John Steinbeck’s classic "Of Mice and Men" will remain on the classroom reading list for freshmen in a north Idaho school district.

book reading kid
Flickr Photo/Tamara Evans (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman chats with book maven Nancy Pearl about a book she recommends for teen readers anticipating summer vacation: "Kissing in America" by Margo Rabb.

Terrance Hayes won the National Book Award for Poetry for his volume “Lighthead” and in 2014 won a "genius grant" from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Courtesy of John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (CC-BY)

Seattle Arts & Lectures finished its most recent poetry series with a visit from multiple award-winning poet Terrance Hayes.

Fellow poet Cornelius Eady said of Hayes' work: “First you’ll marvel at his skill, his near-perfect pitch, his disarming humor, his brilliant turns of phrase. Then you’ll notice the grace, the tenderness, the unblinking truth-telling just beneath his lines, the open and generous way he takes in our world.” 

Publishing's big week is almost over. The industry's annual convention, BookExpo America, ends Friday in New York, and on Saturday the publishing world opens its doors to the public with BookCon, where avid readers will get the chance to mix and mingle with their favorite authors.

Michelle Cooper's "A Brief History of Montmaray."

Marcie Sillman talks to book hugger Nancy Pearl about "a perfect meld" of history and fiction just in time for summer: "A Brief History of Montmaray," by Michelle Cooper. Pearl likens the book to Dodie Smith's "I Capture the Castle."

Brigid Schulte discusses her book "Overwhelmed" at an event in 2014.
Flickr Photo/Howard County Library System (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Americans are famously industrious. The chart of our productivity growth per hour worked from 1948 to 2011 shows a rise of over 250 percent. It’s the classic ‘up and up and where it stops, nobody knows’ graph.

But the fact is, while Americans work longer hours than workers in most other countries, we’re actually less productive than you might think. According to a number of studies, working more than 40 hours a week just makes us less productive. So what would happen if we worked less?

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle-area author Bev Harris about finding out that her 2004 book, "Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century," was among those listed in a declassified government document called "Bin Laden's Bookshelf."

Marcie Sillman talks to Nancy Pearl about a new planned trilogy that promises the same thrills and devotion as "Harry Potter." Pearl gives the first book in Edward Carey's series, "Heap House," two thumbs up. 

book reading kid
Flickr Photo/Tamara Evans (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman gets the week's reading recommendation from book maven Nancy Pearl, who has chosen "Not This Bear," by Bernice Myers for young readers and "Mr. Pudgins," by Ruth Christoffer Carlsen for ages six to nine. Pearl says both books are laugh-out-loud funny, a perfect trait for a summer book.

Mary Louise Kelly at a talk for her book, "Anonymous Sources," in 2013 hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Flickr Photo/CSIS (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Kim Malcolm talks to Mary Louise Kelly, a former NPR reporter turned novelist, about her work and the moment she decided to leave her job as a reporter. 

At the 1936 Olympic Games, the University of Washington eight-oar boat crossed the finish line ahead of Italy. They were featured in The Boys in the Boat by Seattle-area author Daniel James Brown.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collection

We’re always looking for good book recommendations, which is why you often hear librarian Nancy Pearl on KUOW. That's why, ahead of summer reading season, we found out the most-checked-out and downloaded titles in 2014 from the Seattle Public Library.

Flickr Photo/Alden Chadwick (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Edible Seattle editor Tara Austen Weaver about her new memoir, "Orchard House." 

A man who identified himself as Missoula attorney Thomas Dove, right, elbows his way to the stage at a forum open to the public on May 6, accusing author Jon Krakauer, center, of lying and using confidential documents in his new book about rape in Missoul
Jacob Green via AP

David Hyde speaks with Eric Whitney, news director for Montana Public Radio, about author Jon Krakauer's visit to Missoula, Montana last night to face criticism of his new book, "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town."

Ross Reynolds speaks with Bruce Barcott, author of "Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America."

Barcott began working on the book as a self-described pot agnostic. He said his 16-year-old daughter found it hilarious that her square dad was writing a book about pot.

Barcott was concerned about how legal marijuana would affect his children. But after looking into it he said he's proud of Washington for taking the step to legalize it. He thinks the legalization effort will only grow in coming years.

Marcie Sillman gets Nancy Pearl's opinion on "Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic," by journalist Sam Quinones. The book talks about the new generation of heroin addicts: they're young, white, relatively well-off, and they buy their fix the same way they order a pizza.