Kinsella. It reminded me of when I first fell in love with reading “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” This book is fun if you want a light read. I’m also reading “Funny Story” by Emily Henry – and so far, it’s a great slow burn romance.

I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself” by Glynnis MacNicol

I’m thrilled that Glynnis MacNicol has a follow-up to “No One Tells You This” – her wonderful look at starting life in your 40’s while single and unmarried. I’m looking forward to reading “I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself.” As she puts it, the message of this book is: “The pursuit of enjoyment is a political act, both a right and a responsibility.” I am fully on board for that!

Sam Gringlas

Politics Reporter

North Woods” by Daniel Mason

Over four centuries, North Woods traces the history of the United States through one tract of forest in New England. We see the country take shape through the eyes of Puritan runaways, the proprietor of an apple orchard, an escaped slave, a painter, even an invasive beetle. A novel about nature, history and memory, North Woods is full of beautiful writing and richly-drawn characters that made me think hard about who shapes our history and land – and how the past shapes our present.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride

Both a mystery and a vibrant portrait of a community of Jewish immigrants and African Americans struggling to eke out a place in 20th century America, this novel kept me turning pages from start to finish. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store resonates at a moment when our country is still struggling to more fully live up to its promise of equality and justice for all.

Alison Hashimoto

SVP of Video

James” by Percival Everett

I love Fiction as a way to let my mind wander and escape at the end of every day. I have two books to recommend. First, “James” by Percival Everett. Everett’s reimagining of the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is absolutely brilliant. Funny, frightening, bold and eye-opening, it should henceforth be a mandatory companion read to the Mark Twain original.

Small Mercies” by Dennis Lehane

As a Boston native who grew up in the busing era of the 1970’s (dating myself!) I found the context to the history I was vaguely aware of, both fascinating and very satsifying. The characters and the dialogue are absolutely spot-on and riveting, as was the theme of a mother’s determination to find justice for her daughter, no matter the cost to herself.

Marisa Mecke

Environment Reporter

Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink” by Juliana Barbassa

Brazilian-American journalist Juliana Barbassa reports on Rio de Janeiro as the city prepares for the World Cup and Olympics. Exploring the city of her childhood whilst documenting the rapid changes of the city headed into hosting these global events, she covers everything from development’s impacts on wildlife to Rio’s crackdown on the sex industry.

How Far As the Light Reaches” by Sabrina Imbler

Imbler explores queerness, identity, the ocean and its inhabitants with tender curiosity. They draw sea creatures and their lessons closer to our lives without anthropomorphizing them, describing wild diversity and the many iterations of love, care and community in the world.

The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living and Leaving the White Evangelical Church” by Sarah McCammon

McCammon, an NPR reporter (formerly on the Georgia airwaves!) explores the folks who have left the white Evangelical movement in the U.S. Discussing her own personal history as well as the conflicts and communities that have arisen from departure, she characterizes a major shift underway in U.S. religion.

A Psalm for the Wild Built” by Becky Chambers

This is a short and sweet tromp through the woods, but in the same breath a lesson on climate optimism. Chambers imagine a world where humans choose new systems, but you don’t really notice because it’s mostly about walking around in the woods.

Kristine Nathanson

Underwriting Coordinator

Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith

And an oldie but goodie…A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Kevin Rinker

Podcast Producer

“Pittsburgh Cycle” by August Wilson

I’ll be working my way through August Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle” this summer. It’s a series of 10 plays, each set in a decade from 1920-1990. Nine take place in Pittsburgh and one in Chicago. WABE’s Lois Reitzes interviewed Dwight Andrews, an Atlanta-based reverend, musician, and Emory professor, about his work with August Wilson when I ran the board for that show. Hearing a firsthand account got me generally interested in the series of plays and learning about the timeline in which Wilson’s works were released (between 1982 and 2005) and the idea of setting each in a different decade hooked me. Several of the plays are now films, including “Fences,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and “The Piano Lesson,” all of which I plan to watch AFTER reading the plays.

Animal Liberation Now” by Pete Singer

Despite being a vegan for 15 years, I read the 1975 edition of Pete Singer’s “Animal Liberation” for the first time last year. It felt…a little outdated as laws and practices have changed around the world. The good news is there’s now an updated version called “Animal Liberation Now,” which was released in 2023. From logic, ethics, and philosophy to real-world examples, this is for anyone looking for a modernized take that explores why all kinds of animals deserve consideration and humane treatment.

