Archive | October, 2016

‘Still Alice’ Movie- Even more heart wrenching than the book.

31 Oct
Movie Poster via Wikipedia

Movie Poster via Wikipedia

This wasn’t a book I was planning on reading nor a movie I was planning on watching. Yay for book clubs. The copies we got from the library were movie-covered copies so I realized immediately that there was a movie with Julieanne Moore. I’m a big fan of hers so I was excited to jump in and see the character she brought to life for an award.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

 

Alice’s change. Seeing her change, the physical aspects of it, was really jarring. It was most obvious when she watched the video she’d made before the illness got really bad. The calm collected, rational Alice on the computer was so different from the frantic, slow-speaking Alice watching the video. It really brought home for me how life-altering the disease was. The last scene particularly was heart wrenching.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

 

Alice looked completely different. Genova describes Alice as having short, black, curly hair several times and I thought this would bother me as I watched the movie but I was really OK with it.

Tom having a bigger role. After Tom tested negative, he didn’t have much of a role in the book. The focus was on Alice’s relationship with Lydia and Anna’s struggles accepting her future and raising a family. I liked that movie Tom came back for Alice’s speech as her main support system. That gave him a lot more standing.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

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

The support group. I thought Alice’s support group showed really well that her decline was faster than most and highlighted her change as compared to others. It was really powerful to see Alice organize a group of people who suffered from the same disease and see them all come together in such a way.

 

Things That Changed Too Much

 

Jack. In the book, he was obviously trying to cure Alzheimer’s and spent a lot of time away from Alice for research and to escape the pain it caused him to watch his wife change. He was a lot less sympathetic in the film where he seemed removed and self-centered with no major pressure to try and cure the illness stealing his wife from him.

It’s been a while since I could read and watch the same story so immediately. In both the movie and the book, this did feel like it was more about raising awareness for Alzheimer’s than it was about the story. There were a lot of elements that highlighted the disease as a whole and though there was a ton of focus on Alice, I felt the amount about Alzheimer’s treatments was a bit forced. Reader, have you see the Still Alice movie? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

Writers Group: Getting ready for NaNo!

27 Oct

For those of you reading this who are also writers, you know that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is just around the corner. My library does an awesome NaNo program and we utilized our writers’ group meeting this month to talk about the process.

The teen librarian at our branch location is a writer and big fan of NaNo.  She utilized the time to talk about the history of NaNo and how this crazy experiment came to be. It’s a great time to let our characters (and plots) run free and many people have found great inspiration during NaNo. Unlike the traditional 50K words goal, our library program encourages people to pursue their own goals and chase them as we choose. (I already posted about my NaNo Rebel Plan). We host write-ins twice a week and having the community creates a great guilt trip for not participating!

For those of you participating or thinking of participating in NaNo, I encourage you to find your local region on nanowrimo.org. I’m very fortunate to live in a major region (that may or may not consistently beat Chicago for words writing) and one of the MLs (Municipal Liasons) for the Detroit region was at our humble library meeting. Events are kicking off this weekend for the event kick off next Tuesday.

This will be my fourth year ‘participating’ in NaNo. I won traditionally in 2013 and have used the last two years to edit, a practice I will continue this year. If you are at all intrigued, I encourage you to check out events and others in your region (check the site!). If you happen to be a fellow Detroit-writer, check out the region events- they’re awesome and there are tons of them.

Best of luck to my fellow writers! I’ll be joining you on November 10th as soon as my final exam is over.

