Hammock folks are voracious readers at all times, but, like most everyone, we have summer reading plans that include books we haven’t gotten to yet, as well as some old pals we want to hang with on a sultry afternoon or two.
So we polled our colleagues about what’s on their summer reading list, as well as their favorite time or place for reading and preferred medium — traditional paper, audiobooks or e-readers like Kindle. As you might expect, the responses were varied and sometimes surprising — and worth reading:
Megan Pacella: Summer is when I tend to ramp up my reading since I spend more time lounging by the pool and taking advantage of the air conditioned coffee shops in my neighborhood. Right now I’m reading The Sacredness of Questioning Everything by David Dark, who is a friend of mine and a fellow church member. After that I plan to breeze through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in preparation for the movie that comes out in July. Once that’s out of the way, I’m focusing on re-reading old classics: The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Flannery O’Connor’s Collected Stories. What can I say? I love American authors. I’m a traditional reader–I’d rather read a hard copy of a book or a magazine than pick up an e-reader or find a story online. Although, I have the entire Harry Potter series on Mp3, so I listen to books in the car during long trips. I can’t read at home because I can’t sit still. I always find other stuff to do, like try new bread recipes or vacuum the baseboards. I pretty much only read at Portland Brew because if I try to clean up there, the baristas yell at me.
Lena Anthony: On my summer reading list is a stack of books (off the new releases table at the bookstore or handed down from my mom, who is an avid reader) I packed away last year before moving. Now that I’m settled into a new house, I plan to tackle that stack book by book, finding new favorite reading spots in my house at the same time.
Summer Huggins: My next read is Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise. It’s the July pick for the Austin food bloggers bookclub I’m a part of. When we meet in July, we’ll all have picked a dish mentioned in or inspired by the book, then enjoy a great potluck dinner and lively discussion. And my fellow foodies don’t make pimento cheese finger sandwiches! I’m also about to tackle a couple of geeky books for my work self. My secret hope is that they’re all well-written. Having this job, where I’ve been scrutinizing and debating hyphens and commas for almost nine years, I can’t get through a book that isn’t edited well. I find myself reading as an editor rather than reading for pleasure, and that can make a bad book impossible to get through for me.
Megan Morris: I am a big fan of the medieval period in history (I know, BIG NERD), and lately I’ve been obsessed with finding books dealing with the social history of that time. I think next I’m going to start either 1215: The Year of Magna Carta or The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium. As for how I read, with books I need the real deal. I read my news strictly online and probably haven’t touched an actual newspaper in months, but if I’m going to read a book, it better be one with a spine I can crack. I don’t make the time to read as much as I’d like, but when I do, I prefer to read either in my bed or on an airplane. I’ve got a business trip coming up this week and am excited about having some time I can devote just to reading.
Lisa Ask: I am finishing up the Harry Potter series this summer. I am late getting on this bandwagon. I am currently mid-way through the Order of the Phoenix and hope to finish The Half-Blood Prince by the premier of the movie in July. By September I hope to obtain the Suzanne Collins sequal to The Hunger Games. Catching Fire should end my summer reading. I read books the old fashioned way. Since having kids, reading has been something I do for me. I frequent the libraries and look forward to any opportunity I have to sit at a coffee shop and read for an hour or so. I may not be able to soar through a book at lightning fast speed, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I keep up with my reading list on Goodreads.com. Here I can read reviews and watch what my friends are reading and have a mini-book club meeting if we’re reading the same thing. I keep a “to-read” list on the site, and I can go back and see what I have read. It is a great source for reading.
Kerri Davis: I try pretty hard to get into a book and finish it, but once I get all cozy in pjs and settle into my bed, I’m asleep after three pages. So it takes me forever! I started reading The Other Boleyn Girl and Kate said she’d be in 6th grade before I finished and she is right. I just finished listening to A Thousand Splendid Suns. As you know I walk a little over an hour every morning, so I love to listen to books during that time. Last night I started reading My Sister’s Keeper. I heard it was really sad so I decided not to listen to it and cry while I walked around the neighborhood. People might get concerned about me. I think I made it through a whole chapter before I fell asleep… but it seems like a good one. I’m looking for another good book to listen to. Audiobooks are really expensive and so I want to make sure I get the right book with a narrator that doesn’t annoy me.
John Lavey: Just read a biography, Snowball, about Warren Buffett. Also just read a couple of novels — City of Thieves by David Benioff and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers. Currently I am reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, and will be reading Ogilvy on Advertising next.
Lynne Boyer: I’m a strange type of reader. I read much more in the warmer months. My favorite time to read is first thing in the morning, and my favorite place is by the pool. Reading books at night is just something I can’t do. It’s an instant sleeping pill for me. I’m coming out of a re-reading some old favorites phase. First was Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and currently The Sun Also Rises. Intermingled is a Zelda Fitzgerald biography. I have not been able to finish it. It’s interesting, but between the incredibly small type and my inability to read more than three pages at night, it’s taking longer than it should to read. At Hammock we get promotional copies of books for review purposes. I picked up Wounded Warriors from the Hammock library. It immediately sent Hemingway and the biography to the back burner. It’s hard to describe all of the emotions that a book like this invokes. It’s one of those that I will finish in a matter of days, a real eye-opener to the bravery, challenges and pain of America’s wounded. This summer I plan to read The Secret Lives of Bees maybe the Alchemist and yes Zelda, I will finish reading about you too. Don’t forget my favorite magazines. They will be sprinkled in there too.
Bill Hudgins: I’m hooked on Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thrillers and am just finishing his most recent, Gone Tomorrow, which I “read” via audiobook from Audible.com. Lined up after that is another fun book, Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, the last of a prequel trilogy about Peter Pan by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson — excellent reading for 10 and up, parents! Most of my book reading is actually audiobooks consumed on my 80-some-minute round-trip commute, as well as during workouts and sometimes chores. Next up will likely be The Good Book by David Plotz which sounds like an offbeat exploration of the Hebrew Bible, and The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan by James Mann, which might alter my opinion of that president. Later this summer I will go back to less serious books, maybe re-reading Fool by Christopher Moore, a hilarious send-up of King Lear. For work — i.e., for book review — I am reading a history called George Washington’s Secret Navy, by James Nelson, described as detailing how the Father of Our Country also had a hand in birthing its Navy, minuscule though it was during the Revolution. In between, I hope to whittle my stack of magazines down, reading them at odd moments like breakfast.
Steve Sullivan: When it comes to sitting down and reading, I am very streaky – I’ll get enamored with a couple of books, then once I finish them I’ll go on a hiatus. Summer is my favorite time, especially around a beach vacation. First on my list this summer is Rupture, a medical thriller which is the debut novel by a local writer (and friend) Scott Pearson. Behind that is No Country For Old Men, especially since I somehow did not see the movie. I may delve into my kids’ summer reading and pick up The Hobbit again. Sitting on a screened porch in the morning with a cup of coffee is perfect.