What's Gresham reading?
When the weather turns warm, many of us start thinking about that perfect beach book, something frothy and fun. But The Outlook found that local readers are all over the landscape with their reading choices and habits.
Gresham resident Rebecca Schrantz, 26, is trolling the shelves of the Gresham Library for a good read.
Schrantz is already well underway with "Salt: A World History" by Mark Kurlansky.
"It's amazing. I highly recommend it," she says of the nonfiction chronicle of the common seasoning and how it changed world history.
Schrantz has no particular reading routine, but says "I always like to have at least one book going."
She favors fiction but says she's "trying to branch out" as with "Salt."
Lately she's been "enjoying lots of biographies and autobiographies." She's recently read some David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs' "Running with Scissors: A Memoir."
A couple of aisles over in the Gresham Library, 385 N.W. Miller Ave., Joinell Friedstrom, 80, a voracious reader, is selecting her next adventure.
She devours an average of four books per week. She loves mysteries, especially by foreign authors.
"The library doesn't get enough of them," she says. "But I want to say the Gresham Library is really important to me and the staff is always so helpful when I'm searching for something," she adds.
"I come to the library once per week, searching," she says. She had already picked out "The Dark Heart of Florence" by Michele Giuttari, an Italian author and former head of the Florence police force.
Colin Campbell's "Snake Pass" was the last book Friedstrom read.
Friedstrom begins her day reading from about 6-7 a.m. and then reads during TV commercials.
"Then when I go to bed at night I read for an hour or two, depending on the book."
Fantasy is popular
Kaleb Hood, 23, a high school English teacher at Gresham's Mayer Christian School, says his most recent read was a book authored by one of his students. The student's book was a mystery about twin 11 year-old brothers who catch an art thief.
Hood is in the middle of "The Struggle for Mastery in Europe: 1848-1918," by A.J.P. Taylor.
He says "I'm always reading a scholarly book and an entertainment book," and chuckles that "The Struggle for Mastery in Europe" is definitely a scholarly one.
Hood is just starting on "Artemis: A Novel," by Andy Weir and recently finished "The Return of the King," part three of the "Lord of the Rings" series by J.R.R. Tolkien.
"If I have a favorite genre, I go for classic, fantasy and sci-fi; authors like Arthur C. Clarke, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis."
Hood's summer job is working on boat motors and he says that allows him to listen to a book on tape for as many as eight hours per day. He also reads for 30 minutes or so before work and then about an hour in the evening.
"I do read my Bible every day," he adds.
Tanya Belmont, a librarian at the Fairview-Columbia Library, 1520 N.E. Village St., says that when adult books start getting some media attention, demand takes off for them at the library. She cites the thriller "The President is Missing" by Bill Clinton and James Patterson as one example.
"A lot of political titles are popular right now," she says, including "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," by Michael Wolff and "Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter and Trump" by Daniel Pfeiffer.
Belmont says other popular titles include "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline and books by chef Anthony Bourdain, who recently died.
Mike Anderson, assistant principal at Reynolds High School, caught at a recent school board meeting, admitted ruefully, "mostly what I read is emails."
The former social studies teacher has the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Founding Brothers: The Revolution Generation" on his nightstand ready to go. The book, by Joseph Ellis, focuses on some of the men who founded our country.
Shoshonna Roberts, owner of newly-opened Maggie Mae's Kids Bookshop, 43 N.W. Third St. in downtown Gresham says younger readers are biting into the "Dog Man" series of books. "Dog Man" is written by Dav Pilkey, who also wrote and illustrated the sensation that is the "Captain Underpants" series.
The "Dog Man" books are "really popular because they have great graphics, use simple words and they are just funny," Roberts says.
"Narwhal and Jelly" books by Ben Clayton are also swimming of the shelves, she says. "These are a cross between a picture book and a graphic novel." Narwhals are really popular with young readers right now, she adds.
Older kids, especially ones that loved the Percy Jackson series of books, are reading "Aru Shah and the End of Time" by Roshani Chokshi. This tale is about a 12-year-old girl who unwittingly frees a demon from a magic lamp.
Roberts also says the classic children's books continue to be read generation-after-generation. She says kids are still picking out "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott and a graphic novel version of Anne of Green Gables.
"Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls," books are also a big hit, mostly with girls, Roberts says. The books, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, feature 100 short bedtime stories about the lives of 100 amazing women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all around the world. The bios range from Jane Goodall to Joan Jett to Frida Kahlo.
Roberts says kids like to read real books, not electronic versions. They can "feel the progress they are making. It helps build confidence. They want to hold it and look at the pictures."
The Fairview Library's Belmont has a long list of recommendations for kiddos including classics like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid" book series by Jeff Kinney.
Younger readers are often looking for books on trucks, fire trucks and princesses, she says.
"Graphic novels are really, really great for kids that are not big readers," Belmont says, recommending titles including "Roller Girl" by Victoria Jamieson.
Rep. Carla Piluso, D-Gresham, just can't let go of some of her reading traditions with her now 26-year-old daughter. Piluso always read Antoine de Saint-Exupery's classic "The Little Prince" when daughter Kate had a big event or was starting something new.
Kate, now a teacher in Newark, N.J., is coming home for a visit and Piluso plans to continue the tradition by reading the book when she arrives and when she leaves again.
Piluso is reading a true crime story, "Deadly Triangle" by Fran Parker, passed on to her by a colleague.
"In my police mind, I was working on solving the crime as soon as I started reading," the former Gresham police chief said.
These enthusiastic readers embrace author Joyce Carol Oates' contention that "reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul."