Archive | October, 2017

Book Review: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (5/5)

31 Oct

This was another book club gem that I knew nothing about when I picked it up and by the time I was done, I never wanted to put it down. The story and writing were amazing and I’m so glad to have read it.

Cover image via Goodreads

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Summary from Goodreads:

On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar with her boardinghouse roommate stretching three dollars as far as it will go when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a tempered smile, happens to sit at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a yearlong journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool toward the upper echelons of New York society and the executive suites of Condé Nast–rarefied environs where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.

Wooed in turn by a shy, principled multi-millionaire and an irrepressible Upper East Side ne’er-do-well, befriended by a single-minded widow who is ahead of her time, and challenged by an imperious mentor, Katey experiences firsthand the poise secured by wealth and station and the failed aspirations that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her life, she begins to realize how our most promising choices inevitably lay the groundwork for our regrets.

It’s been a while since I let the writing of a book woo me and let me forget about the plot. Towles has a way with words I haven’t experienced for a few months and I loved it. I also loved Katey which made falling in love with this book easy. She was brave and forward while still being likable. It was only her time with Dicky I didn’t like. I thought the book was a great depiction of life in New York City during the period as well. I really appreciated the historical detail and the descriptions of ethnic subcultures that the characters ran into. It felt so real as if this novel was written in the 30s instead of set there.

The characters jumped off the page. I think we’ve all known a Katey and an Ann and a Tinker and a Wallace and an Eve. None of them felt like a stereotype and each of them felt like someone I went to high school with. I really enjoyed a male author’s ability to write a strong and believable woman. I know that can be hard and I think Katey was spot on.

I adored Wallace. I wanted him to last longer in Katey’s story. I thought he was sweet and shy when he first showed up. His stutter was so endearing and I enjoyed his forwardness despite the handicap. The friendship he and Katey formed was wonderful and was my favorite part of the plot. He was really good to Katey, too, and I appreciated someone who wanted to give her something rather than take something from her.

Katey wanted to move up in the world and had things dashed around her several times to get there. The accident, Tinker’s truth, and her fall-out with Dicky kept knocking her down, but she kept getting up. That’s someone who’s easy to cheer for. We all feel knocked down in life and it’s easy to stay down, but Katey gets back up; why shouldn’t I?

Amor Towles
Image via Goodreads

Katey’s rise in her own career won me over. There were much more limited career options for women in the 1930s than there are today and Katey, though she started on a traditional path, moved into a company where she took risks and where she was rewarded for those. She became influential and a pioneer in her field and I kept rooting for her.

I felt Katey treated Dicky poorly and it was my least favorite part of the book. He was a sweet kid and it was so obvious she was using and manipulating him that it hurt to read. I was glad she finally told him the truth but I was also sad it took her so long to get it out. I didn’t want to see him hurt but you knew it had to come.

Katey was passive at the beginning of the book but she came into her own when she realized she missed out on Tinker because she was too quiet. She decided to start going after things then and really take an initiative in her own future. I liked how Katey grew in the book and how her aggressive pursuit of and investment in her future paid off in the long run. I thought it was a great message.

Writer’s Takeaway: There’s no one thing I can say about why this book was such a joy to read. There were descriptions that made me sigh with pleasure and the way the characters were brought to life was incredible. I’d have to study Towles writing more to put my finger on what was so special about it and I’d be glad to do it! This book was a joy to read.

A great book which makes it clear why this author is so celebrated. 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 Post:
RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles | Only Good Books

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Book Review: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (5/5)

30 Oct

I felt like a bad Detroiter when I’d say I hadn’t read this classic. Albom is a sports and literary staple in our town and not having read one of his biggest books felt bad. I even met the guy and hadn’t read it. I wanted a nice, short audiobook and this seemed to be just what the doctor ordered so I decided to cross it off my ‘eventually’ list and read it.

Cover image via Goodreads

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Other books by Mitch Albom reviewed on this blog:

The First Phone Call from Heaven (4/5)

Summary from Goodreads:

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live.

Having read The Last Lecture, I thought this book would be pretty similar and on some levels, it was. I liked Mitch’s approach to his time with Morrie. Even as the disease took his body, Mitch knew his old friend’s mind was still sharp and capable of answering some of the tough questions Mitch had. I think Morrie was well poised to answer these questions. His life’s work had led him to analyze human interactions and behavior so he was able to look at his own behavior and history and identify what he needed to pass on.

