Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet, adjutant general and the highest-ranking member of the Utah National Guard, travels often to visit troops and handle other work-related issues. He has a law degree from the University of Utah. He and his wife, Mary, live in Kaysville.

Lifetime of literacy: From Mad Magazine to encyclopedia browsing, Tarbet has been an avid reader since elementary school. He now reads biographies and history books, with recent favorites including "Truman" by David McCullough and "Gods and Generals" by Jeff M. Shaara. "Plus, when I travel I like to read all the local papers and do the Word Jumble."

Something for the kids: Tarbet frequently read to his three sons and two daughters when they were young, his favorite being "Rosie and the Rustlers" by Roy Gerrard. Now, he and his older children — two attend Utah State University, where Tarbet met his wife — exchange e-mails on a variety of literary topics.

On reading: "It can be the gateway to the world and is vital in any profession or trade," Tarbet said. "It has been one of the great blessings of my life to have been surrounded by books and to have enjoyed reading them."