WGBH Hosts Pick Their Favorite Summer Books And Events

By WGBH Staff

Summer is a great time to travel, enjoy the outdoors or just kick back with a good book. We’ve asked a cross-section of WGBH Radio personalities for their suggestions of what to do and read this summer.



Jared Bowen, Arts & Culture contributor on 89.7 WGBH; reporter, Greater Boston

Keith Richards
Little, Brown and Co., May 2011
“I’ve been dying to sink my teeth into the drug-addled, rollicking and surreal world of Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, courtesy of his recently released memoir. I’ll never strut the stadium stage so Richards can help me fantasize. Without the heroin.”

Callie Crossley, The Callie Crossley Show, 89.7 WGBH
“Every year I promise I’ll head to Cape Ann or Maine, but then I find myself once again on my two-step jaunt via Peter Pan bus and Woods Hole Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. In my beach bag, I’ll have the latest In Death mystery from J.D. Robb, and a new novel from Lorene Cary, If Sons, Then Heirs, a fictionalized story about the great migration North so well told in the nonfoction The Warmth of Other Suns by Boston University professor Isabel Wilkerson. And any day I’m ‘on island,’ you can find me admiring the sunset on a pal’s porch and sipping my favorite summer adult beverage: Vinho Verde, the green Portuguese wine with a touch of fizz. Cheers!”
Treachery in Death

J.D. Robb
(Putnam, Feb 2011)
If Sons, Then Heirs: A Novel
Lorene Cary
(Atria, Apr 2011)
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
Isabel Wilkerson
(Random House, Sep 2010)
Cathy Fuller, 99.5 All Classical
Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer
Wesley Stace
(Picador, Feb 2011)
“It’s not every summer that you can find a thriller with as much stylish and sophisticated musical intrigue as Wesley Stace’s Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer. A composer murders his wife, her lover and himself on the eve of his new opera’s premiere. The opera’s plot is an echo of the triple murder and never gets staged. Highly praised by The New Yorker’s Alex Ross!”

Cristina Quinn, Weekend Edition, 89.7 WGBH
First Family: Abigail and John Adams
Joseph J. Ellis
(Knopf, Oct 2010)
“This is a great read that gives us a comprehensive look at the lives of John and Abigail Adams during monumental times in history through the intimate letters they wrote to each other. They were a fascinating couple with a bottomless well of embarrassingly adorable pet names for one another. It’s also really neat reading about local landmarks and events in firsthand detailed accounts. First Family has been my bedside table book for a couple months now, but I’m looking forward to finishing it up at the beach!”

Emily Rooney, The Emily Rooney Show, 89.7 WGBH

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Eric Larson
(Vintage Books, Feb 2004)
“Last summer I got off my usual track and wound up reading the Stieg Larsson Dragon Tattoo series, but this summer I’m back with my usual nonfiction indulgence and am about to dig into Eric Larson’s The Devil in the White City.”

Andrea Smarden, Reporter, 89.7 WGBH

The Imperfectionists: A Novel

Tom Rachman
(The Dial Press, Jan 2011)
“This story of people who work at a fictional English-language newspaper in Rome weaves together the perspectives of characters at the paper—from its heyday of clacking typewriter keys through the Internet age. Rachman’s book is a great contemplative read for summer. It’s moving, funny, and—as a journalist—it rings uncomfortably true.”

Mindy Todd, The Point, WCAI

Caleb’s Crossing

Geraldine Brooks
(Viking, May 2011)
“Geraldine Brooks is one of my favorite authors, so I always look forward to her books. This one is based on the true story of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College in 1665. Little is known about him, but Brooks weaves a tale that not only honors this Wampanoag from Martha’s Vineyard, but also gives insight into what an amazing accomplishment this was.”



Laura Carlo, 99.5 All Classical 
Newport Music Festival
Thursday, July 7 – Sunday, July 24
Newport, RI
“Less than a tank of gas away is the Newport Music Festival. Make a full day of it by flying kites at Adams State Park, having lunch overlooking the ocean, and then heading over to hear amazing performers from around the world at one of those exquisite ‘summer cottages’ built by the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. This year, be sure to catch the 13-concert miniseries in honor of Liszt in his 200th anniversary year.”