I think Mitch portrayed Morrie in a very realistic way. I’m not sure if any of it was altered to make Morrie more likable, but I’d like to think none of it was. I remember professors from my own undergrad that I’d love to reconnect with and hear more about them and their lives. I’m thinking of one Spanish professor in particular. If something had happened to her and she was sick, I’d like to think I’d fly to see her. Maybe I would, but I’m not Mitch and I can’t say for sure what I’d do. But I remember her like Morrie: full of wisdom and always willing to share.

Morrie was easily my favorite character. It’s hard to see someone you love in pain and I appreciated that Morrie didn’t try to hide his pain from Mitch. He was straightforward with how and where he was hurting and while he asked for help, he never asked for pity. He wanted to remember loving his family, not being pitied by them and I think that’s a very noble, though difficult, thing to strive for.

In February, I’m going to fly to California to celebrate my Grandpa’s 100th birthday. While he hasn’t been diagnosed with anything specific, old age is getting to him and he frequently gets confused and disoriented. Like Mitch, I live far away from my grandpa and because of the distance, I lost contact with him for a long time. Unlike Mitch, it’s hard to establish it when dementia is setting in. I was jealous of what Mitch and Morrie were able to share. I wish I could do something similar with my grandfather.

As much as the life lessons were useful and heartfelt, I loved hearing Mitch describe Morrie and how he became so animated when Mitch would walk into the house. Knowing that when things were that dire and that painful, seeing an old friend could animate Morrie so much was heartwarming.

There wasn’t a part of this book I really disliked. If anything, it was the 20th Anniversary note at the end of my recording, but that’s only because it felt tacked on (which, of course, it was).

The audiobook was narrated by Mitch Albom. He narrates many of his own books so I wasn’t at all surprised. I think it added a lot because toward the end, he was able to imitate Morrie’s labored speech. It wasn’t disrespectful in any way, but it gave a good indication of how hard it was for Morrie to get out the words.

Morrie preached love. He loved his family, his wife, his job, and his life. It’s hard not to remember the things that make you happy when you read this book. I think it can be a good reminder. It’s very lucky for Mitch and Morrie that a newspaper strike and a national television spot timed up and worked out perfectly for this to happen. I’m glad it did. I can see why this book continues to be popular long after its publication.

Writer’s Takeaway: Books are so frequently about famous people: queens, presidents, athletes, actors, etc. Sometimes, you just need a book about a retired teacher. I like the Morrie wasn’t someone big and famous talking about life and dishing out advice. He really lived a great life and wanted to share everything he could. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t know him from Adam before this book. Now, everyone knows Morrie and the great lessons he imparted.

There’s nothing to dislike about this book. It’s short, sweet, and heartfelt. 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:
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom | Young Adult Lit Reviews
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom | FuzzyRants
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom | Black Plume

5 Reasons Readers Don’t Make Great Students

26 Oct

In honor of my midterm tonight, I thought I’d avoid studying and provide you all with this lovely list of reasons readers aren’t always the best students. Please add more if you have them!

1. If the historical fiction version was better, I’m going to consider that history.

In my book, Ken Follett and Philippa Gregory wrote 1200-1500 English history.

2. I’ll read until I fall asleep, but it’s not my textbook.

That puts me to sleep too quickly. I need some plot!

3. I’m reading during lectures, but it’s still not the textbook.

It may be hidden inside my textbook or on my phone, but it’s not about management theory.

4. I’m tired in the morning classes because I HAD TO finish the last 100 pages last night.

So. Worth. It.

5. If I find another reader in class, you can forget about me being quiet and respectful.

If someone else wants to debate if Harry could control the Basilisk because he is a Horcrux, I’m going to have that conversation.

Can we keep this list going? How does being a reader clash with your ability to be a student? 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, 25-October-2017

25 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!

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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?

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.


Currently reading: I’m getting close to half-way in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison but a few busy weeks at work is likely going to make for slow going. I will endure!
I’m really enjoying Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and I think I’ll finish it this week, time permitting. It’s hard to put my finger on what makes his writing so great but this story is amazing.
I started a new audiobook and it’s a quick one! I’m embarrassed to admit I’m a Detroiter who’s never read Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. I know this is going to be a quick one so I expect it will be on my finished list next week. Fingers crossed!

Recently finished: I finished Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks on Friday during a run. I wish it had ended without an epilogue! I think the story was really good but the epilogue ruined it. I wrote a review and posted it Monday if you want to check out some more of my feelings on the book.

