Archive | December, 2014

I Love My Library

18 Dec

I was reading a post by Shiela at Book Journey and it made me realize that I haven’t used my blog to give my library (and all libraries) enough love. That being said, I want to declare publicly that

I LOVE MY LIBRARY!

It hasn’t been said enough on this site. I know that as a Friends Board Member, I’m biased, but I think libraries are a great resource and I want to give a shout out to my local library and the incredible people who work there. So yay Farmington Community Library and thank you for all you do!

There are a lot of services my library has that I use at least once a month. I’m highlighting them here because if there’s anything on this list you would like to see at your library, I’d be happy to discuss it and I encourage you to ask for it locally.

  1. Organized book club meetings. I think it’s obvious why this is a favorite, but I wanted to clarify that two of my book clubs are run by library personnel and I think it’s incredibly helpful to have a staff member running the group because it gives some direction and a group leader. This also leads to my second point:
  2. Sets of Book Club Books. I’ve seen it done other ways, but we call it Books To Go. Basically, you can check out 10-15 copies of a single book along with a folder full of discussion questions which allows patrons to run their own book clubs without the burden of purchasing the book. I love this option and I wish it was utilized more!
  3. eBook and eAudiobook collections. I love this so much. I can check out digital material right from my phone and it returns itself automatically when it’s due. So. Awesome.
  4. Writers’ Group. One of our librarians finally got a monthly writers group off of the ground and it’s be amazing to connect with fellow writers and talk about craft and encourage each other. I’ll put as a sub-tick here that they’ve run NaNoWriMo write-ins the past two years as well.
  5. Author Events. My library takes part in several events each year that bring authors to the local area. I’ve been able to meet Thrity Umrigar, Chris Bohjalian, and Seve Luxenberg through these programs and I’m excited to see where it goes in the future!
  6. Free WiFi. When I first moved to the area, I didn’t have internet at my apartment. When I decided to get a new job, I had to take my laptop to the library and use their internet to do my job search. I’ll be forever grateful to the library for this because I’ve found a job I really like.

There are also a ton of other services they offer that I don’t take advantage of, but I don’t want to diminish how valuable they are as a resource.

  1. After-school resources for the middle school across the street
  2. ESL programs
  3. Computer literacy classes
  4. Children’s programs
  5. Genealogy resources
  6. Movie nights for families
  7. And many many more!

Reader, I hope you’re fortunate to be near your local library and I hope even more that you take advantage of these resources! A library is for more than books; it’s for community and lifelong learning.

Do you love your library as much as I do? What resources are the most valuable to you?

While I have your attention, what do you think about joining an on-line book club? I’ll be hosting the third round of Read-Along With Me and we’re picking our book now. Please vote and send me an email to let me know you’re interested!

 

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 17-December-2014

17 Dec

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! My book finishing rush is continuing with TWO again this week! Woosh.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis. It’s still on hold… and will be for a while… so…
I checked out another one, Ready Player One by Earnest Cline. So far, so good. I’m only a bit into it, but I’m enjoying the story a lot.
One audiobook on my phone is California by Eden Lepucki and I’m back to it with a vengeance, trying to get it done this year. I should be able to, especially with all the time I spend cooking/listening to audio this time of the year.
I’ve just started The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce which is a book club selection for January. I’ve heard good things but I don’t have really high expectations.

Recently finished: Two! Last night I finished The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and man, was it engrossing. I’m really glad I got to read this book and I’m looking forward to the discussion.
I finished Paper Towns by John Green while making cookies on Tuesday and I’m sad to say it wasn’t for me. I’ve read two of John Green’s other books (TFiOS and Alaska) and this one just didn’t cut it for me. Look for a review soon.

I’ve been able to put up a review of The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver so please check that out and let me know what you thought of the book.

Reading Next:  I’m waiting for the work book club selection, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I should have it over Christmas to devour it.
I also have a new audiobook on hold at the library, The Diviners by Libba Bray. My book-club moderator recommended this to me about a year ago and I’m excited to finally get my hands on it.
There’s one more book, TBD, that I’ll be reading soon with my on-line Read-Along book club. We’re currently picking a book to read next. If you want to join in, send me an email and vote below for the book we’ll read!

