Archive | January, 2017

Book Review: States of Confusion by Paul Jury (3/5)

16 Jan

I saw a YouTube video right around the time I started this blog that made me laugh (see link below). It made me decide I wanted to read the creator’s book about his journey around the US. Over three years and one interlibrary loan later, I got my hands on a copy and read through it pretty fast.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

States of Confusion: My 19,000 Mile Detour to Find Direction by Paul Jury

Summary from Goodreads:

Rather than deal with the problems he was facing as a recent college grad, Paul Jury decided to leave them in his rearview mirror. He might not have known the direction his life was headed, but he knew the route he was taking to hit all forty-eight contiguous states on one epic road trip. Filled with plenty of adventure and the unforeseen obstacle (or twelve), this book puts you in shotgun to see where the road takes Paul. All he knows–after crashing on the beer-soaked couch of his younger brother’s frat–is that there’s no going back. Paul Jury graduated from Northwestern University and headed on a road trip before finally getting a gig as a writer in LA.

When I put this book on my TBR, it would have been beyond perfect for me. I had just changed jobs and was entertaining the idea of going back to grad school. I was newly married to my amazing husband and slumming it on a bad apartment while we waited for him to finish his student teaching and for me to recover from a bad job. That’s the frame of mind to be in when reading this book. I tried to reflect on that lost feeling I had at that time when I wasn’t sure where I was going but was content to be on the road there. That’s how Paul must have felt. The jobs he had were OK but not right and he wasn’t sure he was in the right place, to begin with. This is a good book for someone just past a major change in their life, be in ending college, a relationship, or a job. It’s not a travel book. Right now, in 2017, that was what I was looking for and it came up short. I wanted to hear more about the things Paul saw in this 19,000-mile drive and a bit less about his debate to be a writer or not. I appreciated the bits about training for a marathon and living off PB&J but I wanted to hear more about the 4 Corners and surfing in LA. It just wasn’t exactly what I wanted today.

I wasn’t sure what to think of Paul. He was a fraternity guy and seemed to hit a lot of those stereotypes but he also seemed like a bit of a free spirit, which is a very different visual in my mind. I couldn’t tell how much of his personality was what he wanted me to think of him (putting on a face) and how much was credible and real to life. The same goes for Sarah. Because Paul was alone so often, it was hard to judge him based on his interactions with people. A lot of what we get from him is internal dialogue. It makes it hard to figure him out.

I think I’m Sarah. I was someone looking to settle down after school and I thought I had a plan. I got a ‘practical’ degree and had a job lined up when I graduated (in which I lasted six months). I couldn’t understand how Paul was OK with having so little direction and so much uncertainty in his life. Even at the end, when he ‘knows’ where he wants to go, there’s a lot he doesn’t know ahead of him. I related to Sarah who wanted to follow her plan and was frustrated when Paul wanted to deviate. As Paul says there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s who I am and not who he is.

I felt bad for his mom the whole book. She was obviously worried about him but trying to be supportive which was a tough combination. Paul was doing something crazy but admirable at the same time. It would scare me not to know where my (theoretical) son was and know he was in such an unreliable vehicle (or two).

Paul Jury Image via Tutor Profiles

Paul Jury
Image via Tutor Profiles

I liked Paul’s journey around the northwest. I’m trying to find a time this summer to explore that area and it was great to hear him speaking so reverently about the scenery in that part of the country. I will, however, try to make it all the way to Seattle. I’m dying to go and check it out.

I felt a lot of the people Paul visited didn’t add much to the book. I would have liked to either see them play a larger part in his story and be flushed out more or ignored completely to let the story come through better. It felt like name dropping but the names didn’t matter to me.

 

There are many ‘finding myself’ stories out there and this is an admirable one. Paul set a stiff goal for himself when he said he’d see 48 states in 48 days and sometimes he was reckless to make that goal. I see that in a lot of searching novels. Driving 19,000 miles would give one plenty of time to explore anything that got stuck in your head. The same as seeing Italy and Bali or hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. Everyone will go about it in a different way. I think the idea of a journey helps people along the road and being a writer helps even more. I don’t think it always makes for a good read and unfortunately, that’s where this fell short for me. A journey has stops along the way and for me, Paul didn’t take much from his stops and that made it hard to see the journey as part of him finding himself. He seemed to use the quiet time between places to find himself. He could have meditated or gone for walks to do the same thing. It lacked some meaning to me.