Reading Next: I had another book club selection here, but I might not be going to book club now. I know, I’m a terrible person having missed the last three for this group! I’ve had good reasons each time, I promise. In my defense, it’s an annual meet-the-players night for the Detroit Red Wings. I’ve gone the last two years and loved it and I think I’m going to have to go again in the new arena! TBD still, so I’m saying I don’t know what I’ll read next.


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!

Why I’m Not Doing NaNo And How I Feel About It

24 Oct

For the first time in four years, I’ve decided not to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) at all. I had a traditional ‘win’ in 2014 and in 2015 and 2016, I started participating after my school semester ended in the middle of the month and I did a time-based editing commitment. It was a bit more like camp NaNo but it still allowed me to participate and enjoy write-ins.

This semester, my class doesn’t end until early December and I’ve decided not to commit myself to any participation at all. It’s hard to step away for a year and I’m really going to miss the way NaNo makes me so excited about writing and the friends its introduced me to. I usually have the energy to write from NaNo that extends until February. But this year, I won’t.

This comes at a hard time for me because I’ve stopped feeling like a writer. I write this blog, but I’m not working on my short stories and I haven’t touched my novel in a few months. I’ve had a few acquaintances ask me lately how my novel is going and my answer is ‘school.’ I feel like I’m not a writer now, I’m a student. I don’t feel like I have time to be both.

With a graduate date of December 2018, I’ll have at least another year of feeling this way. I made a running analogy about this for my husband that I feel works well. Writing this blog is like training for a 5K. It’s short, small runs, that keep me in shape and keep me feeling good. Working on my novel is like training for a marathon. It’s completely different and a lot more commitment. Running 5Ks puts you in a good position to start training for a marathon, but it’s not in the same league. This blog keeps my muscles loose, but they’re not ready to jump into a novel.

I hope none of you are having writer doubts like I am. It makes me all sad and mopy. I’m really hoping that when I’m no longer a student, I can reach some other goals I have for myself. One is to finish a half Ironman triathlon. The other is to finish my book and start querying it. I’ll start January 2019 but that seems a long way off.

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: Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks

23 Oct

This is the last book I needed to read for the When Are You Reading? Challenge! This book was carefully selected for its setting in the 1600s. I’ve found there’s not a lot of books set in this era so it’s become a struggle each year to find a new book with this time period setting. I’m sure I’ll find more and hopefully, they’re not all depressing and about the plague!

Cover image via Goodreads

Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks

Summary from Goodreads:

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a “year of wonders.”

I liked this book through the last chapter but I wish I hadn’t read the epilogue. It really ruined what had been a dynamic book. I liked that the character’s lives kept changing and that I couldn’t guess the terrors that would befall the citizens of the village and the characters we loved. I liked the dramatic irony of knowing Eleanor was going to die but not knowing how. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I think the epilogue was predictable and it made me roll my eyes. What is it about women having to get pregnant as their lives change at the end of best-selling books? I had a flashback to Sarah’s Key. It was too similar and soured the taste of what was an enjoyable book despite its depressing subject.

Anna was almost too perfect but her flaws made her believable enough. She didn’t seem to express too much emotion but that may have been the reader of my audiobook (the author herself). She had her moments of self-pity but was always able to pick herself back up. It seemed unbelievable but juxtaposed next to so many people who didn’t recover, she seems slightly more believable. Michael and Eleanor were great characters and I think they really made the novel.

Eleanor was a great character and it was hard not to love her. I felt bad for her, especially when Michael revealed his true colors. Even before then, it was obvious she was a sad person and that she was trying to atone for some great loss or fault. Her giving nature was contagious to Anna and I wished that it had been passed on to other women in the village.

Though I’ve never had a situation like Anna’s, I could understand her thoughts about giving up. I think a lot of people experience this when it comes to difficult work assignments, school, or relationships. Sometimes, it’s so tempting to give up and let yourself be overrun. Anna’s situation was truly dire, more so than anything I’ve experienced. Regardless, I’ve still felt the desire to curl up into a ball and forget about everyone else or to have enough to drink to forget for a moment that something terrible is happening. I guess we all have to be like Anna and not give into those thoughts every time they cross our minds.

Image via Amazon

Following Aphra’s demise was the most interesting part of the book for me. She was never a character I cared for much but I pitied her and watching her life slip away from her was heartbreaking which, in turn, means it was very well written. I could see how she would find everything that had rooted her slowly slipping away and I could see how it would come to the end and how she found herself. It’s sad to see that happen to a person but Brooks wrote it in a very believable way.

