1. Books

What's Michael Kranish reading?


Michael Kranish

Kranish, a veteran journalist with the Boston Globe, co-authored the biography The Real Romney with fellow journalist Scott Helman. Kranish will talk about the book today at 4 p.m. at the Poynter Institute, 801 Third Street S, St. Petersburg. He will discuss key findings of the book and field questions on such topics as biography as journalism; what has been surprising, what was true to form in Romney's runup to the nomination; how the press has covered the candidate personally; and what remains to be revealed during the convention. Kranish is also the author of Flight From Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War. The event is open to the public, but reservations are required. Call (727) 553-4231.

What's on your nightstand?

There are three. There's Consider Me Lucky: Childhood and Youth During the Holocaust in Zborow by Sabina Schweid. I spent a lot of time tracing my family's roots and learned that my paternal great-grandparents emigrated from the place called Zborow, which is in today's Ukraine. Just a few weeks ago, I came across this memoir by a young woman who was a young girl during the Holocaust and survived.

Do you recommend it?

Yes, it is a miraculous and finely told story. I thought if Anne Frank had survived, this is the kind of book she would have written. You see a very small place with a fine lens, and as a result, the larger story is magnified.

And what other two books are you reading?

Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip by Peter Hessler. I also recommend this one. I recently made my first trip to China, visiting one of my daughters who spent a year teaching English at a university there. We spent a couple of days hiking a remote part of the Great Wall, so I took along this book. Hessler uses a narrative device of retracing the country's past, symbolized by the Great Wall, to better understand what is happening in China today. My daughter and I stayed in a hostel in a village in the shadow of the Great Wall, and it was really fun to read the book about the author's travels while I was staying in this place.

The third book I'm reading is The Obamas by Jodi Kantor. Kantor is a reporter for the New York Times. It makes it clear that you need to understand the first lady in order to understand President Obama and their life together in the White House. Her role drives a lot of what happens in the book.

Piper Castillo, Times staff writer