Archive | April, 2021

WWW Wednesday, 28-April-2021

28 Apr

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. 


HangmanCurrently reading: I got through another chapter of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono while I was waiting for a lane. I’m sure I’ll make my way through this soon, but I’m not minding the slow pace.
I think I’ll return to  The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee later this week! I’m having a lot of success with time to listen to my other audio so this is coming up sooner and sooner.
The other audio I’m talking about is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. I like this one a lot and I’m flying through it quickly. I’m optimistic about finishing today! Fingers crossed.
My reading buddy and I are both in love with Recursion by Blake Crouch. We met twice last week and are already more than half way through it! We haven’t read one this quickly before so I’m really excited to have found something we both enjoy so much.
I started The Hangman’s Replacement: Sprout of Disruption by Taona Dumisani Chiveneko and I’m iffy on it so far. It’s not written in a way I would write, but it’s not poorly written. I’m pushing forward with it between bouts with Recursion and even though it’s a long haul, I think I’ll make it through.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week. I’m sure I’ll have at least one thing here next week, though. Two if I’m lucky.

I posted my review for Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green on Thursday. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars. I really liked the ending, more than I thought I would early on. I liked how Green tackled mental health and I thought telling the book from Aza’s point of view was really powerful.

DollfaceReading next: It might seem premature, but I think I’m getting toward the end of Lateral Thinking so I’ll need an ebook next. It sill probably be Dollface by Renee Rosen. It will be nice to get back to some fiction with my ebook. I wonder if that will help me read a bit faster.

Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Midwest Literary Walk 2021

27 Apr

In 2020, COVID hit right before the Midwest Literary Walk and it was one of the many things I had to cross of my calendar and was, of course, crushed about. I was so relieved to see that the 2021 event would go virtual and that I’d be able to attend. To make it even better, they had the two authors I most wanted to hear signed up to come back! Since I’m not a huge poetry fan, I was able to do some chores during the middle speaker and made the day a bit more focused on my interests, which felt really nice, too.

The first speaker was Laurie Hales Anderson. I don’t remember another year when MLW had a YA author so I was surprised and excited to hear her speak. Two of her books, Speak and Chains have been National Book Award Finalists. Her most recent book, Shout, is about her own experience with sexual violence. She was thirteen at the time but didn’t seek therapy to deal with her trauma until she had young children and realized her trauma was affecting her family. She first addressed sexual violence in Speak which is still often found on banned books lists. One of the reasons cited that always baffled her was that parents of boys say the book makes boys feel bad about themselves. Anderson listed several more books about sexual violence that are coming out with the topic being raised in the #MeToo movement. She hopes that these stories help people develop a vocabulary to talk about sexual violence so it becomes less hidden. Though it must be flattering to have a book so widely read so long after its publication, Anderson hopes that the book becomes less relatable as our society battles sexual violence and consent. She never talked to her mother about the book when it was published which speaks to the taboo nature of the topic. Recently, the book was turned into a graphic novel. Anderson said they chose the artist they did because she was known for drawing horror novels. One thing Anderson liked about the graphic novel format was how turning the page could be a moment of tension, since the reader is hit so forcefully with images when they’re revealed.

Anderson talked about her personal life and how it’s influenced her work. She grew up without wealth and worked on a dairy farm to make money to pay for her community college classes. She was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to Georgetown and received her degree in Linguistics, thinking she might become a translator. Her father was a poet and she said he was the single biggest influence on her life. Her latest book, Shout, is written in verse. She’s been fascinated with history and will read about it a lot. Anderson mentioned that when the COVID lockdown started, she was drawn to books about people during the Blitz in London because their lockdowns felt very relatable. Her book, Fever 1793 about the Yellow Fever saw a resurgence during COVID because readers seemed to connect with the relevance to our current lives. She mentioned that because of her two distinct genres, some of her fans aren’t even aware of her other genre books.