But that ending! The epilogue really ruined the book for me. I recommend anyone reading this book stop and not read the epilogue. I think Anna riding away from town would have been a fine ending but learning that she’d had a baby and named her Eleanor was too much of an eye-roller for me. Anna cared so much for her village and it was hard enough to think she’d leave them all but with her mothers’ instinct, I could almost believe it. Still, I wish it had stopped just a bit sooner.

The audiobook was narrated by the author and this is one of the cases where I think that was a terrible idea. Brooks made Anna sound drab and in a sense, I guess she was. However, the effect was that Anna felt removed from her emotions and almost had a ‘dead inside’ feel to her. She seemed to react superficially to everything around her and it was like she was a narrator and not a player in the story until the end when she got involved with Michael. I wish a professional narrator had done this one because I think I would have enjoyed it much more.

This story is one of loss and grief and how people deal with those two things. Anna and Eleanor fight to keep everything and don’t let their grief overwhelm them. Aphra lets her loss affect her entire life and loses herself in grief. The other villagers fall somewhere between these women and the book lets us see the interplay between the group. Both can be deadly.

Writer’s Takeaway: I felt like Anna was too much of a window to the plague and not enough a player in the story. This is why I can’t give this book a higher rating. Maybe it was the narration, but I think at least part of it was the writing. I wish Anna had been a bit more vested in most of the story. With her boys passing so early on, she felt numb to other people’s grief because she was living in a cloud of her own and only watching what happens around her. She finally had that fog lift at the end, but I wasn’t emotionally invested in her anymore. I would say that pacing the book differently and letting Jamie and Tom live longer might have helped me stay vested in Anna’s grief.

This was going to be a four-star read for me until the epilogue. Three out of Five stars.

This is the final book of the When Are You Reading? Challenge and I’ve now completed it! This book fulfilled the 1600-1699 time period.

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:
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks | Ardent Reader
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks | Blogging for a Good Book

Favorite Female Writer: #1

19 Oct

Monday, I told you that my #3 favorite female writer was S.E. Hinton. Tuesday, I told you my #2 favorite female writer was Philippa Gregory. Today, I’m going to talk about my #1 favorite female writer and I’m going to guess this isn’t a surprise for anyone who’s been around my blog for very long.

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

J.K. Rowling

Surprise! (Or not…) I was introduced to Rowling when I was about 9 years old. The third Harry Potter book had come out and after some resistance, I started reading the series from the beginning and fell in love. I was just the right age for these books and grew with Harry as the books went on. The movies were right on pace with my childhood as well. The series is my favorite of all time and one I’m sure I’ll re-read and re-enjoy with any future children I may have.

I’m not, on the whole, a big S&F fan. There are exceptions, to be sure, and HP is the biggest of those. I think one of the most endearing qualities about HP is that it appeals to those who don’t traditionally enjoy fantasy because there are elements to it that go beyond the traditional elements of that genre. It has mass appeal and even though it was aimed at children, it’s very popular with young adults and adults.

My adoration for Rowling grew when she started to branch beyond Potter. A Casual Vacancy wasn’t for me and a lot of others agreed. I do, however, enjoy the Cormoran Strike series. I understand why she initially opened up under another name and I admire her for continuing on. Like my stance on S&F, I’m not usually a big mystery fan but, again, Rowling has brought to her books something I can enjoy and connect with. The long story of Robin and Matthew and Cormoran’s role in Robin’s life is intriguing, even when I’m not very interested in the case at hand. Rowling has created great characters and I can’t wait to read more about them.

Rowling started writing when she was unemployed and down on her luck. She wrote because she needed to. She knew the story needed to come out. I always strive for that feeling, but I know it’s not always achievable. I crave the days when my story is so strong in my head that I know I have to write it. I think of those days when I’m not having one. Rowling was braver than I’ll ever be and took a chance to get her story written and I greatly admire her for that.

I doubt this is a surprise for anyone, but I had to share my love for Ms. Rowling. She defined a generation that I’m blessed to be a part of and I hope it continues to inspire for generations to come.

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, 18-October-2017

18 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!

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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?

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.


