Summer reading

Nancy Koeneman
assistant editor, "Inside Illinois" ( 50 percent)
media /communications specialist,
The Environmental Council (50 percent)

"When I was about 10 or 12 years old, the first public library opened in my hometown. Every week during the summer, sometimes even twice a week, I would ride my bike to the municipal building and head to the basement to check out my limit of books. That place was sheer heaven for me. I'd sit outside in the yard, or lie on the bed in my room with the fan humming and just devour book after book.

"I still love reading but don't have as much time for it with a 3-year-old, a husband, full-time work, a dog and a house. I enjoy contemporary fiction, science fiction, mystery, detective stories and some biographical works. I'm currently reading Pat Conroy's 'Beach Music' and am in love with his writing style. His descriptions are poetic and vivid. I just gobbled up Raymond Chandler's books earlier this summer. I loved his wry sense of humor and his portraits of people and places. I'd also highly recommend Sara Paretsky's detective series featuring V.I. Warshawski, and Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone stories. I've read A through M of Grafton's books and each one was a fairly quick but satisfying story."

Susan S. McDonald, associate director
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

"Reading for pleasure is one of my favorite activities. My escape reading is usually in one of two genres ­ mystery or science fiction. In science fiction this summer, I have rediscovered the 'Darkover' series by Genevieve Lois Bujold. Bujold tells a fast-moving story with strong characters and she develops the political, social and cultural life of a future world over several generations. I have read a book here and there in this series which has at least 10 novels in it, but after reading her latest one, I have decided to read the series in chronological order.

"Other summer reading includes the latest exploits of familiar mystery characters: Kinsey Milhone, Sharon McCone and Kat Colorado, the PI [private investigator] creations of Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller and Karen Kijewski; Amanda Cross' University English professor, Kate Fansler; Diane Davidson's caterer, Goldy Bear; Mollie Hardwick's antique dealer, Doran Fairweather; and the cat detectives written about by Lilian Jackson Braun, Rita Mae Brown and Carole Douglas.

"About two years ago, I discovered the mystery reference book, 'Detecting Women' a checklist for mystery series written by women. This reader-friendly resource has led me to several writers whose books I have enjoyed. There are two writers I have just discovered whose books are great fun. The Kate Shugak mysteries by Dana Stebenow are as enjoyable for their images of life in Alaska as are the puzzles Kate solves, and Jane Dentinger's behind-the-scenes look at the New York theater scene are witty and contemporary ­ Ngaio Marsh for the '90s."


Comments to: Inside Illinois Editor Doris Dahl, (217) 333-2895,

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