A look at reading habits across Gwinnett

Subbing at Trickum Middle School provides lots of perks, but three really stand out in my mind. First is the Sustained Silent Reading Program. Every morning for 20 minutes, everyone simply reads. And for me, this is on paid time. How cool is that? Another is that many teachers display "What I'm reading now" signs outside their doors. And then many of these books end up on a cart in the teachers' workroom for anyone to borrow and never have to worry about overdue fines.

As we begin Read Across America Week, I thought it might be fun to find out what people across Gwinnett are reading.

Superior Court Judge Warren Davis has plenty of work to keep him busy but still finds time to read. "I just finished John Grisham's 'The Appeal.' As a former practicing attorney, John Grisham's writing and insights into various aspects of the legal profession always interest me."

B.B. Webb, the gracious hostess of Carl House, who also hosts her own TV and radio talk shows, spends what little free time she has reading. "I'm now reading 'Life After Death' by Deepak Chopra. I'm fascinated with why we are here, what happens after we die, our purpose, etc."

When Michelle Marr, volunteer and program coordinator fpr The Mill Creek Nature Center, isn't picking up litter or pulling up privet, she's reading. "When I have a free moment to pick up a book, I have been trying to read 'At Home in Mitford' by Jan Karon."

When they're off the ice, Gwinnett Gladiators Jeff Mason and Andy Brandt like to chill out with a good book. Mason's current read is "Stay Mad for Life" by Jim Kramer, and Brandt's is "Profiles in Courage" by John F. Kennedy.

School Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks sent me a list of recently read books that could fill this whole column, all nonfiction, all work related.

Sheila Wagner, assistant director of the Autism Center at Emory University, responded differently. "I love anything by Patricia Cornwall. My job is very intense, and her books (medical mysteries) have the ability to pull me out of my work world very quickly and imbed me into forensic science."

Of his most recent reads, Gwinnett Daily Post Publisher J.K. Murphy said, "I just finished reading the collected works of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My father gave me the collected works (nine books in all) about 35 years ago. He had been given the books by my mom's family as a 1940 Christmas present. Doyle is among the most imaginative authors, and I enjoyed every novel and short story. I'm sorry there are no more to read."

My fellow columnist Rob Jenkins appears to have a serious side - but don't tell anyone. "I enjoyed Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road,' a short and very moving book that left me thinking about it for a long time afterward."

Of course, I couldn't write a column like this without accounting for the reading habits of my own family.

My grandniece Kristen, co-editor-in-chief of the Collins Hill Eagle's Voice, is reading "At First Sight" by Nicholas Sparks. My stepdaughter, Chrisa, is enjoying Gwinnett author Hal Runkel's humor in "ScreamFree Parenting." And my step-granddaughter, Kaylynne, a student at Richards Middle School, just finished what she called an awesome book: "The Day My Mother Left" by James Prosek.

As for me, as I write this, I'm on page 143 of "We Were the Mulvaneys" by Joyce Carol Oates. By the time you read this, I'll have traded it in for some other treasure on that teachers' book cart.

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.