Archive | December, 2015

NaNoWriMo: A Recap

15 Dec

It’s over! We can all sing it from the rooftops and rejoice in the new-found freedom of December. What a relaxing month for writers.

I was a rebel in every sense of the word. I didn’t start until November 16th and I edited, holding myself to a half hour every day instead of 1667 words. I did it, but barely. It wasn’t as successful as last year when I blew my personal goal out of the water each week. I had to skip a lot of days and make them up later. I only made it to one write-in! This is my biggest shame.

If the world was perfect, I’d say that I now write every day. News flash: the world isn’t perfect and I’m no longer ignoring my blog to write fiction (you’re welcome). However, I’m thinking about that story. The characters are in my head every day and I can talk to them, get to know them better. They’re becoming fleshed out. Their story has more depth. There are new scenes being added and others being altered completely. Their story is stronger now, more exciting.

There’s still a lot to do. I’m working the plot now, but after reading some aloud at a mini-retreat this past weekend, I realize the words need some sprucing. It needs a good line edit for sure. There’s still a lot of ‘telling’ to take out and a lot more ‘showing’ to be had. It will all come with time, I’m sure. But I need to find that time.

I’m trying to commit to writing something every day. Maybe a blog post or maybe some of the story. Something. It’s going to be hard, I know this, but it will be worth it in the end I believe. I still think I could publish this story. I still want to share it.

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!

Book Club Reflection: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

14 Dec

I absolutely loved this book. Like some others I’ve loved, it’s hard to put my finger on a reason, but I loved it. The language was beautiful and there was not a single sentence I would have taken out. I was glad to find much of my book group felt the same way.

Stegner was born in Iowa in 1909 and got his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1935. He worked at the University of Wisconsin (like Sid and Larry), Harvard, and eventually Stanford. He died in 1993 in a car crash. He’s very prolific, in both fiction and non-fiction and wrote late into his life.

What we liked about the book is that it was less of a drama. There was nothing spectacular about the characters’ lives, it was just their story and their lives born very plainly for us to read. It was the language of the book that was really beautiful. A lot of us felt that Stegner was talking about friends he knew in real life but knew he could never do them the justice they deserved. There’s a great quote on page 230 that reflects this.

“—Hallie, you’ve got the wrong idea of what writers do. They don’t understand any more than other people. They invent only plots they can resolve. They ask the questions they can answer. Those aren’t people that you see in books, those are constructs. Novels or biographies, it makes no difference. I couldn’t reproduce the real Sid and Charity Lang, much less explain them; and if I invented them I’d be falsifying something I don’t want to falsify.”

I love this so much. When I write a character for my book, it’s only as true as it can be. There’s no perfect reproduction of a person because that person is someone different to everyone they know. My impression of my husband would be different from his friends or his mother’s or his brother’s. One of our members thought that Stegner might have been in love with a woman like Charity, but that she didn’t seem real. To him, perhaps, she was as amazing as Charity, but to someone else, she might have been insufferable. She seemed, in Larry’s eyes, ‘over done’ and fake to some readers.

The title was cause for a good debate in our group. The quote comes from a Robert Frost poem, a stanza of which appears in my copy:

I could give all to Time except—except
What I myself have held. But why declare
The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There
And what I would not part with I have kept.

None of us are quiet poets so if there’s a Reader out there who would care to interpret that for us, please do share. A separate explanation we thought of was how Larry seemed to feel out-of-place a lot. He was an orphan from the Southwest trying to make it as an esteemed professor in the Midwest. I’ve heard many times that people who move away from where they were raised feel like a pretender in the new area. Same goes for those jumping classes. Larry seemed to feel this for a long time. He didn’t feel he fit in with the Langs, commenting on what they had as far as family and money. Only when he’s in Italy, his debts paid off and his daughter away at school, does he finally feel he’s come into the life he’s been living for a long time. He’s found safety in his life with Sally and the Lang’s after a long time wondering.

Our group read Stegner’s other novel The Angle of Repose before I started this blog. The chapter where Larry tells about the beginning of Sid and Charity’s relationship reminded us of this book. In Repose, the writer imagines his grandmother and grandfather as they would have been when first married. Larry does something similar with the Langs. We thought it was beautiful and really well written. Many of us were reminded of a fairy tale.

