This month I read 5 books, bringing my annual total up to 41. My goal was to beat my 2016 record, but that is far away, so my new goal is to just enjoy whatever I read between now and December 31, 2017.
- The Girl Before by JP Delaney – I saw this book recommended on Julie’s blog and knew I needed to read it. I love stories told from different character’s perspectives, and I love mysteries, and this was a good combination of both. The chapters were told from the perspective of Emma (past) and Jane (current), two different women who lived in the same house at different times. The mysteries of the house, the architect, and the women all unfold in bits and pieces and this was such a quick read I finished it on one Sunday. I haven’t done that in a while!
- Doing Hard Time (Stone Barrington #27) by Stuart Woods – This story was a carryover from the last one, with some Russian mobsters out to get Stone, this time by trying to kill his son. Stone’s son, along with two friends, graduated college and moved to LA to begin their movie-making career. The Russian mobsters make this tricky, as Teddy Fay, former CIA man in hiding, saves the say over and over again!
- Standup Guy (Stone Barrington #28) by Stuart Woods – While I enjoyed this book, I was surprised by how much of the story was about characters other than Stone and Dino, such as a recently release prisoner with a ton of money to hide and spend. I was surprised by Stone’s stupidity in this one, getting conned a few times by a woman he was attracted to; he doesn’t usually get fooled so easily.
- Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner – I loved The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner during my doctoral studies, so I was excited to this book by them recently. I found this to be practice advice for new leaders wanting to grow. I appreciated the self-coaching actions with reflective questions at the end of each chapter, and I forced myself to complete many of them in my own leadership journal (which I’ve kept for many years now). I learn well when I take time to reflect on my learning, so this forced me to pause and reflect throughout the reading. The five fundamentals, which are explored in detail in the book, are: believe you can, aspire to excel, challenge yourself, engage support, and practice deliberately.
- The Rooster Bar by John Grisham – I can’t remember the last Grisham book I read, though I loved them for years and years. This was a fun read, and different than my usual quick mysteries. Mark, Todd, and Zola decide to quit law school in their final semester, after coming to the realization that their school was a pay-for-degree program with little success in helping students pass the bar exam and become real lawyers. Their story is one of twists, turns, and lots of law breaking as they navigate their way through crushing student loans, deportation, and a friend’s suicide. I found myself routing for them to succeed, even as they broke law after law for their own benefit. It was an interesting story!