Books read in June

A mostly nonfiction month due to a bunch of teaching-inspired holds arriving at the same time. Not a stellar month for fiction. Hopefully July is better.


Women Food and God
Geneen Roth
I’ve read all of Geneen Roth’s books and really like her philosophy. This short book was a restatement of such, but with more god this time. Because it didn’t include a magic pill to fix everything, I guess I’ll have to start following her advice. Again.

The Women
TC Boyle
I liked the writing style of this book but I did not like this book. Frank Lloyd Wright: unlikeable. Mistress #1: not really likable. Mistress/Wife #2: extremely unlikable. Mistress/Wife #3: likable. The story of Wright’s women is told in reverse order, so once likable wife #3 exits the scene, the last half of the book is filled with women I wasn’t quite so fond of. Also, intrigued to see what Taliesin, his home in Wisconsin, looked like I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered the great tragedy associated with Wright that I was not aware of. Had I not read about that, this book probably would have had more dramatic tension, as Boyle presents that part of the story last.

I did like the narrator as former Japanese apprentice. That worked for me. But ultimately, this was a big, thick book full of people I could not stand.

Motivating Students Who Don’t Care
Allen Mendler
Very short book(65 pgs) with five different approaches to get students to learn what you want to teach them. The approaches are:

  • Emphasize Effort
  • Creating Hope
  • Respecting Power
  • Building Relationships
  • Expressing Enthusiasm

Within these approaches are some good tips such as working two minutes per day for 10 days to build a relationship with the student and telling the chronically late student that though you will probably keep bringing the issue up, you are happy to have him/her the 50 minutes in class s/he is there. Also a great point made: there is very little teacher can force students to do these days, so why not gentle them along?

There was a tip about calling home and leaving praise messages for students so they would be most likely to hear it when they get home after school, which I don’t think was such good advice, but other than that, a great quick read.

Change your brain, change your body
Daniel Amen
Interesting perspective on changing your body. Amen uses brain scans and identifies areas of the brain that are not functioning well. With treatment, patients see rapid improvement in a variety of areas. This is according to him. I, not being a medical professional, have no idea if this is true or not. It was interesting to see the brain scans of people with head trauma and hear about their impulse control issues.

Amen has clearly built a commercial empire, with brain scanning clinics across the country as well as a line of supplements and many, many other things you can buy to make yourself better. However, you could follow many of the action steps without all his merchandise and probably still see improvement.


Colm Toibin

Not a very long book. The whole time I was reading it, I kept wondering why. The plot seemed to have no compelling reason for me to keep reading. I did get attached to the main character and her choices, but there wasn’t really an ending. I feel like this was a fleshed out outline for a much longer book.

Started but did not finish

What every teacher should know about student motivation.
Donna Walker Tileson
Seemed to be a good book, but I lost interest in learning more about student motivation. (Hah!)

Meet Me In the Middle: Becoming an Accomplished Middle School Teacher.
Rick Wormeli
A broad approach to middle school teaching. It being my vacation, the fiction books were calling and I set this aside. It would be good to read before an interview though.

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