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Summer Reading List

reading list1

The official start of summer is just around the corner. So what’s on YOUR reading list?

Aside from JerseyStyle of course…..

I have a few on my summer reading list. After watching The Big Sleep the other night, I found out that the screenplay was done by William Faulkner and Leigh Brackett. The director, Howard Hawkes, was surprised to learn that Brackett was a she after reading No Good From A Corpse. I’d like to check that title out.

There are some Donald Westlake a la Richard Stark novels that are back in print, so I hope to check them out too.

David DuChemin’s Within The Frame looks great too. Maybe I can pick that up someplace.

And blogs. Man, I almost can’t keep up with all the good stuff flying around Al Gore’s Internet these days. Here are the Top 20 Photography blogs from Invesp Consulting. Happy to see my buddy Joe’s blog coming in at #20. Chase is up there too.


Plenty of good stuff to give a look to this summer. So sit out on your deck, or on your roof, or in your backyard with a cool drink and have a good read. Then again, you can read wherever you are most comfortable…


© Mark V. Krajnak 2009 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved
Unless otherwise noted, images captured with a Canon 20D, SanDisk digital film, finished with PS2 and Nik Software.

Summer 2016 Reading List

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It’s Friday, the start of a Get-Away Weekend for many of us here in the United States.

We’re getting away from the winter, getting away from the work week and getting on into a long holiday weekend.

Since it’s Memorial Day on Monday, many of us have three days off. This weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, is the unofficial start of summer. If you’re renting a shore house in New Jersey, this is usually the first weekend you can get in.

Personally, my whole mindset changes over Memorial Day Weekend. Feels like I made it through another long winter and I have about three months of a little more relaxed life. Yes, all the job and family pressures will still be there, that doesn’t really change.

But the mornings and evenings are softer, the days are longer, the air is sweeter. And the light can be beautiful.

This is also the weekend I “officially” start in on my Summer Reading List. Here is what is on the To Be Read pile:

  • A whole bunch of Jim Harrison. A couple of summers ago, I did the Summer of (James M.) Cain and the Summer of (Mikey) Spillane. The fantastic Jim Harrison (He wrote Legends of The Fall,  made into a beautiful movie with Brad Pitt) recently passed away, so this will be a Summer of Harrison for me. Right after he passed, I read his novella Revenge, and I decided I need to read more of him this summer.Revenge first appeared in Esquire magazine in 1979 and has been made into a movie with Kevin Costner. The novella is rich; I haven’t seen the movie. I read Legends of The Fall back when I was in San Francisco in 2003, and picked up a few other Harrison books at the time. I can’t remember if I ever read them, so I’m reading them again as part of this Summer of Harrison. I have The Beast God Forgot To Invent (another novella; three stories, each about 99 pages each) as well as his memoir, Off To The Side. I’m going to try to find more of his novella and short stories as well.
  • Runaway Horses by Yukio Mishima. I really don’t know anything about this novel or this writer, so we’ll see.
  • Hollywood Handbook by the owner of the Chateau Marmont. This one kinda sorta accidentally fell into my bag back in 2000 when I was staying at a hotel in West Hollywood and it in a trendy lounge bookcase. It’s trashy and  falling apart and I just want to go through it again. There’s a William Faulkner short story, Golden Land, in there that you can read here. It’s a bucket-list goal of mine to stay at the Chateau at least once in my life.
  • 1776 by David McCullough. Truth be told, I don’t know that I’ll actually read this cover to cover. This one hangs around my side table a lot. I like reading about the American Revolution, especially because of where I live in New Jersey. I LOVE the History Channel miniseries on the Revolution, narrated by the late Edward Herrmann. To read a detailed book of this size would be a challenge for me, but I’m going to go through parts of it, especially the New Jersey section.
  • Six Great Modern Short Novels, including The Dead by James Joyce, Billy Budd by Herman Melville, Noon Wine by Katherine Porter, The Overcoat by Nikolay Gogol, The Pilgram Hawk by Glenway Wescott and The Bear by William Faulkner.
  • Underworld by Dom DeLillo. I’ve never read DeLillo before so I thought I’d find his biggest damn book and read that.
  • And, a late entry. I came across Point-And-Shoot recently, written by an old La Salle University friend, Duane Swierczynski. This is part of his Charlie Hardy series I read Hell-And-Gone a couple of years ago. I’ve written about Duane before and just found out, via his Facebook posts, that this born-and-bred Philadelphian is moving out to Los Angeles this summer. To me, this can only indicate that Hollywood has come knocking about his books or the graphic comics he writes. Either a TV series or a movie or both are in the works. I’m wishing him luck and I hope he finds success out there. And pierogies and kielbasa too. Keep an eye out for his name, even if you can’t say it.

And yes, that’s a Kindle in my hands. I have no qualms about e-books, though I prefer paper. I have a couple books on the Kindle to get to as well (in progress now: Court Merrigan’s Moondog Over Mekong, 0ne of the writers that had a story in Trouble In The Heartland ).  Also in the Kindle queue, John Hall’s Sherlock Holmes and the Telephone Murder Mystery.

Finally, a book I recently finished (so it doesn’t really make the Summer Reading list) but that I can’t recommend enough is Fall Line by Joe Samuel Starnes.

(c)JerseyStyle Photography_Joe Samuel Starnes_2015

Joe is a Southerner relocated to New Jersey. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times, and photographed him once. Fall Line, his very first novel, is scary good. I once read Robert Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men, and the story and characters that Joe develops in Fall Line puts it up there with that novel. Joe’s book is that deep and rich. And that good. (Red Dirt is another great one from Joe, whether you’re a tennis fan or not.)

