Vampires, Detectives, and Winnie the Pooh–What We’re Reading


When Observer staff and interns aren’t writing articles, shooting video, posting blogs or keeping the lights on, we’re avid readers. So I thought it’d be fun to poll the office on our summer books. Here’s what we’re reading when we’re not writing.

DivideBrad Tyer, Managing Editor: “I just finished Continental Divide: Wildlife, People, and the Border Wall, photographer/writer Krista Schlyer’s deeply informative and visually head-turning ode to the rich borderland ecosystems being undone in the mad—in every sense of the word—rush to build a wall between one side of a line in the sand and the other. Should be required reading for any legislator with a hand in federal immigration policy.”

Krissi Trumeter, Controller—“I’m reading The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. The famous Pooh (that bear that loves honey) signifies an existence of simplicity and joy, appreciating the life we have versus the life we think we want … In this tiny book, Pooh bestows the wisdom of how to smile when the world seems sour.”

Caitlin Perrone, Editorial Intern: “I’m currently reading Khaled Hosseini’s new book And the Mountains Echoed, which is a multigenerational story that details the lives of an Afghan family while also covering the history of the country. Hosseini is the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, which are known for their haunting depictions of life in Afghanistan. I’m preparing for another tragic story that might cause some tears, but don’t let that scare you. I cannot recommend this author more.”

Jonathan McNamara, Web Editor: “Maybe it’s how inescapable Brad Pitt has become thanks to his multibillion-dollar action flick World War Z, but I’ve been drawn back to the Anne Rice classic Interview With the Vampire. So far I’ve found the first in Rice’s Vampire Chronicles to be full of whiny-ass self-loathing on the part of principal character Louis. Still beats the hell the out of anything Stephanie Meyer can cobble together, though.”

Emily DePrang, Staff Writer (Houston Office): “I’m reading a collection of short stories by SearchersRaymond Chandler called The Simple Art of Murder. He’s the detective fiction writer best known for novels like The Big Sleep, but I think his short stories are way more fun because he wrote them fast, for pulp magazines. Since he’s not stuck with his choices for 200 pages like he would be in a novel, you can see him playing around on the page. In “I’ll Be Waiting,” Chandler obviously just wrote a description of a girl listening to jazz that he really liked, and then had to figure out how to built a crazy detective plot around it so that he could publish, ‘The light in there was dim, but the violet of her eyes almost hurt.’ There are probably two phrases on every page that make me swoon.”

And finally, your humble books blogger has been reading The Searchers, UT professor Glenn Frankel’s book about the classic John Ford western of the same name. The movie itself was inspired by a novel by Alan LeMay based roughly on the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker’s 1836 abduction by Comanches in the Texas frontier. So just to keep score, you’re now reading a book blog about me reading a book that’s about a movie that’s about a book based loosely on actual events. How meta…