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, 26-October-2016

26 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm 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?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Cat DancingCurrently reading: I think I got through one chapter of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I’m still enjoying this one even though I’m going through it so slowly. I always read ebooks slowly so this is no surprise.
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett. Ugh.
I was able to start Stiff by Mary Roach on Friday. I introduced my coworker to audiobooks and he wanted to start this one during a work trip to Cleveland. We got through almost three hours of it and I’m going to show him how to get books on his phone so he can finish it himself. Yay!
I started The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham. It’s more of a Western than I was expecting which is wonderful. I don’t remember the last time I read a Western and I’m really enjoying it!
I started the audiobook of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. This book focuses more on Zelda before the plot of Call Me Zelda so it will be interesting to listen to these two close to each other and compare the character.

bookofliesRecently finished: My book tidal wave came! I finished three this week. The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer was my latest finished, earlier this week. It was fun to listen to a thriller but it always seems like some things are too convenient in this genre and it bothers me from time to time. Overall, enjoyable. My review will come next week.
I finished Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck last Thursday. It was a little too over-dramatic for me at times and too slow at others. Overall, everything tied up well and I liked that but it wasn’t quite right for me. My review went up yesterday.
I finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova and have already watched the movie. Wow! The writing in this book was a little weak in places in my opinion, but the plot was great and I’m really amazed at Genova’s ability to write Alice. My review went up Monday.

Reading Next: I try not to do this, but I’m not going to put anything here this week. I’m just starting so many books, it’s hard to say when they’ll be over and I’m not anticipating anything just yet.


I have a class after work Wednesdays through November so please be patient with me due to delayed responses. I’m checking as often as I can.

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: Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck (3/5)

25 Oct

My love of the 1920s and my love of The Great Gatsby led me to wanting to read books about Fitzgerals and mor notably, his wife Zelda. Much is written about both and they were very influential members of the Lost Generation. I’m really glad that this means a lot of fiction about Zelda and her life to get me in the mood for more 1920s awesomeness. I wanted to read this book for a long time and found a copy at the library’s used book sale, but I ended up going with the audiobook of this title.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Call me Zelda by Erika Robuck

Summary from Goodreads:

From New York to Paris, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald reigned as king and queen of the Jazz Age, but those who really knew them saw their inner turmoil.

Committed to a Baltimore psychiatric hospital in 1932, Zelda vacillates between lucidity and madness as she fights to forge an identity independent of her famous husband. She discovers a sympathetic ear in her nurse Anna Howard, who finds herself drawn into the Fitzgerald’s tumultuous lives and wonders which of them is the true genius. But in taking greater emotional risks to save Zelda, Anna may end up paying a far higher price than she ever intended.

I thought this book would focus more on the time leading up to Zelda being committed so that was a slight let-down. I really liked how Anna told the story. It would have been so different to have Zelda talk about her life with Scott but having Anna see it objectivly and figure out how they had become what they were was really interesting. I liked having Anna’s backstory and adventures in the story as well, it gave it a lot of depth. Most of the time, I was cheering for Anna even when Zelda was a pain. Some things I found a bit unbelievable but I could see the Fitzgerald’s relationship growing the way Anna saw it and understood it from the past. It seemed a very sad but very real marriage.

One of the things that bothered me about this book was Anna’s obsession with the Fitzgeralds. She doesn’t seem to understand it herself so as a reader it was harder to understand. Why was she so taken with this one patient? It seemed to be her celebrity and Anna reacts irrationally to this which is made frustrating by all of her other actions being so rational. If she was going to quit her job and stand up for a woman who was clearly not stable because she was a celebrity, why would she be so put together when it came to all other decisions? This inconsistency was essential for the plot but dragged it down for me.

Despite this, Anna was my favorite character. It was hard to get attached to Scott and Zelda at this point in their lives. I’m sure if it had been 10-15 years earlier, they would have won me over but past their heyday, they’re not as likable. Anna had things going for her and though she was a somewhat bland character, she was easy to root for. I just had to hope she made logical decisions.

Part of what made this novel a little difficult for me is that there was no character I could relate to. Zelda and Scott are nothing like me and Anna was very haunted by her past, something I’ve never felt. The only other strong character was Peter and while I’m also a Catholic, I’m no priest. Maybe he was the easiest for me to relate to in retrospect, but I don’t think he had enough of a role in the plot to be a character I felt was flushed out enought to be relatable.