The second author I was excited to hear from was Azar Nafisi. I have a copy of Reading Lolita in Tehran on my shelves and would have loved to get it signed, but I’ll settle for having heard Nafisi speak. I don’t have a ton of notes from her interview because I was so enthralled with it so please forgive me for a short recap. She has a book coming out next March called Read Dangerously where she talks about books that can inspire. Her most recent publication was That Other World where she focuses on Nabokov. The book was first written in Persian and has been published in that language. It was translated and first published in the US in 2019. Nafisi talked about how powerful books can be and how dedicated to them people can feel. She mentioned how some American literature is felt more deeply in countries outside the US. Some people’s present is more like America’s past. You don’t have to be at an event to understand what happened if you can read about it and put yourself in a person’s place who was there. My favorite line from Nafisi’s talk was that good literature does not allow people to live in a world that is black and white. Good literature makes us explore the grey.

Thank you to the Chelsea District Library for putting on such a great virtual event! I hope we can be back on the streets of Chelsea in 2022 for another good year. 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Author Event with Bonnie Tsui featuring Des Linden

26 Apr

This event was on my radar for very non-reading related reasons. If you’ve ever heard of Des Linden, you might be as impressed with her as I am. Des won the 2018 Boston Marathon in the worst weather conditions recorded for the event. She’s run in the Olympics and is the first alternate for the US at Tokyo (she came in 4th at Olympic Trials). The week before this event, she broke the World Record for the 50K. To just elevate my fandom even more, she lives and trains in Michigan. So I heard about the event on her Instagram account.

Tsui’s book had been on my periphery for a while. As a swimmer, the title Why We Swim was instantly appealing. A swimmer friend of mine posted about wanting to read it and I had the book on my TBR already. So I thought I’d jump in.

It was clear Tsui is a fan of Des, like me, so they talked about running for quite a while to start off. Des had read the book and posted about how much she liked it on Twitter. Tsui was touched and responded which sparked a friendship. Though Tsui will run, Des is not a swimmer. She described herself as a ‘sinker’ which was part of what appealed to her to pick up the book. She associates the water with being injured because water jogging is where she’ll go for recovery. Her husband is a triathlete and rather than swim with him, she leads him in a kayak. (I had to laugh because my husband follows me in a kayak for many of my lake swims in a similar way.) The two of them will run together, however, along with their dog. Their dog can run a 6:30/mile pace, which just blows my mind!

Enough about Des, even though she was what drew me to the event. Tsui was an engaging speaker. She wanted to talk about swimming in a way that was tangible for people who don’t call themselves swimmers, like Des. As humans, we’re built to excel on land, to run well. But we’re drawn to water. Many animals have the natural inclination to swim, even ones you wouldn’t expect like eagles (whose swimming Tsui called a sort of butterfly stroke) and bats. She wrote the book to get a good understanding of what drives people to pursue water-related endeavors like epic swims and venturing into what could be dangerous waters. The open water is full of life and it makes the pool feel like an artificial environment. Yet we still find pools very comforting.

Tsui commented on how funny it felt to publish a book about swimming during lockdown (especially strict in her native California) when no one could swim. The open water was the only option for many. She wanted to talk about the relief water can give you when it wasn’t available to many people during lockdown. Tsui also mentioned that in her spare time, she reads a lot of fiction because her job as a journalist and non-fiction writer drives her to read so much non-fiction. She needs a little fun to escape work.

This was a fun event to join and thank you to Bookshop Santa Cruz for putting on such a great event! I hope to be able to travel and visit them in person one day.

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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green (4/5)

22 Apr

I’d been meaning to read this book since it came out but never got around to it. When I was visiting bookshops in Atlanta, I found this Spanish copy and thought it was perfect. John Green is about my reading level in Spanish and I’d enjoyed translations of his work before. This is the last Spanish read on my shelf so it looks like I’m going to have to go looking for more soon.

Cover image via Amazon

Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green

Other books by Green reviewed on this blog:

Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan)
Paper Towns
Looking for Alaska

Summary from Amazon:

Aza Holmes never intended to pursue the disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Pickett’s son Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

There were parts of this book that I wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t expecting Aza’s illness to come into the story the way it did. From the summary, I thought the plot was going to focus on the Picketts more. I like that Green found a way to balance this. I also didn’t expect Daisy to play as big a role as she did. It seems like Green can have major-secondary characters and minor-secondary characters and I’d expected Daisy to land in the latter category at first. Again, I’m not angry at how it turned out, it was just different than I expected. I think a lot of these expectations came from reading the first two chapters and then putting the book on hold for a while. Both of these items become stronger later in the book and the first two chapters set my idea for the book before I was able to get into them.