A scene we all wanted to talk about was Sid burning the tea. Why would he do that? He was right for once, but he let her get away with not trusting him and made her right by default! It was so infuriating. Looking back, it was a prelude to him following her plan when he died. He fought her and gave in by the end. It was how he operated. That scene served well to help the reader understand Charity’s personality and her need to control everything. She always needed to be in charge. When Sid was in charge, boats capsized and people almost drowned. It was better when Charity was in charge.

We felt that Sally had the healthiest relationship with Charity. Charity tried to control Sally less than anyone else. The only time we felt Charity did control her was when she planned their first summer together in Vermont. Charity had the whole thing figured out and it would solve all of their problems; Sally would be crazy not to go along with it. There were little ways she asserted her influence over Larry, washing the dishes with Sid being a great example. Charity was just like her mother: the matriarch of the house. Nothing happened that she didn’t notice. She wanted Sid to be like her father: a rich professor who’s well respected. When he didn’t achieve that, she was upset.

There was a big flip in the relationship between the Langs and the Morgans. At first, the Langs were the providers, having the money and home to help Sally and Larry through a rough time in their lives. Later, when Larry has achieved fame with his fiction, he’s able to use his influence to help Sid get a job. This must have been unsettling for them all. Maybe it’s part of why Sally and Larry moved back to the Southwest. I think they were uncomfortable with how the relationship was developing.

We couldn’t talk about this book without mentioning the strongest character; Sally. The descriptions of her in Europe blew our minds. It was obviously hard for her to walk and that she did it on cobblestones and up European staircases is amazing. Sally and Larry help each other through life and keep each other grounded and this is the biggest similarity between them and the Langs. They are all bound to their spouse indefinitely. Sid brings this up toward the end of the book when speaking to Larry.

“…I admint I’ve taken a kind of comfort from your bad luck. I’ve seen someone else tied and helpless, though for very different reasons. You’ve been constant, a rock, and I’ve admired you for that. But I’ve wondered what your life might have been if Sally hadn’t got polio. You were upward bound when we first knew you, headed up like a rocket. Success might have taken you away from her—you wouldn’t have been the first one. You’ve done a lot anyway, but maybe not all you might have done if you hadn’t had the greater obligation of looking after her. I think your marriage did to you something like what mine did to me.”

I think this passage is beautiful and sad. It speaks to the love each has for their wife, but also makes it seem that they could have been more without the woman in their lives. I don’t think that’s true of either character. I think both were the men they were because of their wives, not in spite of them.

It was a great discussion. In January, we’ll meet to discuss Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novel One Hundred Years of Solitude and I get to lead the discussion! WOOOO.

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!

‘Mockingjay Part II’ Movie- All the action I wanted in Part I

10 Dec
Image via IMDb.

Image via IMDb.

I’ve been waiting for this movie for five years. I read ‘The Hunger Games’ around Thanksgiving 2010 when my husband introduced me to it. Soon after, I read the sequels and was pained that I had to wait a year for the movie. I’ve been to the midnight release of all four movies (and by ‘midnight’ I mean 8 PM because they do that for YA movies, look it up). So you might say I was a little excited for the final movie. I re-read Mockingjay this past summer to prepare myself for what was coming and to allow me to pick out the changes the writers made because of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. In the end, I was not disappointed.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Tigris. I wasn’t sure how well they could look a human cat look like both a human and a cat, but they did really well. She was only human enough to be believable.

The traps in the city. I wasn’t sure how well this would translate visually. The book was vague enough that I thought most people had a slightly different idea how the black goo would look, but it looked how I thought it would if nothing else. It was a great scene. Though, side note, I thought Messalla was the one to die in the goo, not Mitchell. Does anyone else remember?

Cracking the nut. This was one of my favorite sequences in the book and I’m glad none of it was lost in the movie. I loved the visual of it. There’s nothing more for me to say, I loved it.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Replacing Plutarch and Katniss’s conversation with a letter. This was one of two times I noticed that Hoffman wasn’t in the second half of the movie. I think they explained it away well and I was okay with the change. It also gave Haymitch and Katniss more time together which was appropriate.

No military training. I really disliked this part of the book, so I was fine with her sneaking to the capital to join the fight. All of the training was boring and I thought it slowed down the plot a lot.

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

Johanna’s struggles. Okay, so maybe I just lied. The only interesting part about the military training was seeing how much Johanna struggled to be sober and continue training. Knowing that Collins is writing about PTSD, this stands out a lot more to me and I thought this part was important, but maybe not as kid friendly as the writers wanted the film to be.

