October 2020 Reading Update

I love looking back at what I’ve read each month because it helps keep me accountable (to myself!), it helps me reflect on the diversity of what I’ve read, and it’s great to be able to search my blog for previous books I’ve read by an author and what my thoughts were.

In October I read:

  • The Likeness by Tana French – My favorite podcaster, Laura Tremaine of 10 Things to Tell You, loves this author and recently mentioned that this is her favorite French novel. This recommendation told me that I would most likely love this book, but I didn’t know what I would love about it.  This was a LONG story (close to 500 pages), but I sat and read for four hours straight one Sunday reading this, because I wanted to know what was going to happen.  A cop, Cassie, goes undercover to help solve a murder, because she happens to look exactly like the murder victim that no one knew was dead.  So she has to step into the victim’s life as if it’s her own, which must be near impossible undercover work.  The story was bizarre, the characters were all a little off, and the plot kept shifting., and it all took place in Ireland.  I loved it all!
  • Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes) by Mindy Kaling [audiobook] – This was a short collection of essays, and as always, I loved listened to them being read by the author. I’ve loved Mindy’s other books and her writing for TV, as she is funny, self-deprecating, painfully honest (about her social anxiety in one of these essays), and someone who appreciates celebrities. This was shorter than I expected, but a fun glimpse into her life as a single mother and TV producer.
  • Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam – This was my first book from the Book of the Month club, that my father got me a subscription to for my birthday (Thanks Dad!). I LOVED this book! What starts as a relaxing family vacation out in the country, leads to two families intertwined in a bizarre attempt to solve a phenomenon as it is occurring. I loved the character details, the time hops that were dropped in casually, and how much so much and yet so little happened in the book.
  • Thrive Through The Five: Practice Truths to Powerfully Lead Through Challenging Times by Dr. Jill M. Siler – Thanks to the recommendation from my friend Shelley Burgess (who also happens to be the publisher of this and of my own book!), I knew I would enjoy reading this book. Jill is a superintendent in Texas who shares honestly about her work. Her philosophy is that we love 95% of our work, but that other 5% is really hard! Jill shares tips and stories from her own experiences about how to lead through the tough times and how to take care of yourself when you are leading through those challenges.  Ironically, Jill wrote most of this book before COVID-19 hit the world and our schools, but many of her lessons are relatable to all of us currently leading through a global pandemic. Despite the topic, this was an uplifting book by a strong leader.
  • Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown [audiobook] – I’m not sure where I came across this YA novel, but it was unique. The story is narrated by Echo, a young Black girl who starts out the story at 6 and grows to 17 by the end. It was hard to see her life told through her six-year-old eyes at first, especially because she experienced some rough things throughout her life. The story was part fantasy, part realistic fiction, with some time jumps that were hard to following while listening to the audiobook. I wish I could see how the author distinguished the time jumps in print, because she used this feature a few times, when the story would flip flop back and forth between two events told together that actually happened at different times and with different characters. Not only did this novel share some important life lessons, but it also gave a glimpse into the life of a Black American family that was different than my own, giving me new insight and an opportunity to learn and reflect.
  • The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle – I’m so glad I chose this as a second option for my October Book of the Month Club selection. This is a story about twin sisters, family, trust, lies, and money. When Iris and Summer’s father dies, he writes into his will that all of his millions will go to his first grandchild. His children, from different women, silently compete to create the first grandchild. When Iris and Summer begin to sail across the Indian Ocean together, on their father’s yacht, memories and past hurts rear up. The characters were each unlikeable in their own ways, but I loved the little twists throughout the book, right up until the end.

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

Fiction: 4

Nonfiction: 2

Young Adolescent: 1

Audiobooks: 2

Author is of or plot addresses a different race/ethnicity, orientation, religion than me: 3

Female author: 5

Male Author: 1

Nonbinary Author: 0 (I have gotten one recommendation, but I haven’t read it yet!)

About Amy's Reflections

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