Writer’s Takeaway:  This book is a good study for someone thinking of writing a memoir. Sometimes you need to wait. I think Paul could have taken a lot from his trip but he needed hindsight to see the growth it brought him and see how his journey helped him end up where he needed to be. It seems like this book was primarily written from the blog posts Paul composed along the way and I think they needed a bit more reflecting to give the book the ‘growth’ quality it was going for. Paul’s decisions at the end seemed a bit out of left field. I think he saw them coming, but the reader did not.

Enjoyable to be sure, but not life changing. The images of Indiana and Illinois were switched in my copy. 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:
Roadside Kitsch | Erin Writes

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Let me tempt you… into joining the 2017 When Are You Reading? Challenge

13 Jan

There’s still plenty of time to join the 4th annual When Are You Reading? Challenge!

when-are-you-reading-2017-final

If you want to join in, let me know! I’ll add a link to your blog or tracker page in the event details. If you choose not to join, I promise not to get mad as long as you enjoy your books in 2017 and stop back often to share with me how it’s all going.

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: Trap by Robert K. Tanenbaum (3/5)

12 Jan

This is a book I never intended to read and probably would have never picked up. My brother’s girlfriend got us all books for Christmas and this was what she picked for me. I’d never heard of the author before and it was outside my usual genre. However, when you finish your book sooner than expected, you grab the next thing you can get your hands on and for me, it was this book.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Trap (Butch Karp #27) by Robert K. Tanenbaum

Summary from Goodreads:

When a tremendous blast rocks an old school building in East Harlem during a meeting of the New York Charter Schools, killing six and wounding a dozen others, it’s initially blamed on a natural gas explosion. However, as Butch Karp digs a little deeper, he discovers the explosion was the work of a mysterious serial arsonist in the employ of the teacher’s union president, who is angry at the unqualified successes of the charter school movement in New York City and worried for the corrupt public school system. Also involved in the planning and cover-up is a major law enforcement player and a political hack who panders to the union for financial support and gets caught up in the homicidal scheme.

At least that’s the conclusion Butch Karp is operating under when he indicts the pair for murder. But is it a trap? Is there another motive behind the attack that could derail the case? How will Karp discover it and can he do so in time to bring justice to the murdered and maimed? It all ends in the kind of dramatic courtroom showdown that New York Times bestselling author Robert K. Tanenbaum is best at, and that Booklist called “positively balletic.”

That’s not the summary I would have written for this book, but whatever. The book starts out in the middle, flashes forward to the beginning, and then continues chronologically. I wasn’t a huge fan of this only because I knew what was coming along the way. There were two characters the reader was supposed to think was one and it was pretty obvious to me that there were two bad guys. Well, more than two, but whatever. There were two crimes that were being confused but the reader knew they were different pretty quickly. I thought the big reveals were a bit slow and predictable. The book was fast-paced, though. I was, unfortunately, sick over the New Year and this kept me entertained while I recuperated on the couch.

Butch Karp was a good character and I’m glad to hear he has 27 other stories (26 before and one after). I wasn’t aware this was part of a series and it read fine on its own. Butch’s wife was not as well detailed and I’m guessing she has a bigger role in other books but she was a bit bland here. The villains were flushed out but it felt a lot like info dumping to get their back story. Micah and Tommy could have had a conversation to let their story out instead of reading about it in a multi-page catch-up.

Butch’s sons, Giancarlo and Zak, were my favorite characters. They are both on the verge of celebrating their Bar Mitzvahs and Zak has doubts about going through with the process that he comes to terms with though the book. He’s the only real character with growth which is what makes him easy to like. His twin brother seems to be naturally gifted but isn’t arrogant about it so they make a good pair.

The most relatable part of the story was how everyone reacted to the Neo-Nazis and what they had to say. It was hard to read and I hope it was hard for Tanenbaum to write the ignorant and vile things the Neo-Nazi characters would spew about minorities. I thought the author must be really cold to write the things he did, but in one scene he has an entire courtroom fuming mad over what one of the Neo-Nazis says and I felt better that he felt their opinions were as vile as I did.