Snow dies laughing. I thought this was the most ironic part of the whole book, but it was left out. She literally killed them both with one shot, but we don’t see that. I wish it had been left in as I’m assuming it was filmed and cut. How could you not put that in as a writer?

Things That Changed Too Much

Having Prim talk to Peeta. I don’t even remember the name of the character that went in to speak with him in the book, but the idea was that she wouldn’t remind him of Katniss at all. Sending in Prim instead? How could that not remind him of Katniss? Send in a random actress, make her day, and play her off as that character. Would that really have been so hard?

Katniss and Peeta having children young. She was so strongly against this in the book. She did not want kids to grow up in the world she lived in and fought Peeta over children before having them reluctantly. I understand it’s easier to change that so she has children at a young age for a movie’s purposes (don’t want to have bad aging like in HP) but I thought the change was too much.

Haymitch and Effie. Really? Did I forget that happened or was that added? Really?

Reader, I’m dying to know what you think. What did you think of the Mockingjay Part II movie? Do you think it was a good ending to the series?

Until next time, write on.

WWW Wednesday, 9-December-2015

9 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

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


Station ElevenCurrently reading:  Hit 85% in Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I got another renewal out of it so I hope to keep pushing through and finish it by the end of the year.
Nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I want to be back into this by the end of the year and maybe wrap it up early 2016.
So excited to tell you all I started Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel! It’s as great as you all promised it would be and I’m excited to finish this one up quickly because it’s hard to put down.
I just started listening to A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I got this audiobook for free back when the Ford Audiobook club still existed. I’m excited to get into it because I’ve seen so many good reviews.

IMG_2549 Recently finished: Three! I finished three! I used my half day on Friday to finish Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Immediately after, I did the folding and finished that up on Saturday. Doesn’t it look awesome?
It was a nail biter, but I finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr on Sunday driving back from my writers group meeting. I had a paper copy on hold at the library just in case. Phew!
On Monday, I finished up the end of Animal Farm by George Orwell. I didn’t realize I was so close to the end so it was a nice surprise!

Another two book reviews up. This should keep steady now that NaNoWriMo is over. The first is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank which I finished before NaNo. I really enjoyed reading (listening) to this book after having seen the play twice. 4 stars.
The second is Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. I wrote this review late and I didn’t finish it up until after my book club met! I’ll have to write up that reflection this week and you should see it next week. 5 stars.

WatchmanReading Next: I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself. I only have One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez on my bedside table though I have an idea what my first book of 2016 will be. There’s a lot of overlap in my book clubs early in the year because of library sponsored author appearances so I’ll have time to read at least one of my choosing. Yay!
I saw that I’m next in line for the eAudio of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee! Eeeeek, so excited!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (5/5)

8 Dec

Wow, I’m writing this a long time after finishing the book. Thanks, NaNo. I wish I’d been able to do it sooner because this is a book I enjoyed a lot. I read another Stegner book a few years ago, went into it thinking I’d hate it, and ended up loving it. This time, I went in with high expectations and they were met.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Summary from Goodreads:

Tracing the lives, loves, and aspirations of two couples who move between Vermont and Wisconsin, it is a work of quiet majesty, deep compassion, and powerful insight into the alchemy of friendship and marriage.

When I first read that summary, I thought it was too short and didn’t do this book justice. But then again, I don’t think you need to know any more about it. It’s a simple book, really, telling the story of four people whose lives are intermixed and how they live together. It’s a slow novel, but it’s amazing. Stegner’s power over words is incredible and it blew me away what he was able to do with this simple story. I kept clasping the book to my chest and sighing as I read it and my husband wondered what I could be reading! Amazing words didn’t seem plausible. I can’t recommend Stegner’s writing enough.

I thought Sally, Larry, and Sid were very well written, but I thought Charity was a bit over the top. I’m a control freak as well, but some of the things she did were over the top. Especially the end! I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but she goes a bit extreme in her desire to control everything around her. What’s worse is how Sid let her get away with it. He would give in to small things that let Charity be right all the time and come out of every situation on top. It was a bit infuriating and made me dislike her character even more.

