What to read, watch, and listen to right now

Meridian Hill Park in DC is a great place to enjoy a good book. Copyright: Anna Nelson/ICR

Meridian Hill Park in DC is a great place to enjoy a good book. Copyright: Anna Nelson/ICR

We've put together a round up of recommendations for summer reading, watching, and listening, starting

 with a look at what a few of us here at ICRC DC are reading. (Not surprisingly, some of our recommendations reflect our professional interests.)

Congressional Affairs Advisor, Trevor Keck:

I just put down "Guns, Germs and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies," the widely acclaimed book that proposes a theory for the state of human development. The author, Jared Diamond, weaves together history, social science, geography, and many other disciplines with anecdotes from his own travels into a very readable but fascinating theory to explain why certain societies have "developed" more and faster than others. I highly recommend it. For lighter summer fare, I plan on picking up "A Delicate Truth," John Le Carre`s latest spy-thriller.

Deputy Legal Advisor, Andrea Harrison: I highly recommend “No Time to Lose: A Life in Pursuit of Deadly Viruses” by Peter Piot, who ignored his medical school professor's advice: “There’s no future in infectious diseases. They’ve all been solved.” In the 70s, Piot was sent to Central Africa as part of a team tasked with identifying a new virus, which turned out to be Ebola. He went on to become the founder and director of UNAIDS.

Detention Doctor, Mark Steinbeck: I've just about finished David Quammem's "Spillover," looking at animal infections spilling over into humans, and the next possible pandemic. It's not a science tome, so you won't get bogged down with obscure detail. It's a good read, and you should find a few surprises. I've also just finished "Raising Steam," Terry Pratchett's 40th, and latest, Discworld novel. Yet again, I found myself laughing out loud. Pratchett's fantasy may not be everyone's "cup of tea," but I'm certainly a fan.

Head of Chancellery, Diana Dobson: I’m reading "The River Swimmer" by Jim Harrison. The story takes place in the magical landscape of my upbringing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Principal Advisor for Inter-American Affairs, Margarita Studemeister: In Spanish, I’m reading, “Alma Mater, homenaje a mis casas de estudio: Discursos de aceptación de doctorados honoris causa” by María Isabel Rodríguez. In English, I’m also reading “To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918” by Adam Hochschild and “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson.

Spokeswoman & Intercross Editor, Anna Nelson: I'm reading "Midnight in Europe" – a best-selling thriller set in 1938, as the shadow of World War II loomed over the Continent and Spain was already at war. It's full of intrigue and history – not to mention descriptions of Paris that are so tantalizingly good, they make you want to hop the next plane to France. I'm also planning on picking up a copy of the latest from British-Swiss philosopher and popular TEDtalker, Alain de Botton, who brings us "The News."

Here's a round up of recommendations from elsewhere on the web:

Find out what "Politicos," including Condoleeza Rice, Rep. John Boehner, Gen. David Petraeus, Andrea Mitchell, Mary Matalin, Kenneth Roth, and Cokie Roberts are reading this summer.

The New Yorker recently carried a story entitled, "The Prisoner's Reading List," which traces the life of Daniel Genis, who spent ten years in jail for armed robbery and developed a love for literature at the Green Haven Correctional Facility in New York, where he read 1,046 books over the span of a decade.

The Washington Post has a summer reading list just for innovators plus videos featuring their selected authors, including Michio Kaku and Astra Taylor.

Oxford University Press put out a reading list on the French Revolution for Bastille Day – looking at everything from the Marquis de Sade's politics to why the revolution happened in the first place.

Foreign Policy has a whole host of recommendations past and present, including the Shadow Government 2014 summer reading list plus one from 2012 by Thomas E. Rick who claims to have put together "the mother of all reading lists," for Best Defense. It includes lit for platoon leaders about to deploy, the best 10 post-deployment books and, for good measure, his favorite war movies.

The TEDBlog asks what's on the book shelves of writers, actors, philanthropists, musicians, a military leader, and a social media theorist in "Your mega summer reading list: 70+picks."

War on the Rocks posts its top picks for the best articles, analysis, and multimedia on foreign policy, national security, and current affairs every Friday.

On NPR'sBook Review section, you can listen to what their contributors have to say and find their selection of books that are all about the journey: "All aboard! A reading list for riding the rails," featuring a range of characters from Anna Karenina to The Little Engine That Could.

Lawfare's book review section has a selection of reading on "hard national security choices."

The New York Times says summer is flying by. Plan accordingly with their list of books, TV, music, and art shows, featuring recommendations from B.J. Novak, Reggie Watts, Anderson Cooper, Chirlane McCray, and Carly Simon – to name but just a few.

And finally, in case there is a teenager in your life who loves to write about what they're reading, the NYT is hosting its fifth annual summer reading contest.

See you at the end of July!

PS We know it probably goes without saying (but we'll say it anyway) the opinions and recommended links here do not necessarily reflect the official opinions or position of the ICRC.