Robert K. Tanenbaum Image via Publishers Weekly

Robert K. Tanenbaum
Image via Publishers Weekly

I liked that this book addressed how corrupted school systems can be. My husband is a teacher and it has ruined my opinion of the public schools in the US. The low pay rate and high union dues are beyond frustrating, especially as an individual who despises unions. It was a topic I hadn’t read about before and I liked the uniqueness of that.

I was quickly frustrated that the last third of this book was a courtroom hearing. A lot of the facts presented in the trial were rehashing the first part of the book. Very little new information was revealed besides who died in a bombing. It put a sour taste in my mouth because I’d enjoyed a lot of the first part of the book and then couldn’t wait for it to be over.

 

I was glad that this book had a pretty solid message about Judaism and tolerance. Many times thrillers don’t seem to have much of a message to me. Zak’s internal struggle with his faith and what it means to be Jewish was really uplifting, even as a Christian. Many religions have a celebration for reaching manhood (or womanhood) and it was good to see someone take that celebration so seriously and really mean what he’s doing.

Writer’s Takeaway: Like I’ve said, the internal conflict in this book was its saving grace to me. I think, too many times, authors forget to include and internal and external conflict in their books. While Butch is battling the school system, he’s also dealing with the death of a family friend. Zak is dealing with being kidnapped but also deciding if he’ll go through with his Bar Mitzvah. Having both is very important and helps skeptical readers (like me) connect with a story.

This book was fast paced but was a little lacking in a structure for me. 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 Post:
Book Reviews: Innocence by Heda Margolius Kovaly and Trap by Robert K. Tanenbaum | Buried Under Books

WWW Wednesday, 11-January-2017

11 Jan

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.


statesofconfusionCurrently reading: I’ve made a bit of progress with World Without End by Ken Follett this week. I try to turn it on whenever possible in my car so I can keep listening to it. I’m loving it and I’ll be sad and happy when it ends.
I got to read The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge during lunch twice since last week. I’m at about 60% of this book and I hope to push through and finish it soon.
My friends and I are competing in a year-long running challenge and I’ve been very motivated to listen to South of Broad by Pat Conroy during my runs. I’m finally over half way and I think I’ll just finish before my book club at the end of the month.
I made decent progress with Misterio de la Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie but set it aside because I have a new book! (see below)
No progress with Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs this week. My husband and I are very busy now in the beginning of the year. I’m not sure when we’ll get back to this one so it might be on here a while.
My Interlibrary Loan came in! I was able to get through a lot of States of Confusion by Paul Jury over the weekend and I read a bit more since the week started up. It’s a quick read so I’m hoping to finish this one soon.

Recently finished: With that huge list of current reads, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise I didn’t finish a single book! I keep picking up and putting down titles and starting on super long ones, it’s no wonder. I hope to add a few here soon!

I’ve gotten two reviews up since last week! The first is Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. I really enjoyed this book and will have a report up about my book club’s discussion of it soon. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
The second review is for The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston which I put up yesterday. This book was a fun adventure through the 1920s, my favorite era. I gave it a full 5 out of 5 stars.

Hanging OutReading Next: My class this semester will conflict with my book club meetings so, until May, I’m reading my own book list! I’ve been meaning to get to Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? I know it’s been on this list a few times but I really REALLY mean to read it soon.

Shameless Plug: If you’re still looking for reading challenges in 2017, take a look at my historical fiction reading challenge, When Are You Reading? Let me know you’re interested and I’ll add you to the participant list. I had 13 people participate last year and I’d love to have a bigger group this year!


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: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston (5/5)

10 Jan

I don’t remember how I came across this title. It was probably a Goodreads ‘recommended books’ related to another 20s novel I read. I’m so glad I found it, though! This book was a real treat. I’ve never read a graphic novel before but I have to imagine it would be something like this. Oddly, my first thought when I picked this book up off the shelves was how heavy it was! It only took a quick flip through to realize that’s because the pages were high-quality photo pages and there was ink soaked into every inch of those pages to cover them in amazing images. I was ready to devour this book.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

Summary from Goodreads:

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a visually stunning, totally unique, full-color novel in the form of a scrapbook, set in the burgeoning bohemian culture of the 1920s and featuring an endearing, unforgettable heroine. Caroline Preston, author of the New York Times Notable Book Jackie by Josie, uses a kaleidoscopic array of vintage memorabilia—postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus and more—to tell the tale of spirited and ambitious Frankie’s remarkable odyssey from Vassar to Greenwich Village to Paris, in a manner that will delight crafters, historical fiction fans, and anyone who loves a good coming-of-age story ingeniously told.