I can see the finish line of the year and it looks like a pile of books. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (5/5).

16 Dec

This is one of those titles I picked up because I felt like it. I saw it at a library used book sale and having read one of Kingsolver’s other books, decided to give it a try. I wasn’t expecting much because I thought The Poisonwood Bible was a little long-winded and got dry (yes, I know this is not a popular opinion). However, this one was shorter and I thought ‘what the heck.’ Then I proposed it to my work book club and they thought, ‘what the heck.’ So what the heck, we read it.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Summary from Goodreads:

Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

Kingsolver has redeemed herself to me. I read The Poisonwood Bible for the first time in high school and enjoyed it, but when I re-read it last year I struggled to get through it. But this? Wow. I read it super quick and fell in love with so many of the characters. It was hard to understand why Taylor did some of the things she did (more on this coming in my Book Club Reflection), but she was still lovable.

I loved how the characters were so flawed and so perfect at the same time. Lou Ann was loving and maternal yet superficial to a flaw. She was so concerned about small things that shouldn’t have mattered but meant the world to her. Mattie was so determined to do the right thing that she broke the law to do it. Taylor fell in love, but with a married man. These flaws are so natural, so real, and they make the characters lovable.

It’s hard to have a favorite character other than Taylor. She narrates about 90% of the book and she has a voice that I found really engrossing. She’s from poor Kentucky and having family from Kentucky and having lived in Southern Indiana, I really related to this and could hear friends and family who spoke in the cadence I imagined Taylor speaking in and using phrases that made her character stand out.

I related more to Lou Ann than Taylor, though. Taylor was a little too bold for me to feel like her whereas Lou Ann was a little more hesitant and self-doubting, traits I can relate to easily. And she took pride in what she did, even if it was making salsa. I try to do this in any aspect of my life. I have to design a graph for work? It’s going to be the best darn graph you’ve ever seen! I have to turn in a spreadsheet for school? Let me school you on formatting. Yeah, I could see myself in Lou Ann. But I’d like to think I’m not quite as much of a coward and that I wouldn’t take Angel back. I was so proud of her for ignoring him, it was ridiculous.

I loved all the drama tied into the end of the novel, when Taylor went in search of Turtle’s parents with Esperanza and Estevan in tow. What she was doing was so ludicrous, bold, dangerous, and a pure act of love. I hated what she put Esperanza through, but at the same time it was brave and for the best. This novel really focuses on what’s right versus what’s legal. I like how Kingsolver addressed this with Turtle and the Guatemalan immigrants.

Barbara Kingsolver Image via the author's website.

Barbara Kingsolver
Image via the author’s website.

Even though I liked where it led to, I didn’t like how Turtle came into Taylor’s care. It didn’t make sense to me that a single young woman wouldn’t object to a young child being placed into her care. She didn’t resist or try to do anything to fight it and that seemed unrealistic to me. If this scene was different in any way, I would have liked the story a lot more.

I’ve already mentioned that Kingsolver toes the line between right and legal. I also like what she says about family. Lou Ann and Taylor are the least traditional family I could imagine and the fact that the old ladies in their neighborhood are the closest things to grandparents the kids have makes it even better. A family is a group of people who love each other no matter how much blood they share. The environment that Kingsolver  creates for Turtle and Dwayne Ray is more neutering than many traditional families found in books or in real life. I really liked this message.

Writer’s Takeaway: The thing that stole my heart about this book instantly was the voice it had. Taylor’s narration leapt right off the page and is a great example of a first person point of view book. I’d recommend it to anyone struggling with adult first person writing.

Well written, great story, lovely characters. a full Five out of Five stars.

This book fulfilled ‘Arizona’ for my Where Are You Reading? Challenge.

If you’re thinking about joining a book club, please consider joining my on-line book club from the comfort of your own home. Check out this post and vote below for our selection.

 

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts

Book Club Reflection: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

15 Dec

To round out my week of ‘The Namesake,’ I’m ready to share our book club discussion of the novel. If you missed the other posts, you can read my opinion on the book and the movie in these links.