A note about the translation: I haven’t read the English version but there weren’t a lot of times in this one where I could tell the translation had to be altered to deal with the language barrier. This happens a lot with colloquialisms or puns that don’t translate. However, the title is quite different. It roughly translates to ‘A thousand times until forever.’ I figured the turtle metaphor didn’t translate well, but when it came up in the book, it seemed fine to me. ‘Tortugas hasta el infinito’ or ‘turtles until infinity.’ I’m not sure why this wasn’t used for a title unless the selected title is a colloquialism or common phrase I’m not familiar with.

The portrayal of Aza was amazing. As someone who has anxiety from time to time, I related to the spiraling thoughts. I thought the way she talked about them and detailed her spirals were relatable and very real. I’ve spent sleepless nights Googling things and been disengaged from conversations because I can’t focus. I’ve never had it to a degree like Aza does but I could see how these things happen and how damaging they can be and how much they affected Aza. The scenes with her and her mother were the most difficult for me. I’ve tried to talk to my mother about how I feel as well and it’s hard to describe, the way Aza feels. As someone who’s about to become a mother, it’s heartbreaking to see a mother who can’t understand her child even as she tries very hard.

Davis was my favorite character. I liked how down-to-earth he was despite the immense privilege he came from. I think he always felt alone because he was very different from his peers due to the early loss he suffered. It felt real to me that he would reconnect with Aza so quickly because he felt she shared his background and very few others did. He was very understanding of Aza’s qualms about being intimate with him and I think it was a great demonstration of consent.

As I’ve said, I related to Aza and her spirals. I’ve had nights where I can’t sleep because of spiraling thoughts. It’s hard to articulate what that’s like and I think Green did a great job of illustrating how exhausting it can be and how much it can take over someone’s life.

John Green
Image via Twitter

Daisy’s story was one of my favorite parts of the book. I respected the work she did to earn enough money to pay for night school. And when she came into money, I respected her ultimate decision to save it and to help pay for her sister’s education, even if that’s not what she originally wanted. I thought it was really great to see a character who didn’t have a comfortable middle-class life and what that could look like. Most of Green’s characters before had been more well-off and Daisy was a great way to introduce someone who had some struggle.

Mixing in the disappearance case seemed like a bit of a stretch to me. Russell Pickett could have been in the book and very little would have changed. I think it muddled the message Green was trying to share and added parts to the plot that weren’t needed. It made me think the book was going in a completely different direction than where it ended up and I felt a little hoodwinked.

Aza has a hard time loving herself because of her illness and thus struggles to see how others could love her. She pushes her mother, Davis, and Daisy away when she’s in the hospital and doesn’t feel she’s worthy of forgiveness for what she’s done when all assure her she’s forgiven. It must be hard for someone battling with such a strong mental illness to find peace. I hope that Aza and people like her can find the help that they need like Aza did.

Writer’s Takeaway: Green found a way to write about a lot of diverse characters without making it seem forced or unnatural which I really liked. Davis seems to be the only one who doesn’t squarely fit in a minority, but he’s lost a mother and that’s affected him in ways that aren’t easy to define. When I write, it’s hard for me to imagine the lives of people who are really different from me and feel like I’m empowered to write about their lives so I really applaud him for bringing in so many diverse characters.

An enjoyable book but not a grand slam for me. 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
Turtles All the Way Down: My Last John Green Review if Everything Goes According to Plan | Emma Reads
‘Turtles All the Way Down’ by John Green: Book Review | Blogging for Dopamine
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green | Book Review | An Introverted World
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | VickywhoReads

WWW Wednesday, 21-April-2021

21 Apr

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: Yet again, not much with Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. I’m fine with this going on a while so I’m in no rush. I just feel bad letting it linger!
Nothing again with The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee but I’m making good progress with other audiobooks so I’ll stay optimistic that I’ll be back to this soon!
The other audiobook is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. I’m really enjoying this one so far! It’s funny and has some good points so it’s a win for me. I hope I can get through it quickly.
I started Recursion by Blake Crouch for my reading buddy book! I’m excited to get some SciFi and I hope the quick pace will help me read quickly. I’ve missed some solid fiction in my reading lately.