In addition to the books, I’ll keep up with my reading of the Financial Times newspaper (I ain’t no money/stock guy, but I enjoy the global perspective of this paper) as well as Esquire magazine (fantastic columns and writers) and my new fav, Smithsonian Magazine. Not to mention all the stuff for work. Do you ever sit back and marvel at how much STUFF we read everyday?

There you have it – my official Summer 2016 Reading List. I read slow, so I can’t say for sure I’ll get through all this. But it’s my goal.

So, what’s on your reading list this summer?

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016


Summer Starts


June 1.


Already, June.

The start of my favorite three months of the year.


Feels a little different this year, though.

No big trips planned, for obvious reasons.

No big concerts planned to shoot, for obvious reasons.

But, still, it’s SUMMER!

I have  a new hammock in the backyard.

I have quite a few new books to reads (Summer Reading List coming soon)

We  have a new grill (RIP to the Weber that lasted 14 years)  to create delicious summer dishes.

We have a new tent, to do some backyard camping, at least.


I’m riding my old bike more, exploring our little area of NJ on two wheels, a few miles at a time.


And I have three (somewhat) willing subjects to continue to document and try things out on.


The last few weeks have been rough in so many ways.

But now it’s summer. Here’s to hoping things even out and we can all plan to enjoy these lazy days of beautiful light and fantastic family and friends.

Fill the frame! Back up your work! Stay Safe!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2020

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Going Greene: Summer Reading 2017

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I’m a big reader.

I usually have two books going at the same same time: One paper, one Kindle.

I read at the very end of my day, usually for an hour. About 30 minutes with the lights on, then, when my wife tells me to turn the light, I do…but then open my Kindle book, turn the brightness down, and keep going until I’m tired.

Now, this doesn’t mean I read many books per year. I don’t read fast. My wife can finish a book in a week. Not me. Takes me a while. Maybe it’s the way I read, maybe it’s the books I read. Dunno.

Since summer reading lists are popular now, and since it’s summer (to me) since it’s after Memorial Day, here’s what I’ll be diving into this year:

In paper:

I Don’t Want To Go To Jail – Jimmy Breslin

The Tin Roof Blowdown – James Lee Burke

The Confidential Agent – Graham Greene

The Man Within – Graham Greene

Natchez Burning – Greg Iles

Kiss of Death – Eleazar Lipsky

On Kindle:

The Man Who Would Be King – John Ripin Miller

The Last Moriarty  Charles Veley


A few notes on this list:

I get many of my books in the bargain bin aisle of the library, or rent from the library. In fact, I have a few books on my “to be read” list that I want to get from the library so they aren’t here.

I used to love reading Jimmy Breslin. Since he passed away earlier this year, I want to revisit some of his work. I think I have Table Money in my basement, and if I do, I’ll add that to the list.

I read Graham Greene’s Ministry of Fear while in Mexico back in February. It reminded me how much I like Graham Greene, so I actively sought out some titles by him. I’ve done “A Summer of (Mickey) Spillane” and “A Summer of James M. Cain” – this will be my “Summer of Greene”.  I started Confidential Agent last evening. It’ll be a Greene summer.

I love how James Lee Burke writes. Lush, full of atmosphere and description. Had to pick something up by him for the summer. Again, 50 cents from the local library bargain bin. If you’ve never read Burke, and want something new this summer, look for one of his books. Think you’ll enjoy it.

Know how when you get a new car, suddenly you start to see that color everywhere? It seems like the name “Greg Iles” has been popping up in my face all over the place. So I picked up Natchez Burning. It’s the middle book, I think, of the his triology about this character so I hope I can figure it out. It’s also a daunting size. I hope I can get through it. By Christmas.

Eleazar Lipsky was a New York prosecutor. And still found time to write.

David Foster Wallace…never read him. Picked the book up at a Little Free Library in Princeton.

Since I’m an Amazon Prime member, each month they offer you a free e-book to choose. That’s where I got The Last Moriarty and The Man Who Could Be King. So, I’ll give them a shot. Starting The Man Who Could Be King – since it’s about Washington and the Revolutionary War – tonight. Want to be deep into it prior to the 4th of July.

Now, I’m not promising I’ll finish all these. I’m a firm believer in, if a book ain’t working for you, close it and start another. I wasn’t always that way. I’ve tried to power through many a book I didn’t dig. Not anymore. Just this week, I closed The Five Red Herrings. Maybe not for good, but for now anyway.

That said, I’m still trying to get through Moby Dick. It’s been open for a few months now. I can’t say it’s a great read, at least to me. Some good passages, but overall it’s a tough one for me.

And then there is all the short stories and such that I’ll read in New Yorker, Esquire, Shotgun Honey, and that friends of mine will post or mention. I’m a big short story fan.

If you want to follow along with my literary adventure, check me out on Good Reads.

So, anything special on your summer reading list? Pop it in the comments below!


Oh, speaking of writing and writers…..this piece of bad news came in yesterday:

Dennis L


The “Dennis” in question is author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island, The Drop, Gone Baby Gone). He’s the keynote speaker at a writer’s conference in New Brunswick, just up the turnpike from me, this weekend. I reached out to his people to see if I could get 15 minutes (max!) with him to do a portrait. I even mentioned how we share the same binding: He’s in TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND: Crime Fiction Based on The Songs of Bruce Springsteen, and so am I!

Alas, got shut out. Got to keep getting out there and trying though!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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