Building Resiliency: April

In January I began a deep dive in Elena Aguilar’s Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators and the accompanying workbook. I hope to share some of my reflections as I build daily habits to strength my own resilience and support that growth in others. Aguilar outlines a habit and a disposition for each month of the year. Follow along as I reflect on each month’s key ideas.

April’s habit is to ride the waves of change and the disposition is perseverance.

“The range of experiences we have with change can be seen as a continuum that extends from defensiveness on one end to leadership on the other. When we are defensive about change, we are focused on mitigating its disturbance in our lives; when we are leading change, we are inviting the turbulence.” (Onward, p. 268)

I love this quote as an introduction to change. In my 22 years in education, I can remember changes that I was defensive about (budget cuts, friends moving on to other job opportunities, retiring mentors) and changes that brought a welcome element of turbulence into my life (choosing to change jobs, accepting new responsibilities, finding new mentors). I love change when I am leading it. I respect and support change led by others when I understand the purpose, and am clear on the message.

While I am a creature of habit and I love my routines, the older I get, the more I can roll with the changes that come my way, whether planned or unexpected. As I watch some of my colleagues struggle and fight their way through change, I am reminded of Aguilar’s message, and really the entire point of her book and my deeper study of it – we need to be more resilient. Change is not going away. The more resilient we are, the less change affects us negatively. Spring often brings changes to educational settings and this particular spring is full of change in my current context.

Aguilar’s reminder to identify the spheres of influence in your life is valuable. I also love this essential question:

Where do I want to put my energy?

I find that when others begin to stress out about change around me, I have two choices. I can jump on their complaining, defensive bandwagon, making myself miserable in the process, or I can accept that change is inevitable and work to communicate the purpose of the change and the power we have within it. I can also follow Aguilar’s advice and encourage others to do the same:

  1. Slow down
  2. Evaluate and analyze the situation
  3. Use your energy where it counts
  4. Be open to outcomes

This advice is so important. Beginning with a slow down allows us to breathe, rest, and wait for our initial feelings of hurt, anger, and stress to dissipate. Getting clear on what you know and what you still need to know is important. So often, we jump to conclusions without all of the correct information. Using energy where it counts is how we can retain our resiliency. In my younger years, I wasted too much energy spinning around with stress over things beyond my sphere of influence, and not making enough of an impact in the areas where did have influence. Being open to outcomes also gives us permission to choose where, when, and how we accept change, fight change, or make a different choice.

I have recently taken up a fight against a change with which I disagree.  In the President’s recent budget proposal, he has eliminate funding for a variety of educational programs, including Title II. I have overseen the Title II budget in my current district for the last two years, and in my previous district, for four years. Title II supports teacher recruitment and hiring, new teacher induction, teacher leadership development, and transformational school leadership by supporting administrators. I am very passionate about the value that Title II brings to our work. I have made a choice to fight this budget cut by advocating for Title II at the federal level. Instead of running around stressed out about the possible cuts within my district, I am reaching out to my elected representatives to share with them how we use Title II, how it impacts our staff and students, and why I encourage them to vote to continue to fund Title II. I have written emails, made calls, and participate in a Twitter storm (see #TitleIIA). I see this as a resilient way to fight a change that I disagree with, in a concerted effort where I feel that my energy is being well-used.

As I continue to reflect on this chapter, I appreciate that Aguilar discusses that change often brings about fear and learning. One of the realizations she coaches a new principal to in the chapter is that change, especially one that involves long-held personal beliefs, takes time… as in years! This is a hard pill to swallow, especially for an educator like me who has such a sense of urgency to support all of the students who are not being successful in our current system. Aguilar addresses this as she writes about patience as an emotion and a skill, one that we can practice and develop. This is something that I continue to work on!

The disposition of perseverance fits so well with the habit of riding the wave of change. It’s easy to persevere through something you choose to do, such as as welcome new job change. It’s much more challenging to persevere through a change you didn’t choose or welcome, and one that brings fear and uncertainty. This is why building up resiliency is so important.