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green on Thursday. It was a solid story and I enjoyed it a lot. I’ll be posting my review tomorrow. I always feel like my reviews for a Spanish read should be different, but then I realize that’s silly.

I posted my review of The Overstory by Richard Powers on Monday. This book wasn’t a good one for me. My book club met last week so I’ve posted a reflection of our conversation as well. I wasn’t alone in disliking it, but I was a minority.

Reading next: I don’t really have a good idea here. I think it will be a print book to pick up between chunks of the buddy read, though. There’s one book I’ve had on my TBR for years that I got as a Goodreads Giveaway and that’s The Hangman’s Replacement: Sprout of Disruption by Taona Dumisani Chiveneko. I won’t lie, I’ve debated taking this off of my list a few times due to what looked like polarized reviews, but looking again they seem pretty well spread if new in number. I’ll give it a try.

Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Club Reflection: The Overstory by Richard Powers

20 Apr

My book club met the day after I finished reading The Overstory by Richard Powers to talk about the book. I’m glad I could talk to the group about the book, so I wasn’t insularly reading it. This is always great when I don’t like a book.

Powers is a well published author. This was his 12th book and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Powers has a diverse background. He worked as a computer programmer for some time, much like Neelay. He started his education in physics before switching to creative writing. He’s moved around a lot, having lived in Thailand for six years as a child and moving to the Netherlands after the publication of his first book to stay out of the public eye. He was working at Stanford when he wrote this book and did a lot of research to make sure that the science in the book was as accurate as possible at the time of its publication. Our readers really appreciated the details and research he was able to add. After finishing that research, he moved to the Smoky Mountains. He was finishing the book around the time Trump was elected to office and felt he needed to go back and edit parts of the story to reflect changing attitudes. We wondered if this editing removed some of the cohesiveness of the story.

There was a mixed reaction to this book. One reader was blown away by the book and said it gave her a lot to think about. One enjoyed the writing style. Another liked the characters. There were others who felt like me. We weren’t emotionally invested in the story and topic. One said the book lacked empathy and seemed to suffer from the point about nature that Powers was making. One remembered that the characters were most memorable by their story in the Roots section. They were relatable and interesting but once they got into the middle of the book, many had to refer to notes to keep track of the characters and keep them straight. At times, it felt like a lot of short stories that were connected, a bit like trees in a forest, where each could have stood on its own. One did say she started the book as audio and when she switched to print, she liked it more. So maybe I just picked a bad medium.

Surprisingly, a lot of our conversation was about the overall plot and themes. We tend to focus on characters, but this meeting it was different. We talked about how we moved we were by Olivia’s death and the idea that our lives are but a blip and that even humanity is nothing compared to the life span of many trees. In the same way, we felt like Adam’s observation of ants was like how trees might observe humans. Adam was a controversial character in our discussion. From everything else we knew about him, his radicalization seemed out of left field. One reader hypothesized that because he was studying the dangers of the bystander affect, he realized he needed to act so he joined the movement rather than watching it happen. One reader didn’t like how Mimi’s father’s suicide was written. It seemed sudden and almost like an ‘easy out’ for the author to give Mimi some motivation and pass on the family heirlooms. Nick didn’t get a lot of time in our talk. None of us really understood the point his art played in the book and by the end, we were even more confused.

I’ve started our next book and it’s already going much better and I’m looking forward to the discussion. I’ve learned to just look forward to the next book if I don’t enjoy the one I’m reading and it’s going well so far.

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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: The Overstory by Richard Powers (2/5)

19 Apr

I’ll honestly say this is a book club book I was not looking forward to. Mostly because it was so long! 22 hours on audio is a lot of my life to dedicate and I was looking forward to other books that I had to put off. So going in with a negative mindset was probably not best for enjoying the story. But I had a lot of other issues which didn’t help.

