What I Read in May 2018

This month I read 6 books. My Caribbean vacation helped to add many of these titles this month and into next month!  As always, I’d love to hear in the comments what you are reading and what you recommend.

  • In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende – A work colleague loaned me this beautifully written story. I haven’t read an Allende novel in a long time, and I truly enjoyed this. Three different lives intersect in the middle of a winter storm, and as you slowly learn about each character’s past, you see glimpses of where the future will take them. Each character was endearing in his or her own way. The tragedies they each overcame made them weak and yet strong.
  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward – My work colleague (see the book note above) is determined to expand my reading repetoire, in culturally diverse ways, which I appreciated. While I did not enjoy reading some of of the more savage parts of this book (dog fighting described in vivid details and the realities of hurricane Katrina), I am glad I read this book. It was a beautifully told story, with respect for the author’s culture and lived experiences. These characters lived a life so different from my own, I felt like I was eavesdropping on their lives.
  • Rules of the Game: How to Win a Job in Educational Leadership by Marilou Ryder – I heard a few different colleagues reference this book recently, as we gear up for interview season around here, so I wanted to see if it is a worth recommendation.  Spoiler- it is! I wish someone had given me this book 10 years ago, before I began interviewing for my first Assistant Principal position.  The author addresses the move from teacher to AP/VP, from AP/VP to principal, from Principal to district office and from district office to Assistant Superintendent/ Superintendent. She offers practical advice about how to make your paperwork shine, to the legitimate work it takes to practice and prepare for a successful interview to branding yourself. Some of her tips I have learned along my journey, but others were great to hear, even at this stage in my career. I made lots of notes for the next time I plan to apply for a job and prepare for an interview. I highly encourage anyone who wants to be an educational leader and anyone who wants to move to the next level of leadership to read this book and follow the author’s detailed advice.
  • The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork – This is a YA novel I’ve had sitting in my house for a long time and I’m glad I finally read it. The story begins after a teenage girl has attempted suicide. She spends time in a mental institution with three other teens, who have mental health struggles. Together, they form friendships as they learn about their own issues and that of each other. There were some dark moments, but the therapist who works with them was good and the reality that time, medication, and therapy would be necessary to “get better” was honest.
  • Hot Pursuit (Stone Barrington #33) by Stuart Woods- Another Stone mystery with exotic plane rides, a new love interest, a connection to the president, and international crimes. Great read for my May vacation!
  • The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie – I’m not sure where I saw this book recommended, and when it began with a woman seeing a building destroyed I thought it was going to be about 9-11, but it wasn’t and I was glad to enjoy a new mystery! The building in question was in Chicago and suffered a fire from an explosion. The women in question lost her cheating husband in that building, as well as her best friend. A photographer’s picture of her on the street watching the building burn went viral and led to unintended fame and consequences. I loved the random twists that popped up as the author revealed new details to the reader.
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About Amy's Reflections

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