 

Posts in the Building Resilience series:

Building Resilience

Posted in Reflection | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

An International Virtual Interview, Part 1

This is the second in a series of posts co-written by myself and Kristian Still, an educator from the U.K. with whom I connected on Twitter.  You will learn more about each of us and why we connected as you read the posts. He will be posting our writing on his blog as well. You can read our first post together, Making Global Connections, here

After Kristian reached out to me, we exchanged a few DMs on Twitter, and then decided to expand our conversation in a Google doc. We each wrote down a few questions for the other person to answer. In this second post, you will be able to read the questions that I asked Kristian and his responses. Stay tuned for future posts that include his questions for me and our reflections! 

Questions for Kristian:

  • Can you describe your instructional coaching journey? Where did you begin and how did you end up where you are?

In the summer of 2018 I received four sessions of coaching in exchange for my professional advocacy of the Education Support Partnership. It changed and opened up my views on the potential of coaching for my own leadership practice and effectiveness quite dramatically. It led me to question why I had deliberately overlooked coaching when it was presented and to see if I could understand why I had not responded or act differently. I recorded my reflection in a series of  unpublished blog posts right up until the point of seeking accreditation.

In answer to your simple question, here is a rather extended and full response. ‘I was wrong about coaching’ which ended up as a seven part series, charting that journey from missed opportunities to seeking coaching accreditation.  http://www.kristianstill.co.uk/wordpress/2019/01/24/i-was-wrong-about-coaching-part-1-7/

Formal accreditation here in the UK is not straightforward. Coaching is an unregulated industry and there are numerous routes / organisations to getting formally accredited. Whichever route you take, it is relatively expensive and requires a sincere application. There were numerous pathways, accreditations, and training companies. Eventually I met with Jane Suter, from Red Tiger Consultancy, who deliver a range of Coaching and Mentoring courses accredited by Institute of Leader and Management (ILM).

We met and we discussed my options (time and finance). I told her about my determination to add coaching to me leadership outlook and we decided on a course.

Coincidentally, at this time the ILM, were releasing a revised specification. Together with Jane Suter we conceived the idea of designing a tailored Coaching and Mentoring course for educators and school leaders. By that, we meant that Jane would prepare to deliver the course with an education focus. What Jane went onto to design was a fully immersive coaching for schools experience. A complete organisation, with ‘real’ staff, Values, cultural norms, systems, dilemmas and opportunities.

My year long engagement since benefitting from coaching can be found here  http://www.kristianstill.co.uk/wordpress/category/leadership/coaching-and-mentoring/

 

  • What do you enjoy most about instructional coaching?

At the moment here in the UK instructional coaching is only just beginning to gain traction. We are very much stuck in a – “having to prove” teaching competency model and performance management system. As opposed to a ‘supporting to improve,’ model.  As we speak, our profession is facing very real challenges, notable around funding and workforce retention and recruitment. Any UK education news site will share these two messages.

More recently, the government has been looking to take workload issues and recently released an Early Careers Framework – in response to the significant loss of recently qualified teachers from the profession. I wonder how UK retention figures compared to San Diego for example?

Until recently, graded observations and student outcomes, were the two main tools used to evaluate teacher effectiveness. Both are questionable proxies for teacher effectiveness but I won’t go into that now. And through this process, I too would have fallen foul to feeding back to teachers in more of an evaluative mentoring model, then a coaching model. I may have been fully aware of the bias I brought to the observation and feedback, and I may have been conscious that I was assessing student performance and rarely student learning, I fear I did more damage than good. From my work with the Education Support Partnership, I know that for some teachers this excess performativity models has been devastating.

As far back as 2015, (http://www.kristianstill.co.uk/wordpress/2015/02/22/learning-observation-change-the-lens/)  I was looking for a better way to engage with teachers, to work alongside them and with them, rather than in an evaluative, even  judgemental, manner. In our learning observation, I thoroughly enjoyed getting alongside teachers for the full ride; from planning the learning sequence, to merely recording whether or not the plan was executed and the expected outcomes redeemed. Before supporting the reflective process as a springboard to move forward. I did this without the skills and abilities I’ve been developing on the coaching and mentoring course. Will the new knowledge make me a more effective leader? One hopes so.

 

  • What do you find to be the biggest challenges as a coach?

For me personally, I was moving from an assumed mentoring approach, to a conscientiously offering a coaching approach (and all that it entails). Up until the coaching and mentoring accreditation, I probably didn’t fully appreciate the power imbalance in play, the influence my role exerted on the learning conversations we were having and I was investing in. I am more likely to identify the power imbalance and “name it” if I feel it is impeding our progress.