Erika Robuck Image via Goodreads

Erika Robuck
Image via Goodreads

I enjoyed hearing about Anna’s life, especially her romantic relationship with Will and Sorin. Sorin was a great side character and I wanted even more out of him. He seemed very shy to have saved her from a violent attack. And I thought Anna was weak-willed not to confront him about his misunderstanding earlier which, in my opinion, ruined all chances of them being together. Maybe Robuck always wanted her to be with Will and that was cute and sweet, I can appreciate it.

I was really upset when Anna quit her job to work for the Fitzgeralds. She was not being a medical professional by the way she acted, covering for Zelda and becoming to close to her. It was very out of character from how she described her time in the war. If she’d been that much of a professional, she wouldn’t have formed the bond and then we wouldn’t have this story. If there’d been some kind of emotional trauma that could have started her close feelings to Zelda, it would have been mor believable.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Amy Landon. I thought Landon did OK but her voice was somewhat flat through the book. She has a very ‘whimsical and airy’ voice which was right for large parts of the novel as Anna seems to observe the things around her without feeling them. But at times when there was a fire to put out or emotional trauma, this vocal quality made me feel disconnected from the real trauma Anna was feeling.

It seems odd to say, but friendship was a big theme of this book. Anna shouldn’t have befriended her charge like she did and it was highly innappropriate and then Anna left them to go back to her own life which seems a poor thing for a friend to do. But the ending was something only a friend would do. What Anna did for Zelda was a great service to her and it as sweet to see. I’m not sure it was believable, but it was sweet.

Writer’s Takeaway: Character motivation was lacking for me in this book. Anna went from disciplined and professional to covering for mental patients and quitting her job. There needed to be more motivation for this drastic change because I didn’t blieve it and was put-off by her inconsistency from the beginning.

A fun read but frustrating at times and somewhat flat. Three 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:
My Review of Erika Robuck’s Call me Zelda | Musings in the Middle
Two Books about Zelda Fitzgerals: Z and Call Me Zelda | Book Addiction

Book Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova (4/5)

24 Oct

Somewhere in my brain, I’d heard of this movie. I knew it had Julianne Moore but that’s about all I knew. My book club picked it and I knew Alzheimer’s was involved so this wasn’t going to be a happy ending. I’m writing a book myself that has a major character with Alzheimer’s so I was interested to see how Genova handled this.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Summary from Goodreads:

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life–and her relationship with her family and the world–forever.

Just reading the description, I knew this book wasn’t going to end well. There’s no fixing Alzheimer’s. I thought it was interesting to choose Alice as a narrator. It helped the reader feel the same confusion when Alice would forget someone’s name or that she had said something or what she was looking for. It also helped me sympathize with Alice and what she was going through rather than looking at someone who’s confused and acting irrational and wondering why they’re doing what they are. She’s not sitting there laughing to herself for no reason, she’s giggling at the geese and the silly things they’re doing. It was very pointed when John narrated and I’m glad it was thrown in because I’m not sure the reader could have processed what his voice gave us through Alice’s eyes.

From what I’ve read, Alice’s path through Alzheimer’s is not atypical but it’s hard to say what’s ‘normal’ or ‘standard’ in such a disease. I thought the ways her family reacted were representative of caregiver testimonial’s I’ve read. John wanted to ignore her and her daughters cared for her. Lydia didn’t want to get tested but Anna wanted to overcome something she might pass on. I thought it was really beautiful and showed a wide range of reactions.

Lydia was my favorite (only dampened when I found out who plays her in the movie). I liked that she was independent and followed what she wanted. She pretended she didn’t care what Alice thought but she really loved her mother and left her boyfriend in California to move back toward home and help her family. That got overlooked by Alice who forgot about him, but as a reader, I was able to remember it. I thought that showed Lydia’s strength well.

