June 30, 2010 -- Good Morning "America's Healthy Summer" is about shaping up your body and exercising your mind. What better way to do that with the summer's biggest books? Janice Kaplan, novelist and contributor to The Daily Beast gave "GMA" an insider's look at the hottest reads this season.
From thrillers to biographies to light reading, these stories are un-put-downable.
If you're in search of that perfect page-turner for your summer vacation, look no further!
CLICK HERE for our special books page full of book excerpts, author interviews and more!
"Beautiful Maria of My Soul," by Oscar Hijuelos
This year marks the 20th anniversary of "The Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love," and to celebrate, author Oscar Hijuelos has written a novel from the viewpoint of the Mambo Kings' muse. "It's so beautifully written that you'll read some paragraphs over and over because they are so lovely," Kaplan says.
"One Day," by David Nicholls
Kaplan says that "One Day" is "When Harry Met Sally" with an English accent. A couple meets on a single day -- July 15th -- for 20 years. You'll feel like you're reliving relationships in your own life as you read about these lovers. It's just a great, fun way to while away a few hours on the beach.
"The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake," by Aimee Bender
In "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake," by Aimee Bender, a little girl named Rose has a normal life, except that when she eats, she can taste the emotions of the person who prepared the food. The book becomes a look at the differences we all have and how we have to deal with them, with a surrealist twist.
Good Morning America's Summer Reading List
"Bonobo Handshake," by Vanessa Woods
This is the story of a young woman, Vanessa Woods, who fell in love with a guy, a country and a species. She's an Australian who went with her American boyfriend to the Congo to protect the bonobos. Kaplan calls the book an intimate, lively memoir about what a young woman learns from people trying to recover from a terrible civil war, and animals that are almost identical in DNA to humans.
"The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron," by Howard Bryant
This book by ESPN The Magazine's Howard Bryant is perfect for the sports fan and the history buff. It's about Hank Aaron, now number two on the list of home run kings, but number one in the hearts of diehard baseball fans. This book tells the story of a man who grew up in the segregated south, broke Babe Ruth's record while receiving death threats, and has now become one of the sport's most respected elder statesmen. Aaron is a complicated man, distrustful of the spotlight, who is now an American icon.
And for the news junkie, Tom Bower's "Oil: Money, Politics and Power in the 21st Century" is juicy reading. It tells the story of the oil business, filled with boardroom soap operas, international power struggles and the extreme lengths we go to for oil. Add wild amounts of money to the mix and you've got a potboiler that tells the story behind today's headlines.
Good Morning America's Summer Reading List
"61 Hours: A Reacher Novel" by Lee Child
Child writes about Jack Reacher, a military ex-cop who can't settle down -- he even buys new clothes every few days because he doesn't want to commit to a wardrobe. In "61 Hours," a bus crash strands Reacher in a South Dakota town where he uncovers drug rings, violence and a woman in danger.
"The Burning Wire: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel," by Jeffery Deaver
Deaver writes several series -- this one is about paraplegic forensic specialist Lincoln Rhyme and his partner. "The Burning Wire" involves a terror attack on New York's electrical grid. Deaver was recently named the writer of the next James Bond book, due out next summer.
"Deliver Us From Evil," by David Baldacci
David Baldacci has written 19 bestsellers, and Kaplan says he is still constantly surprising readers. She says his new book has one of the most interesting villains we've seen, who's being pursued by two mysterious agents for two different crimes. Baldacci is great at weaving plotlines together in ways that really work, and he does it here.
"Still Missing," by Chevy Stevens
Kaplan says that Chevy Stevens is a new writer we can expect to see on this list every year. "Still Missing" begins as a real estate agent is having an open house. The last visitor of the day kidnaps her and keeps her captive in a cabin in the woods for a year. The book is a psychological thriller about what happens to her during that year, and what happens when she escapes and must put her life back together.
Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy
"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," by Stieg Larsson
This is the third book in the series from Stieg Larsson, all of which were published after his death. The trilogy is a publishing phenomenon: worldwide sales total 40 million copies in just four tears and 50,000 a day in the U.S.
The books should be read in order, starting with "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and then "The Girl Who Played With Fire." Casting has begun for a Hollywood film version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."
Kaplan says they're the Harry Potter books for adult -- everyone is reading them.