On a practical level, teacher / leaders need to see value in coaching and be able to prioritise time for both the coaching and the reflection. Teachers in the UK are also some of the hardiest working teachers in world. For teacher / leaders, and I include myself in that, coaching feels like a luxury. I do not think teachers are comfortable with putting themselves first. Coaching has to offer teacher-leaders more than if they simply carrying on doing, what they are already doing.  Coaching for professional leadership effectiveness – amplifies this dilemma.

 

  • As you learn more about coaching in other countries, what you find unique about your particular setting and context?

Until I started this conversation with you Amy, I knew very little about coaching another countries and contexts. A little from Australia and the work of Growth Coaching. Other than that, I can only reference when I’ve learnt from visiting and interviewing two independent schools here in the UK, reading about Coaching and Mentoring through CollectivED Working Paper Series.

 

Posted in Coaching, Reflection | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making a Global Connection

This is the first in a series of posts co-written by myself and Kristian Still (@KristianStill), an educator from the U.K. with whom I connected on Twitter.  You will learn more about each of us and how and why we connected as you read the posts. He will be posting our writing on his blog as well. 

“Find your tribe! [Hashtag] #justsaying,” the early adopter bellows down from the rooftop to the educator standing at the gate.

“My tribe? Hashtag #justsaying? [Deliberating pause]

Do you speak ‘teacher,’ for goodness sake?”

There are several reasons why educators like me (Kristian) and Amy are turning to social networks for professional development. First – they are readily available. Second, they encourage educators (anyone group) to connect with other educators and around similar interests, from a much broader and dislocated pool of expertise than available in a school, a local area meeting or National conference even. Lastly, I get to direct my own professional learning. I have agency.

This week the “#educoach” hashtag appeared in my Twitter timeline. Unlike Amy, I had not joined the chat live, I came by it a day later.

#educoach is a themed conversation hosted by two educator coaches @IAteacherNan and @KathyPerret from Kansas on Wednesday evening at 8pm CST. A stumbled upon the conversation the following day, read and summarised the thread. By thread I mean that by clicking on the #educoach hashtag – you are able to see all the messages shared around that topic, using that hashtag.

There were some interesting reflections and coaching strategies shared relating to self-efficacy and agency, managing setbacks and locus of control, before moving to focusing on instructional coaching (for confidence), then discussing coaching culture and finally personal professional development as a coach.

For me, Amy’s insights resonated. So I simply “followed” her told her that “I’d love to hear more about your work, context and reflections.” Amy responded.

“Hi! It’s great to connect with you. I’ve worked in a number of jobs that involve instructional coaching. First, as a teacher, I was a literacy coach to my peers. Then as a principal and a district level director, I have coached teachers and supported the district-level coaches. Now I work in a leadership coaching role, supporting our administrators.”

And here we are, learning from one another.

Of course, any two teachers-leaders-coaches-reflectors, would normally have more than enough to talk about, and then add our contextual and organizational differences (do I use a z or not?) we found ourselves exchanging questions throughout the day. Rather than keep those cross cultural insight to ourselves, we thought we may as well share them.

 

As the one across the world who responded to that DM, I’d like to share what an interesting experience this has been for me (Amy) as well. I used to participate in the #educoach chat weekly many years ago, but with a busy schedule it had fallen off my usual Twitter chats. I make a conscious decision last week to participate in more chats, to connect and reconnect with other educators and to be part of a larger tribe again.

When I got Kristian’s DM, I was intrigued because I wasn’t following him [yet] and I didn’t remember seeing him participate in the chat the previous day. But as I said to him, “I could talk about coaching all day long!” so I was happy to engage in a deeper virtual conversation. I love to learn about the context in which other educators work and coach and lead.

Posted in Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

March Reading Update [2019]

This month I read an odd assortment of books. I revisited one of my favorite authors, I branched out into some new YA lit, and I enjoyed some professional books as well.