I related well to John. It’s hard to know what to do when someone is sick. When my parents have been ill (granted, not terminally), I had a hard time coping with ‘the new normal.’ What is life like now? Do I change everything or do I continue on like I would? I’m very practical in this sense, even in my work. I try not to be emotional about a single person but I double-guess myself about not feeling enough. I think John felt this way. He wanted to get away from things a little (like going to the lab) but attacked the problem very rationally.

Lisa Genova Image via USA Today

Lisa Genova
Image via USA Today

I thought Genova handled the later part of the book very well. It was painful to read some scenes through Alice’s eyes and know that she was suffering when she was unaware or to see her grow confused as her memories faded in and out. It was very well executed and it helped me go through the pain right along with Alice.

I felt the book was a bit jumpy, even before the majority of Alice’s memory failure. It would jump forward in time to when something important happened and gloss over the fact that she was able to go for long stretches with little or no issue. It was off-putting because I couldn’t tell how Alice was progressing for parts of the book.

 

Genova has an odd corner on the market writing about neurological disorders. I think it’s really great she’s using fiction to bring awareness to segments of the population largely underrepresented in fiction and ignored by society. It’s hard to understand someone who has Autism or Huntington’s disease or ALS. But it’s easier when it’s a fictional person and you’re reading through his or her eyes. I think reading helps open our minds to what others are going through and Genova has done this in a wonderful way with Alice. I’m excited to see the movie because Genova has praised Moore’s portrayal (well, she did win an Oscar).

Writer’s Takeaway: It had been a while since I read a book in third-person limited that had me aware of the limits of the narrator. Alice would meet someone and then thirty minutes later meet that person again like it was the first time. As the reader, you’re aware of it happening but you’re also aware that Alice is lost and a bit confused. It was very well-chosen and executed.

A great story with strong characters that only had me wishing for slightly tighter prose. Four 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:
Book Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova | the incessant bookworm
Still Alice by Lisa Genova | Fill Your Bookshelf
Throwback Thursday: Still Alice by Lisa Genova | Going Through Books
Review: ‘Still Alice’ by Lisa Genova | bitter 20-something

Writing Retreat: Conferences and Other Advice

20 Oct

I’m fortunate enough to be part of a writers group comprised of some wonderful and open women (and a man) who get together a few times a year to share our writing and enjoy some amazing food. Our gracious host is a chef and fills our bellies as well fill pages with our writing. We met this past weekend and though my head was miles from writing, I was able to do a few things I was proud of.

We first talked about writing conferences. One of our members has attended a few and got some good stuff out of her time in them. Others had been to one or two and though they had good things to say about parts of them, other parts didn’t deliver. I have a feeling that the first conference I go to will be awesome no matter what but that I’ll start to feel some have more value than others if I go to several. Some that were mentioned were Algonkian, Romance Writers of America, and two local conferences to Detroit, Midwestern Gothic and the Rochester Writers Conference.

We talked about style as well. One member volunteered that an editor she’d worked with said you should know three things about a book: 1) the character’s journey described in one word 2) the theme and 3) the perspective. The ending should be included in this as well. While perspective seems hard, thinking about the theme of a book is never in my mind when I start out and having to describe the journey’s in one word is tricky. Having these things in mind when talking about the book is very helpful, though. Another nugget she’d gotten from her agent is that when you have two narrators (as I do in one of my novels), the perspective should be split almost 50/50 between the two. I’ll have to take a look at my book because I suspect one character has more ‘face time’ than the other.

I brought this up in the group as we talked through our NaNo plans. My group is amazing in helping me come up with ideas for the book and I’m so excited to get started with editing the book starting November 10th!

We did two prompts as well. The first was a visual prompt where our host grabbed a few things from her kitchen and asked us to find inspiration there. The second one was for each of us to come up with a few ‘What if…’ statements which inspired us to write some short pieces.