Everyone in our group enjoyed this book, which doesn’t happen very often. The last book I remember us all liking was The Light Between Oceans. We tend to have very eclectic tastes.

Lahiri had a very descriptive style. Granted, most authors describe things in detail, but her way of being descriptive of small details and still keeping a relatively high-level narrative was distinct enough that we all noticed and commented on her abilities. I think it’s a real gift of hers.

Lahiri herself was born in England (the reason she was eligible for the Man Booker prize in 2013) though she lived the majority of her life in the US and says she feels American. Like Gogol, she remembers visiting Calcutta during her childhood and learning about her Bengali culture.

I had never heard of Gogol before this book and in truth, I have no interest in reading any of his work. (Fun fact, we have the same birthday!) No one in the group had read any of his work, but some had heard of him before. I like that Lahiri chose a real though not very popular writer for this work. It makes the name mean a lot more and the characters seem even more tangible.

One thing a fellow reader noticed that I’d totally missed was that everything seemed to happen on a train! Ashoke’s accident, Gogol meeting his first girlfriend, Ruth, and him finding out about Moushumi’s affair. All on trains. I guess I would think that this has to do with travel and having a journey toward learning something or discovering something about yourself. But that sounds like high school English teachers reading too far into a book. Or maybe my teacher was right about metaphors.

Gogol’s name seemed to follow him his entire life. he hated his name and wished it wasn’t his and toward the end, seems to wish he had kept it as it connected him to his father. Even after he legally changed his name, the narrative still referred to him as Gogol. We felt that was a reflection of how he viewed himself. Our group suspected he might change his name back after finding out about his father’s accident, but he didn’t seem to have any inclination toward it.

We felt that the name Nikhil was a mask he could wear that helped him blend in with white America. I think having a Russian name was confusing for him because he wanted to have a name that gave him an identity and his name clashed with his ethnic identity and his surroundings. Being Nikhil, he could identify himself as Bengali-American and this gave him confidence. He was confident enough to be Maxine’s boyfriend and leave home for school and work.

One of our discussion questions asked if we think he would have been happier if he were born with a ‘good’ name. We couldn’t say conclusively that he would be happier, but he wouldn’t have worried so much about how others would perceive his name.

We talked about why Ashoke keep his accident a secret from Gogol for so long. I thought he might tell when Gogol wanted to change his name in an attempt to explain why it was so important. We thought it was likely because he wanted to save his children from knowing about his pain. As children, we see our parents as superheroes who are incapable of being hurt. Telling his children too young would have shattered this image for Gogol and Sonia. We did think that betrayal was a bit of an over-reaction on Gogol’s behalf as a result of hearing the story.

Gogol’s life became very ‘anglicized’ and American from a cultural standpoint. He never spoke his parents language and for most of his life, he rejected anything that reminded him of his culture. It seemed that his parents were slightly disappointed in this for a long time and only after the kids grew up were the parents more accepting. Ashima encourages Gogol to make amends with Max at one point and the family is very accepting of Sonia’s non-Bengali husband. After all, Gogol’s ‘perfect’ Indian wedding ended terribly.

Gogol seems to have no luck when it comes to a lasting relationship. He was with Max for a long time, but decided he wanted something more in line with his culture. Then he had Moushumi and she wanted something less in line with her culture and parents. Our group felt that she wasn’t mature enough to be married from the information we have about her and her past with men. There was no mutual ‘finding’ in these characters; they couldn’t find each other at the right times. Gogol has picked the wrong people until the end of the book; nothing’s making him happy.

Mo seemed to seek out her affair, which is one reason our group didn’t think she was mature enough to be in a lasting relationship. At the first signs of her and Gogol disagreeing on something or her feeling restrained by him, she sought out Dimitri; recognizing him by his handwriting. She seemed to have developed this pattern of behavior when she lived in Paris. She didn’t learn how to be in a steady relationship and getting married was no way to figure it out.

One of our questions was how the story would have differed if the people were from less affluent background. We’re not sure the story would have existed in that circumstance. The reason Ashoke came to America is because he had the means to get to the US. The same goes for all the Bengali families, including Moushumi’s. They had the education and money to attend school and be trained for high-paying jobs. Because Gogol enjoyed this lifestyle, he met Max. Without money, the story might have happened in India and that would have been quite a different story altogether.