The way Stegner writes lets  you relate to all of the characters. I related to some of the control-freak in Charity, myself being someone who likes to have things set in a certain way and follow it. I related to the part of Sid that wanted to make his spouse happy at any cost. There are many football games I’ve watched/been to with my husband to make him happy even when it put me in an uncomfortable or unpleasant situation. I related to Larry’s dedication to Sally and his slow and steady way of life with her and I related to Sally and her obstacles. Anything in life can be a problem for Sally if she let it, but she wouldn’t. It’s much the same way for everyone.

Wallace Stegner Image via Wikipedia

Wallace Stegner
Image via Wikipedia

I enjoyed the beginning of the book the most. I thought Charity and Sally were at their best when they were pregnant together. Before anyone’s world started falling apart, they were all at their happiest and seeing their friendship blossom was most enjoyable. The parts that came after were very ‘real’ and how hard they hit home made them harder to read.

I didn’t like the scenes in Italy. I didn’t think it added very much to the story. There were a few scenes that emphasized characterization, especially of Sally and Charity, but I didn’t see any of it as a turning point for the characters and I think the book would have been the same for me had that part been cut.

Every relationship looks funny from the outside. I’m sure my relationship with my husband or my mother might be strange to some people. But on the inside, it’s perfect. The relationship between Sid and Charity seemed weird, even to Larry, but they were happy. They couldn’t have survived without one another. I’m sure the relationship between all four seemed weird to some others as well. Larry comments a few times about how you would think something wrong was going on between the four of them, but it never did. They loved each other as strongly as family and that might have seemed odd from the outside, too. In the end, we can’t judge a relationship that works because there could be a million reasons why it works and those million would be different from the reasons why your own relationships work. They’re all different.

Writer’s Takeaway: I don’t know if I could replicate it, but Stegner’s turn of phrase is amazing. It’s beautiful and depicts what he wants to say perfectly. I wanted to find an example and turned to a random page. Here’s what I found:

I was writing up a New Mexico snowstorm and I had it coming down thick and heavy, muffling the roads and mounding on adobe walls and windowsills and whitening the pinons and junipers when the tapping came on the door.

Am I the only one who thinks that’s beautiful?

Great book, great read. A full Five out of Five stars.

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:
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner | Book Snob
Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety | Tales from the Reading Room
Review: Wallace Stegner. Crossing to Safety. (1987), New York: The Modern Library. 2002. | Diamond Sharp
Book Review Friday – Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner | P.C. Zick

Book Club Reflection: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

7 Dec

I’m so sorry it took so long to get this post to you all. NaNoWriMo got in my way. About a month ago, my book club met to talk about Fahrenheit 451. I read the book for the first time in school and was surprised to see the group was split 50/50 of those who had read it before and those who were reading it for the first time. One new reader went as far as to say this is now probably her favorite book! The copy provided by our library had an intro by Neil Gaiman which many people really liked. I almost wish I’d had that copy.

A little background information on the book. The idea first came out as a short story called ‘The Fireman’ in 1949 which was serialized over a few years in Playboy magazine. The book as a single work was published in 1953. Bradbury says he got the idea from reels of Hitler burning books but in the same breath will say the book is not political commentary. We felt it had a very ‘Cold War’ feeling, especially at the end when the whole world ended in a split second like it could have with nuclear war. Turning in neighbors (and husbands) reminded us of McCarthyism. Very interesting timing.

Most of our discussion about the book was about themes, we didn’t talk much about characters. The one person we did talk about was Millie. She acted a lot of the time like she was out of it and didn’t realize what was going on around her, but there were two times when she did something to let the reader know how affected she was my Montag’s actions. The first was when she tried to kill herself. It let the reader know early on how unhappy she was and this was followed up by her turning in her own husband at the end of the book which let us know she knew what he was doing and was conscious enough to know it was dangerous.

The other person we couldn’t help but talk about was Beatty. He and Faber were the ‘smart’ people in this book and it’s interesting that Bradbury put them on opposite sides of the censorship debate. Faber sees book burning as a loss of ideas and Beatty wouldn’t disagree, but he’s afraid of what the wrong people will do with those ideas in their head. He thinks it’s safer to control who gets those ideas. There’s usually an intelligent person on the side opposite your own so it was refreshing to hear what he had to say.

