Press asks: What are you currently reading?

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A large selection of books is available to check out or purchase from the used book sale at The Guttenberg Public Library located at 603 S. 2nd St. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Reading is a popular winter pastime and can improve brain connectivity, increase your vocabulary and comprehension, empower you to become more empathetic, aid in sleep readiness, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce symptoms of depression, and prevent cognitive decline. 

The Guttenberg Press recently polled some of their subscribers and known readers, and asked, "What book are you currently reading?" Their responses are listed in alpha order.


I have finished the The King about King Charles, and have on order The Spare, Prince Harry’s book.  Although The King provided almost too much information about King Charles, it did provide  good insight on the British monarchy.  

The book I would really recommend is The Quarry Girls, by Jess Lourey. It is fiction, but based on a Minnesota case in the 70’s.  I would call it "young adult," but with teenage and adult themes. After being an Uber driver and shuttling my niece back and forth to her summer sports practices and games, I would say 14 and above. I am going to recommend it for book club.  It may be too much for some readers.  

I am also reading the Thursday Murder Club books, and started reading a non-fiction book about a murder in Clayton County that took place at the turn of the century (late 1800’s to early 1900’s) titled The Plea.

Tracy Elsinger

I honestly don't read a lot of books these days. I used to read tons of books when I was a kid, but now I find it hard to focus on one long enough to finish it, even if it's very interesting. I'm not sure why that is, but it's a phenomenon that seems to be increasingly common. Lots of family members and friends I've talked to have mentioned similar trends in their lives. 

I still read magazines, but they are easier to pick up and read for a little while whenever I feel like it, since they are typically composed of several shorter articles covering different topics. 

But even though I don't read many books anymore, I do listen to a lot of audio books. Since I work alone, I usually listen to an audio book while I'm working, and I listened to 27 audio books last year. I find that I can retain books much better when listening to them than when reading them, and it's easier for me to focus on them without my mind wandering after a few minutes in that format. Plus it helps the workday go by much faster. 

I use the Libby app to borrow audio books from the local library, and I would encourage more people to take advantage of that service. They have a pretty good selection of books available, all for free. It's really a wonderful asset to the community. 

I typically listen to fiction books, but occasionally listen to nonfiction as well. A few of the more notable books from the last year include Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan, Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett, The Stand by Stephen King, and The Guest List by Lucy Foley. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Brain on Fire. It's a terrific book that I recommend to everyone. 

Gary Olson

My 15-year-old granddaughter, Cooper, and I are currently reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernrow. She has seen both the stage play and video, knows all the songs and sings them with each character. After we read a chapter in the book, we discuss it. She remembers more than I do! 

Cooper has a rare neurological disease called KIF1A. As a result she has no fine motor movement control that limits her walking, writing and other normal skills. We were told that because the disease also affects her vision, she would not be able to read. However she is a voracious reader, has a very outgoing personality and a good memory for history.  Cooper likes to read aloud, usually to Grandma.  We live next door to each other so that makes it easy. She is a bit naive and questions Grandma about certain words or phrases she doesn't understand, such as Hamilton’s dalliances both with men and the ladies. Because she reads aloud and asks for explanations, I am ahead of her in number of chapters. That makes it possible for me to learn a lot about details she already knows from watching and singing.

 Stephanie Radabaugh

Because of my psychological research background I love reading anything in the self-help section or psychology/sociology field. 

Right now I'm reading I'm Happy for You (Sort of...not really) by Kay Wills Wyma. The book discusses the problems of how today's usage of social media or any instant online entertainment is leading to an increase in comparison, competition, and depression for all ages.

The book not only discusses this common yet many times hidden emotional strain but offers a counter balance of ways to address the problem. The author does a great job of educating the reader with witty humor tied in. 

Kyle Sperfslage

I have just finished up reading Sustain Your Game, by Alan Stein Jr. This is a book that Mr. Backes, Mr. Schutte, and myself have been reading as a PE department at school. 

Stein began his career as a basketball skills trainer, and has transitioned into leadership writing and speaking as he has worked away from the game of basketball. 

The main idea of the book is strategies to manage stress, avoid stagnation, and beat burnout in your career and life. 

Now that I have finished Sustain Your Game, it is now my annual ritual to read Jon Gordon’s One Word That Will Change Your Life, which I read every year during Christmas break. It is a short read and you will not be disappointed if you take the time to read it!! It is a simple alternative to New Year’s resolutions so this is the perfect time of the year to read it.

Norma Theise

A favorite book that I’ve recently read is The Taster by ​​V.S. Alexander. 

The Taster is historical fiction about a young German girl who is sent to Adolf Hitler’s Bavarian mountain home to become one of fifteen tasters. Hitler has a fear of being poisoned by the enemy so the girls have to taste his food first. The girls become trained in identifying characteristics of various poisons, including the almond scent of cyanide.

Magda ends up falling in love with one of Hitler’s soldiers who is actually plotting against Hitler and is secretly part of the resistance. As part of the war rages on, Magda has to masquerade as a loyal follower which becomes increasingly difficult and dangerous.

What I like about this book is that we are able to learn about Hitler through a young naive girl’s eyes, and as she grows into a strong willed and unafraid woman. The reader sees this growth and watches her slowly realize how terrible of a situation her country is in. She is the only one of the fifteen girls who survived. She gave an interview with the Associated Press in 2013.

Historical fiction provides a big-picture understanding of an historical event or time period, even though the details might be changed somewhat to fit the storyline.

This book is available from the Guttenberg Public Library in hard copy and also as an ebook.

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