It was a great evening. They’re planning to get together for a NaNo party that unfortunately lies before my final exam. I hope to make it but I’m not holding my breath. We’ll see how this whole thing goes.

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, 19-October-2016

19 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm 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?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


zeldaCurrently reading: No movement with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment which might grant me a little bit of time coming up this week, but I’m, unfortunately, not hopeful. We’ll see how this goes!
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett. I keep thinking about the story and I can’t wait to get the audio back!
I made decent progress on The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer as I did errands this past weekend. I’m hoping to get this done soon because I have some other audiobooks I really want to catch up on but I’m being realistic and I know a car audiobook will take me some time.
I’m really getting close to finishing Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck. I’m not a big fan of this one, to be honest. I’m kind of looking forward to it being over so I can move on to something I think I’ll enjoy more.
As many of you implied, Still Alice by Lisa Genova is great. I’m flying through it and I’m hoping to finish up soon so I can get on to some other titles but this is a great roller coaster to be on!

Recently finished: Nothing! I’m so sad about this. I really wanted to say I’d gotten through at least one of these titles, but no such luck! I’m hoping for a tidal wave of ‘finishing books’ to come in the next week and pack this section to the brim. Fingers crossed.

stiffReading Next: I’m still planning on Stiff by Mary Roach which is sitting on my bedside table and ready to be downloaded on my phone. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it either way but right now, audio is sounding better so I can grab some physical books off of my shelf.


I have a class after work Wednesdays through November so please be patient with me due to delayed responses. I’m checking as often as I can.

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!

A Tough Nerd Decision

18 Oct

If you’re a WWW Wednesday-er, you might have heard me mention this before. I’ve recently made a really hard book-nerd decision and I still have mixed feelings about it but I will go on. Let me explain.

I love buying books as I’m sure many of you reading this do as well. I have an entire shelf devoted to these books that I have bought and not yet read. It’s almost full. As in this is a problem. The compounding factor is that for so long, I would buy books that were on my Goodreads TBR that also had audiobook copies available at my local library. For a long time, that was no problem as there were so many audiobooks at the library I didn’t own physical copies of. That’s ended. I’m out of easily available audiobooks that are on my TBR. I’m starting to listen to books I hadn’t planned on reading and some of the books on my TBR are sinking farther and farther away from me as they drift down the pile.

I got sick of this. I’ve listened to three books this summer I never intended to listen to (I won’t say which) and while two were good, one wasn’t and the whole time, I kept wishing I was going through my shelf books instead. So, I’ve decided to do that.

Unless there’s a very good reason I want to read a physical copy of the book (some are rather visually put together), I’m going to listen to the audiobook if I can get to it first. eaudio is the easiest by far, but some physical audiobooks can be good as well. I’m looking forward to getting through these books in one form or another so I can start with those I’ve been putting off because my TBR is just so big!

I’m still iffy on this decision. It feels wrong, like I’m betraying my books! What do you think? Is it wrong to listen to an audiobook when you own the physical copy as well? What about if it was ebook and book? Is that different? Leave a comment and let me know how you’d feel!

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!

Cast of Wonders Flash Fiction Contest is Live!

17 Oct

I mentioned a while back that I was writing again. Well, at least a little flash fiction. I entered the Cast of Wondered TriWonders Flash Fiction contest which is wonderfully Harry themed. The stories are now open for voting so if you have some time, please go vote! I can’t say which story is mine, but I will say it’s still in an open forum so you could still find and read it. You have to register as a forum member and post at least once to see the stories. All the stories are less than 500 words so reading all of the ones in a single group takes no time at all. The voting poll is housed in the top thread of each folder.

It took me a bit to figure out how all of this works so if you have questions, ask here or in the forum. Remember, you have to post something before you can see the folders with stories. Most people are just saying ‘hi’ in one of the general threads.