At the beginning of the book, Clarisse says to Montag, “Nobody has time for anyone else,” and this is proven to us over and over in ways that are frighteningly similar to today’s world. There are three inventions in Bradbury’s book that we have today: the Walkman, ear radios/Bluetooth, and panel TVs. The mechanical dog was a lot like a modern drone. In addition, we see family TV shows, much like reality TV today. People will feel connected to the ‘real’ people on reality shows, sometimes more so than to their real families. The characters in the book are distracted by the seashells in their ears the same way we’re distracted by our smartphones and tablets. Everything from the government was in a soundbite and the short, easily avoidable aspect of this made the war that ended their lives seem far away and untouchable. Millie was abusing prescription drugs to get a high, something our society battles today. In the end, the characters were back to oral traditions and memorizing stories.

In my review, I argued that Bradbury would like the internet and the free exchange of ideas. When I proposed this to the group, most of them disagreed. The Internet enables us to connect with friends but it also provides us with highly artificial relationships and ways of making us feel less alone when we are completely alone. This is the same comfort Millie feels with her TV family. We are connected and can share thoughts, but a lot of what we are sharing is mind-numbing garbage like cat videos or memes. The upside to the internet is that it’s harder to get rid of than books. Try burning the internet.

Those who had seen the movie adaptations felt the books were more timeless than the films. With the film, the idea of ‘the future’ at the time it was made still seems dated while the book is vague enough to let you come up with your own ideas.

One of our members pointed out that Montag is a paper manufacturer and Faber is a pencil company. When Bradbury was asked about this, he said it wasn’t a conscious decision to do so, but maybe it was somewhere in his head when he choose the names.

I’ll have another reflection up soon for my other book club. Both are taking breaks until January so look for some more then.

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!

Book Review: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (5/5)

3 Dec

I don’t know how I got through school without reading this book. It was never a required text and I never needed it for research. At some point, another blogger gave me the gentle urging I needed. I needed to read this book. Well, in my case listen to it, but all the sam. I’m so glad I finally did.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Summary from Goodreads:

In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.

In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

I’m not sure what I expected of this book, but it’s very different from any other book focusing on the Holocaust. It doesn’t focus on the Holocaust much at all. It gives us a girl who’s living through the fear of being found and having to live with her knowledge of what’s going on outside her small world. It’s a great story of hope and resilience in the face of a terrible situation. I was happy to find it upbeat, with Anne frequently referring to what she would do when she grew up or was released from the annexe. The tragedy of it came from the dramatic irony that the reader knows Anne did not survive to these things. Her wonderful, beautiful life was cut short. Her incredibly written words are limited and we are lucky that they’ve made their way to print at all. The play was mentioned a few times in the essays after the book and I’ve seen it twice, each time shocking me to silence. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t say anything, but the way the ending is done leaves me speechless.

Anne had a knack for describing her roommates. We’re able to see them all brought to life in very different personalities, all portrayed wonderfully on paper. She’s able to capture the quietness of Margot and solemness of her father very well. She doesn’t describe the conspirators in the same way and I think there are two reasons for that. She isn’t living with them 24/7 and a lot of Anne’s writing and observations come from spending so much time with the other inhabitants. The second is that she didn’t feel they were as interesting to write about. We get a little bit about stomach problems  and parties, but not the kind of character analysis we get of the others. Their lives were normal; they didn’t have to live in the annexe.

Anne described herself well and I fell in love with the rebellious, smart young girl. I enjoyed reading her internal reflections and see her mature in the two years she was in hiding. Again, knowing how the story ended was hard because it made me want to cry as I fell in love with her, wanting to tell her to make things right with her mother because there was an end date to their time together.

I remember having a rebellious time with my mother when I was growing up. I think most girls do. It was when my mom had to stop dictating what I did because I had the brain to make my own decisions and make the right ones. She had to trust me to do what was best. I can’t imagine how that dynamic played out in the annexe because Anne couldn’t get away from her mother to make any decisions on her own and anything she did was seen by seven other people.

Image from the Wright State University Library

Image from the Wright State University Library

I enjoyed hearing the ways the roommates found to interact with the outside world. The correspondence courses were a genius idea and I liked that they were able to help at the business after hours and be helpful there. I thought what they did to be useful and to feel as normal as possible was fascinating and I think the conspirators did the best job they could at helping them.

