October 2021 Reading Update

This was a slow reading month for me. I didn’t finish my first book on the list below until 10/10, but I have now read over 100 books in 2021!

  • The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams – This was a beautiful, narrative fiction story based on the history of the Oxford English Dictionary. Esme, our fictional main character, is raised by her widowed father, whose is employed by the scholar putting the dictionary together. We follow Esme’s life from letter A to Z, as she learns that certain words (and voices) are worth more in society than others. Esme begins to collect the lost and forgotten words, often of women and the poor and marginalized, as she also works on the dictionary. She is a vivid young woman with many fears and much courage, that shows up in different ways throughout her life. I loved her story!
  • Writers & Lovers by Lily King – I heard a lot of good things about this book last spring, so I was excited to read it. I always want to read books about the writing process, and the life of full-time and part-time writers. Then, I’m always frustrated with the main characters. I think I get annoyed partly because I’m jealous they are “real writers” and partly because these stories often cover their frustrating non-writing times. This story was about a woman who was finishing her novel, while being a waitress, grieving the death of her mother, and dating two very different men. Most of her life choices annoyed me, and I found her to be immature and unlikeable, yet I wanted her to successful sell her novel and begin to find success.
  • George by Alex Gino [audiobook]- I loved this wonderful, sweet, middle grades story about a young transgender child trying to find her voice. George knows she is a girl inside, but hasn’t found a way to tell other people yet. After reading Charlotte’s Web, George decides that she wants to be Charlotte in the class play, so everyone can realize she is a girl. As we get to hear George’s inner thoughts, you come to love her and her journey, and her sweet friends, some mean kids, and some adults learning to navigate a new way of thinking as well.
  • You Got Anything Stronger? Stories by Gabrielle Union [audiobook] – I loved listening to Gabrielle Union’s first collection of stories and I enjoyed this one as well. These stories pick up at the end of her fertility struggles as she and her husband, Dwayne, await the birth of their daughter via a surrogate. She shares health challenges, traumas, memories, and stories from her past. She also goes into her activism, specifically to support Black lives in life and in the entertainment industry. Her honesty is vulnerable and needed. I appreciate her stories!
  • The Cruelest Month (Gamache #3) by Louise Penny – I’m so glad I discovered this series of cozy mysteries, because there are abut 17 published so far, with a new one coming every year. I heard the first three were the slowest, but I really got into this third story. By now, I’m familiar with the Three Pines village and its inhabitants (Clara, Peter, Ruth, Gabi, Olivier) and the fact that they have a random murder in this tiny town every year! The murder always brings other characters into the story, along with Inspector Gamache, who is a fine detective, but who struggles with his messy past in the police force when he uncovered mass corruption. I liked how that past came to life in this story, while he was investigating the murder. I look forward to continuing this series!
  • Billy Summers by Stephen King- I loved this story, King’s latest book! After reading three of his older stories this summer, it was fun to read the newest and yet see pieces of his older work in this one. Billy Summers is a hired assassin, a sniper with a marksman ability thanks to his military training. But he only kills “bad guys”. As the story begins, Billy is juggling two and then three different identities to make it out of his latest crime safely. We meet good and bad people along the way, as he attempts to blend in and escape continue. I loved this story, and even more because while he awaits his job, Billy decides to write his life story. I love when King has characters who are writers, who write a different style within the book (just like in Misery).
  • The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller – I really enjoyed this book! I heard good things about in on podcasts over the summer, but by the time my library hold became available, I had no idea what the story was about. The story flashes back and forth from the present (when Elle and Jonas have slept together, though we know they are married to other people) and the past (through Elle’s entire childhood and when she and Jonas met). I loved the lake cabin and Elle’s time there each summer. I hated her weak father, her mean stepmothers, and her stepbrother. There were many characters and time periods to get to know, but Elle was the constant and I was routing for her. This was fun, funny, bittersweet, sad and hopeful at different times.

Fiction: 6

Nonfiction: 1

Young Adolescent: 1

Audiobooks: 2

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

Female author: 5

Male Author: 1

Nonbinary Author: 1

Library books: 2

Currently reading or my my TBR list soon: Too many to list!

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 October 2021 Reading Update

  1. Andree Grey says:

    I hope you get to read lots during your recovery!

    Andrée Grey, Ed.D.

    From: Reflections on Leadership and Learning
    Reply-To: Reflections on Leadership and Learning
    Date: Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 3:25 PM
    To: Andree Grey
    Subject: [New post] October 2021 Reading Update

    ⚠ EXTERNAL: This e-mail originated from outside of Encinitas Union School District. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the source address and know that the content is safe. Please forward this e-mail to phishing@eusd.net if you believe this e-mail is suspicious.

    Amy’s Reflections posted: ” This was a slow reading month for me. I didn’t finish my first book on the list below until 10/10, but I have now read over 100 books in 2021! The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams – This was a beautiful, narrative fiction story based on the h”

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