Random Thoughts

Some Books And My Reviews

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Seeing that summer is officially here (although weather wise it hasn’t shown up here in the Pacific Northwest) I thought I’d review a couple books I read and listened to this past year in case you were looking for something to read over the summer. A little something for everyone I hope.

I read more fiction this year then I have in my entire life probably leading up to it. All the credit goes to this librarian (Twitter @mischelej) who came to my school in Thailand this year figured out what I liked and then keep pushing books on me until I started reading some. Mischele…can’t thank you enough and keep sending the book recommendations…I have a lot of travel ahead of me. 


Ready Player One Ready Player One is a fantastic book. If you have spent anytime at all in Second Life this book will have you wondering if this is the future. If you haven’t been in Second Life but grew up at all in the 80s then you are in for a treat. Your inner geek will come out and you’ll be transported back into your childhood (OK…my childhood) of some of the first computer games. Well written and if every book I read could be this good I’d read a lot more. 

What has blown me away even more is how the author is using social-media and the idea in the book to engage his audience. Check out this youtube video for contest details and then go read the book.

The Art of Fielding I have mixed feelings about The Art of Fielding. The books starts out focused on baseball and if you are a baseball fan or ever played baseball this part of the book is so good. I found myself lost in memories of my own two a day practices, 5am runs and the weight room back in college and what it takes to make it at the next leave. The baseball part of the book I loved. The book gets away from the baseball and dives into player relationships. It’s not a bad thing and I’m still recommending it but by the end of the book I wanted more baseball talk. Still a great novel perfect for a summer read seeing that it is baseball season.

11/22/63 11/22/63 is the first Stephen King book I have ever read. Love the idea of the book about going back in time and changing the past. An easy read that is based on relationships, history and one mans struggle to try and change the past. A good vacation book….or was for me.  




Professional Books:

Public Parts Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis makes a great argument on why we all should get use to living in public and how it benefits us as a global community. He takes on the big idea of privacy and how we have struggled with privacy for years in different forms. I listened to the book on Audible as Jeff reads the book himself and being an auditory learner I like it when I can get the authors voice coming through in the book…I feel it adds insight as you get those little inflections in the authors voice when they really want to make a point. 

I would recommend this book for anyone who is struggling with this idea of living public, putting things on the Internet or where we fear all this will lead. Administrators…..I think this is a must read for you. 

Drive If you haven’t yet read or listened to Drive by Dan Pink then make this a top priority this summer. I think one of the best books about what truly motivates people to work and play. Seeing we want students to work in our schools and classrooms this book is a must read. The power of motivation and what really motivates us to do our best. Another must read for Administrators, Superintendents or anyone whose job it is to motivate others to do their best work.


Those are my recommendations for this summer. If you want to see other books I recommend head over to my Amazon store and check out other things that might interest you.

What are you reading this summer? Or what would you recommend I or others read?

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Cheryl Lykowski Reply

    I am a voracious reader and have been since I first realized that putting letters together to form words could take you on amazing journeys. I read Stephen King’s 11/22/63 in a matter of three days over the Christmas break. I’m not a usual King reader but was hooked from the moment I started the book. Another one of his novels is Under the Dome. As for the summer break, I have already completed 4 books in the last 3 weeks. I am now reading Ready Player One and am hooked. I owned one of the first Apple computers, and my first two teenaged purchases that I made from my job were an Atari 2600 and a Commodore computer. I’m thoroughly enjoying the 80’s references that are the makeup of the storyline. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what you are reading.

  2. Very intriguing list of books! Would have to agree on the Daniel Pink book and the fact that its an excellent resource for learning about what motivates people. A great read for teachers! I also agree with the listening part of the book(s). If you don’t already have one I recommend signing up for an Audible.com account. You can easily double the number of books your read (or listen to) in a year. While you’re there, and we’re on the topic of Daniel Pink, check out another of his books “A Whole New Mind.” A great book about right brained people and creativity!

  3. Kristi Lonheim Reply

    Ready Player One is on my read aloud list for next year. I was riveted.

  4. Cheryl Lykowski Reply

    Kristi, have you read Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi? It is a futuristic, YA adventure set in the Gulf Coast region. May also be a good read aloud for middle and upper grades.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Yeah…sorry I missed that. Would have gone if I had been in town. Thanks for the next recommendation! You’re my book ninja. 🙂

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