Archive | November, 2017

Do You Read On The Couch?

14 Nov

Welcome back to exploring where we all read! As I said before, I love reading in bed. On the couch, well, is a different story.

I almost never read on the couch. I find it puts a lot of strain on my neck to look down at my lap to read. When I lift the book up my arms get tired. I end up laying down on the couch, but at that point, I’d rather be in bed where I have all the pillows I need to make myself comfortable. Plus, there are no breaks in cushions on my bed. My butt doesn’t get stuck anywhere.

I will read on the couch for a short time. If I know it’s only going to be 20 minutes that I’m reading while I wait for something or someone, I’ll do it. I also read magazines on the couch. I usually read these in short installments rather than all at once so reading them on the couch is a good option. Plus, they’re so light that holding it up to my face isn’t as much of an issue for me.

I’m going to guess I’m in the minority here. Couch reading seems to be pretty popular, but I just can’t get comfortable. Am I the odd one out, reader? Do you read on the couch?

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!

Do You Read in Coffee Shops?

13 Nov

Wow, you all really responded to my ‘Do You Read in Bed?’ post! Thank you all so much. Due to a lack of finishing any books this week, I’ve decided to make a series out of it this week and talk about other places people tend to read. First stop, the coffee shop!

I know this one is usually more of a writer stereotype, but I wanted to explore it. I cannot read in coffee shops. As much as I love reading with a warm cup of tea at home, I can’t do it at a coffee shop. I’ve even tried sitting in the armchairs, it didn’t help. I have a lot of trouble tuning out voices and people talking around me while I read so most public places don’t work for me. Since coffee shops tend to be kind of quiet, the one person having a loud conversation on the other side of the room is very clear. If I was going to read at a coffee shop, I’d need to wear headphones and listen to music.

But then, I’d be too distracted to read. I get super distracted by people walking by me. This isn’t just when I read, it’s also at work on my computer or during a conversation, anytime really. If I was reading in a coffee shop, I’d look up any time a new person came in to order. I’d be a mess trying to keep to my spot in the book and looking up all the time.

I do enjoy writing at coffee shops, but reading is a completely different animal. I wonder if I’m weird or if this isn’t a popular reading spot. How about you, Reader? Do you read in coffee shops?

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!

Do You Read in Bed?

9 Nov

Reading before bed has been a ritual for me as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d read until my mom told me to turn out the light. Now, I read while my husband brushes his teeth. Even in college, when I’d be up until after midnight and need to be up early again the next day, I would read at least two pages before turning out the light. It’s helped me to calm down before bed, even if a plot is ramping up.

I have to admit that in the past few years since smartphones have become a steady part of our lives, I’ve slipped a bit. I’ll check Instagram for cute baby pictures and Facebook to see new movie trailers. And then I won’t read as many pages because it’s later and I’m already so tired of reading status updates.

And it seems I’m not alone. I found this article which talks about what a fleeting experience reading in bed is. It’s an experience that hasn’t been around a long time and that looks to be going away quickly. And that makes me sad.

Having no screen-time before bed is supposed to promote healthier sleep. Books, real paper books, can do that. As easy as it is to watch a video or read an article, I continue to force myself to put my phone down and pick up some words printed on a page. I really hope this isn’t a fad. It’s a tradition I plan to pursue for the rest of my life.

Do you read in bed? Printed word or ebook? I’m curious if anyone else agrees with me on the health benefits of reading before bed.

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, 8-November-2017

8 Nov

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.


Currently reading: I’m still pushing forward with The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I’ve had really busy lunch periods lately so I haven’t had much of a chance to read it during lunch but I’m squeezing in a few pages here and there. I should finish it before the end of the year with no problem.
The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer is going to be a long haul. This is a long audiobook but I’m liking it so far. As with most thrillers, it’s very fast paced but I’m having fun trying to figure out who is involved in what and who knows what.
I’m trying to read My Jesus Year by Benyamin Cohen so I can start my next physical book. I really enjoy memoirs, especially religious memoirs, so this is really enjoyable for me and it’s a quick read anyway.

Recently finished: Nothing this week. I’ve made good progress in my books, but nothing new to share.

Reading Next: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf is sitting next to my bed, ready for me to finish Cohen’s book. I’m excited to read a new-to-me author and I’m hoping this goes well.