  • Bi-Normal by M.G. Higgins – This was a short YA novel I found in my library app. I loved the story, which was about a high school football star who is dating the prettiest girl in school and who finds himself also thinking about a boy. The football player had never heard the word bisexual before and as he learns more about that and himself, his life changes. My only problem with the book was the ending, which was completely abrupt and unfinished. I don’t think the author did justice to her characters or her story by just ending the book where she did. I was very disappointed.
  • The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith – I wish I hadn’t read this book right after the last one, because this was another YA book that ended too abruptly, which annoyed me! A young boy, Joel, dies on a camping trip, and this story is how his friends and family deal with life without him. Each chapter was narrated by a different character and gave you a very small glimpse into Joel’s life. I would have liked to see each character narrate at least two chapters, instead of just one, to extend the story of Joel and his survivors. I was disappointed that we didn’t learn more about him; I think I was expecting a hidden mystery that just wasn’t there. He died the way they said and he was a good person, like everyone said. The characters in this story were Mormon, and I appreciated learning a little more about their culture throughout each small story.
  • Shoot First by Stuart Woods- After my last two YA books, I needed a tried-and-true mystery I knew I would admire. I think I might have skipped a Stone Barrington story or two, but with most of the main characters remaining the same, I can always jump into one of these novels. Stone bought yet another home, in Key West this time, as he romanced yet another woman and escaped his and her death through various maneuvers with his BFF Dino. Always a good read!
  • Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott – This book was such a fascinating read to me. We used it in our teacher leadership book study last month, and the group who read it really enjoyed it! The author goes through a lot about listening, preparing for and being invested in fierce conversations, and not avoiding those elephants in the room. I loved her “Mineral Rights”, which is a dialogue designed to help someone get to some deeper clarity about an important problem, much like a coaching conversation. I shared that and the “Decision Tree” with a friend in another profession, and we discussed how these were applicable in both of our fields, as we we work with a range of people individually and in groups of differing expertise and responsibility. I wish more people were prepared to have fierce conversations.
  • Fast & Loose by Stuart Woods – After I read the last Barrington novel, I realized that I had skipped a few. Since I liked to read my series in order, I went back to catch up. This was yet another fun mystery where Stone is being saving his life and the life of a new love interest, as a mad man stalks them around NYC. Amazingly, Stone did not buy a house in this book. However, he did form a new company that bought a yacht, a jet, and a home!
  • Indecent Exposure by Stuart Woods – I’m glad I went back and read these books, though I’m annoyed I read them out of order. These last two books changed a few things in Stone Barrington’s life, from the homes he owned, the companies he invests with, and his dating life. I love when Stone is with Holly, who is now the Secretary of State and possibly the future president!
  • Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner – This is the second time I have read this professional book. I read it last year on my own. This year we have been using this as part of our monthly book study with our principals. So each month I have reread a section of the book in order to design a book discussion protocol for the group. I think this is a great read for all leaders, but especially for aspiring and new leaders, as the authors give concrete suggestions for learning leadership habits that will last a career.
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – Wow! I’m so grateful to the friend who recommended this book to me. I trust her recommendations, so I decided to read it without knowing anything about it, and even after seeing that it was almost 500 pages long! This is a tale of four generations of a Korean family living in Japan after colonialism forced them out of their homeland. It was beautiful, sad, heartwarming and heart wrenching, as these characters lived in abject poverty and fought to put food on their table for their children. There were moments of love, joy, and success, followed by moments of sadness and disillusionment. I loved following the lives of each family member through their adventures.
Posted in Reflection | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Comment Section Can Be Scary

I recently read an educational article online. The article addressed race in education and the topic could be considered controversial. Regardless of the topic, the comment section is what concerned me the most. This blog is me reflecting via my writing and I’m doing it publicly today!

Each comment seemed to express opinions as facts that should be true for everyone.  The writers, some educators and some non-educators, were writing their opinions and angrily attacking the opinions of others as being wrong, racist, and/or disrespectful, while also being disrespectful. One non-educator wrote, in his vehement disagreement with the author’s claims, “Shut up and teach, dammit!”. Other used name-calling, blatantly telling me they were stupid or wrong.

I read this article a few hours ago, but I can’t stop thinking about the comments. I rarely dive into the comment section anywhere, whether it’s on a public article or a friend’s Facebook or a celebrity’s Instagram post, because Internet trolls are real. The anonymity of the Internet seems to have taken the humanity out of some people. With the veil of an unknown screen name, people often write things I have never heard one person say to another face-to-face. As much as I love social media as a way to tell a story, to make global connections, and to share resources, this side of social media saddens me.

