Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Summer Vacation (so far)...

Right after school I headed out for a SCUBA diving vacation.   Getting to the location, the Bay Islands of Honduras, required a long flight and I was able to dig into some reading.  I read three books that I recommend.  First, I read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  I had seen trailers for the movie and it looked good but I try to read the novel before seeing the film.  I got attached to the characters in the story, especially Jacob, ninety-three year old narrator.  The story gives you a peek into the life of the circus world but it was the story being told through the memory Jacob’s life that struck me and reminded me of my father.  My father is 87 and I am just now hearing stories of his life that I have never heard before.  There is a clarity in the details he tells and a distant look in his eyes.  I think he is recalling his life so vividly that he is fully absorbed.  This book absorbed me as well.  In the end notes, it was interesting read about the research that went into creating this novel.
    The second read is from an author that I call my “go to” for a fun summer read -  Carl Hiaasen.  I like his books because they keep me laughing out loud and I enjoy looking for his spin on an environmental issue that plagues Florida, the setting for most of this story.  He didn’t let me down with his novel, Star Island.  The main character, Bang Abbott, was an unlikely candidate for paparazzi and that worked well with bringing in the surprises through out the book - this is Hollywood after all!  This is just over the top with it’s link to show business and all of the star qualities that go along with being in the spotlight.  This is definitely my beach book choice of this year.
    My third book is a change in genre - nonfiction.  I try to read something that will help me with my financial place just to keep me attentive and working toward goals but this year I deviated a bit and chose Paul Sullivan’s book, Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t.  As a teacher, there are challenges were I will be asked to embrace and lead in initiating change.  I thought this book would give me insight into the qualities that would jump start me for the coming year. There were five key aspects of being clutch that were discussed in varying settings: focus, discipline, adaptability, to be present, and the fear and desire of drive.  I read the book looking at these traits through the lens of a teacher but it would be applicable to anyone.  Reading about each trait and thinking about how it could apply to teaching was relevant and I will be mindful to keep them in the forefront during challenging situations.
    So, that rounds out the fist half of my reading this summer.  I’ll share about my trip to Honduras and the fun of diving next.

1 comment:

Kim Oldenburgh said...

I loved Water for Elephants, too. I listened to it on my commute and I too fell in love with Jacob. They did such a great job as an elderly man actually read his parts. I don't think I will see the movie though (I'm not much of a movie person), loved the book to much to let the movie tarnish it. I might have to try that other funny author-never read him before. Can't wait to read about your scuba adventures.