We were all frustrated with Gogol when he was dating Max and seemingly replaced his family with hers. He was ignoring his mother and father, hiding among Max’s family. He seemed so interested in her family and learning to become a part of it that he didn’t have the energy to devote time to his own family. Many of the people in my group have children of their own and they gave me the great nugget of wisdom that kids don’t realize how much their parents care about them until they have children of their own and can realize how strong the love between parent and child is.

Gogol seemed so disinterested in visiting his family in Calcutta that someone asked if we thought he would take his family to India to see relatives. He was so miserable when they would go visit that we doubted it, but remembered his change of heart after his father died and he was more than willing to go spread his father’s ashes. The sad truth is that Gogol won’t have much family left in India that he knows well and can go back to visit. Most of them have passed away. Ashima lamented this when describing how the party to meet them at the airport grew smaller and smaller each time they’d go back. Even if he wants to go back, there may not be anyone who remembers him well enough to welcome him in.

I really really really loved this book and it was awesome to discuss it with some other bibliophiles who enjoyed it as much! If I can get my hands on a copy of Lahiri’s other novel, I’ll be sure to snatch it up.

ALSO! If you’re interested in joining my on-line book club, please take the time to vote below for our next selection. You can read more about past Read-Alongs here.

 

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Vote for the Read Along Book and Join My On-Line Book Club!

15 Dec
Image created by the lovely Claudia

Image created by the lovely Claudia

It’s that time again, friends! I’m gearing up for a Read-Along to start in the new year. So get ready for some voting to appear in my posts until Friday. This post will be a stick one and I’ll have links to the Goodreads pages for each book below. One vote per person!

Are you interested in joining in? Send me an email to SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com and I’ll add you to the mailing list to keep you abreast of the discussions and book choices.

 

Happy Reading!

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Friday 56, 12-December-2014

12 Dec

Welcome to the Last Day of Finals edition of The Friday 56 hosted by Freda on Freda’s Voice. Head on over there and check out the other participating blogs.

Friday 56

The way this meme works is pretty simple. If you want to join in, head over to Freda’s blog and add your link.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book (I grab the one I’m currently reading)
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.

I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and I’m really enjoying it. It’s the right mix of creepy and scary and entertaining. Pretty much, it’s amazing. Here’s a quote from the 56th page:

Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.

Wow. I think this really speaks to the story. Offred and her contemporaries ignored the violence and oppression happening around them because it wasn’t happening to them. They knew about it, just choose not to worry about it. By the time it was happening to them, there was nothing they could do. They were being ignored. She was trying to ignore the things she knew were happening around her and it took an effort to continue on as if nothing was wrong. Wow. Yay Margaret Atwood.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sisterhood Blog Award

11 Dec

Okay, time for some blog loving! I have two blog awards to accept. The first is a Liebster award from Darcy at Darcy’s Book Blog. Thank you so much to Darcy! As I’ve received this award before, I’m not going to nominate others but I will have fun and answer the questions.

  1. What got you into reading?
    • My mom. She was always reading when I was a child and got me to read a lot when I was young. When I got into college, I started reading less but when I graduated, I got back into it. Book blogging has encouraged me to keep going strong.
  2. What was your favorite book from your childhood?
    • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Because Sam I am.
  3. Where is your favorite spot to hang out that is not your home?
    • The library. 🙂
  4. What do you like to drink while reading? Tea? Coffee? Wine? Nothing?
    • Chai lattes from my Keurig. It’s by far the best gift I got for my wedding.
  5. Do you have a favorite classic?
    • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  6. What genre is your favorite?
    • This is always hard for me. Probably historical fiction, but I love YA, some fantasy, and memoirs.
  7. Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
    • Hermione Granger. She’s a great character and a strong role model for girls.
  8. Who is your favorite villain?
    • I always struggle with this question because I don’t normally love villains. None?
  9. Who is your favorite author?
    • John Irving
  10. Whose library do you want to live in?
    • My local community library. I love it so much.
  11. Freebie. Write what you want here.
    • Turtles.

