What does a magazine editor read over the summer?

By Ted Simpson – 

Mary Taggart is best known as Editor-in-Chief for Ottawa at Home magazine, which is a job involving a spectacular amount of reading, so she tends to avoid books. That is, until the time comes for her to make a summer escape to the family vacation home on the sunny coast of Maine, where Mary is finally able to throw the mental switch from editor to casual reader.

“I grew up coming to Maine in the summer time,” says Mary. “We built a house down here about 10 years ago. I can lead a whole different lifestyle down here.”

“When I go on vacation, I always have a book,” says Mary Taggart, Editor-in-Chief of Ottawa at Home magazine. Photo by Ken Fraser
“When I go on vacation, I always have a book,” says Mary Taggart, Editor-in-Chief of Ottawa at Home magazine. Photo by Ken Fraser

Embracing the modern age, Mary splits her literature three ways. There’s an audio book for long drives in the car, a Kindle for bedside reading, and a good old paperback for lazy days on the beach.

Being the type of person who works with words day in and day out, Mary takes her time away from home to relish in mostly light reading, but with a good bit of drama thrown in from time to time.

“When I go on vacation, I always have a book,” she says. “Other than that I struggle to get through a book, because my eyes are done from working all day long.”

On audio, she’s just finished, She’s The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. The international best-selling novel recounts a young girl’s violent high school experience, including her own rape and a school shooting.

“It’s a heavy one, but it is an easy quick read,” says Mary. “Dealing with the issue of a blackout rape is something that is very topical right now, and unfortunately, something that most women can relate to in some way or another,” she says.

On Mary’s Kindle right now is the newest from Elin Hilderbrand, who conveniently puts out a new release every June. Mary describes Hilderbrand’s work as “totally fluffy fun, beach lifestyle kind of books.” Her current read, Here’s To Us, looks at the contemporary lifestyle of three middle-aged women, from restaurant scenes to fashion, old friendships and new affairs.

“The one that I keep a hard copy of in my beach bag is called The Light in The Ruins by Chris Bohjalian,” adds Mary. The book is historical fiction, set in 1940’s Tuscany around a simple Italian family who get caught up in the Nazi invasion of World War II. “I’m usually not a big fan of historical fiction, but it takes place in Tuscany, which is a trip I’d love to make but haven’t done yet. I like the descriptions of the land,” says Mary.

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

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