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 Club Reflection: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

7 Nov

Sometimes, I’m overly excited to talk to my book club about a book I liked and that was the case with Rules of Civility. I may or may not have skipped out on another meeting to come to this book club. (OK, I did.) I was so glad to hear that a lot of the other readers really enjoyed it as well. Sometimes I think I’m in my happy reading bubble and it will be popped at the meeting, but not this time.

We all agreed the writing was great. It was clear Towles is very well read. There were loads of literary references dropped into the book but it never seemed forced or snobbish. The one complaint a reader had about the book was that the end was not satisfying because a lot of the characters’ plotlines didn’t have sufficient closure. They seemed to wander off on their own paths but, in reality, that happens in life sometimes. Another small complaint was that it was harder to relate to the characters because of the period. That can be a struggle when writing a period-specific piece. I personally didn’t have that problem but I can see how some would.

Many of us felt Katey was far too modern to be believable in the 1930s. Her rebellious attitude and confidence are more reflective of young women today than those 80 years ago. Some of us hoped for a little more insight into her background and why she was the way she was. We wondered if her father had more to do with it than we gathered. Katey rubbed us the wrong way a few times. The first was when she was cruel to Charlotte, the other secretary on the train, and the other (which bothered me most) was when she used Dickey. She was social climbing but she was slow to admit it to herself and to the reader. It hurt that she left other people in her dust in the process.

Tinker was such a central character in the book. One scene that stuck out to us as a good reflection of Tinker is one he wasn’t even in. When Wallace and Katey are looking at the picture of the boys’ years in school, Katey sees two Tinkers. He had run so fast that he appeared in the picture twice. We thought that was a very true reflection of how two-faced he was. He was somber-faced on one side and blurry and smiling on the other. You had to wonder, which was the real Tinker. I’ll argue it was the solid and stoic one.

A lot of us were put off by the scene where Anne hit on Katey. She’s a woman who aggressively goes after what she wants, but we didn’t understand why she wanted Katey. Anne’s appetites were confusing and, if I’m going to be honest, I started getting hits of a 50 Shades of Grey relationship between the two of them. It was surprising when Anne turned her eyes to another woman.

We started to speculate on why Eve left so suddenly. We understood that she didn’t want to marry Tinker but she moved very suddenly from being happy with him to fleeing to the other side of the country and trying to forget about her life in New York. One of our readers speculated that Eve might have found out about the relationship between Tinker and Anne. I think it makes a lot of sense. We read in an interview somewhere that Towles is looking to write a book about Eve’s time in Hollywood. (He previously wrote a short piece but is looking to turn it into a longer one.) Maybe we’ll get some answers.

This was a great discussion and we used our entire allotted time to discuss it. I’m looking forward to our discussion again next month (and I’m glad it’s a short read).

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!

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‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ Movie Review

6 Nov

Image via Movie Poster Shop

This is another case of me being completely unaware that the book I was reading was turned into a movie. Thankfully, many of the amazing participants in WWW Wednesday let me know and I was able to grab this from the library to enjoy as a mid-week break from school. Oh, and I totally cried. It’s a good thing my husband was at work when I finished this.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

The casting. Lemmon and Azaria were both amazing. I can’t help think of Azaria from his role in Friends when he played Phoebe’s physicist boyfriend, but I still liked him in this. He even sounded a bit like Albom which was a nice touch. Lemmon was a great pick for Morrie and I think he really brought the character to life. It was very close to what I pictured when listening to the book.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Mitch working. In the book, there’s a newspaper strike going on while he’s visiting Morrie so he’s not working and things are slow. Getting to see Morrie isn’t a scheduling conflict and Mitch has a lot of time to think about the lessons Morrie is teaching him. I think having him busy with work built a lot of suspense and helped with Mitch’s plot line which wasn’t present in the book.

 

Cover image via Goodreads

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

Visiting Morrie’s grave. I thought this was how the movie was going to end. Morrie wanted Mitch to visit his grave and keep the conversation going, keep talking to him. In the book, Mitch talks about doing this and it made for a good ending. I wonder why the movie didn’t end the same.

Things That Changed Too Much

Mitch and Janine’s relationship. This one really upset me. Mitch and Janine were happily married in the book and I hated the implication that he was a bad boyfriend or husband. I felt Janine was a good support for Mitch in the book and viewing her any other way was hard for me.

The focus on Mitch. The book doesn’t focus much on Mitch. The story is about Morrie and how he’s dying and the lessons he wants to impart before he does. Switching the focus to Mitch and how he as changed by Morrie made for a good movie, but it wasn’t true to the book.

