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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What’s on your summer reading list, BPT? (part one)

Whether it’s for professional development, self-improvement, or purely for pleasure, summer is traditionally a great time to kick back and read. We asked BPTers to share the titles on their night stands with us (and, not surprisingly, there’s a lot of reading going on)…

Ginger Lazarus
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. I'm not a big sci-fi reader, but I'm enjoying this classic. I randomly decided that a character in the play I'm writing reads Heinlein, and then realized I should probably know what I am talking about. So far I'm gratified by my choice. As is my husband, the true sci-fi aficionado, who has happily lined up my next ten books or so. We'll see about that...this summer I'm also hoping to get to The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra: A Life.

Emily Kaye Lazzaro
This is hardly a unique opinion, but for me summer is a time for obsessive, easy-thinking novels. Crime novels, mysteries, romantic chick-lit, young adult fiction, that kind of thing. It's a Harry Potter, Twilight, Pillars of the Earth kind of time. So this summer I am going to read the last of the three Stieg Larsson crime novels (I just finished The Girl Who Played With Fire so now it's on to The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest). Then I'm going to go full YA with The Hunger Games. Put me in a beach house, on the front porch early in the morning, with a cup of coffee and a big, fun novel and I am happy as can be. Mind you, I'm also tempering this with the full body of work of Edward Albee, Peter Shaffer, and Wendy Wasserstein, so as not to let my brain go completely mushy. It's all a matter of balance.

Melinda Lopez
The Omnivore’s Dilemma (finally got around to it, after owning it for about four years) Loved Michael Pollen's earlier book The Botany of Desire -- where he traces the history of 4 plants, and proves how plants have basically cultivated us by offering us what we like (sweetness/apple, stability/potato, narcotics/marijuana, beauty/tulip) in profusion and then getting us to do the work of cultivating and growing them-- pretty sweet deal for them. And we thought cats were smart! 

The Omnivore’s Dilemma follows the food production river upstream -- 4 meals -- McDonald's, Whole Foods, homegrown organic & hunted and gathered by the author -- and we find out where our food really comes from, and what the true cost of it is. I loved it especially b/c it didn't make me want to become a vegan -- but helped me understand why meat is a part of the cycle, both of health and regrowth -- I am buying only grass-fed from now on, though. And I may never eat a chicken finger off my daughter’s plate again. Great for anyone who eats!

Forgot to add – The War and Genocide in Cuba and The War Lovers...working on a comedy right now...

Walt McGough
I've been flitting around between a few different books as of late, but starting next week I need to settle down with a couple I've been using for research for my play about cartography: John Noble Wilford's The Mapmakers and Peter Turchi's Maps of the Imagination. I'll probably also be making a few trips out to the Mapparium, which isn't a book, but is still awesome. I also have Joe Meno's The Great Perhaps on my desk, which I can't wait to get to. Provided, of course, that I can get to it before mid-July, because once George R.R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons comes out, that will probably pretty much take precedence over everything else. Including, perhaps, eating, sleeping and basic hygiene.

Jonathon Myers
Right now I'm re-reading The Playwright's Guidebook by Stuart Spencer. I still think it's one of the greatest books for keeping in touch with the fundamentals.

Stay tuned for more good stuff in part two of our list, coming soon.

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