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Portable magic

With the lazy days of summer still ahead, Keizertimes asked some of the city’s local dignitaries and public figures which books were on their nightstands this summer. If you’re looking for a good book to curl up with in the sun, this list has a wide array of starting points.

Jeff Auvinen, McNary High School teacher/head football coach

Recommendation: Unstoppable by Anthony Robles

It’s the story of an amazing young man and the challenges that he faced growing up and becoming an amazing wrestler and national champion despite being born with only one leg. I heard him speak at the AVID conference in Denver in 2015 and he was the most motivating speaker that I have ever heard. The book is not nearly as riveting as his speech was, but it is still an entertaining story, especially if you like sports and wrestling.

Debbie Lockhart, Keizer Deputy City Recorder

Recommendation: The Golem and the Jinni, by Helen Wecker

It is a fantasy/historical fiction book that takes place in old New York’s tenements. I loved the book and was disappointed to find that she has not written any others, but her website says she’s working on a sequel.

Also recommended: The Short Drop by Matthew Fitzsimmons, The Bill Hodges Trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch) by Stephen King, and The Client and The Juror by John Grisham.

Jeff Kuhns, Keizer Deputy Police Chief

Recommendation: How To Be A Bawse – A Guide To Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

I read the book because my son, Kyle, who lives and works managing artists in Hollywood, is the day-to-day manager for Lilly who released her first book in March and went on a world tour to publicize it.  You would not believe how many countries and cities Kyle and Lilly have traveled to – and they’re not finished.

Joshua Rist, McNary High School Choir Director

Recommendation: Water the Bamboo by Greg Bell

I’m reading it with my student leaders over the summer.

Also recommended: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Nate Brown, Keizer Community Development Director

Recommendation: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

A fascinating look at a time and place where both magic and horror could flourish in the time of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1897.

Also recommended: Thunderstruck by Erik Larson.

Cathy Clark, Keizer Mayor

Recommendation: Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

Amazingly predictive and insightful of American self governance.

Also recommended: The Father Tim series by Jan Karon

Ryan Somerville, McNary High School teacher

Recommendation: Dear Leader by Jang Jin-sung

It’s the harrowing story of a man who works for the North Korean government writing propaganda. As one of the few individuals who has access to South Korean and Western literature, he begins to realize that their country’s blind allegiance to Kim Jong-Il is a sham. When he accidently loses a western book he borrows from state reading room (a crime punishable by three generations of death – you, your parents, and your children). He immediately strikes out on foot to the Chinese border. This is a true story that is a real page turner.

Also recommended: A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer and Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick.

John Teague, Keizer Police Chief

Recommendation: The Not So Wild, Wild West by Terry H. Anderson

This is a well-researched look at property rights in the pre-law American west. Contrary to myth that the west was ruled by violence, men governed themselves by contract and property interests even where no such laws existed—perhaps even better than where such laws existed.

Also recommended: Stolen Valor by B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley; Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World by Daniel Hannan; Blood Struggle: The Rise and Fall of Modern Indian Nations by Charles F. Wilkinson; Life in the Son and Elect in the Son by Robert Shank.

Laura Reid, Keizer City Councilor

Recommendation: The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

It’s about a woman who formerly worked for a secret government organization, and her speciality was extracting information relative to national security using chemical means; she got on someone’s naughty list and is now on the run. It was a fast-paced, intriguing story with lots of twists and turns, and the characters were interesting and engaging.

Also recommended: Emma by Alexander McCall Smith.

Matt Lawyer, Keizer Parks and Recreation Board Member

Recommendation: Gung Ho by Sheldon Bowles and Ken Blanchard

The central theme is about leadership and getting an organization to come together to do meaningful work that is done quickly with quality and a shared common goal all along celebrating each other. There are three themes about work that are in Gung Ho. The spirit of the squirrel or people that work really hard towards a shared goal. The way of the beaver the purpose and direction. Each person has their place and they know what their purpose and direction is because everyone knows what is going on. Lastly, the gift of the goose, constant support and cheering of each other – celebrating wins and goals. It’s a fun book told as a story with fun characters. The book really describes simple leadership ideas in a manner that is easily attainable and entertaining.

Rochelle Farris, McNary High School College and Career Center Coordinator

Recommendation: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This WWII novel was so beautifully written. This war was a time of bitter hatred and in this story Kristin Hannah brings to life love, survival, bitterness, strength, and persistence. This book is a story of two sisters and their personal responses to war as it ravaged their country. Vianne and Isabelle find themselves facing frightening situations and bravely facing the tragedies of war in their own ways, but both with incredible courage and strength. I couldn’t put this book down.

Mark Caillier, Former councilor, Keizer First Citizen, tireless volunteer

Recommendation: Handcuffed:  What Holds Policing Back, and the Keys to Reform by Malcolm Sparrow

This book helped me understand the direction the Keizer Police Department is taking in supporting Problem Oriented Policing methods and understanding that pure enforcement of the laws is not the best answer to preventing and solving our short or long term community crime issues.

Tim Wood, Keizer Finance Director

Recommendation: Whatever After Once Upon a Frog by Sarah Mlynowski

This is book eight of a 12-part series about the adventures of Jonah and Abby as the they travel through a magic mirror and accidentally change the story line of a classic fairy tale.  Oh yeah, I am reading this to my kids.

Krina Lee, Executive Director of the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation

Recommendation: Oregon Reads Aloud

It is a collection of 25 children’s stories by Oregon authors and illustrators. They are short stories ranging from a poem about the first day of school to letters to Bigfoot. One of my favorites is Old as Clouds, Wise as Wind by Gina Ochsner (a Keizer Resident) and illustrated by Mike Lawrence. The story is beautiful about an old man who makes birds out of pieces of tin, zippers, and aluminum. The message is about the power of being loved and celebrated for being utterly unique.

Marrla Wilkinson, McNary High School teacher

Recommendation: La Maravilla by Alfredo Véa, Jr.

Set in the extremely impoverished outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona, this book gives life and voice to the marginalized underbelly of society while delving into Native American mysticism.

Also recommended: East of Eden by John Steinbeck and Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Amy Kerr McVey, Keizer’s Junior Miss, America’s Junior Miss 2006

Recommendations: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

My friends read me excerpts from Milk and Honey, and I fell in love. Such beautiful words.

Also recommended: Theft by Finding by David Seders and Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan.

Dan Kohler, Director of Public Affairs, Keizer Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Recommendation: Driven, An Autobiography, by Larry H. Miller with Doug Robinson

It is interesting to get a glimpse into the mind of a highly successful person.  Not only was he successful with business but was very loyal to those who he felt were loyal to him.  The insights exposing his drive, against all odds, to keep the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake was enlightening and exciting to see. Success does not come without preparation, however, in the case of Larry H. Miller his preparation was the school of hard knocks along with a desire to be the best at all he did.

Jim Trett, Keizer First Citizen

Recommendation: An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson

I became acquainted with the series when it became the basis for a series on the A&E and Netflix networks’ Longmire. I enjoy the series is a modern western about Sheriff Walt Longmire and set in Wyoming. The books combine the best of the old and new west. Johnson, who is also a cattle rancher in Wyoming uses the Wyoming landscape as a backdrop for his storyline and many time includes the world of the supernatural in his books. In An Obvious Fact, Sheriff Longmire and his friend Henry Standing Bear are called to investigate a hit-and-run accident involving a young motorist near America’s first national monument, Devils Tower.