Summer Reading 2017

Need a good read to round out your summer?  Here’s my list (so far):

A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman

This one has been in my Kindle queue for such a long time.  Not sure why I hesitated to jump in.  First off, I absolutely love deep, invested character development.  Think: Olive Kittridge or The Mayfairs.  This did not disappoint.  The man, Ove, and his neighbors are real, gritty, flawed and wonderful.

The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware

Strange story, this one.  Left me thinking, Ya right.  I can suspend belief as well as the next guy but this was a hurried wrap up that left me feeling let down.  Such a good start too.

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

I think Kindle suggested this one to me.  Score!  Another example of stellar character development.  And an historic time and place that I know little about.  Epic feeling despite being situated in a hotel for the duration of the story.  Very satisfying.

Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

Instead of struggling to keep all the characters straight, I just went with it, allowing the flow of the story to carry me.  It worked.  From the start to today.  From Africa and back again.  I’m glad I chose this tale.

Britt-Marie was Here, Fredrik Backman

Had to go back for more!  After telling a friend how much I enjoyed A Man Called Ove, she recommended Britt-Marie.  Wow.  Even better!  Britt-Marie, like Ove, is surrounded by memorable people.  But such distinct stories, I may try on another Backman book before summer’s end.

The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead

A recommendation from a friend, “You must read it.  We can’t avoid it because it’s hard.”  Very true.  And I’m thankful I heeded her advice.  I absolutely devoured this one.  And the hard parts, the cruel parts were written concisely, with a hint rather than a heavy hand.  Effective.  Almost more so in this way.

The Queen of the Night, Alexander Chee

A story of a unique voice, opera, and manipulation.  Fun is not the word.  Compelling, complicated and interesting.  Past and present collide along with memories and objects.  A good summer choice for diversion and intrigue.

The Orphan’s Tale, Pam Jenoff

A circus story.  A story of German occupation.  A story of hiding.  A story of love.  I think Kindle said, “For people who liked Water for Elephants.”  Not sure other than circus is the common thread.  Not as satisfying as I’d hoped.  A quick read.

Rules of Civility, Amor Towles

So if I like a book well enough, I’ll take the author up again on another title.  Just like A Gentleman in Moscow, this was AWESOME!  Not only is character is gift but sense of place as well.  Two days… that good.  I may try another Towles.

Hope your summer reading is as satisfying as mine.  Notice no work related reading?  Take this summer off.  Don’t worry, I’ve got a stack waiting for me but not until school starts again.  I promised myself I’d take this summer totally off.  Haven’t done that before.  Works for me.  What should I read next?

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This is the Sweet Spot; don’t miss it.

A brief observation:

So much of any given school year is spent straddling the current and future year.  Right now, in these precious few months, things are running, back-to-school stuff is done, and we’re in the sweet spot of here and now.  It doesn’t last long.

Shortly after the holidays end, the straddling time between 14-15 and 15-16 begins.  Where my mind is in constant flux between current planning and future planning, enrollment, kindergarten tours, budget wrap up and budget projection, staffing and facilities’ needs over summer break….

I enjoy this time as much as possible.  It’s the simplest time of year for me.  <holding back hysterical laughter>  Evaluations are chugging along, classroom visits happen with regularity, students come and go, learning and laughing together, parents are finishing conferences with their student’s teacher and everyone is looking forward to the holidays.

To keep myself grounded and enjoying this time of year, I’m reading The Happiness Advantage and Quiet Leadership.  Some inspiring words to buoy me through to 2015.