January 2020 Reading Update

Last year I read 88 books, which was over 30 more than I read the previous year. This year, I have a goal to read more diversely. When I blogged about my monthly reading, I plan to keep track of the stats of the books, for my end of year reflection. This month I read:

  • Inside Out by Demi Moore [audiobook] – If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time, it should come as no secret to you that I love a celebrity autobiography audiobook.  I always enjoy hearing the familiar voice of a celebrity sharing their stories. This book was interesting, as there were many aspects of Demi’s childhood and personal relationships that I did not know. Because I was never a huge fan of hers, I didn’t know details about her addiction issues, and she was honest about those along with her lack of self confidence throughout the book. There were times when I felt this was a little too self-indulgent, as she came off like she was asking for pity and complaining that the media was “unfair” like a child might stomp their feet about.  But there were other times were you realize she had a challenging life and was trying her best.
  • City of Girls  by Elizabeth Gilbert – I knew I would like this book, because Laura Tremaine of the 10 Things to Tell You podcast recommended it. But I didn’t know how much I would LOVE it! This book was a beautiful love story to strong, independent women, the city of New York, theater, and an interesting life. I loved following along through Vivian’s turbulent teens and twenties, and into her adulthood. I loved the supporting characters of her aunt Peg and her lifelong companion Olive, the actors from their playhouse, Vivian’s friend Marjorie and her son Nathan, and their wedding dress boutique. The writing in this book was detailed and lively and rich. I laughed out loud, I cried, and I truly enjoyed this story from beginning to end.
  • The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson – I think this was an impulse/ cheap buy when I was stocking up on e-books to have available over vacation.  It was a fun read about Miranda, whose life turns upside down when her long-lost uncle passes away.  The book chronicles a summer adventure as Miranda follows a scavenger hunt her uncle left for her and unravels the mysteries of her past. It was a fun read, especially with all the literary references.
  • Marcelo and the Real World by Francisco X. Stork [audiobook] – My friend Barb recommended this book to me, as I’m always looking for good YA recommendations to listen to. This was a great story about a teenage boy on the Autism spectrum whose father forces him to work in a law firm for the summer.  Marcelo’s father, an attorney, believes that his son needs more practice in the “real world” and that working in his office will teach him life skills.  As Marcelo narrates the story, you see the world through his view, which is often literal, sometimes confused, and very direct.  He questions what is right and wrong and how to behave in different situations. He explores and learns so much about himself, his father, and the “real world” throughout this journey.
  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – I loved reading The Handmaid’s Tale back in 2017 (I just had to look that up – it feels like I read that last year!). I have since loved how the TV series adapted the book and kept the story going long past what happened in the original book.  But to read this, from the original author, explaining what happened to Gilead, was a fantastic experience! If you watch the TV show, you do have to put some of the plot lines out of your head a bit, to pick up here.  The chapters are narrated, via witness testimony, by a variety of women in Gilead and Canada. As their stories connect, we learn more about the history and the fall of Gilead. Women can truly save the world!
  • Relentless: Changing Lives by Disrupting The Educational Norm by Hamish Brewer- I started this book sometime over the last few months. I appreciated the positive attitude of the author, but the first part was more rhetoric and not much in the way of strategies or ideas. Then I put it down to read some other things. Last week I saw Hamish speak as a key note speaker at the San Diego County Equity Conference.  He was an amazing, dynamic, inspiring, motivational speaker!  He made me laugh and cry and sing and dance all within one hour! After hearing him live, I immediately picked this book back up and finished it in one day.  The second half of the book is where he details what he and his staff did to turn a school and a community around. He shares practical strategies and big ideas.  It is not easy work, but it is worth it for the students.

Fiction: 4

Nonfiction: 2

Young Adolescent: 1

Audiobooks: 2

Author is of or plot addresses a different race/ethnicity, orientation, religion than me: 2

Female author: 4

Male Author: 2

Nonbinary Author: 0

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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