Like I said, this made me cry. It was well done and I grew to care a lot about Mitch and Morrie’s characters. I didn’t think such a short book could make a good movie, but I was wrong. Reader, have you seen the Tuesdays with Morrie movie? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

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

Challenge Update, October 2017

2 Nov

It’s finally feeling like fall! October started out unseasonably warm here in Michigan but I’m finally feeling compelled to stay in bed and read. School is under control now and I’m trying to spend more time reading and listening to books. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in October:

Gold Fame Citrus // Claire Vaye Watkins (4/5)
The Other Queen // Philippa Gregory (3/5)
Year of Wonder // Geraldine Brooks (3/5)
Tuesdays With Morrie // Mitch Albom (5/5)
Rules of Civility // Amor Towles (5/5)

Wow! What a good month for me considering school is in session. I wish I could do this every October. I really targeted some of my books to knock down a few of my challenges. I did pretty great, I’ll let you know! See below.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
DONE! Plan executed to perfection. I added Gold Fame Citrus to my ‘the Future’ time period. It’s set in a future Southwestern US where the drought escalated. The Other Queen filled in the 1500s, sharing the story of Mary Queen of Scots while imprisoned in England. Finally, Year of Wonder filled in the 1600s, the plague years, and finished off my challenge. I love doing this every year and will for sure be hosting this in 2018.

Goodreads Challenge

46/50
Five books ahead! This is awesome. I should finish this challenge next month at this pace without a problem.

Book of the Month

I’m going to give this one to Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. The characters really won me over and as much as I didn’t like the ending, it was because I wanted it to end happier, not because it was a bad ending. It did, of course, help that I’ve met Watkins and found her a joy to listen to.

Added to my TBR

I’m down again to 105. We’ll have to see how fast I read the rest of the year and if I can bring it beneath 100 before January 1.

  • Artemis by Andy Weir. I think anyone who read or saw The Martian will add this to their lists. Weir had a great hit with his first book and I want to see if he can do it again.
  • Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. This is my next book club pick so I’ll be picking it up and reading it very soon. Excited for my first Haruf book!

Personal Challenge

I mentioned in my challenge announcement post that I had some non-reading goals set for myself in 2017. I figured this would be a good place to keep myself accountable to those as well. Here goes!

  • Keep my 4.0 GPA: So far, so good. I’ll be getting my midterm grade back today so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Knit blankets:  Stockpile is good, but I’m still waiting to see if one friend is going to announce the gender of her little one. I have a gender neutral blanket ready if she chooses not to!
  • One race per month: Two races in October, including my first half marathon! It wasn’t fun, but I think I’d give it another go. Whoever said the half was addictive has different brain chemistry than me. I also ran a Halloween 10K with my husband last weekend. Check out the pictures on my Instagram!
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: I sent it out to one more friend who read an earlier version of the book. She was actually my first beta reader and she was excited to see how the story changed. I hope she likes it!

How were your challenges? I hope you made it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2018, 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!

WWW Wednesday, 1-November-2017

1 Nov

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.


Currently reading: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is still my ebook and I’m really enjoying this during my lunch breaks. It jumps around a bit more than I like, but the short snippets of the story make for good lunchtime reading.
I started a new audiobook, The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer. I’ve read a few Meltzer books before so I’m pretty sure of what I’m getting into with this one. It’s fun to see how similar an author’s books can be and yet how different. This is a long audio so I suspect this will be on here for a while.
I also started a new physical book, My Jesus Year by Benyamin Cohen. I love memoirs and memoirs about travel and religious understanding are always top in my book. Especially when my favorite non-fiction writer, A.J. Jacobs, has a blurb on the cover.

Recently finishedI finished Rules of Civility by Amor Towles on Friday and really enjoyed it. The characters were very real people and Towles writes amazing little details about them. My book club met to discuss this on Monday so I’ll have a summary of that up next week. You can take a look at my review, posted earlier this week, in the meantime.
As I expected, I flew through Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. It was short and sweet and I understand why this one is consistently on the bestseller lists. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much time and money went into Mitch visiting Morrie for all of those weeks but I think what both men got out of it was more than worth what was put into it. I posted a review earlier this week so please check it out.

Reading Next: I got my next book club pick, which is going to be Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews for Haruf’s novels but this will be my first. I’ll pick it up as soon as I finish Cohen’s book.


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!