May 2020 Reading Update

I feel like I finally got my reading mojo back midway through this month!  Despite the continued stress of distance learning and working from home, I’m finally able to enjoy reading for pleasure again.

  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith – After reading the first in this mystery series by J.K. Rowling, under this pseudonym, I knew I would continue. I enjoy the main character, Strike, and his assistant Robin. They have to work hard to show up Scotland Yard and solve murders the police can’t seem to figure out. This one was full of egotistical authors and fantastical fiction storylines, but not fantastical like Harry Potter; very dark and twisted.
  • They Call Me “Mr. De” by Frank DeAngelis – My friend, and one of the publishers of this book (and my book), Shelley, told me this was a great book for school leaders. I trusted her, but hadn’t found the time to pick it up until now. I’m so glad I read this. It was hard to relive the Columbine tragedy through the eyes of the school principal. But it was important to hear his story, as it was not what all the news media reported immediately after the event. I was lucky enough to see a school assembly a few years ago about the Rachel Kindness Challenge, created by the family of one of the victims.  Their legacy lives on in Frank’s words and daily affirmations, and through their families. Beyond detailing the tragedy, this is a story of how the community came back together, stronger than ever.  This man spent his entire educational career at Columbine High School. It is a powerful story to hear about his career, his leadership, and his ability to build a family within a school community. He also details relevant charities and school safety work that continue in this day and age when we are usually talking about school shootings every month.  That does seem to be one silver lining of our distance learning days.
  • A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell – I took a screen shot of a blog from over a month ago that described this book as “Dirty John meets Big Little Lies”. That description told me I would enjoy this book! I love a mystery that is narrated by two different characters, every other chapter.  This story is told by Caroline, a married woman who lives in her newly-built beautiful beach house, and Aidan, a single local with a rough past. I love the way the author introduces elements of each of these characters and their families, as they get drawn into each other’s issues. I loved the twists and turns the story takes.  It was a fun read!
  • Sea Wife by Amity Gaige – Episode 65 of the 10 Things to Tell You Podcast was a discussion about summer reading recommendations. This book sounded fun, and was available on my library app, so I started it as soon as I finished listening to the episode. It was great! The book begins with the reader knowing that a man and his family went off on a sailing adventure and then flashes forward to the wife, Juliet, sitting alone in her closet at home.  You know her husband is gone, but you have no idea what happened.  The story then flashes between her husband’s Captain’s Log/ diary of their time on the boat, her narrative of the time on the boat, and her in the present. It’s an interesting story of marriage, sailing, nature, poetry, politics, and more.
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle [audiobook]- I had heard and read a lot about this book over the last month, and didn’t know if I would enjoy it. I hadn’t heard of Doyle before recently, and I hadn’t read any of her previous memoirs. I enjoyed going in mostly blind, and listening to the stories being told to me. Each chapter was it’s own stand-alone short story, but I could also feel the larger story of her life being told throughout the book. I appreciate her honesty about love, marriage, family, addiction, self care, and so much more. I appreciate how she wants to empower women to be themselves, in any context. I appreciate how she admits mistakes and faults without apology, and how she recognizes how she has grown and changed in the last decade. I now enjoy following both her and her wife on Instagram!
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – When Laura Tremaine described this dark book on a recent podcast, it sounded intriguing.  The book flashes from past to present, when a woman is reminded of her teenage self and the relationship she had, at 15, with a teacher, who was over 40 years old.  As she grapples with what happened to her then, and as other victims of this man come out, her view of the relationships changes. It was a dark, sad story, with a lot of literature, some irresponsible adults, and glimmers of hope.
  • The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand – This was an easy, breezy, beach read with a mysterious twist. I enjoyed getting to know Celeste as she prepared to marry Benji, and into his rich family. Their Nantucket house sounded beautiful, but full of secrets.
  • Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum – This was a sweet story about friendship, family, love, and loss.  Jessie has to move to LA when her father remarries after her mom’s death. As she navigates her new family and school, she finds friendship in unexpected places.  I love a good YA movel!

This year I’m also keeping track of the stats of the books I read. Here are May’s stats:

Fiction: 6

Nonfiction: 2

Young Adolescent: 1

Audiobooks: 1

Author is of or plot addresses a different race/ethnicity, orientation, religion than me: 1

Female author: 7

Male Author: 1

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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1 Response to May 2020 Reading Update

  1. Andree Grey says:

    Still working through some of your past recommendations….but added two to my amazon cart after reading this! I am hoping to read more this summer!

    Andrée Grey, Ed.D.

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