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former mayor of Boston

Bibliophiles: Thomas Menino

Cydney Scott Former Mayor Thomas Menino

Oct. 23 update: Menino suspending cancer treatments, book tour

Former mayor Thomas Menino hasn’t wasted much time since he left office in January. His memoir “Mayor for a New America,” written with Jack Beatty, is just out. Menino will be speaking at the 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Old South Sanctuary as part of the Boston Book Festival and 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27 at First Parish Church in Cambridge. Tickets for that event, which is sponsored by the Harvard Book Store, are $5. He’s also speaking at 7 p.m. on Friday Nov. 7 at Porter Square Books.


BOOKS: Did you have any time to read while you were mayor?

MENINO: No. It was difficult, and I love to read. You have to read your briefing sheets and that takes up your reading time.

BOOKS: What kind of books do you like?

MENINO: Different types. I like John Grisham books. I’ve read several of his books over the last years. I’m reading “The Racketeer.” He’s a great writer. I also like to read books about cities. There’s a new book I picked up,“The Responsive City” by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford about art and technology and cities. I’m proud to say the first chapter is about Boston.

BOOKS: What are you reading currently?

MENINO: I just read a fun sports book this weekend, Yogi Berra’s “When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!,” which he wrote with Dave Kaplan. Berra is a real character. I learned some of his personal life, like how dedicated he was to his family, how much time he spent with his grandkids. He was a guy who came from the neighborhood and never lost his neighborhood touch. I respect him more after reading the book. I just started Alan Dershowitz’s memoir “Taking The Stand.” I’m interested in the controversial issues he has taken on over the years and how he’s been close to President Clinton. You can learn a lot from him. I’ve also been working on “Roosevelt’s Second Act” by Richard Moe, who was Vice President Walter Mondale’s chief of staff. I enjoy learning about the Roosevelt family, where you have so many different people with different political viewpoints.


BOOKS: What else have you read since you left office?

MENINO: “Long Mile Home” by Scott Hellman and Jenna Russell about the Marathon bombing. I wanted to see how factual it was. A lot of things have been written about the Marathon bombing that have not been factual. It was captured the right way in this book. The writers were respectful to the survivors.

BOOKS: Did you grow up going to the library?

MENINO: I spent a lot of time in the Hyde Park library growing up. I’d look through books and get ideas from them. I’d get to know people at the library who were knowledgeable and listen to how they spoke about issues. I learned from a lot of people when I went to the library.

BOOKS: Did any book mean a lot to you as a kid?

MENINO: Not really. I worked hard on my schoolwork. I should have read more. That was a mistake I made. You pick up from that.

BOOKS: Do you remember any of your English teachers?

MENINO: I had nuns, 12 years of nuns. They could beat you up with sticks.


BOOKS: What are you reading next?

MENINO: I think I’ll finish the Roosevelt book.

BOOKS: Do you read a lot of biographies?

MENINO: Not a lot. I read David McCullough’s “Truman” several years ago. Truman’s my hero. He became president without going to college. He learned different languages by studying in the library.

BOOKS: Do you know David McCullough?

MENINO: He’s one of my trustees of the Boston Public Library. He’s a fabulous guy. I like to just listen to him speak. His words are like music. Dennis Lehane is on the board, too.

BOOKS: Have you read his books?

MENINO: Not really. Shh. I have two of his books at home. I haven’t started them yet. Now that I’m not being a mayor I can read those books I missed over the years. I can play catch up.


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