At the risk of turning this blog into a reading log…
As I have for the past few years, in January I took the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge and set myself a goal of reading 30 books in 2018 (I also set a goal of running 300 miles in 2018, but the less said about that right now, the better).
At just past 1/3 of the way through the year, I’ve finished 15 books. As in past years, I have my 10+ hour weekly commute and access to multiple audiobook sources to thank for much of my productivity here. In reverse chronological, these are the books I’ve enjoyed so far this year:
- A Higher Loyalty, by James Comey
- Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, & Consent on Campus, by Vanessa Grigoriadis
- The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
- Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, by Adam Alter
- Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading, by Kylene Beers & Bob Probst
- All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire, by Jonathan Abrams
- The History of White People, by Nell Irvin Painter
- Dear Martin, by Nic Stone
- 50 Instructional Routines to Develop Content Literacy (3rd ed.), by Douglas Fisher, William G. Brozo, Nancy Frey, & Gay Ivey
- Civil War, by Mark Millar
- Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience, by Indre Viskontas
- Reading Nonfiction: Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, & Strategies, by Kylene Beers & Bob Probst
- On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder
- A Life in Parts, by Bryan Cranston
- Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, by bell hooks
I’ve got two books in progress right now: the audiobook of Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here is my commute buddy for the next week or so, and I’m just about done with Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele’s When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.
Next up in the hopper: Morrissey’s Autobiography, and I’m really excited about next month’s American release of the latest book by one of my favorite authors, Irvine Welsh’s Dead Men’s Trousers, a continuation of the events of the Trainspotting universe.
I suppose I like to share the books I’m reading in an effort to provide my fellow educators some suggestions for something valuable to read. I know I rely heavily on suggestions from friends, colleagues, and social media connections, especially when it comes to books about education.
On a related note, I just wrapped up teaching my first undergraduate course in teaching literacy in the content area classroom, and one of the choice assignments my students could choose was to do a book talk and close reading activity on an education-related book of their choice.
I liked this assignment because it was a low-risk way for students to read something they might not otherwise have the opportunity (or inclination) to read and reflect a bit on why they liked it, and why we might like it too. While I will definitely refine the parameters of the assignment if I teach the class again, it was interesting to hear my students share their takes on books like Teach Like a Pirate, Readicide, and Understanding by Design with their classmates. These are books that I’ve only ever heard discussed through the lens of veteran teachers, so to hear pre-service teachers’ perspectives on them was a treat for me, and more importantly, will hopefully inspire their classmates to read them and consider their messages as well as they head into their own classrooms in the coming months and years.