Like picnics, travel and lazy afternoons, reading is one of summer’s great indulgences. Benicia is a town of readers with a high percentage of active book groups. Some of our local professionals and politicians took time out from their busy schedules to pass along book ideas to Benicia Magazine readers.

Mayor Elizabeth Patterson just finished Vienna Secrets by Frank Tallis, and has moved on to The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by Steven Sample. On her summer reading wish list, which she hopes to find time for, is Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector, by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter, The Vagrants by Yiyun Li, Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age by Steven Hill, and American Rust by Philip Meyer.

Land use attorney Dana Dean is currently reading three books: The Prime of Life: The Autobiography of Simone De Beauvoir , It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff  by Peter Walsh (the guy from the show Clean Sweep), and If You Lie About Your Age the Terrorists Win by Carol Leifer, because her daughter is working on a report about stand-up comedy. Another book that she recently finished started out so badly that she put it down for 6 months, but when she got back to it, became engaged and surprised, was The Half Life by Jonathan Raymond.

Real Estate Broker and avid reader Candi Estey, owner of Estey Real Estate, will happily loan books to friends from her large personal collection. Candi offers these four books for a summer escape: A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena De Blasi, Mutant Message Down Under By Marlo Morgan, Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wisner and The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell.

City Councilman Alan Schwartzman is reading Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo; Jerica Howard of Kiva Designs highly recommends The Shack by William P. Young and Ann Lindsay, owner of Lindsay Art Glass, just finished Deception Point by Dan Brown.

My picks for a couple of great summer reads include Anthony Bourdain’s newest (and best, in my opinion), Medium Raw, a foray into the joys and evils of food, food production in America and cooking; and The Help by Katherine Stockett, which is an uplifting novel about the tragedies and triumphs of black maids raising white children during the racial divide and social awakening of the 1960’s.