However, the real reason I’m writing this post is to celebrate a new award that I’ve been given by my great friend Claudia at Living on Borrowed Days. This is celebrating the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award and I’m very excited to accept this award.

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award11

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you, and link back to their site
  • Post the award on your blog
  • Answer the 10 questions you’ve been asked
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers and as them 10 questions

Numbers one and two are done. Here are my answers to the questions Claudia asked:

1. You are at a Karaoke party, what song will you be singing?

  • Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen. I sang it once and was told I did it well, so it’s now a go-to.

2. If you could ask any author, celebrity, famous person 3 questions, who would that said person be and what 3 questions would you ask?

  • It would have to be J.K. Rowling. Yes,fangirl moment for sure. I would ask:
    • What character is your favorite?
    • Who was the hardest to kill?
    • Who is the most like you?

3. Name five things that are in front of you right now

  • My loving husband
  • My feet
  • A TV that’s off
  • Coffee table books
  • A tempting bowl of chocolate

4. What is your favorite outdoor activity?

  • Cycling. It’s so freeing and therapeutic.

5. What did you aspire to be when you were a small?

  • A middle school math teacher. I really liked my teacher at the time and wanted to be like her.

6. Who is the most inspirational person you know?

  • My mom. I think she’s done amazing things and I hope I can be as great an influence on my children as she was on me.

7. What is the one thing you do that often gets you into trouble?

  • I’m always in such a hurry to get things done that I sometimes miss a few little things that get pointed out and I have to go back and fix.

8. I have to ask this questions because I’m a die-hard superhero fan; so, if you could be any superhero, who would it be and why?

  • I’m not much into superheroes, to be honest. I really like the X-Men and I would say Dr. Xavier, but when he could walk. I’d love to read people’s minds and see what they’re thinking.

9. What was the last movie/TV show/book that made you cry?

  • I watched Titanic a few months ago. It makes me cry every darn time!

10. Make a wish!

  • That your Christmas is merry and jolly and full of love!

Okay, so now I get to award this to ten fellow bloggers. I’m really excited to pass this award to:

  1. Yvo from It’s All About Books
  2. Jen from Jen’s Pen Den
  3. Haley from As I Lay Reading
  4. MrsMamfa
  5. Yamini from The Skeptical Reader
  6. Lipsyy from Lipsyy Lost & Found
  7. Cathy from 746 Books
  8. Maureen from cooking with the book club
  9. Alena from AlenasLife
  10. Amanda from Amanda’s Nose in a Book

Congratulations to all of these very deserving and wonderful nominees! I’m very honored to nominate you for this award. Here are your ten questions.

  1. What book have you re-read most often?
  2. Favorite book to movie adaptation?
  3. Do you have a pet?
  4. What’s on your bookshelves besides books?
  5. What’s the worst book you’ve read this year?
  6. Who do you talk about books with the most?
  7. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not reading?
  8. Do you practice any athletic sports or hobbies?
  9. If you could snap your fingers and have one book RIGHT NOW, what would it be?
  10. Are you going to check out the other nominees?

Another big thank you to the lovely Claudia. Please take a look at her amazing blog if you haven’t already. And congratulations to everyone again.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge: COMPLETE!

10 Dec

BlogImageBigQuick update: I finished my blog challenge! In case you missed it, this was a 13 book challenge where I challenged readers to read a book set in each of 13 time periods. Here’s the list of books I used to finish the challenge. You can see a complete listing on my Challenge Progress Page.

I have several books in many of these categories, but these were the first to fulfill their time period. I had a lot of fun doing this challenge and I hope to do it again next year with one or two minor adjustments.

Would you be interested in doing this challenge next year? Let me know if you want to participate and I’ll keep you in the loop.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 10-December-2014

10 Dec

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! And I’ve finally hit that rush of finishing books I’ve been anticipating for a while. Two this week! TWO!