The relationship between Peter and Anne was hard for me to read. I had mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it gave Anne a sense of joy and she obviously had some feelings for Peter and we can only assume he had some back. But at the same time, it must have been hard for the others in the Annexe to see them together, particularly Margot who was then left alone without a partner. It feels like a lot of it was convenience and I think it was wrong of Peter to have any kind of romantic relationship with a  much younger girl, but I don’t fault him for trying to find happiness and letting Anne be happy as well. It must have been nice to have a friend in that situation.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Susan Adams. I think she did a wonderful job and helped me hear Anne’s voice. It must have been difficult to deal with the footnotes and other languages and make it sound like story telling. Susan had a good voice for this story because she sounds young, but she was able to bring a level of maturity to the voice that Anne developed during her tie in the annexe. I would recommend this edition.

I wasn’t sure what to say about a theme for this book, but the recent attacks in Paris make this easy. The reason we read Anne Frank’s diary and the reason it’s lived so long is because it’s told the story of one person who was attacked for what she believed. In the wake of an ISIS attack, it’s easy to think all Muslims want to kill Parisians but that would be the same as Hitler thinking all Jews are ruining Germany and need to be exterminated. It’s too easy for us to group people together and blame them all for the actions of one. Anne Frank teaches us that not everyone is the same. Sometimes it’s a young Jewish girl and how ordinary she was and maybe now we need a Muslim Anne Frank to remind us that not all Muslims are extremist terrorists. Some of them just want to be writers and might have a crush on their neighbors. Just saying.

Writer’s Takeaway: The amazing thing about Anne’s diary is how young she was when she wrote it. I’m told you can develop a talent for writing, but seeing how instinctively Anne seemed to understand description and storytelling makes me wonder how much is natural talent. Anne’s writing isn’t complicated or complex; it’s honest and truthful. It’s wonderfully simple and that’s what we love about it.

I’m so glad I finally read this classic. 5 out of 5 Stars.

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:
The Diary of Anne Frank | Jane Austen’s World

WWW Wednesday, 2-December-2015

2 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

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


SenseCurrently reading:  Still hovering at 80% in Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Thanksgiving didn’t give me a lot of eBook time.
Nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (still).
I made a lot of progress with Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’ve started to care about the characters a lot more and I’m hoping to finish this weekend. It’s hard for me to read a lot of this in one sitting so I read a little bit as often as I can.
Still on pause with Animal Farm by George Orwell.
I’m worried I might not finish All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr before I have to return it. I’ve got it for a few days still, but I’m not yet 75% of the way through! I’ll have to tighten down on listening to it while I do my stretches and cook. I hope that will be enough!

Recently finished: I can’t remember the last time I reported nothing finished for two weeks in a row. This is such a downer.

100 yearsReading Next: Still not change. I’m really excited to start Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel after all the wonderful things I’ve been hearing about it. You guys are getting me to finish Austen as fast as possible!
I hope to be in the middle of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Christmas. I think that would give me enough time to finish it before my book club meets to talk about it.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

Challenge Update, November 2015

1 Dec

This was not a big month for me reading. I had a final early in the month and then did NaNoWriMo, so books were less of a priority than normal, unfortunately. I want to use the rest of this year to dig in and finish as many as I can so I hope to not say this again in 2015  You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in November:

Fahrenheit 451 // Ray Bradbury
The Diary of a Young Girl // Anne Frank
Crossing to Safety // Wallace Stegner

I wanted to finish Pride and Prejudice this month, but I didn’t quite make it.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

13/13
Challenge Completed!
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. My timeline will track all of my books and show which time period they fall into, but it’s a little behind on the updates.

Goodreads Challenge

51/50
Challenge Completed!
I’m so excited to have finished my challenge this month! It made a slow reading month seem a lot more productive than it was. 50 was a good goal for me, I’ll probably stick to it or something similar for next year. My shortened commute makes it harder to finish audiobooks in a timely manner.

Book of the Month

Crossing to SafetyI absolutely loved Crossing to Safety. I hope to do the book review soon before I forget any of the small details, but I really liked the book and it’s an obvious choice for the month.

Added to my TBR

I did so well this month. My self-pride is going to be way out of proportion for the kind of accomplishment this really is (no accomplishment), but I’m so proud of this.

  • Critical Chain by Eliyahu Goldratt (I had to read Goldratt’s other book, The Goal in school and liked how he wrote about business. I’d like to see him do it again!)

My total TBR is down 2 total and now sits at 142. I so got this, haha.

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re doing better than me! If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, it’s fun!

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!