Daniel Rayzel

Producer of “Closer Look with Rose Scott”

If We Burn” by Vincent Bevins

An insightful, easy-to-follow account that draws a throughline between recent mass protest movements from across the world. “If We Burn” is a moving analysis of what can lead a social movement to fizzle out or backfire, and how mass media and policymaking play a direct role in its outcome.

I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems” by Eileen Myles

I picked up this book from the library after hearing it referenced on my favorite album of the year (Hurray for the Riff Raff’s “The Past is Still Alive”) and have since rationed out the pages as to not finish it so quickly. In this collection, Myles’ poetry transports you exactly where the title suggests: a place where our histories are always colliding. “I feel my heart race ahead / in eternity there is this ache,” they write. Recommended for people who feel they could cry after staring at a tree for too long.

Crooked Plow” by Itamar Vieira Júnior

Recently translated and now shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, “Crooked Plow” is a thought-provoking story based in post-abolition Brazil and deeply rooted in Afro-Brazilian culture. Vieira Júnior has an incredible way of weaving in themes of displacement, religion and intergenerational dynamics with lyrical writing. The first few pages had me hooked more than any other book I’ve read recently.

Jasmine Robinson

Digital Journalist

The Cherokee Rose” by Tiya Miles

If you like ghosts, gardens, history and mystery, this book is for you. This book highlights the shared histories of Native Americans and enslaved Black people, and it takes place on a Georgia plantation inspired by a true plantation. It’s a short, sweet read but definitely a page turner.

The Vaster Wilds” by Lauren Groff

I love any book where the weather is a main character. In this one, it’s an antagonist to a young servant escaping the Jamestown colony in 1609. This short story about her escape will have a grip on you, I promise! Its themes of colonialism, class struggle, and 17th century-era Christianity come together to tell a truly American story.”

Molly Samuel

Deputy Managing Editor

Barbarian Days” by William Finnegan

After reading a recent article by William Finnegan profiling a legendary surfer, I got inspired to read Finnegan’s own surfing memoir from 2015, “Barbarian Days.” I don’t really have any more travel planned this summer, so I’m looking forward to sweating through our muggy Atlanta days, at least being able to read about someone else enjoying the ocean.

Juma Sei

Education Reporter

The Shining” by Stephen King

Horror movie nights are almost ritual for my siblings, friend and I; there’s something special about gathering for a fright. The Shining is one of my favorite movies (much of it was filmed back home in Oregon!), but I’ve never read the book. A friend suggested I give it a go.

Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernadine Evaristo

This book pushes boundaries in both form and substance. As a writer, Evaristo is inspirational. My mom (who’s also a writer) and I are reading it together now. We hope to learn more about our craft through Ms. Bernadine’s example.

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” by James Weldon Johnson

I read this book in school and poured over every word. Johnson writes about a man—Georgia-born—who lives between Black and white America post-Reconstruction. The story is gripping and I return to it as I think about how race informs our society today.

Heather Washington

Premiums Manager

You Like It Darker” by Stephen King

If you are a huge Stephen King fan like me – this is a must have!

How to Keep House While Drowning” by KC Davis

If life has been overwhelming and you find it difficult to perform even the smallest tasks – then this book is for you.

Allisa Whiters

Assistant Producer

The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin

I’m slowly working my way through this series after picking up the first book on a road trip last year, but just know the show is not doing the books justice. And the second book “The Dark Forest” will really make you rethink your idea of life outside of Earth and how any other intelligent life will interact with us.

“Sleepless” by Sarah Vaughn

This is a really lovely romantic story with just the right amount of medieval fantasy/subterfuge and diverse characters that will fulfill your royal lady and dedicated knight angst. Also, the illustration art by Leila del Duca are incredible.

Alphonso Whitfield

Senior Producer

The Urban Homestead” by Kelly Coyne

I’m obsessed with being able to walk outside and pick my herbs and veggies in order to eliminate any amount of trips to the grocery store. Since I have a small pepper garden, I may as well learn more and make it sustainable right?

YaYa and The Sea” by Karen Good Marable

It’s primarily a children’s book, but I walked away from reading it to my niece, and its story has been stuck in my head for months!

Emily Wu Pearson

Immigration Reporter

It. Goes. So. Fast.” by Mary Louise Kelly

This book is my summer read as I am currently in the throes of trying to be a good mom, a good reporter, a good daughter, a good wife. It mostly feels impossible to accomplish all these things, but I have enjoyed reading this book because it reminds me that this is not a unique struggle. I have also enjoyed reading Mary Louise Kelly’s perspective as her reporting and career are things I admire deeply.