Currently reading: I’ve been able to read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison only one more lunch time so I haven’t moved much in it. So far I like it but I think I’m still coming to the main plot. I know this is a short read so I hope i can get through it pretty quickly.
So far, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is really great. I wish I had more energy before bed to read it becaue I think it’s one I could lose myself in. Too bad school reading and workouts have me falling asleep without getting many pages in.
Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks has been good so far. I wanted to listen to music on my half marathon this weekend but I should have given myself time to listen to this one! I’m about halfway through but I keep thinking I could be farther into it.

Recently finished: Nothing! I recently started all three of my books so there’s no surprise to me that I don’t have anything on this list this week. I’m working on finishing something for next week but we’ll see what life has planned.

Reading Next: My next book club pick will be Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I’ll start this as soon as I finish Civility which I hope is sooner rather than later.


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!

Favorite Female Writers: #2

17 Oct

And I’m back! Yesterday I posted to tell you why S.E. Hinton is my #3 favorite female writer and today I’m back to give you the story behind my #2 favorite female writer. Get ready.

Philippa Gregory
Image via Fantastic Fiction

Philippa Gregory

My mom introduced me to Gregory’s books in late high school and instilled a love for British historical fiction that I still suffer from. I’ve read a stupidly high number of Gregory books and enjoyed a lot of them. One of the best part of Gregory’s books is that there are still some coming out! Her interpretation of the lives of the Tudor queens, in particular, has blended with history in my mind and I’m not sure I’ll ever tell them apart well.

To be sure, there are books of Gregory’s I’ve enjoyed more than others. I always recommend the same few titles to those who are unfamiliar with her work: The Other Boleyn GirlThe Queen’s Fool, and The Constant Princess. There are some I’ve disliked over the years, but remembering how much I enjoyed these three has made me come back to her time and time again. My experience with Gregory has helped me branch out to other historical eras and genres and I’ve found a love for the genre and a desire to write my own history.

I’ll admit I’m not a dedicated reader and many Gregory books have come out that I’ve skipped or not gotten to. I read ones about historical figures that spark my interest. Catherine of Aragorn is very interesting to me, thus my love for The Constant Princess. Gregory has focused on many women in history, some I find more deserving than others in my personal assessment and those have earned my readership.

One of the things I adore most about a Gregory book is the detail and history involved. Now, some of her books can get a little too detailed, but many of them have rich details that enhanced the story and keep it moving along. Her depiction of the daily parts of life is my favorite. There are practices and pastimes she brings into the stories as well as vocabulary and niceties that I adore. She weaves them in seamlessly and makes the reader feel like he or she is living in the time period.

I know many people commented they hadn’t explored Gregory’s vast works yet when I was reading her recently. I encourage people to give her a try because there’s such a variety that it’s hard to think there’s nothing in her booklist for any reader.

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!

Favorite Female Writers: #3

16 Oct

I’ll be honest: I don’t have any book reviews or writing-related posts for you all this week. School and race training have gotten in the way. What I do have to share with you is a top three list, starting today, continuing tomorrow, and ending Thursday. I want to share with you my top three favorite female writers and talk about why they’re so amazing and why I’m going to encourage everyone to check them out. So, let’s start with #3.

S.E. Hinton

This is an obvious choice for me. Hinton is the author of my favorite non-series book of all time, The Outsiders. I never read this book in school but other classes at my school did and it was reviewed as ‘OK.’ For a required book, that’s the highest praise a book can get and I decided I wanted to read it myself and see how ‘OK’ it was. I was immediately hooked. I went on to read the other YA books Hinton wrote, That Was Then, This is NowTex, and Taming the Star Runner. To me, none compared to The Outsiders but I had very high expectations.

To me, The Outsiders is a perfect book. It has relatable characters who are flawed and who are changed by the course of events in the book without anything seeming forced or out-of-place. The characters and lines from the book stay with you for long after you read it. In fact, I mentioned to a friend that this was my favorite book at a dinner once and he said he hadn’t read it. Almost everyone else at the table was shocked and started telling each other to “Stay gold.” I was in my happy place.

Another reason I admire Hinton is that she write The Outsiders, her first book, while in high school. The raw talent that shows is astounding. I’ve wanted to be a writer since high school and I’ve always felt that if Hinton did it, I could have done it, too, had I tried hard enough. And just because I didn’t then doesn’t mean I can’t now.

I’ve lent this book to people more times than I can count because I think it’s essential reading. I’m always scared, though, that it won’t come back or will come back damaged. You have to be a really good friend to borrow this one!

So there’s #3 of my top favorite female writers. Turn in tomorrow for #2 and Thursday for #1!

Until next time, write on.

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