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From AJR,   May 1999  issue

AJR Asks   

AJR poses the conventional “what-books-are-you-reading” question to book editors and reviewers, specifying that’s books for pleasure, not work.


By AJR Staff
     

AJR poses the conventional "what-books-are-you-reading" question to book editors and reviewers, specifying that's books for pleasure, not work.

Teresa Weaver, book editor, Atlanta Journal and Constitution
"I find it absolutely impossible to separate pleasure and work anymore."
Reading: Bobbie Ann Mason's "Clear Springs: A Memoir"; "Booknotes: Life Stories: Notable Biographers on the People Who Shaped America," Brian Lamb (editor); "Best American Short Stories of the Century," John Updike (editor).

Steve Wasserman, book editor, Los Angeles Times
Reading:
"Pushkin's Button" by Serena Vitale, "strictly for pleasure." It's a "ravishing tale of Pushkin's strange and early death in a duel over his beautiful wife."

Henry Kisor, book editor, Chicago Sun-Times
"I read ALL books for pleasure! That's the joy of the job."
Just reread: "A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway, which he "enjoyed...much more than I did when I read it in college. Now I have enough life's experience to appreciate its nuances."

Michael Virtanen, executive features editor, Albany Times Union
Reading:
"Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War" by Mark Bowden. "It's interesting and puts you in the minds of some of the people on the military expedition."

Ellen Heltzel, book editor, Portland's Oregonian
"I don't have time to read things that don't have a purpose."
Just read: "Asylum" by Patrick McGrath for the Oregonian's book club.
Current "bedside books": "Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1933 Vol. 1" by Blanche Wiesen Cook; "An Equal Music" by Vikram Seth; Salman Rushdie's latest novel, "The Ground Beneath Her Feet."

Judyth Rigler, book editor, San Antonio Express-News
"Everything I read is for work and for pleasure, so it's hard to separate...them."
Just read: "East of the Mountains" by David Guterson, the author of "Snow Falling on Cedars." "It's the internal struggle of a man who is reassessing his life in light of a fatal illness."
Reading: "Layover" by Lisa Zeidner, a novel about a woman who is "missing in action"--she walks away from her life after the loss of her child. Random House will publish it in June.

Cheryl Chapman, books editor, Dallas Morning News
"I'm trying to overtake last year's best sellers."
Just read: "The Hundred Secret Senses" by Amy Tan.
Read before that: "The Sea, the Sea" by Iris Murdoch.
Reading: "The Haunted Major" by Robert Marshall, a reissue of a book written in the early 1900s about a golf game.

Interviews by Bridget Gutierrez and Jennifer L. Goodale