This book was too much fun. I devoured it. I read in the acknowledgments that the author got a lot of the images off of eBay. It’s obvious she spent a lot of time getting the images together and I loved that. It also seemed really convenient that the character descriptions and clothing matched the images exactly. I’m guessing a lot of that was Preston being inspired by the images but I found it a bit hard to believe that Frankie’s beaus always looked like magazine models. I could overlook this, though. The story was fun and encompassed so much of life in the 20s it was a little convenient, but it was really perfect and a great way to visually explore the time period.

The characters were a little bland because the dialogue and narration were reduced to allow the images to tell the story. Some of the side characters took on stronger personalities than Frankie herself. Her roommate at Vassar struck me as a memorable personality but now I can’t remember her name, haha. I wasn’t expecting strong characterization, though, so this didn’t bother me. The images were beautiful and told a great story.

I both loved and hated Jamie. Mostly hated, but there was something redeeming about him in my mind. He stuck with me the most, either way. He obviously did things with Frankie he shouldn’t have when they first met. I think he paid the price for what he did by ending up alone in Paris. He gave her a job when she needed one, obviously. I also think he helped her grow up. She was very innocent at the beginning of the book and she started to be her own woman in college, but it was really when she ran away to Paris that she had to be herself and she was scared to do that. After her second run-in with Jamie, she was much more confident and able to go after what she wanted. So yes, he was a terrible person, but he was very important to her.

A lot of the things Frankie did were things I would have liked to do but never dared. I would never run off to Paris with no plan and hope to be a writer. I would ignore my fun but reckless roommate at school. She was brave in ways I am not and I wanted to be her sometimes, but I didn’t quite relate to her. Her friendships in high school were the closest to my life and those seemed to be over by page 15.

Caroline Preston Image via Entertainment Relm

Caroline Preston
Image via Entertainment Relm

The images in this book were amazing. I wanted to rip pages out and put them above my computer for inspiration while I write my 1920s themed novel. I’m so impressed that Preston spent the time to find them all and that she wove them into the story so well. I’m sure what she could find dictated the plot slightly, but it didn’t feel that way. I enjoyed being swept up into a time period so visually.

If anything, the worst thing about this book was that I read it so fast. I finished it in three days and could have finished it in a single sitting if I wanted to. Maybe more text, pages without images, would have given it a deeper plot. Or maybe something a bit longer. I would have liked a little more depth with the characters, though. Though it would have been impossible to make them authentic, photographs would have been great. Maybe doctoring some could have worked.

Frankie is running away from her past, but it’s only when she comes home that she’s happy. She may have bobbed her hair and tried to be a Lost Generation writer, but it’s the farm and her mother where she finds happiness. I think too often people run away or hide from their lives like Frankie tries to do. But in the end, she has to remember who she is and where she comes from before she can be happy. I think it was an appropriate ending and one you don’t see a lot in books.

Writer’s Takeaway: As a writer, I feel like I have to avoid images because they are for children’s books. It was nice to see a book for YA and adult audiences with pictures used so liberally and effectively. I know that my book will not be able to publish images, but it’s made me think about collecting pictures to remind me of the people in my book and the time period they were living in. I have one picture now that I keep above my computer but I’m thinking of collecting some more.

This book was fun yet short and very different from other books I have 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:
Review | The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: a novel in pictures, Caroline Preston | Literary Treats
Review: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston | Diary of an Eccentric
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt | alibrarymama

My 2017 Reading Challenges

9 Jan

2017 is going to be a big year for me! In addition to reading, I have a few other goals I’m going to reach for. These including getting through 3 more semesters of grad school and keeping my 4.0 GPA, continuing to knit blankets for my relatives and friends as they welcome babies into the world, running/racing in one event each month (triathlons, running, and open water swimming (new to me)), and getting my novel out to some generous friends who agreed to beta read for me. Whew! I think I can squeeze in a few reading challenges, don’t you?

Challenge #1: When Are You Reading?