Every hyperlink in this post should take you to a page where you can register, but here it is again just in case.

http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php

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: Slade House by David Mitchell

13 Oct Cover image via Goodreads

The day after I finished reading David Mitchell’s Slade House, my book club met to discuss it. As much as I don’t like pushing it to the last minute, it’s nice to have it fresh in my head. I realized only after finishing it that it’s set in the same world as one of Mitchell’s other (much lengthier novels) The Bone Clocks. One reader in our group had read both and said they were both enjoyable.

As always, our moderator gave us some great background on the book. This is Mitchell’s seventh novel and several of his have been shortlisted for the Man Booker award. He currently lives in Ireland and we wondered if the Irish folklore had influenced his writing of this novel, dealing with reincarnation and dueling beings across generations. Like Nathan in the first story, Mitchell has an autistic son.

Many liked the short story format, something I wasn’t completely fond of. Nathan’s story was the most confusing for us because of the location jump to Africa seemingly randomly and having an autistic narrator who was hard to follow. After that, they seemed to flow better. I thought it was wrong that Norah narrated the last story, but someone pointed out how the victim always narrated and in the final story, Norah was the victim. That convinced me and now I think it’s genius to have Norah narrate at the end. Yay for book clubs.

Horror is a genre where books are generally more plot driven than character driven but this title had a lot of character development. Each of the characters had his or her weakness exploited to make him or her vulnerable. They would have their desires fulfilled just to be ripped away from them. Nathan had a friend and saw his dad, Gordon had a woman lusting after him, Sally had a by crushing on her, and both Freya and Marinus were getting answers they had searched out for so long. We noticed that, except for Marinus, the characters all thought they were at least slightly intoxicated. Maybe that was the effect of the banjax.

We thought of the number of victims there must have been prior to Nathan. If that was 1979, then we’re looking at likely victims in 1970, 1961, 1952, and 1943. Nathan sees them we realized; the girl in the pinafore, the soldier, the pinched lady in the hat, the man in his 20s, and the woman whose ghost he’d seen. That’s four times and five victims. Maybe they had to kill to create the orison? Or is one of them Norah or Jonah? I’m only realizing this now so I didn’t have time to ask my book club. Thoughts?

There were a lot of things that showed up through the novel that were only slightly explained. I missed that the hairpin Sally got was from Nathan, now I see that. The Fox and Hounds shows up over and over and must be a place the Greyer twins were familiar with. The jogger in neon showed up over and over as well and was never explained. We wondered if it might be Jonah directing the victims toward the ally. There were things from other Mitchell novels as well. I recognized Spyglass magazine from Cloud Atlas and another reader recognized Marinus and the Chetwynd family from other books as well.

There were a few things that made us scratch our heads. The first was why the soulless bodies of past guests would care to interfere in later times. Was it revenge or were they saving others? Either way, could they do this without a soul? We didn’t understand why they got physical bodies anyway. How would a soulless ghost grasp a hairpin? We didn’t get it. We were also a little lost with Gordon’s story. It seems that he was the only one who went to the house and was able to leave again. Why was he able to do that?

One of my issues with the book was the info dump in Freya’s story. Some others didn’t mind the story and we agreed it made the twins much less frightening. Some wondered if the story Fred told was all lies when we found out it wasn’t really him.

Our member who had read The Bone Clocks explained that her character had shown up in that book as well. She gave us some details about the character that I won’t go into detail here so as not to ruin another book. I do, however, want to talk about the ending so if I haven’t ruined Slade House for you yet, please finish reading here. Bye! Anyway, the ending. We debated if Marinus let Norah get away or if Norah managed to escape. It seemed obvious there was something darker in Norah that was more than what had been bound by Norah’s physical body. But did Marinus think she’d destroyed it or was Marinus outplayed? We couldn’t decide.

It was, as always, a great discussion. We’re reading Stiff by Mary Roach next and I think it will be a good one for discussion.

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!