Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Salon in which I rejoin the blogging world


It has been 2 years since I've done a Sunday Salon post. Wow! For the past two years I've been reading, but not really "blogging." I haven't been good at reading other people's blogs and I have only done review blogs here. In the last month I've gotten a little better about visiting other blogs and now I've actually got it on my calendar to check in on the weekends. So, with my renewed activity, I thought I'd try a Sunday Salon and see how it feels.

My life in books: 
I have read more lately than in the past year or so and I've updated my Where I'm Reading map so that it works better. I LOVE the new Google My Maps!

Here are my top reads (5 stars) from the past two years. It is interesting to see, long after the fact, which books I labeled as 5 stars. I think I would now change some of them, but that doesn't seem fair; I like sticking to how I felt when I read a book. So, without further ado...
  1. September 2016--Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (YA LGBTQ, USA). This one is great and it's main character identifies at gender fluid, which was new to me. I passed this one on to my daughter's school library.
  2. September 2016--The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan (YA fiction, Cote d'Ivoire). This is a story that sucks you in and reveals what it's like to be a child working the cacao plantations. This is another one that I gave to my daughter's school library.
  3. August 2016--Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne (Adult/YA fiction, UK). Is this really deserving of 5 stars? Probably not, but it fed my inner Harry Potter need.
  4. July 2016--Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (adult non-fiction, Haiti, Peru, and Russia). This is powerful stuff about poverty and one man's work to combat it.
  5. July 2016--The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (YA, fiction, USA). What a great read about friendship and mental illness.
  6. June 2016--Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (adult non-fiction, USA). As someone whose parents are getting older, but not yet old, this was a great read on how we deal with end-of-life decisions.
  7. May 2016--Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (adult non-fiction, USA). This one is very powerful.
  8. March 2016--I am Princess X by Cherie Priest (YA fiction, USA). This is a story of friendship with a bit of a mystery thrown in for good measure.
  9. October 2015--A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller (YA historical fiction, UK). This is a great story about the women's suffrage movement in the UK and another one that I passed on to my daughter. She now tries to get her friends to read it.
  10. December 2014--War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay and Daniel LaFrance (YA historic, graphic novel, Uganda). This is the story of four friends who are kidnapped by Kony's army. It's intense and very well done.
  11. November 2014--The Language of Threads by Gail Tsukiyama (adult fiction, China). This is the follow-up to Women of the Silk and who are we kidding, anything by Tsukiyama gets a 5 from me!
  12. October 2014--The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (non-fiction, sports, USA). I still think about this book and have seen the documentary as well. It's about the University of Washington crew team in the 1930s and their road to the 1936 Olympics. It's a great combination of history, relationships, and underdogs.
  13. July 2014--We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (YA mystery, USA). I loved this one so much I immediately gave it to my daughter to read and she has recommended it to a number of friends.
  14. July 2014-- Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (mystery, USA). Normally, I am not a King fan as they are too scary for me, but this one was really good. And, I just found out it is number one in a trilogy!
What's going on in my life:
There have been quite a few changes in my personal life over the past two years.

  • My daughter is now 16 and has left the LA dance industry. That felt like a huge decision, but she realized that though she loves dance, having it as her career is not right for her. She has always been super intelligent, but being "teased" (not in a bad way) for always reading in between dance events and auditions finally made her realize that she is more destined for the academic world. She is now attending boarding school and is loving it. It's so great to see her in her element! And I am so proud of her for being the only new junior girl and fitting right in.
  • Having my daughter live away from home has definitely been an adjustment, but I am doing much better than I thought I would. That's probably because I know she made such a good decision for herself and her future. But, that means I have WAY more time to read and blog.
  • I have a new job! I am still doing the Technology Integration Coach job for two schools in our district (one junior high and the continuation high school) and am enjoying it. But, the bulk of my job is now as our district's Social Studies Coach. I just began this job in August so I am still trying to figure it out, but it's nice to be thinking about Social Studies again and I do love working with teachers at all of our secondary schools. This also means that I get to do some traveling for PD for myself, something I haven't done in a long time so I am headed to Sacramento in January and March and also to Palm Springs in March. Fun!!!
  • The mobile Vietnam War Memorial Wall is in town this week and I visited it yesterday. What a moving experience. I have been to the real one in Washington, DC a number of times and this half-size replica is just as powerful.
  • My goal for this month is to make my 2015 photo album. It's a huge undertaking so maybe it will take me into November :-)
I hope everyone is doing well on this Sunday morning! Please do comment so that I can add your blogs to my weekly reading.

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