Maybe this is unfair because I host this challenge so, of course, I’m going to participate! The challenge is to read books that fit into each of 12 time periods. The book can be written during or take place in the time periods. It’s my fourth year doing this challenge and I’m pumped. Let me know if you want to join in!

Challenge #2: Goodreads Challenge of 50 Books

I lowered my goal last year to 45 books. I wasn’t sure if my shorter commute would hinder my reading (only a bit) and I wanted to tackle some long books (I did). This year, I’m going back up to 50. I managed 52 in 2016 and I think I can do it again for 2017. Besides, with my running goals, I’ll be listening to a lot of audiobooks this coming year.

How about you? What are your reading goals for 2017? Are you doing any challenges?

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!

Are You In? The 2017 When Are You Reading? Challenge

6 Jan

There’s still plenty of time to sign up for the 4th annual When Are You Reading? Challenge!

when-are-you-reading-2017-final

If you want to join in, let me know! I’ll add a link to your blog or tracker page in the event details. If you choose not to join, I promise not to get mad as long as you enjoy your books in 2017 and stop back often to share with me how it’s all going.

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: Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell (4/5)

5 Jan

I heard of this book because the author was visiting a local bookstore but I hadn’t felt the motivation to read it. When it was picked for my book club, I was indifferent. I took this book with me to Phoenix and when I finished the book I was in the middle of the last morning there, I picked this up on the plane. I was easily 150 pages in before we landed and I was hooked. If (stupid) work hadn’t gotten in the way, I would have finished it sooner.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Joe Campbell

Summary from Goodreads:

After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother. But the river, Margo’s childhood paradise, is a dangerous place for a young woman traveling alone, and she must be strong to survive, using her knowledge of the natural world and her ability to look unsparingly into the hearts of those around her. Her river odyssey through rural Michigan becomes a defining journey, one that leads her beyond self-preservation and to the decision of what price she is willing to pay for her choices.

I should know better than to read the back cover of a book before I start it. Knowing Margo’s father was going to die and her mother was going to disappear didn’t ruin the whole book, but it wasn’t the best thing to know before being a few chapters in. Oh well. I loved Margo. She was strong in a way most women aren’t. She was afraid to do what needed to be done, be that shooting a deer or sleeping with someone who would protect her. It wasn’t admirable but it was necessary. I’ll spoil the end here, but this needs to be said. I’m glad she didn’t stay with her mom. She was so much stronger and more interesting than her mother. She was smart to realize she needed to be a different kind of mother than her mom was to her.

Sometimes I thought Margo was a stretch, especially when she was with Michael. Her life with him was so different from what she had before or would have after and it was odd to me that she was so happy with him. I don’t think she would have married him even though she said she would. I thought the other side characters were wonderful, a very diverse mix that I could see living on the West side of Michigan. (Side note, I love that this took place in my home state!)

Smoke was my favorite character. He reminded me a bit of my grandpa, getting on in years but refusing to give into poor health and insisting he’s fine. I thought it was realistic that he was so cranky but in the end was the sweetest friend Margo could find. He was fiercely independent and at the same time was very giving. It must have been hard for Fishbone and Margo to watch him get sicker and sicker.

Some of Margo spoke to my primal instinct. There are times I’ve wished I could shoot someone who was bothering me or hurting someone I loved. I’ve wanted to run away from people I don’t like and I’ve wanted to say what I’m thinking to a man. I’ve also wanted to not wear makeup or fitted clothes and stay in a lake (or river) for hours. Alas, I never owned a boat. (Because that’s the only thing stopping me from becoming Margo and abandoning this blog, obviously.)

Image via the author's website

Bonnie Jo Campbell. Image via the author’s website

I liked the end. Margo seemed happiest living in Smoke’s boat. It was the most luxury she’d had in the book but it was also somewhere she was happy and in an environment where she could enjoy her life. It was the best of both worlds and it assured me that she could be a mother.

Her relationship with Michael seemed counter to Margo’s personality. No wonder she never unpacked all her stuff. Forcing her to get her GED and try out going to church was so different from the things that made her happy that it’s no wonder she had little trouble leaving. It might have cemented in her mind that she could live off the land, but I didn’t understand the point of that part of the book.

