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Savannah Morning News - What Savannah’s Movers and Shakers are Reading


By Lanie Lippincott Peterson

It’s summer, and the kids have summer reading lists.

Their parents don’t have prescribed lists — or essays to write — but they are reading, too.

By the pool or under an umbrella at the beach, Chatham County residents are reading novels — spy stories, courtroom drama, romance. Also on the summer reading agenda: biographies, books on gardening, mysteries and more.

Here a sampling of what some of Savannah’s movers and shakers are reading:

ESTHER SHAVER, OWNER OF E. SHAVER BOOKSELLERS

What she’s been reading: “American Assassin” by Vince Flynn

What it’s about: “It’s a spy thriller-killer.”

Why she likes it: “It’s escape. It’s summer escape reading. I read about three books a week.”

U.S. REP. JACK KINGSTON

What he’s reading: “They Called Him Holly, the Story of Don Holleder” by Harvey Shapiro

What it’s about: “He was a West Point graduate, a sensational football star who was killed in Vietnam. I heard about him from retired Gen. Leroy Suddath in Savannah. When he was killed, he was awarded a Silver Star” for his actions in the battle of Ongthanh but Suddath and others thought Holleder should have received a higher award, the Distinguished Service Cross. He finally got the award a month ago.

Why he liked the book: “It’s a true story … It’s of great interest. You learn some things you wouldn’t have known about the comments of people who knew Holleder.”

Next book: “The Panama Canal: Drawing the Line at the Big Ditch” by Adam Clymer about turning the canal over to the Panamanians. “It’s not a real gripper,” but Kingston is interested in the history of the canal.

LINDA BLEICKEN, PRESIDENT OF ARMSTRONG ATLANTIC STATE UNIVERSITY

What she’s reading: “Several books. For fun, I’m reading one of Steig Larssen’s trilogies. Last month I read “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and now I’m reading “The Girl Who Played with Fire.” That book is a mystery-thriller set in Sweden. It has a female heroine-crusader.

“I’m also reading “Franklin and Eleanor” by Hazel Rowley, a biography of Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor that challenges the view of their marriage. I’m about to start reading Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind.” That’ll be fun.

Also, “These are not chick books — books just for women. My husband is reading the first book in Larssen’s trilogy now.”

SAVANNAH MAYOR
OTIS JOHNSON

What he’s reading: “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Society Stronger” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett and “Waiting for Superman: How Can We Save America’s Failing Schools” edited by Karl Weber.

What they’re about: The first book “is about the struggle that we Americans have with the growing disparity in society. … Inequalities work against strong societies so it messes with everything. … You’ll see why it’s appealing to me because I’ve been struggling with inequalities all my life. ... They have proposed some solutions, and I am anxious to see what their solutions are.”

The second book “is a collection of essays by people involved in the education reform movement. Of course, you’ve got to have great teachers. … Teachers are not making the grade right now. You’ve got to do something to prepare students for success. … We’re waiting for the Superman, but there’s no magic wand to fix it.” Students are dropping out “and you’ve got kids roaming the streets. … What is required is universal commitment by every student and a connection between industry and business to produce the kind of graduates to be successful.”

No fun reading: “I’m going to do some fun reading after December when I’m no longer mayor. Right now I don’t have time for leisurely reading.”

JOE MARINELLI, PRESIDENT OF VISIT SAVANNAH

What he’s reading: “Sail Tall Ships” produced by the American Sail Training Association.

What’s it about: I’m learning about tall ships, what their past is. Some of them are modern sailing ship; some of them are pirate ships. Next May, Savannah is going to host a tall ships festival on the riverfront.

Why he likes it: “It’s something I don’t know anything about. I’m learning about ships and everything about them. It’s extremely relevant to what I do.”

CULLEN CHAMBERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TYBEE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

What he’s reading: “Inside Terrorism” by Bruce Hoffman

What it’s about: “It traces the history, the origins of terrorism worldwide. It does go into the history in the United States, describing white supremacist groups and right wing terrorists.”

Why he likes it: “It’s very insightful. It gives me an understanding of the use of terrorism as an effective strategy. Based on my reading, our policy has not only been inept; it’s played into the hands of the terrorists.”

PETE LIAKAKIS,
CHAIRMAN, CHATHAM COUNTY COMMISSION

What he’s reading: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling

What it’s about: “I’ve just started it, but it’s about how Harry Potter is going to attack and defeat this evil-doer.”

Why he likes it: “I like that type of action and the supernatural. I like magical things.”

U.S. REP JOHN BARROW

What he’s reading: “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by Savannah native Flannery O’Connor

What it’s about: With great dialogue and irony, O’Connor exposes the underside of life in the rural South.

Why he likes it: “I’m enjoying O’Connor specifically because of her ability to see the humor (if not the craziness) in all of us.”

CHRISTIAN KRUSE, LIBRARY DIRECTOR, LIVE OAK PUBLIC LIBRARIES

What he’s read: Children’s books including “The Library Lion” by Michelle Knudson. “We Are the Ship” by Kadir Nelson and an adult book, “Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms” by Carmela Ciuraru.

What he thinks of these and other books: “ I have to admit that, right now, I’m previewing several of our authors for this year’s Savannah Children’s Book Festival. I’ve read some great books, including: “The Library Lion,” a beautifully illustrated children’s book. (Knudson) also wrote “The Dragon of Trelian,” a fantasy adventure for slightly older kids that’s a great read, full of secrets, danger and lots of plot twists.

“Kadir Nelson was a concept artist for the film ‘Amistad’ and has illustrated dozens of children’s books. He won several awards for ‘We are the Ship,’ the story of Negro League baseball, something I knew very little about but learned a great deal from this fantastic book.”

SAND GNATS PRESIDENT JOHN KATZ

What he’s reading: “The Devil in the White City” by John Katz

What it’s about: “It’s about the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 and at the same time someone was killing people; a doctor was preying on women.”

Why he likes it: “I’ve always liked books about true crime and history. This is something that tied them together. It intertwines the two tales.”

ANGELA BEASLEY, OWNER AND “PUPPET QUEEN,”
THE PUPPET PEOPLE

What she’s been reading: “My Reading Life” by Pat Conroy

What it’s about: “How he became a writer. It was a great story. He writes everything in longhand on yellow paper: He talks about how all the writers get together.”

Why she likes the book: “I love his writing. And it was a great back story. We sort of feel like we know him.”

THOMAS LOCKAMY, SUPERINTENDENT, SAVANNAH-CHATHAM COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Two books I am reading are:

1. “Results Now” by Mike Schmoker. “This book provides great insight and inspiration in preparation for our administrative convocation (District Conference) and will set the tone for all employees in the upcoming school year.”

2. “The Royals” by Kitty Kelley. “I have always read biographies since I was a child and continue to read them for pleasure.”