Monthly Archives: January 2017

What I Read in 2016

My goal for 2016 was to read/listen to at least 100 books, reading at least 52. I ended up reading 49 and listening to 17, for a grand total of 66 books. Normally I’d be disappointed about not meeting my goal, but I’m thrilled I read as much as I did! This year, I have the same goal. We’ll see if I can pick up the pace a bit.
For the last several years, my dad and I have done a book bingo together. We create 24 categories + 1 free space at the beginning of the year, then try to read a book from each category. These range from silly (book with an orange cover) to diverse (book that is a translation) to old (published before 1000AD). Last year, he finished his whole bingo–must be nice to be retired! I finished about ⅔. We have a new bingo game for this year, so I better get reading.

I check out the majority of my ebooks and audiobooks from the public library via Overdrive. I’m usually good about managing the number of books I have and the number of books I have on hold. Pro tip: add books to your holds, then suspend the hold. You’ll move up in position, but the book won’t be checked out to you until you unsuspend the hold or your suspension time is up.
Here are my categories from 2016. As you can see, I mainly read education, young adult, and fiction books. Naturally, Harry Potter gets it’s own category. I used inspiration rather than self-help because it drops the negative connotation.
My book genre breakdown for 2016

I kicked off 2016 by reading
Ditch that Textbook by Matt Miller. It was an inspiring edu-read, and I enjoyed occasionally participating in the #ditchbook twitter chat on Thursday nights. I love anything published by Dave Burgess Consulting, and I think I own about 75% of the collection. Thanks Dave & Shelley for letting me spin the Burgess stop and giving me some wonderful books!
Here are some of my favorite books I read/listened to in 2016*:
Creating Classroom Magic by Shauna Pollock (book) – I love Disneyland and Disney, and I was completely inspired to add in a little more magic into my classroom. Shauna is filled with great ideas and stories.
Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders (ebook) – My science nerd self was fascinated to learn so much about the human digestive system. This book is written to be accessible by all, and there is a lot of practical knowledge for the why’s and how’s.

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg (ebook) – So fascinating to hear more about the Google backstory, their vision and growth process, and their philosophy behind how they treat their employees. Reading this inspired me to dream bigger (10x, not 10%).

We are all Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen (book) – A friend recommended this to me, and I preordered it on Amazon. When it arrived, I had forgotten I had ordered it. It was a quick read, but absolutely heart-wrenching and sweet. I loved it so much that I am using it for a read aloud in my 7th grade science class. It’s not about molecules, and technically it’s a fairly weak science content tie; however, the ideas and themes in this book fit the personal development of my 7th graders, and tie into a few topics we cover (molecules, health, bullying, healthy relationships).
Harry Potter books 1-6 by JK Rowling (audiobook) – I’ve read them multiple times, and friends kept telling me how amazing the audiobooks are. Truth. Jim Dale is incredible. He has a different voice for each character. Plus, it was nice hanging out with my old friends. I was 10 when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out, and just graduated high school when the Deathly Hallows was released. I’m most of the way through the Deathly Hallows audiobook, but it expired before I finished it so I’m waiting to get it again.

So off we go in 2017. I’m excited to read more books, listen to more audiobooks, and go on new adventures. You can follow my book journey on my book blog ( I’ll cross-post some of my favorite books to my main blog.
What books did you love in 2016? And what are you excited to read in 2017?
*I categorize books & ebooks (on my Kindle) separately, but count them together as physical books in my data.

2017.1 – The Giver

I finished my first book of 2017! It’s a reread, and one that I’ve read about a dozen times…The Giver by Lois Lowry!

The first time I read this book was in 4th grade, and I fell in love. The initial appeal was the perfect world that quickly shattered when Jonas gained knowledge above and beyond his community. I marveled at how comfortable it would be to live in a society like that, in perfect oblivion. It made me think about how I would handle living like this–but, then I’d realize I wouldn’t know that I were living in such a fabricated society. In some ways, it’s similar to children (and even adults) living within oppressive and/or cult religions.

I was inspired to reread it this time because my 8th graders just finished a dystopia unit, and some chose to read The Giver (other options included Hunger Games and Fahrenheit 451).

These days, we don’t bat an eye when there’s yet another dystopian young adult novel or trilogy published; they’re all fairly predictable, filled with love triangles, and rarely complex.

I’ve read The Giver about a dozen times, including listening to the audiobook once. I’ve also read the other three books in The Giver Quartet (Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son) twice each. I’ll probably reread each of those at some point in 2017 too.

What did you think about The Giver?

Books! Books! Books!

Passion projects are fun, so are hobbies. Reading is one of my passions and hobbies, so I’m going to blog about my reading journeys this year. (I blog semi-regularly about teaching and education here.)

I’ve been keeping track of what I read since 2011, and it’s been incredible to look back at all the wonderful adventures. In 2011 and 2012, my lists are on paper. Starting in 2013, I kept a list in Evernote. Unfortunately, Evernote has become less functional–it doesn’t automatically sync, and they always want me to upgrade to premium. At the end of 2016, I switched my lists over to Google Sheets, with a new tab for each year. I’m slowly importing my data, making fun graphs, and keeping track of my own analytics. Now in 2017, I’ll have some robust reading data (nerd alert!). 
2011 – 18 (?)*
2012 – 32 (?)*
2013 – 54 (54 books, 0 audio)
2014 – 82 (52 books, 30 audio)
2015 – 58 (41 books, 17 audio)
2016 – 66 (49 books, 17 audio)
My 2017 goal is the same as 2016. Read 100 books, including audiobooks. Of this, I’d like at least 52 to be books, and no more than half to be audiobooks. Really, that’s 1 book + 1 audiobook per week, which is very manageable. 
I’m not entirely sure what this blog will become in 2017. Here’s to new adventures! 
*Gotta double check the numbers. My paper lists are 500 miles away. Will update when I’m back home.