Detroit Free Press (Michigan)
September 5, 2010 Sunday
Regional leaders opt for suspense in their summer reading
What do Dave Bing, Rod Alberts and L. Brooks Patterson have in common?
Besides dealing with tough challenges in their day jobs -- all reached for James Patterson suspense novels to escape over the summer.
With the Labor Day weekend winding down, I thought it was a good time to query some folks to see what they read for pleasure. James Patterson struck a chord.
"For leisure reading, I'm a simple guy. I like James Patterson quick reads. Alex Cross character, suspense-type things, must be alter ego," said Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association.
With little free time, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing squeezed in James Patterson's "Run For Your Life."
"It's an escape; fast read; big print," echoed Oakland County Executive Patterson of novelist Patterson's "Alex Cross" title.
Patterson was also riveted by "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight" by Karl Rove. "He is the architect of conservatism in America today," said Patterson, a Republican.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, the Democrat running for governor, isn't exactly reading light material. A spokesman said he's rereading "Manufacturing A Better Future For America" by Clyde Prestowitz and other writers.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm was riveted by the novel "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen, which portrays a family of urban homesteaders in St. Paul, Minn. who go to the nation's capital. (Maybe she's looking to the future?)
"Franzen is a colorful, exquisite writer," she said.
"The Conscience of a Liberal" by Paul Krugman was another she found insightful.
"He makes a cogent case for expansive economic policies -- a compelling case for more intervention to create jobs, not less," she added.
She found suspense in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson.
Others liked Larsson's suspense crime novels.
"I devoured Stieg Larsson's books -- 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' and 'The Girl Who Played with Fire.' The story line is gripping, the characters are unique, and the story has lots of twists and turns," said Beth Chappell, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Club.
Robert Bobb, emergency financial manager of Detroit Public Schools, looked for inspiration and insight into race relations: "The Global Achievement Gap" by Tony Wagner; "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander, and "Sixty Feet, Six Inches" by baseball hall of famers Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson, which talks about America's favorite pastime.
It was all business for Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber: "The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations" by Ian Bremmer.
Dave Hunke, former Detroit Free Press publisher and now president and publisher of USA Today, was captivated by "Island Beneath the Sea" by Isabel Allende.
"It's a tough journey. Need I say more?" said Hunke of the novel that deals with an orphaned slave who makes the journey from pre-revolutionary Haiti to New Orleans in her quest for freedom.
Finally, showing reading is a family affair, Barack Obama was spotted in a bookstore on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., picking up "Freedom" for himself and "The Red Pony" by John Steinbeck for his daughters.