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis. And to make my life more awesome, I don’t have it checked out any more. It’s going to be a while before I get to read it again, so this is on hold.
One audiobook on my phone is California by Eden Lepucki and which I’ve put on hold. I need to stop making that a habit! It’s okay and I intend to finish it… soonish.
I’ve begun The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for a book club and I’m really enjoying it so far! It’s a great dystopian conversation that’s scary and unbelievable yet realistic. Creepy is probably a good way to say it.
I’m activly listening to Paper Towns by John Green checked out as an e-audiobook. I’m not super far into it yet, but I’m hoping to get through it fast as this is now my main audiobook.

Recently finished: I finished Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio yesterday. It. Was. Amazing! I’m so glad I made it through this story though it might be a while before I’m brave enough to pick up the sequel!
I’ve also finished These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. And with that I’ve finished my own When Are You Reading? Challenge. Yay! Nothing like fulfilling your own standards to pump you up.

I’ve also put up a review of The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri which was amazing and you should all read immediately.

Reading Next:  I’ve got two in the queue now: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. This is for a book club that meets in January so I’m feeling a slow read of this one. The other is for my free-form work book club and we’re reading Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I don’t know how to describe how excited I am about this. One woman finished it in less than a week, which is quick for us! We might be talking about this before Christmas holiday!

School ends on Friday and I plan to drive home and read all evening with a glass of wine to celebrate. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

‘The Namesake’ Movie- It’s weird to see Kal Penn do something serious.

9 Dec
Image via Amazon

Image via Amazon

When Googling The Namesake for book reviews, I realized there was a movie based on the book. I was even more excited to see it starred Kal Penn, who I’ve enjoyed in Harold and Kumar and I was interested to see him in a Drama playing a serious character. My husband and I watched it about a day after I finished the book and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the adaptation.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Gogol with emotions! In the book, we don’t see how Gogol reacts to many things. He seems like a very stoic character, which bothered me a bit. But Penn plays him with plenty of joy and sadness. Kudos.

Maxine! Actress Jacina Barrett played a wonderful character that I was able to sympathize with and dislike at the same time. Maxine and Gogol were together during a very pivotal part of his life and I think her portrayal helped us see that.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Extending the amount of time focusing on Ashima and Ashoke. At first, it bothered me that we weren’t seeing as much of Gogol and his (mis)adventures in childhood and adulthood. But after discussing this book, I realize that Ashoke was just as important in this novel and it’s nice to have spent so much time with him.

Making Ashima a singer. No worries, it was a nice touch.

Giving Ashima’s friend from the library a larger role. It was nice to contrast this woman with Maxine in the scene depicting Ashoke’s memorial service. Ashima cared enough to tell her to wear white whereas Gogol didn’t bother to tell Max anything.

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Gogol trying out the name Nikhil before he changed it. I thought the scene when he went to a college party pretending to be older was crucial in his decision. He was able to try the name on, feel more confident with it, and get himself thinking about becoming Nikhil before he did. I missed that.

Diminishing Sonia. She had a really beautiful relationship with her mother toward the end in both, but her own life and the story of her and Ben was too little for me in the movie. I thought it was important that Ben was from a mixed background and could probably identify with Sonia when it came to identity issues. I wish that had been touched on because of the contrast with Gogol and Moushumi.

Things That Changed Too Much

Having Gogol find out about the infidelity on the way to Ashima’s party. I think it took the viewer’s mind away from the big change that was happening to Ashima and focused the attention too much on Gogol. While Moushumi leaving him is a huge thing, the final scene was about Ashima and she was diminished with this change.

Things That Changed for Adaptation Reasons But I’m Still Mad About

Replacing Sebastian with Pierre. Besides the name change, which I’m legitimately upset about, I understand why they cut this part. The way Moushumi was connected to Sebastian was a little convoluted, even in a book where we could jump through time. But on film, it would have been almost impossible to tell the same story. I understand why it was done, but I think it put Moushumi beyond the sympathy of the viewers.

Overall Reactions

I thought this was a well-done adaptation. There were no major changes to the plot or big characters that were cut. I felt the same way after the movie as I did after reading the book. I thought it was a great change.

Reader, I want to know what you thought. What did you think of the Namesake movie? Have you both seen the movie and read the book? Did it change the book too much for you to enjoy? Is there anything else you would add to my lists?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!