October 2022 Reading Update

October was a surprisingly good reading month for me! Not sure how it worked out, but I had three 5 STAR reads and lots of 4 STAR reads! This month I read:

  • The Displacements by Bruce Holsinger – This is one of my new favorite genres – Cli-Fi or Climate Fiction. While it’s horrifying to think about what might happen to our earth because of real climate change, when authors use it to create a fictional catastrophe, I always enjoy the stories. Because really they are usually about who behaves better and worse when confronted with disaster. In this case, a Category 6 hurricane wipes out Miami and Houston and FEMA has to set up emergency tent cities for all of the displaced people. We follow one family on their journey and the choices they make along the way.
  • The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani – I heard two young students animately discussing this book during one of my class visits, so I had to read it! Their enthusiasm sold me, but I should have known… I am not a fan of Fantasy, especially middle grades fantasy, outside of Harry Potter. This was NOT HP. We follow Sophie and Agatha as they are kidnapped from their homes to join the school and train for their own fairy tale. However, Sophie, the fair-haired beauty obsessed with her looks and her future prince, ends up in the evil school and Agatha, the dark-haired girl, ends up in the good school. I kept hoping that looks would not matter, and they became even more important throughout the story. I kept hoping the girls would learn valuable lessons about how to treat one another and that only sort of happened. I HATED the ending and cannot believe this is the beginning of a popular series. Obviously I am not the target audience for this.
  • Curfew by Jayne Cowie – I LOVED this book! It’s horrifying but propulsive and I couldn’t finish it fast enough, but I just had to know who did it! The book starts with a dead body being found in a park. Then we follow three women’s stories leading up to this murder as we try to figure out who died and what happened. In this dystopian world, men are tagged and forced to live under a curfew, where they cannot be outside their homes between 7 PM and 7 AM, for women’s safety. All of the characters are so cleverly flawed you aren’t sure who to trust and this was such a fun read!
  • Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly – I can’t figure out where I heard this, since I assumed it was from the Currently Reading podcast, but can’t track that. Anyway… I LOVED this middle grades book! Iris is a young Deaf girl who lives with her hearing parents and is close to her Deaf grandparents. She loves fixing old radios and wishes it was easier for her to make friends at school. When she learns about Blue 55, a whale whose songs are at an unusual frequency, making it hard for the whale to make friends, she finds kinship in the story. She goes on an adventure to help Blue 55 feel heard. This is a sweet story about the power of communication, friendship, and feeling heard and seen.
  • When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff – This was a great book to read on a cloudy Saturday. I loved the story and wanted to know how it would end, yet the characters were all slightly likable and significantly flawed and dislikable! Cassie, a grad student at Yale, gets a call to come home when one of her younger brothers is arrested for rape. As the wealthy and privileged family comes together, secrets and lies are unveiled.
  • Face: One Square Foot of Skin by Justine Bateman [audiobook] – I don’t know how I found this while scrolling through Audible book selections, but I LOVED Family Ties as a child so I was interested to see what this actress wrote. This was a collection of short stories that were fiction, but meant to read like memoirs from different women. Each vignette was a story from a different woman, of all ages, and it was focused on their faces – how modern media and society judges women’s faces, how there is so much pressure to “fix” our faces as we age, especially as actors, but across all stripes of life. Each chapter repeated the same message, over and over again, so it got repetitive. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more of a larger message from the author, though she did a little at the beginning and the end. Basically, this is a reminder to love your own face, wrinkles and all, and don’t buy-in to the need to “fix” anything!
    • Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash our Power, and Change the Game by Abby Wamach – I LOVE Abby! I love her positive spirit and her marriage to Glennon Doyle and their honesty on the podcast. My boss and friend (AG!) loaned me her copy of this short and easy read after she read it. Abby shares 8 lessons on leadership and life, empowering people, especially women, to be there best. We are better together, in groups, supporting one another. I loved Abby’s story of whenever she scored a goal in soccer, she would begin to point to her teammates and coaches to give them credit. We need to point to our helpers more often and share credit!
    • Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield – I bought this book because the Currently Reading podcast recommended it on their Indie Press List. It is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and enchanting and annoying, all together. Leah has returned from 6 months in a submarine where something went wrong, but she is having a hard time sharing with her wife Miri. Miri thought Leah was dead, and is tiptoeing around the weird behaviors Leah has brought back home, like running the taps day and night, or bathing for hours on end. Both characters narrated alternating chapters as we slowly learn a little more about their past and present. This is part descriptive, lyrical narrative fiction and part sci-fi/horror. It was a very interesting read!
    • The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – I heard this book described on my podcast and knew I would enjoy it as a quick-paced mystery. When Libby inherits a house on her 25th birthday, she also learns of the dark past of where she was born and what she was born into. As she unravels what is true about her parents and their life, we flash back in time to see how a nice wealthy couple ended up dead in their own home, with others living there and the world seeing them as a cult. The characters are raw and despicable, especially the way the children are treated throughout the story. But there are moments of resilience and caring as well. I heard there is a second book in this series coming soon and I feel like this stood alone well, but also left me wondering about some things that could be explored in the future (like Phin).
    • The Measure by Nikki Erlick – I LOVED this fascinating book! In this dystopian world, everyone 22 years and older receive a box. Inside the box is a string and a cryptic quote about the measure of your life. Soon the world learns that the lenth of the string signifies the length of your life. As the world grapples with this information, humanity does what is always does – freaks out, reacts out of bias, and begins to segregate the “short-stringers” from the “long-stringers”, providing less access to quality jobs, health care and more. We see the best and worst of humanity played out here, which is my favorite part of dystopian/ sci-fi books that feels close enough to reality to almost be possible. Would you want to know when you are going to die? How might that impact how you live, who you love, or what you do? This was such an incredible read!
    • Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover – Andree loaned me this book and it was perfect for my day of travel returning from my Hawaiian vacation. This is the second Hoover book she has pressed into my hands! Kenna returns to the town where her life came to a crashing halt, after a tragic accident, hoping to be able to meet her daughter five years after her birth. While Kenna works and saves up money, Ledger, a friend of Kenna’s daughter and her guardians, is both a blockage and a savior. As these two fall in love, we struggle through love, lust and heartbreak on the way to forgiveness. This was a sweet book!

Favorite Books This Month

Fiction: Curfew & The Measure

Nonfiction: Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash our Power, and Change the Game

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 2022 Reading Update

  1. Andree Grey says:

    Feeling famous! Made it in here twice! I am looking forward to reading some of these on your list! You rarely give 5 stars!

    Andrée Grey, Ed.D.
    Superintendent
    [signature_20228838]

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