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What I'm Reading: February 2008

February 06, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Here are the books I've read from September 2007 through January 2008.

  • The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar, fiction
  • Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, nonfiction
  • Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda, nonfiction
  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, historical novel
  • The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman, nonfiction
  • The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books that Matter Most to Them, Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen, eds., nonfiction
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, nonfiction
  • The Philosopher's Dog: Friendships with Animals by Raimond Gaita, nonfiction/philosophy
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, nonfiction

My favorite on this list is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. It takes place in India and shows the impact class divisions have on the lives of two families. The story, setting, and character development are so compelling and well crafted that the book has stayed with me even though I found the ending unrealistic.

Daily Reading

My day begins reading The New York Times. I grew up with that ritual. My dad read it with his morning coffee (just as I do) and during his daily commute by train to New York City. The editorials are my favorite part, and I often recommend that my husband, Frank, or a friend read one so we can talk about it.

Weekly Reading

I can hardly wait for Sunday mornings when I spend a couple of hours with The New York Times. I live for the Book Review. I pore through those reviews throughout the week and savor many of them. I get inspired to read by learning about newly published titles, up-and-coming authors, and profiles of fascinating people—the writers and the characters they create. Often, I fold down the pages related to books I intend to read (and purchase). I confess an addiction to having hard copies of well-written books on my bookshelves.

Next, I go to the News of the Week in Review and look for an editorial by Frank Rich, a terrific writer with a knack for distilling "the truth" from recent political happenings and hype. On Tuesdays, I seek out the Science Times. Perhaps, because I never liked science as a child and did a terrible job teaching it (I replicated the reading-of-the-science text my teachers had done with me) I now find it fascinating and am held spellbound by modern science stories and how they apply to our lives.

Many weekdays find me poring over recipes and thinking about what I might cook for dinner. As I pen this, it's a dreary winter day, and a recipe for a hearty Tuscan bean stew has caught my fancy. I've jotted down the ingredients I need and look forward to putting them all together tonight. I love the aroma and taste of homemade soup as well as the pleasure of cooking for my husband and knowing that we'll be enjoying that soup for days. Some of our most cherished recipes come fromGourmet and Sunset, two magazines I subscribe to, as well as from newspaper clippings that I have been filing by category for many years.

I also depend on Education Week to stay informed about national issues regarding policy, politics, and research. I especially like to read the Commentary on the final page.

Monthly Reading

I subscribe to a bunch of monthly and quarterly journals for staying current with research and practice in the teaching profession: The Reading TeacherLanguage ArtsEducational LeadershipKappanVoices from the Middle, and Reading Research Quarterly. I browse through a journal when it arrives, tab the articles I want to read, and take the month to read all those that interest me. Recently, I've begun reading some articles online. That is, when I receive email notification (always before I receive the journal by mail), I print out an article that I "must read" right now.

Your Reading Life

What are you reading now? I encourage you to share your own short lists of favorites with friends and colleagues. If you're like me, I bet you always wish you had more time to read. Finding that time is hard, I know, but I encourage you to "steal" it from your schedule. I also encourage you not to feel guilty when you go through a period when you don't read a lot. Right now, I'm reading mostly short pieces—magazines, journals, favorite parts from recently completed books.

Category: My Reading

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