Read With Us is a new column for the Limelighter section in which the staff of the Herald & News will share with all of you what we’re reading in our spare time (whenever we actually have some). We hope readers enjoy this little insight into who we are. We would also love to receive suggestions on what we should read next. To send in suggestions, email

Gene Warnick, managing editor

The question got phrased so: What are you reading in your spare time? My initial response: Spare time? What’s that?

I’m afraid my book reading has taken a terrible hit, in part because we’re still trying to assemble a staff here at the Herald & News, and because much of my library was lost — due to smoke damage — in a fire last year.

Most of my reading on a daily basis comes from the websites to which I subscribe: The Seattle Times, my hometown paper; The Boston Globe (my aunt worked back there and the one professional sports team I still root for is the NHL’s Bruins) and The Athletic. What can I say, I’m a newspaper guy.

When it comes to books, I lean toward historical pieces and mysteries. Afraid I’ve got nothing to recommend at the moment, but I’m open to suggestions.

Emily Hanson, assistant editor

As I mentioned in “Watch With Us,” I’m currently obsessed with the Netflix show “Bridgerton.” Well, I am not at all ashamed to admit that obsession has spilled over into my reading time. The show is based on a series of books by Julia Quinn.

Since I loved seasons one and two so much, I decided to read all of the Bridgerton books — there’s one book dedicated to the love story of each of the eight Bridgerton children — and I didn’t stop there. Next, I read Quinn’s four novels in the Smyth-Smith series. These books take place in the same world as Bridgerton (some of the Bridgerton children even show up in these books along with other characters) but the focus this time is on a quartet of cousins: Honoria and her brother Daniel, along with Sarah and Ivy.

In addition to the humor, romance and bit of scandal from the Bridgerton series, these books also hold some danger: Honoria rushes to the aid of her soon-to-be love to save him from a deadly infection caused by a wound that was almost entirely her fault; Daniel has been on the run after a near-fatal duel and is now trying to save the life of his would-be love; and Sarah gets wrapped up in the madness surrounding the man Daniel almost killed. The only story that doesn’t really fit with the others is that of Ivy. There’s no danger there, just unintelligent decisions made by a man forced to play parent to his two younger sisters after their parents’ deaths.

The four books are still quite enjoyable, though. And I’ll be searching for more Julia Quinn novels to devour as soon as I can hit a book store again.

Josh Abbott, reporter

There are a lot of places from which I can trace my love for writing, but the first fiction I ever truly loved came from George R. R. Martin’s series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” more colloquially known as the books that spawned the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” I am rereading the entire series, up through the fifth book, being that the planned sixth and seventh entries are still unreleased.

I love how Martin writes characters, and I love how he creates living, breathing, relatable worlds that feel realistic even as they exist purely in the realm of fantasy. I also love how Martin’s willingness to kill off his characters creates genuine tension and suspense since you, as a reader, are trained to understand that nobody is safe, just because they’re important to the story.

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