As I thought more about this, I read a few other articles on the topic. This one has a funny, yet sadly true, list of 10 types of Internet trolls. I saw a few of these types come out in the comment section of just one article I read this morning. Then I read this article, from Psychology Today, about why people troll online. I agree with many of the reasons listed, especially the ideas of anonymity and being in an echo chamber where you assume your opinion will be supported by the majority.

These articles offer up some advice on how to address this behavior. The most common recommendations are to ignore/ not respond and to block or report abusive comments.  While I think these actions can be appropriate in many situations, this doesn’t address the underlying culture, where this is becoming the norm. As an educator, I want to dig deeper.

We talk about, and sometimes teach our students, digital citizenship. This is often a lesson isolated from the true realities of social media. But our students know this goes on, as they often deal with cyberbullying and vicious online comments. These are the questions I’m wondering about right now:

  • How are we helping our students, and their families, to use social media as a positive way to impact society?
  • How are we teaching students that words matter, and that anonymity does not take away humanity?
  • How are we teaching each other to be critical consumers of information without attacking different opinions?
  • How are we considering multiple perspectives?
  • How are we using a rhetorical approach in our reading and writing?
  • When do we have the courage to point out comments that are inappropriate?
  • When is it appropriate to address these types of comments?
im-extremely-brave-about-posting-my-radical-opinions-anonymously-on-15942268

I’m extremely brave about posting my radical opinions anonymously on the Internet Source: https://me.me/i/im-extremely-brave-about-posting-my-radical-opinions-anonymously-on-11044494 

These are just some of my thoughts today. I’d love to hear yours (as long as they are nice!). In case you are interested in the particulars, the article I read that spurred on these thoughts is linked here.

Posted in Reflection | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Building Resiliency: March

In January I began a deep dive in Elena Aguilar’s Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators and the accompanying workbook. I hope to share some of my reflections as I build daily habits to strength my own resilience and support that growth in others. Aguilar outlines a habit and a disposition for each month of the year. Follow along as I reflect on each month’s key ideas.

March’s habit is to play and create and the disposition is courage.

Aguilar begins the chapter discussing art and its purpose. She connected play and create to March knowing that many educators have spring break over this time (myself included!), recommending that we add some play and creativity into our lives at this time. She also makes a point to encourage us to add creativity to staff meetings or other work events to build resiliency.

In my last job, my team and I would meet once a week. We decided to add a creativity-building section to our weekly agenda. Each week one of us was responsible for designing a short activity that would hopefully inspire some on-the-spot creativity. One week we worked with Play-Doh (inspired by my young nephews at the time!) and another week we made objects out of colorful masking tape. Our time was less about the outcome and more about the process.  We experimented with putting this creativity at the beginning, middle and end of our meeting, to see if it sparked our thinking more one way or the other. I don’t think we ever came to a definite decision about the timing.  What we were inspired to do, however, was include these types of moments into other meetings and professional development workshops we planned and facilitated.  We knew that creativity was something we wanted to cultivate in our teachers with the hope that they would then cultivate it in our students.

Play-Doh

This is an image of a Play-Doh container

As I was rereading the next section of this chapter, about art, I came back to Aguilar’s reference to the underwater sculpture park by James deCaires, which I googled last time I read this part.  This time it is even more fascinating to me because one of his underwater parks is located off the island of Grenada, which I happen to be visiting in April. Now I’m hoping to be able to snorkel to the area to see some of the sculptures! If you haven’t seen images of this amazing art, check out the artist’s website!

Speaking of art, my friend Lauren and I have recently started a fun museum challenge, that is part play, part art appreciation, and part creativity and competition. We visit a museum together, but split up to visit different wings. We spend time looking at the art, and then making funny Snapchat pictures of the art with our own humorous (at least to us!) commentary. We found this idea from other people sharing their museum challenges online, and it inspired us to visit museums and have some fun. We have done this twice, and not only has it helped remind me how much I appreciate work created by talented artists, but it also reminded me how much fun it is to be creative. Coming up with funny captions for artwork takes time and attention to detail. If this sounds fun to you, I encourage you to try it!  Fell free to Google it for examples, but be warned that many of the examples are not-safe-for-work kind of humor.