Cover image via Amazon

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Summary from Amazon:

The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of―and paean to―the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours―vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

If I’d read this book as part of an Environmental Science class in college, I might have liked it. I wouldn’t have minded the preachy nature of it if it was part of a learning environment. As something in my free time, I would have preferred to read a long article with the same point rather than a 22-hour audio which started with amazing characters who ended up being flat so I could get facts about radical environmentalism. This didn’t work for me as a novel and it became difficult to enjoy it as one.

The characters Powers created were initially interesting and dynamic. At the beginning of the novel, we see them realize the roles trees have played in their lives and how they are so different but yet have a similar leaning. They don’t seem to continue to evolve over the rest of the book which was a disappointment. Powers is clearly skilled at creating rich characters, but the environmental message he was pushing took over the rest of the book and hijacked what could have been an engaging character study.

Patricia was my favorite character. I felt like her development, though not in the limelight, was most interesting in the book. I liked how she grew up with her father, developing a love for trees and how she questioned the science she was learning, doing research to debunk it. I was sad for her when she was dragged through the mud and felt her vindication later on. The way she looked at her life after she decided to live for the trees was inspiring. Her relationship with her work and her husband was really beautiful and I kept wanting good things for her. I think she could have been the focus of the story and I would have enjoyed it more.

The characters in this book were a little too extreme for me to relate to. At first, I thought Mimi might be relatable, but she pushed things farther than I would have. I thought maybe Olivia would remind me of myself but the more she talked about hearing other beings, the less I related to her. I wondered if Nick was going to be my guy and I think he was closest to a relatable character for me in the book. He seemed to take a bit of a backseat and fade into the background by the end, which was sad but most of the characters seemed to take a backseat to the trees by the end and I lost a lot of interest in the story by then.

Richard Powers
Image from The Guardian

The stories at the beginning of the book, introducing the characters, were my favorite part. The way the characters were developed was really engaging for me and I was curious to see how they would all come together in the end. When I realized some of them never would come together in a meaningful way, I was disappointed. I would have loved to see Dorothy and Ray interact with Dougie or Neelay.

The ending felt odd to me and it seemed like a lot of the characters didn’t get a meaningful ending. For many, it was abrupt while it wrapped up for others. It seemed incomplete and I wanted more than I got. After so much build-up, this was hugely disappointing.

The audiobook was narrated by Suzanne Toren and I felt she did an amazing job with the book. There were so many characters to keep track of and I thought she did a great job giving them distinct voices. Patricia and Douggie are particularly memorable. She helped me stay as engaged as I was for 22 hours.

The theme of this book was so blaring that it distracted from everything else. We, as humans, are killing the trees and poisoning the planet for temporary and financial gain. Readers were hit over the head with this time and time again. It almost felt insulting to think I hadn’t picked up not the author’s message and be reminded so often. This was ultimately what kept me from engaging with the characters. They were just there to push me to understand the message and I didn’t like being lectured.

Writer’s Takeaway: One of the biggest lessons I get from reading writing books is that you don’t want to make your readers feel like they’re being lectured or reading non-fiction when they’re reading fiction. Fiction can teach, but if that’s our goal, you should choose a different medium. I felt like Powers choice of a 22-hour book was the wrong medium for what he had to say. I lost interest early when I thought I was being lectured and I didn’t engage with the writing or characters after that.

This book lost me early and never got me back. Two 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
The Overstory, by Richard Powers | Bob’s Books
THE OVERSTORY, by Richard Powers | The Pointe-Claire Public Library Blog
“The Overstory” by Richard Powers | Book Nook Book Reviews
The Overstory by Richard Powers | Book Reviews
The Overstory (Powers) | BookReviewsbyCharles

WWW Wednesday, 14-April-2021

14 Apr

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. 


PunjabiCurrently reading: A slow week on Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono but with a few upcoming doctors appointments, I might make more progress. TBD.
I’ve made a lot of progress with Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green. I’m really liking Aza’s story and this is a good reading level for me in Spanish. I’ll stick with it as much as I can and hope to finish soon.
Unfortunately still waiting on The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. Not commuting has really cut down on my listening time this past year.
I’ve started another book club pick already, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. Not very far into this one yet but I’m hoping it will go quickly so I can get back to Piracy!

