KT summer reads: Zachary Dayler

By Adam Feibel –

Zachary Dayler still has trouble keeping focused on books from time to time, but he’s gotten it down to a science.

Need a rigidly regimented routine to stay in shape? As Zachary Dayler explains, it works with reading too. Photo by Adam Feibel.
Need a rigidly regimented routine to stay in shape? As Zachary Dayler explains, it works with reading too. Photo by Adam Feibel.

As a kid, it took him a long time before he finally learned to read. Since then, he says he’s needed books that are “in-your-face” in order to stay interested. Summer tends to be the time when he looks to “escape to books,” though the temptation to spend hours playing video games can be strong. Still, he’s recognized his own need to challenge himself for his own betterment.

“Reading is one of those things you need to exercise so you get better at it,” says Dayler, the executive director of the Wellington West BIA.

He does so with a reading regimen not unlike actual physical exercise. He has three books on the go this summer, each very different. He switches back and forth so he doesn’t get burned out on one of them.

“It’s kind of like meal planning,” he says. “There’s lots of folks who are way better at the practice and the art of reading than I am. But for me, you don’t want it to be a lost art.”

The first of the three is Men at War, a 1942 war story anthology compiled and introduced by Ernest Hemingway. So far, he’s found that seeing it through has been as daunting of a task as it was to find it in the first place. The book includes historical war stories by Leo Tolstoy, Lawrence of Arabia, William Faulkner, Winston Churchill and many more, for a total of 82 excerpts by classic authors.

Second is Daniel O’Thunder by Ian Weir, a “bawdy tale” set in the 1850s that follows the trial between God (in this case, a priest gone awry) and the Devil — in a boxing ring. “It’s more than entertaining,” says Dayler.

A self-professed “sucker” for Superman, his third pick is Superman: Red Son, a graphic novel written by Mark Millar and published by DC Comics. It explores what it would be like if Superman had landed in the Soviet Union instead of the United States, thus triggering a shift in the Cold War arms race. It mixes things up not only by recasting the roles of classic superheroes, but also by mixing in alternate versions of real politicians, including John F. Kennedy and Joseph Stalin.

“I always like to pick a good graphic novel to read in the summer, on the dock, in the sunshine,” he says. “You don’t have to think too much about it.” 

This post is part of our annual KT summer reads issue. Read all of our other profiles right here.

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