 

A lot of people tried to give Margo things that would make her ‘happy.’ The Murray’s had an idea of what would make her happy, Brian had another idea, then Michael, and then her mother. None of them were right. Margo kept running away because she wanted to make her own decisions and she ultimately got on best with Smoke because he didn’t try to force anything on her. Even Fishbone tried to get her to reconcile with her mother or have the baby in a hospital but she wouldn’t do either one. She had to make her own choices.

Writer’s Takeaway: I wish I could put into words what made Margo so likable. She was very terse but the words she said had a big impact on me. So many bad things happened to her but I never felt bad for her. She didn’t see herself as a victim so I never saw her as one. That was part of what was so strong about her.

The ending was a little abrupt for me, but I enjoyed this book on the whole. 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:
Bonnie Jo Campbell’s ‘Once Upon a River’ Sets Sale | Night Light Revue
Reader’s Journal: Once Upon a River | The Evening Reader

WWW Wednesday, 4-January-2017

4 Jan

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.


libraryCurrently reading: I wasn’t able to make much progress with World Without End by Ken Follett during the holiday break. I didn’t drive anywhere alone and didn’t feel like forcing my husband to listen in so I didn’t make much progress. I’ll press on, though! It’s still really enjoyable.
Also not much with The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge. It’s still enjoyable and I’m moving through it at a moderate pace, but it will still be a while.
I had a cold over the weekend so all of my plans of listening to South of Broad by Pat Conroy and enjoying some long runs were dashed and replaced by me cooped up in bed. Sigh.
I was able to start Misterio de la Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie as my Spanish-language read of the year. I hope I can move through this one quickly but my Spanish books always take longer because of the brain power they devour.
My husband and I started an audiobook together while we were driving to Ohio and back. We picked Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs, the third and final book of the Peculiar Children trilogy. We both enjoyed the first book but were not big fans of the second. We’re a bit skeptical about this one and we keep trying to pick out if there’s a traitor. It’s fun trying to be one step ahead of everyone.

trapRecently finished: I flew through The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston. It was a much shorter read than it at first appeared because so much of the story was told through pictures. I would compare it to a graphic novel in that respect. The story was a bit bare boned but it was really enjoyable and I would recommend it highly.
I picked up a book I didn’t intend to this week. My brother’s girlfriend got us all books for Christmas and I finished Frankie Pratt sooner than expected so I picked up my gift, Trap by Robert K. Tanenbaum. It wasn’t my usual genre but I read it quickly. I’ll say that’s partly due to interest and partly due to being sick and unable to get out of bed or off the couch much.

statesofconfusionReading Next: I’m still waiting for States of Confusion by Paul Jury to come in from the library. I’m not sure how long ILLs take so this might be here for a while.

Shameless Plug: If you’re still looking for reading challenges in 2017, take a look at my historical fiction reading challenge, When Are You Reading? Let me know you’re interested and I’ll add you to the participant list. I had 13 people participate last year and I’d love to have a bigger group this year!


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, December 2016

3 Jan

Considering the holiday, I should consider any progress good progress in December. However, I always have higher hopes for myself than I’m ever able to achieve. I wanted to do a lot more reading this month than I ended up doing. Drat. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in December:

Writing the Breakout Novel // Donald Maass
Once Upon a River // Bonnie Jo Campbell
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt // Caroline Preston

After the tidal wave last month, this isn’t a huge surprise. What is exciting is that all of these were physical books. Yay paper!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. And I finished! If you’re interested in joining in on this one for 2017, check out the info page.

Goodreads Challenge

52/45
Bam. I’m going back to 50 as my goal for 2017 because 45 didn’t seem like enough of a challenge. We’ll see what I can get through this year.

onceuponBook of the Month

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell really impressed me. I’m hoping others in my book club felt the same way. I’m hoping to read more from Campbell in the future. The ending left me a bit down but the rest of the book was really enjoyable.

Added to my TBR

I only added one! I’m so excited to say my TBR is at 120 now. Maybe a goal for 2017 will be to drop it below 100? I added one book this past month because I couldn’t help but buy it. Come to think of it, I might have to add a few more that I’ve picked up. But that’s a problem for 2017 and this is a post about 2016.

  • The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving. Many of you know how much of a fan I am of Irving. This is one of his earliest novels and is no longer in print. I found it at a used bookstore and can’t wait to read it.

How were your challenges? I hope you made it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2017, 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!