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What are you reading?
By Staff

The staff of Springfield's Own magazine asked people who have previously been featured in the magazine or The State Journal-Register, "What are you reading?" Here is what they said ...

Mayor Tim Davlin

"'Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times' by Donald T. Phillips. It takes a look at strategies he used back then and how to use them in today's time. Sure seems it's very applicable for times like these."

Bernard Schoenburg, political writer and columnist for The State Journal-Register

"I've been reading 'An Unmarked Trail: The Odyssey of a Federal Judge,' by Harlington Wood Jr. I know Petersburg resident Wood, who is a retired senior associate judge of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, just a bit, but I am more familiar with his great reputation, including being chief government negotiator during the 1973 seige at Wounded Knee. He has been credited with keeping bloodshed to a minimum in the 71-day standoff at a reservation in South Dakota between government agents and 200 members of the American Indian Movement. As I've read, I've been reminded that just one of Wood's earlier adventures involved being a high-level military aide at the time of the Japanese surrender in the Philippines during World War II. My father was in the Army in the Philippines about that time, proving once again what a small state and world this is."

Marcia Martinez, sportswriter for The State Journal-Register

"'The Zookeeper's Wife' is a story about a Christian couple running a zoo in Warsaw, Poland during World War II. I gave this book to someone as a Christmas gift last year. After she read it, she loaned it to me. It's a great read. During Nazi occupation, the couple hides Jews in cages and in various buildings on the zoo grounds. This isn't your typical story about someone hiding Jews during the war. Author Diane Ackerman describes the zoo and both the human and animal 'guests' with vivid detail. She also devotes several pages to the Nazis opinions of certain animals."

John Stremsterfer, executive director of Sangamon County Community Foundation

"I am in the middle of 'Hot, Flat and Crowded, Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it Can Renew America' by Thomas Friedman. I loved his last book, 'The World is Flat,' and this one is shaping up to be a great and insightful read as well. I can think of no other modern American journalist who can capture the essence of an issue as well as Friedman - he has certainly done this on the energy/green issue with this book. Everyone who cares about the future of our country and the world should read this book."

Julie Zara, co-owner/benevolence chair and marketing and advertising director for Zara's Collision Center

"I just began reading 'An Irish Country Christmas' by New York Times bestselling author, Patrick Taylor. Its is a great getaway read - and the story is not limited to the holidays. It is perfect for any time of year.  You will be transported to Ireland from page one in this heartwarming tale. You'll hear the brogue, taste the cooking and smell a pint of Guinness as if you were sitting beside an Irish turf fire. The characters you'll meet are Ulsterfolks - honest, warm, solid, funny and flawed; in a word, human.  I highly recommend this book to all of my friends and family."

Carolyn Otten CPA, Chief Operating Officer at Springfield Clinic LLP

"I am reading 'Basic Black - The Essential Guide for Getting ahead at Work (and in life).' Why? Because I bought it six months ago, and it is time."

Don Ecklund, youth volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County, LLCC teacher and volunteer for First Presbyterian Church and the Illinois Government Internship Program

"I pick these books up off and on ...

"'Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, Zoe Weil' - A great book on how to treat children as people instead of possessions or subservients.

"'The 7 Best Things Happy Couples Do' by John and Linda Friel - This book has interesting information on relationships I can use in my class.

"'Collapse' by Jared Diamond - This book is a fascinating multi-disciplinary analysis of the ways civilizations eventually collapse. It is difficult reading, so I tend to only read a few chapters before putting the book aside for a while.

"'From Your Grandfather: A Gift of Memory from My Grandchild' - My daughter gave me this book to encourage me to write my story which I am completing for a Christmas present for both of my daughters who now have children - my grandchildren."

Ken Leonard, SHG football coach

"The book I'm reading now is 'The 4:8 Principle' by Tommy Newberry. 'The 4:8 Principle' is a book about thinking differently, about thinking in a way that maximizes your potential for joy. It gives us a chance to start thinking like God thinks."

Susan Langheim, Friendly Chevrolet President

"Since I've recently completed my first triathlon, I have been reading as many books on the subject as I can get my hands on. Currently, I am enjoying Jeff Galloway's book '5K/10K Running.' It offers a time-efficient system of training which I really like. The reading is definitely easier than the running."

Richard Ringeisen, Chancellor of The University of Illinois at Springfield

"Two books which I have enjoyed most the last year or so are both by one of my favorite novelists, Richard North Patterson. He has an incredibly gifted way of dealing with complex issues in an entertaining novel while educating you at the same time.  I read 'The Race' during the primary election season and that is the subject of the novel. (It even dealt with the racial issue.) Likewise, 'Exile' deals with the complexity of the Middle East and specifically Palestinian/Israeli issues. They are wonderful, educational and entertaining reading, and I would highly recommend them."

Kevin Lust, director of Illinois Small Business Development Center at Lincoln Land Community College

"The title of the book 'Talent is Overrated' caught my eye at an airport bookstore and it's quickly become one of the most marked-up books on my own shelves. Author Geoff Colvin, a senior editor at Fortune magazine, makes a compelling argument for the value of what he calls 'deliberate practice' as the surest way to peak performance. Dispelling a number of misperceptions about why some of the highest achievers we know (Tiger Woods, Warren Buffett, even Mozart) have been so successful, Colvin gives hope to the rest of us. I enjoy his case studies as much as his recommendations."

Sister Katherine O'Connor, SHG president

"I'm reading the 'Conspiracy of Compassion' in which author Joseph Nassal challenges readers to reclaim the original meaning of conspire: to breathe together. Through his contemporary interpretation of scripture stories and the lively sharing of his life experiences, Father Nassal calls us to breathe together with the Spirit to heal our wounded world."

Joe Hartzler, assistant U.S. Attorney

"I'm currently reading Franklin and Winston; An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship  by Jon Meacham.  I learned about the book because it was required reading for this year's entering class at my alma mater, Amherst College. It explores the relationship of two great leaders as they faced one of the world's greatest challenges and succeeded jointly due to shared traits - strong character and unflinching confidence that their nations would prevail."

Illinois Senator Larry K. Bomke

"I just finished reading 'Team of Rivals' by Doris Kearns Goodwin and I read it because someone recommended it to me.

Rachael Atchison, promotions manager for Fox 55/27

"I'm a big fan of audio books because I spend a lot of time traveling between our offices.  I recently started listening to the 'Twilight' series by Stephenie Meyer. At first I just wanted to see what all the hype was about, but I quickly became intrigued with the love story.  With its references to great love stories like Wuthering Heights (my all time favorite book) and Romeo and Juliet, I found it's not just a series made for teenage girls-despite what the recent movie trailer may portray.  I'm now listening to the 4th and final book of the series."

Susan Wilkey, owner of FloraScape

"I just re-read 'The Secret Life of Bees' by Sue Monk Kidd.  I had read it a few years ago and kept urging my oldest daughter to read it as well.  Now that she is fourteen, the same age as the main character in the book, she read it for a school project and enjoyed it.  I decided to read it again before seeing the movie.  It's a great story, set in the South, about mothers & daughters & the powerful relationships between women."


Elizabeth Wooley, WICS Anchor/Reporter

"I am reading 'Midnight Bayou' by Nora Roberts. The book, as you may imagine, is a look at one former lawyer's quest to renovate an old residence that many believe is haunted. It is - so far - a beautiful mix between the past and the present in the big easy. I like to read one fun book for escapism and then read another book that is non-fictional so I can learn something."


Story published Friday, January 9, 2009 ( Volume 4, Number 1 )

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