Brian O’Donovan, A Celtic Sojourn, 89.7 WGBH
Lowell Folk Festival
Friday, July 29 – Sunday July 31
Boarding House Park, Lowell, MA
“Now in its 25th year, this free festival celebrates all the diversity of traditional music, from Irish to Ethiopian to Louisiana Zydeco to Québécois. Not to be missed. Three bands alone are worth the trip: Dervish, a supergroup from Ireland, La Vent du Nord from Canada and Shemekia Copeland. Wow! If you can’t make it to Lowell, listen to WGBH on Saturday afternoon at 3pm for a live broadcast, which I will host.”

The Boston Irish Festival
Friday, June 17 – Sunday, June 19
Canton, Mass
“The Boston Irish Festival, produced by the Irish Cultural Centre of New England, offers a great weekend of Irish sports, music, dancing, ?lm, art, food, song and history.’
The Blackstone River Theatre Summer Solstice Festival

Saturday, June 18
Cumberland, RI
“The Blackstone River Theatre Summer Solstice Festival presents a day of great artists like Annalivia, Robbie O’Connell, and The Gnomes.”
Bob Seay, Morning Edition, 89.7 WGBH 
Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals

Newport, RI
“For me, summer means a chance to enjoy the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, the granddaddies of all summer music festivals. Newport is legendary for good reason. Founder George Wein, now 86 and still running the show, always is able to get the very best in talent—many of whom feel it’s an honor to be invited. Hear great music in an unforgettable setting at Fort Adams State Park overlooking beautiful Newport Harbor. Well into their sixth decade, both festivals are well run and world renowned.”


Jared Bowen, Arts & Culture contributor on 89.7 WGBH; reporter, Greater Boston 
Porgy and Bess
Wedneday, August 17 – Monday, October 3
Loeb Drama Center, American Repertory Theater
Cambridge, Mass
“Diane Paulus and the A.R.T. have scored a major coup in landing the rights from the Gershwin estate to stage the iconic piece Porgy and Bess.It’s a little known fact that Porgy and Bess premiered here in Boston at the Colonial Theatre. With the ever-inventive Paulus directing and Broadway icon Audra McDonald starring, Porgy and Bessshould be the summer’s sublime show.”
Laura Carlo, 99.5 All Classical 
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

Monday, July 4
Boston Esplanade
“A Boston native, I remember heading out to the Esplanade with my friends when Arthur Fiedler conducted that amazing concert in 1976, the bicentennial year. We were just kids but we knew that an amazing Boston tradition was being launched and we were thrilled that we got to be part of it. I love broadcasting from the scene even though my voice has to compete with flyovers, Howitzers and fireworks!”
The Boston Landmarks Orchestra Summer Concert Series
Wednesdays at 7pm, July 13 – August 31
“99.5 All Classical is so pleased again to be the media partner of this free summer concert series. Pack some munchies and a blanket, and gather with your family at the Hatch Shell to hear gorgeous music under the stars. Landmarks welcomes new conductor Christopher Wilkins.” 
Brian McCreath, 99.5 All Classical 

Calmus Ensemble at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival

Friday, July 15
Rockport, Mass
“On July 15, two of my favorite places come together when the Calmus Ensemble brings the amazing choral tradition of Leipzig, Germany, to the Rockport Chamber Music Festival’s gorgeous Shalin Liu Performance Center. A spectacular seaside setting, stellar acoustics and a cappellafrom Brahms to Sting: A definite winner.”

Emily Rooney, The Emily Rooney Show, 89.7 WGBH 
Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Saratoga Springs, New York
“As for summer concerts, I like to take in an event or two at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center as I have a summer place at nearby Lake George. They have several events I’m looking forward to in July, including performances by the New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Saratoga throughout the month.”
Tennis Hall of Fame
Newport, RI
“Tennis is my real passion, and I’ll take a day off from playing Saturday, July 9, to attend the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport for the annual inductees ceremony.”
Mindy Todd, The Point, WCAI
Cape Cod Melody Tent
Hyannis, MA
“This intimate venue doesn’t have a bad seat in the house (tent): every seat is within 50 feet of the stage! Concerts this summer range from The Wiggles to Chris Botti to Tony Bennett.”

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