A quick rundown of what I’ve been reading in case you too are looking for a book to add to your pile in 2020.
Links are to my Goodreads reviews (where they exist) and Amazon (if you want a copy):
We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
Bettina Love | Nonfiction – Education, Race
I wanted to like this book. Really did. Hits the intersection of issues I care about (critical theory, education, freedom) and I was hoping it would be as helpful as Chris Emdin’s For White Folks who Teach in the Hood (Amazon link)
Spoiler: It wasn’t.
Super disappointed. Now more than ever, we need good discussions of how race and poverty and systems intersect to cut off non-white folks from power and influence in America. I’ve been reading on this topic for 10-15 years now and still have so much to learn. Really wanted this book to be something I could pass on to others and say “Read this! It helped me understand things.”
The book did help me understand stuff, but not in a way most people would find helpful. If you’re a teacher, read Emdin’s book. If you’re just generally interested, I found Ta Nehisi Coates’s We Were Eight Years in Power (Amazon) to be one of my favorite (and painful) reads of 2019.
- The Washington War is on my list, continuing my journey through WW2 and General George C Marshall that I worked through last fall
- American Warlords – ditto; started reading this before handing it off to someone a few weeks ago. Need to find another copy so I can finish it!
Science Fiction & Fantasy – in progress
Enjoying all three of these enough to mention them; will post reviews once I’m done.
A Song for a New Day, Sarah Pinsker
I love Sarah’s short fiction – her Hugo-nominated story “The Winds Will Rove” about a teacher / musician on a generational starship was one of my favorite things in 2018. This is her first novel. Imagine you’re the band who played the last show before The Thing Happened that ended civilization as we now know it, a Thing that forced people into their homes and ended public gatherings for good…. and you’re trying to find an underground music scene so you don’t shrivel up and die inside. Great so far!
Servant of the Underworld, Aliette de Bodard
I found Aliette De Bodard’s short fiction in the Hugo nomination packets and fell in love with her gorgeous prose. Her novella “The Tea Master and the Detective” (2018) is delightful and I highly recommend it. This novel is the first in her Aztec-inspired series, exploring the murder of a priestess and a priest’s journey to find the killer. It’s like NCIS in history with Aztec magic! lol I’ve enjoyed the book, and I’m going to read the next one, though I don’t find her novel prose as rich as her short fiction writing. Still, this is a rare opportunity to see Aztec culture in fiction and I have learned a lot!
Seven Blades in Black, Sam Sykes
I’ve been following Sam on twitter for a while now and he cracks me up! One of my favorite twitter personalities, especially his 2018 series of painful tweets about trying to get up every day and work on his novel. So when I ran into the hefty Seven Blades book at B&N, I bought a copy and started reading. It’s been a fun read with strong lead characters. I’d say Sal the Cacophony is one of my favorite female leads in all of speculative fiction. She’s brassy and mysterious and brutally honest. I haven’t entirely love the prosaic style of the novel. So. Many. Short. Sentences. But the action is pulling me along and the world is interesting and I genuinely enjoy the characters.
I’m working on my doctorate in education / professional leadership, and I’m trying to identify my research agenda. Been reading a lot about adaptive leadership (giving a presentation on it at work next week). Also looking into scholarship on followership (it’s a thing) as well as critical theorists’ critiques of leadership theory in general (I dig what they’re saying).
When I have something more interesting to say here, I’ll say it.
So – what are you reading? What should be on my list?