More Summer Reading: Web Extra Picks
"In Harms' Way" by Ridley Pearson
The latest work in New York Times bestselling author Ridley Pearson's "Killer" series. In this thriller, Sun Valley's police chief Walt Fleming hunts down a murderer in the wilderness of Idaho.
"Innocent" by Scott Turow
"Presumed Innocent" was Scott Turow's bestselling debut novel. In this sequel, characters Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto face off more than 20 years after they went head-to-head in a murder trial of "Presumed Innocent."
"Sizzling Sixteen" by Janet Evanovich
Female bounty hunter Stephanie Plum returns in the latest installment of Janet Evanovich's series. In "Sizzling Sixteen," she has inherits a "lucky" bottle -- but will it bring good luck or bad?
"Fragile: A Novel" by Lisa Unger
The story behind this novel began while author Lisa Unger was still in high school, when a classmate she knew was abducted and murdered. "Fragile" doesn't chronicle that event, but features a missing girl and a community caught up in secrets and lies.
"Frankenstein: Lost Souls" by Dean Koontz
Dean Koontz returns to the Frankenstein themes of previous works "Dead & Alive" and "City of Night." In "Lost Souls," he brings us the story of a small town under attack.
"Whiplash (An FBI Thriller)" by Catherine Coulter
Catherine Coulter's husband-and-wife FBI special agent duo, Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock, return in the 14th novel in the FBI series. The couple squares off against a ruthless multinational drug company.
"Scout, Atticus & Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird" by Mary McDonagh Murphy; foreward by Wally Lamb
2010 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the now classic "To Kill A Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee. This book by journalist Mary McDonagh Murphy is based on her documentary film and includes a collection of interviews with famous Americans about how Harper Lee's masterpiece influenced them.
"Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century" by Michael Hiltzik
The 75th anniversary of the dedication of the Hoover Dam is in September. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Hiltzikuses' book looks at the dam's conception, design and construction to shine a light on a country struggling to emerge from the Great Depression.
"Seaworthy: A Swordboat Captain Returns to the Sea" by Linda Greenlaw
This book is the sequel to "The Hungry Ocean" and marks Linda Greenlaw's return to non-fiction. "Seaworthy" chronicles her return to one of the world's most dangerous professions: swordfishing.
"War" by Sebastian Junger
Journalist Sebastian Junger writes about the men fighting in the most remote, most violent corner of Afghanistan. Junger spent months embedded with one platoon.
"Hitch-22: A Memoir" by Christopher Hitchens
In his most personal book to date, Christopher Hitchens explores the calamities, contradictions and curiosities of being Hitch.
"You Don't Know Me: Reflections of My Father, Ray" by Ray Charles Robinson, Jr. and Mary Jane Ross
This personal memoir of the private Ray Charles, the man behind the legend, was written by his eldest son.
"Furious Love -- Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century," by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger
Written by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, "Furious Love" takes a look at the life and love of Hollywood icons Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
"The Passage" by Justin Cronin
"The Passage" is a story about vampires, viruses and a young girl who has a chance to save the world.
When the author appeared on "GMA" in early June the master of horror himself, Stephen King, called in to the show to tell Justin how much he loved The Passage.
"The Swimming Pool" by Holly LeCraw
This debut novel by Holly LeCraw is a story of secrets, murder and a May-December romance -- welcome to summer and Cape Cod.
"Every Last One" by Anna Quindlen
Anna Quindlen offers a powerful story about a mother, a father and a family, and the explosive, disastrous consequences of what seem like normal, everyday actions.
"Insatiable" by Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot blends trend with tradition to create a fresh, funny, pulse-pounding and poignant update of the dark eternal gothic romance, Dracula.
"Fly Away Home" by Jennifer Weiner
Jennifer Weiner is the bestselling author of "Good in Bed." Her latest book is the story of a mother and two daughters who come together after a lifetime of distance.
"Beachcombers" by Nancy Thayer
The author of "Beach House" tells the story of three unique sisters who reunite over a transformative summer in Nantucket.
"The Search" by Nora Roberts
In her latest novel of romantic suspense, Roberts explores the discipline, hard work and heroism of search-and-rescue dogs and the humans they partner with. It's a story of unlikely lovers and the loyal animals that draw them together.
"Heart of the Matter" by Emily Giffin
"Heart of the Matter" explores motherhood and marriage, love and friendship, and issues of trust, fidelity, and forgiveness.