Jim Lehrer

A trio of fiction favorites from the newsman and novelist.



Veteran news anchor Jim Lehrer rose to prominence on PBS's The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and later, after the departure of Robert MacNeil, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. While chronicling current events, he has channeled his  love of history and politics into an array of wide-ranging books including Eureka and The Phony Marine. Along the way Lehrer has moderated eleven presidential debates, and this third occupation forms the basis of his new book, Tension City, a spirited survey of four decades of presidential debates and the behind-the-scenes moments television viewers missed. This week, he points us to three fiction favorites.


Books by Jim Lehrer



The House of Mirth

By Edith Wharton


"If there is such a thing as THE great American novel, I believe it is The House of Mirth. The pitch-perfect story of Lily Bart, a doomed New York socialite wannabe, is a superb mix of a page-turner, a haunting portrait of times and places, and a wrenching examination of humankind."




The Strangers in the House

By Georges Simenon


"He wrote more than 500 novels -- most less than 200 pages -- under his own and other names.They are detective stories set in Paris and psychological traumas set in a variety of minds as well as locations. I have read nearly 50 "Simenons" and I chose The Strangers in the House because it is the master at his best."




God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

By Kurt Vonnegut


"I say, bless Kurt Vonnegut for creating the Rosewaters of Indiana. Their life in the satiric world of philanthropy and related matters is as hilarious as it is on target. I also bless Kurt Vonnegut because he was one of the novelists I wanted to be when I grew up. The other was Ernest Hemingway."


April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.