I love what Aguilar has to say about creativity and schools:

“Creative processes enable us to see the root of a problem or see a situation in a different light; we can make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena and gain new perspectives. Creativity and its cousins- imagination and innovation – are the missing ingredients in many school reform efforts. School transformation almost always relies on deeply creative thinking.” (Onward, p. 259)

When I think of courage, I think of crucial or fierce conversations. I think of challenging racism, sexism, or other -isms that create division among people. This is big COURAGE. But courage can also come in a smaller package. Courage can help an introvert step into a crowded room of strangers and start up a conversation. Courage can also encourage (see what I did there?!) new behaviors for a better life.

How to be courageous – I love this idea Aguilar shares in the Onward workbook – make a list of ways you can be courageous. Write as much as you can, then pick some that speak to you. Keep that list handy and act on it! My list has some big and small ways I can be courageous.

Idea to try: Another fun idea in the workbook suggests that you go out around your school/ community and take pictures using non-conventional angles or views. Then you put your pictures together in a slide show to share with colleagues to see if they can recognize the objects or locations you photographed. I think this would be a fun way to connect across a large school or district and to incorporate the community at large.

As I reflect on this chapter, I appreciate how play and creativity and courage appear in my life when I need them. But I am also saddened by how infrequently these ideas appear in many schools. I know that as a teacher and a new administrator, I could have done more to incorporate and encourage play and creativity in my work. After rereading this, I am inspired to encourage others to help our learners play and be creative in meaningful ways.

Posts in the Building Resilience series:

Building Resilience

Posted in Reflection | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

February 2019 Reading Update

Do you love to read? If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you should know that I love to read! I keep track of what I read here, for my own memory and as recommendations for others.  This month I read…

  • The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris [audiobook] – I enjoyed hearing the author reading this story. I wanted to learn more about my state’s newest Senator and in preparation for what came last month- her announcement that she is running for President in 2020. I appreciated learning about her history, her previous work, and her beliefs. She is a strong advocate for all human lives and equal treatment under the law. She is incredibly passionate about her disagreements with the current president’s philosophies. While this wasn’t the most well-written book I’ve read/ listened to, it told a story and I enjoyed hearing it. I look forward to seeing Ms. Harris’s future.
  • When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger – I didn’t even realize this was a Devil Wears Prada novel until after I finished it… duh! This was a fun, cheesy chic lit read that I needed in between more serious reads. The story revolves around three women who are loosely connected from their past, who reconnect as they each face life-altering events. They support one another through divorce, career changes, and family growth.
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus [audiobook] – I’ve been seeing this book on a lot of must-read lists, so I was happy to listen to the audio version. It’s a combination of two of my favorite genres: mystery and YA. I enjoyed that each chapter was narrated by one of the four main characters: Nate, Addy, Bronwyn, and Cooper. They are all framed as murder suspects in the murder of Simon, one of their classmates who also happens to run a gossip app all about them and their classmates. It was a fun mystery with various twists and turns!
  • Past Tense by Lee Child – I love the Jack Reacher series and this one was so interesting! While Reacher was following an adventure down his family heritage, a crazy motel was offering a “game” that was revealed slowly throughout the book (and it was horrifying!). It was fun when Reacher’s storyline and the “game” at the motel crashed together.
  • A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena – I’ve read at least one other book but this author. This was was fantastic – a quick-paced, suspenseful mystery. Karen gets into a surprising car accident and has short-term amnesia. Her husband slowly realizes he doesn’t know everything about his wife as their life unravels, with their nosy neighbor constantly getting into their business. The last page twist had me hoping there is a sequel being written!
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena – Having loved A Stronger in the House, I checked my library app for this book and read in a very short period of time! I loved this mystery, which kept me guessing the entire time. When a couple’s child is kidnapped, the police quickly suspect that one of them did it. But as the story progresses, you realize how much everyone has to hide- from the sad parents, Anne and Marco, to her parents, to their neighbors, and more. Fun read!
  • From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein – I loved this memoir written by a writer who worked as a stenographer in the White House during 5 years of the Obama administration. It was a cross between a cheesy love story (like the lululemon book I just finished!) and a biography following the president around the world. I enjoyed her glimpses of the president on a treadmill in a hotel gym many mornings, and her description of some interesting political players.

 

 

I very rarely abandon a book. This month I tried to read Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life by Jane Sherron De Hart, but just couldn’t finish it. It was a biography over 700 pages long. I enjoyed learning more about RBG, but there was such dense details about the law that I just didn’t have the patience to stick with this.

Posted in Reflection | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment