All posts by jmayfield

Happy b’day to mom…

“Developing Assessment-Capable Visible Learners K-12” by Frey, Hattie and Fisher – great book – really got a lot out of it for the classroom for next year

“Genesis Begins Again” by Williams – good read – part of A-Plus curriculum – I could use it in my classroom with no problem

“The Impossible Knife of Memory” – needed a book – can’t go wrong with Laurie Halse Anderson – haven’t read a book of hers that I haven’t loved

“Rusch to Glory” – disappointing biography – got a bit better but I read the wrong review to order it

“Bomber Mafia” – Malcolm Gladwell – disappointing – didn’t see the point in the book – I thought the book was a stretch to say that the firebombing of Japan and Hiroshima were two different ways of looking at bombing

“The Sisterhood” – by Goldman – this was a great book – on the USWNT – I read a book on the team last year by Murray – that book was more of a legal take – this one was more on the ’99 team – great read

“Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised” by Carlmelo Anthony – great book – enjoyed reading it – just the different educational experiences he had as a highly touted basketball player made the book worthwhile

“The Memory Police” by Ogawa – friend recommended it – definitely good for adult fiction – interesting – well done

ending June with some good books…

“The Ozarkers” by Blevins – good book to prepare me for my trip to Mizzou – except I ended up not going:(

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas – good – not a book I’d put in the middle school library, but a good high school YA

“On the Come Up” by Angie Thomas – good – a high school YA – i wasn’t thrilled with the first 100 pages or so, but it picked up and was great later

“Concrete Rose” by Angie Thomas – the most explicit of the three – but I probably liked this one the most – it was a prequel for THUG

“Shoutin’ in the Fire” by Dante Stewart – comes out this fall – is an excellent, excellent book – recommended it when I was in SC book club

“Becoming Elisabeth Elliot” by Vaughn – good book – at the local library – enjoyed reading it

“Hail Mary” by D’Arlangelo and Cretaz – professional football for women – the history of it – lots I didn’t know

“Mister Impossible” by Stiefvater – recommended to me – meh…

“The Baseball 100” by Posnanski – really great book – 843 pages long – which I read in four days b/c I love baseball:)

Summer 2021

Empire of the Air by Lewis – good book – re-issued from 20 years ago – about the early history of radio

“The Future of Us” – a re-read – enjoyed it yet again – very clever book for YA

“Aftermath” by Isler – tough read for a YA audience – good, but a tough read

“The Way of the Father” by Michael W. Smith – really enjoyed this one – and gave me something to talk to my sister about

“Let them Lead” by John U. Bacon – disappointing book about his time as hockey coach – so glad he did everything right (eye roll)

“Dusk Night Dawn” by Lamott – went out of my comfort zone for this one – I’m ready to be back in my comfort zone:)

“Breath” by Nestor – good book – plenty to think about in terms of running – tried to share some of the advice with my students – not sure they listened:)

“Make the Right Call” by Mark Richt – excellent book – enjoyed it – and my cameo in his life at the 2012 SEC Championship game

“Undaunted” by Jackie Speier – great book – really amazing life she’s led – and a very courageous life

one more week left in a rather long year…

“The Code Breaker” by Isaacson – wonderful book – and very relevant to the past year – used part of it in the classroom as a book talk

“Why Longfellow Lied” – really went well with the Paul Revere poem we read in class – comes out in August – enjoyed reading it – would love a class set for the kids

“I am C3PO” – bought this one after none of the local libraries seemed to care to carry it – sigh… good – enjoyable

“I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye” by Maisel – really great book – one of the best I’ve read this year – comes out in October – lots of takeaways

“Think Again” by Adam Grant – filled about four pages of notes in my book on this one – lots of practical takeaways

May(be) I’ll read some books…

“Maybe He Just Likes You” by Dee – CMS book – really good one – tackled consent issues for a middle school audience – and the author liked my tweet about the book:)

“Where the Light Fell” by Yancey – fantastic book – comes out in October – I’d read Yancey before – reading his memoir made me realize that you don’t know someone’s story – even when they are writing non-fiction – tackled issues about the fundamentalist faith

“To Be or Not to Be” by Ryan North – a Choose Your Own Adventure with Hamlet – not as fun as Romeo and Juliet – but I still enjoyed it – clever

“Wit’s End” by Geary – why did we end up with Eve eating an apple in Genesis when apples don’t grow in the Middle East? B/c Jerome’s translation made a pun on Latin for evil (Mal) – that was a cool fact to pick up

“Made for More” by Anderson – so I ended up reading a book on Biblical womanhood – probably not the first one I’ve read – still, a bit out of my zone – but what was cool was that mom called within a week about her Mother’s Day children’s moment – and BOOM! I actually had something to contribute to discussion:)

“A Wild Idea” by Franklin – North Face/Espirit founder – his life – his work – meh…

“Running is a Kind of Dreaming” by Thompson – running and psychology – he made me feel bad running 205 miles – I feel inadequate:)

“How to Train Your Dad” – by Paulsen – cute YA coming soon

“Start Here, Start Now” by Kleinrock – book on addressing racism in the classroom – probably more for California – kudos to the author for tackling a big subject

“That Way Madness Lies” – by Alder – 15 recreations of Shakespeare – not that great – if you mess with a masterpiece, make it better, don’t insert your agenda – sigh…

hidden easter eggs in the books i’ve found…

“Dig” A.S. King – just before Easter, a book that started on Easter Sunday – and with little to nothing to do about Easter – the aggravating part to me was that the parents were portrayed as out of touch and cruel – that the next generation is soooo much smarter – and I get that young people want to believe that – but i think some humility is often in order

“Chasing Excellence” – by Pat Melgares – wonderful book about a running coaching legend – Joe Vigil – really enjoyed that one – and just reminded again of how cool it can be when young kids catch hold of something

“Darius the Great is Not Okay” – didn’t enjoy this one – it struck me as whiny – and having lived through my own isolated teen years, i hate that every book has to be “that special someone who ‘gets’ you is right around the corner…”

Crucial Conversations – Patterson – recommended – or maybe a teacher friend just said she was reading it and I hijacked the book, read it in a day, and then torn it to shreds in the days afterwards – b/c I’m just not a very good friend:)

“The Great Dissenter” – wonderful book about a forgotten Supreme Court justice – the lone dissenter in Plessey v. Ferguson – and of course, as happens in these things, his name came up in another book two weeks afterwards:)

“1962” – Krell – loved this book – about the 1962 baseball season – and the whole year – but I had a wonderful conversation with my dad about the guys who played on the Yankees – my dad was 12 at the time and basically knew the whole lineup – so getting to talk to him was fun

“Winning” by Glover – Jordan’s personal trainer – on what it takes to succeed – basically, you have to be a jerk and put everything else second – that said, I really honestly identified with much of what he said, which makes me a terrible person, but the whole “balanced” life is not what makes people get to the top of a field – so I think honesty is important

“Chasing Failure” – Leak – Christian publisher – sort of interesting coming off Glover – but the “dream it, do it” type – and why we’ve now made Kobe Bryant a hero is beyond me (see Colorado in the early 2000s)

“Hattiesburg” – Sturkey – I loved this book – really, really good – story of a Southern small town – and told in black and white chapters – rather than dehumanize whites, I thought the book did a wonderful job explaining – but not defending – white oppression – and the book was spot on in its analysis of today and the issues that we face today with voting rights suppression

Twas the week before spring break…

“Running Smart” – good book – about the science behind running – what’s myth, what’s workable

“A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor” – Hank Green – it’s actually Book 2 of 2 but I read it solo just fine – and really enjoyed it – had robbed it from a librarian’s “best” list – you can’t go wrong there

“Dear Martin” – same thing, robbed from a librarian’s list – it was good – first 100 pages, wasn’t that sure – but the second half made up for the first half

“Winners Take All” – great book on economic inequality – the problems with capitalism – very insightful and highly recommendable

“The Pattern Seekers” – book on how systemizers helped develop civilization – and so the “problems” that show up in autism are actually just examples of our neurodiversity – the author did a good job balancing the benefits while acknowledging that autism certainly doesn’t mean you’re smart in something though – and that there can be problems there

Well, this one is going to take a while…

So my apologies for being away for two months – obviously, it wasn’t for lack of reading…

“Do You Dream of Terra-two?” Teenagers are selected for a 20-year trip to a new Earth – what could possibly go wrong for them? Yeah, um, everything except their teenage hormones (gag…)

“Ken Jennings Jr Genius Guides: US Presidents” – fun book at Christmas from a former student

“Rebel Rising: Rogue One” – Watched again over Christmas and wanted a Star Wars book to read – meh…

“The Buried Giant” Ishiguto – Christianity Today recommended read – was good

“The Secret to Superhuman Strength” Comic on running/exercise/aging

“Reading the Times” Bilbro – similar to something else I read – and less good

“Just Like That” – Gary Schmidt – wonderful book – thirds in the Wednesday Wars set – and just as good as the other two

“The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher” – I had high hopes for this comic – based on the character in Legends of Tomorrow – but wasn’t that great

“The Shape of Thunder” – highly recommended from a librarian – but didn’t like it

“Cobra” – Dave Parker biography – as per usual with a biography, pretty self-serving – Parker glossed completely over his cocaine issue and that issue in baseball in the 1980s – but he still wrote 400 plus pages…

“Clubbie” – Greg Larson – the “inside” look at minor league baseball – which I already knew and which goes way deeper and darker

“The Power” – Alderman – recommended by many – didn’t really see it though – I’ll likely lose my feminist credentials soon

“A Tale Dark and Grimm” – Gidwitz – new book in our CMS library – interesting premise – but not that enjoyable

“Mascot” – Anthony John – another new CMS book

“Racing the Clock” – Bernd Heinrich – on running and aging – there were distractions about nature – Heinrich is a research professor – but it was overall a great read about aging – very wonderful

“The Only Way is the Steady Way” – baseball reflections – some good ones in there too – and about growing up – like the Clubbie book, there are times when I read about these “men” acting like adolescents – and yet with families and such and I just wonder what exactly went wrong for me that I didn’t get this same experience

“The Wisdom Pyramid” – so this was the better book from Reading the Times – and I used the pyramid with my eighth graders

“Practicing Thankfulness” – awful book – suicide and homosexuality – gender differences – are supposedly from a lack of thanksgiving – really bad stuff

“The Outlier” – Jimmy Carter biography – good – Kai Bird is a wonderful writer

“Reading While Black” – Christianity Today’s book of the year – and it was good

“Heavy” – Kiese Laymon – same week as the book above – this one was also about the African-American experience – this one was also good – just in a different way

“The Genius of Athletes” – I’ve used some of this material with my 8th grade – and some for myself – great book

“That Will Never Work” – Marc Randolph and the start of Netflix – it was interesting to read b/c he devoted hours – like I am devoting hours to teaching during a pandemic – but I’m not going to get the financial benefit he did…

“Shakespeare in a Divided America” – good read – my favorite chapter was on the musical Kiss Me Kate and how it relates to Taming of the Shrew

“Gently and Lowly” – friend sent me this one – and it was good – especially given my friend thought enough to send it

so I’m counting 25 books since Christmas

Dashing through the books…

“One Life” – Megan Rapinoe biography – great book – surprisingly good – she’s very well versed in what she believes – passed the book along to my mom when I was done

“No Time Like the Future” – Michael J. Fox – another book I shared with my mom – another good one – Fox has battled a lot in the past few years – and the book sort of explored keeping faith in difficult times

“Averting Catastrophe” – Cass Sunstein – great read – insightful – basically, how much do we as a government plan for eventualities that might be “worst case” scenario? the book looked into that (lot of it went over my head:)

“Night” – Wiesel – eighth grade third nine weeks book – a reread – I was struck this time about the relationship between fathers and sons – I can’t fathom having to lose my dad the way Wiesel did

“Hiroshima” – another great book – I thought it explored incredibly well the issue of “the bomb” – and when you think of the moral compromises people have made already in this pandemic, it makes understanding the bomb – after a long four year war – more understandable

“Is this anything?” Seinfeld – another mom and son book share – enjoyed it – actually remembered some of the bits from his show – which I haven’t seen in 25 years

“Tru and Nelle” – G. Neri – I like the Christmas Tale a lot better – but this one was okay – I don’t know that I would’ve read the second one if I’d read the first first – so I’m glad I didn’t:)

“The Dead Are Arising” – Les Payne and his daughter – quite a lot to learn on the life of Malcolm X – surprisingly, his life wasn’t covered a lot at my private Christian school:) the circles I have always been around criticized his “hate” – but the man was literally in utero when white supremacists threatened his mother and burned their house down – so what do you expect?

“Hidden Figures” – the YA edition – enjoyable – will be left at school for others to read

“A Promised Land” – another mom-son book combo – Obama’s book was good – you can’t dismiss his intelligence – he’s a good writer – insightful – and the book had some funny moments

“Lights, Camera, Fastball” – story of the Hollywood Stars – 1930s and 40s minor league baseball team – enjoyable read

“The Art of Inventing Hope” – Conversations with Elie Wiesel – good book – will be able to use material in it with my eighth grade – most importantly, the idea of being a witness to history – and passing that along in a world now that invents truths

Happy Turkey Day 2020

“Shake and Bake” – basketball book – biography of a player in the 1970s – filler, but okay

“Kids on the March” – good YA on marches that have been influential in the past 130 years – some I knew about, some I didn’t

“Down Along With That Devil’s Bones” – great book – didn’t know much about the topic, but well-written – and good frame for recent events

“The Magic Misfits: The Minor Chord” – NPH book – loved it!

“The Magic Misfits: The Fourth Suit” – final book – read both – good series – still can’t do the magic, but enjoyed it:)

“Dimestore” – given by a friend – good – well written

“From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back” – didn’t have as much fun with this one as I had with the first book – the ending chapter about the crawl is always worth it – but 570 pages, a bit much:)

“Where the Light Enters” – Jill Biden’s book – the part on education was wonderful – why she teaches – why she kept teaching as Second Lady – and I understood why she enjoyed community college – those students overcome so much to be where they are

“Creating Kind and Empathetic Kids” – disappointing book – elementary driven – and not very challenging

“Think Like a Lawyer” – great book for teachers – how to introduce critical thinking skills in the classroom – good ideas I plan to use in the classroom

“Rage” – good book – read it the week of the election – I think I was the only one still trying to gain information on Trump at that point:) Very well done – Kushner’s take on how to understand Trump, the part with starting with Alice in Wonderland, was, well, odd…

“The Knowledge Gap” – friend from Tennessee leant it – didn’t agree with the premise, but still gained a lot from it