February 2023 Reading Update

February was a busy month, with travel for work and for fun, which meant good plane reading, but no weekend reading for quite a while. This month felt a little random, but I enjoyed my reading. This month I read…

  • The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama [audiobook]- Michelle Obama’s first book, Becoming, was so incredible and a deep and meaningful read! This one didn’t hit me in the same way, but I enjoyed it. This was a short, sweet memoir with some personal stories mixed into a few big life lessons. In this book, Michelle shares her thoughts on the importance of friendship and the challenges she has faced as a woman and a Black woman in professional spaces. We get a glimpse into her relationship with Barack in the chapter about partnerships. We hear more about how devastated she was by the election of 2016, and the fear and joy she felt during the inauguration of 2020. Hearing how she experienced Amanda Gorman’s poem/performance live was amazing! Michelle also has a chapter on fear and how she has overcome it throughout her life. OVerall, it was so postive, including details on how “We go high” has become something she is known for.
  • Violeta by Isabel Allende – This book is the life story of Violeta, from 1920-2020. Violeta was born in Chile during the flu pandemic and the book ends in the corona virus pandemic. In between we follow the stories of her family, from riches to rags, the friends who help them along the way, the people who are not helpful, the friends who become family, and the next generations. This is a beautifully written story, steeped in a lot of history about a century in Chile, with governmental coups and protests and fights for the rights of all. Violeta was a flawed and wonderful character, well ahead of her time in many ways! [Side note, I haven’t read an Allende book in decades, but I read The House of the Spirits by her in Spanish in college!]
  • A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo – This was a cute YA story about complex topics such as relationships, aging, death, artistic freedom, and a “coming of age queer story”, according to the book cover description. Aria is forced to live with her grandmother in the Bay Area for the summer, just as the Supreme Court has legalized gay marriage. Aria befriends a group of young women who happen to all be lesbians as she gets settled into her summer life. We follow her adventures and self discoveries along the way. Despite the teen drama of a YA story, I enjoyed the characters and the representation in this book.
  • Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter – I picked this as a Book of the Month choice months ago because I always like their thrillers. While, I liked it, there were some very hard parts that made me dislike the mysogony and horrible treatment of women throughout the entire book. The story flashes back to the 80’s, where we follow Emily a teenager who finds herself pregnant with no memory of what happened, to present day when Andrea, a new US Marshall, is on a security case but really looking into Emily’s murder. We slowly learn more about each woman as we move through their timeline, with everyone they interact with being more despicable than the last. I hated almost all of the men in this book, except for Andrea’s new partner Bible. Andrea being a strong, fierce, independent woman was the saving grace!
  • Breathe and Count Back from Ten by Natalia Slyvester [audiobook] – I enjoyed listening to this YA on audio. Veronica is a teenager from Peru who is trying to figure herself out, as she seeks more independence from her controlling parents, struggles to make peace with her hip dysplasia, and dreams of working as a mermaid at a local waterpark. While the teen drama was a little angsty, I appreciated all of the representation in this book and the messages that all people can be whatever they want to be!
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – This true crime story was picked as my book club selection this month. However, as I got to know the players, I enjoyed the story. We meet the Clutters, a hard- working farming family in Kansas, beloved by all who know them. We also meet Dick and Perry, the two criminals who morder the family. Along the way, we learn a lot about everyone, and about the crime.

Favorite book(s) of the month

Fiction: Violeta by Isabel Allende

Nonfiction: The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama

About Amy's Reflections

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