OverstoryRecently finished: I made a huge push on Sunday to finish The Overstory by Richard Powers in time for my book club meeting on Monday. Finally! This book was not for me by any means. I really disliked the characters and the length was a big turn off. A lot of the characters could have been cut to save on the length and I don’t think there would have been a negative impact. I felt like I was being lectured and it was a big turn off. I’m giving it Two out of Five Stars. I’ll have a review and book club reflection up next week.

RecursionReading next: My reading buddy and I decided on Recursion by Blake Crouch as our next book. I recommended this mostly because we were looking for a paperback option and I’d loved Dark Matter so much. I hope she likes it! We haven’t done SciFi yet (though we touched on fantasy) so this is new territory.

Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Author Event with Jenny Lawson and Neil Gaiman

12 Apr

PXL_20210411_223303171I got myself a birthday present a while back and bought a digital ticket to an event with my local indie, Literati Bookstore. They had an amazing event where Jenny Lawson was going to be in conversation about her new book, Broken (in the best possible way). I adore Lawson and have read her other two books, Lets Pretend this Never Happened and Furiously Happy. My copy of Furiously is even personally signed, a very thoughtful gift from my brother who got to meet her at a store near his old apartment in Ohio. So hearing she had a new book was a delight. The event ticket came with a signed copy shipped to my house. It’s not personalized, but I’m still excited.

I was even more excited when I heard who was going to be conversing with her: NEIL GAIMAN! Yes, THE Neil Gaiman. Now, I’m not going to pretend to be the biggest Gaiman fan, but I’ve enjoyed a few of this books and recently watched the adaptation of Good Omens so he’s very top of mind for me. I read Good Omens in high school and since having this blog I’ve read The Ocean at the End of the Lane (and book club reflection). So the two together? This was well worth the price of admission.

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A lot of the conversation focused on the relationship the two share. Gaiman was aware of Lawson when she was blogging heavily and was known as The Bloggess and the content she put there. This is the source of her first book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened. Gaiman was blogging as well, using it as a ‘finger exercise’ before he got down to writing his fiction. He’s become aware of her because she’d blogged two lists, one a list of men you’re supposed to want to have sex with, and another of weird guys you’re not supposed to want to have sex with but do anyway. Gaiman appeared on the second list. He says it was the most flattering backhanded compliment he’s gotten. When Lawson was recording the audiobook for her first book, she was really nervous and texted Gaiman, asking for advice. He told her to ‘Pretend you’re good at it.’ If you’ve listened to her audiobooks, you know she kills it and this advise totally worked. She had the phrase written on her forearm for the virtual event and says she does this regularly for events. Often, someone in the signing line will cross out ‘Pretend.’ Gaiman is known well for this line and says often he’ll have someone ask him to write it on a part of their body at a signing which the person will then go get tattooed in his handwriting. One of the more mind-blowing things they talked about was that Neil will often email Jenny some writing in process and she was able to read a draft of The Ocean at the End of the Lane because he thought she’d like it (she did).

Lawson was asked about how she can write about her mental illness in such a lighthearted and funny way. She said that when something happens to her, she’ll begin to write about it, but she often has to wait until she’s away from a place of depression and anxiety before she can finish writing it.

Gaiman and Lawson’s favorite question was from an 11-year old fan who asked, “Who is your 2nd favorite Muppet?” Both agreed that Gonzo was their first favorite and that it was one of their favorite questions.

My husband could hear me laughing a floor away during this amazing event. Please consider checking out Literati no matter where you live. Their virtual events are open to all and they ship to all 50 US States.

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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 7-April-2021

7 Apr

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. 


mil vecesCurrently reading: Not much on Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono this week. I was away on my Babymoon (best. idea. ever) with my husband and limiting screen time in favor of some print reading. I’m sure I’ll be back to it soon.
I’ve returned to Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green! With most of my Spanish reads, this will be a bit slow but YA seems to help a lot so I’m optimistic about making it through in a reasonable time.
Still waiting with The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. Hopefully soon.
I can’t wait to finish The Overstory by Richard Powers. I’m getting down to the end of it and it will feel so good when I’m done, but I’m just waiting for the end now.

Better

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Expecting Better by Emily Oster late last week! Felt great to finish another book so quickly and I’m really glad I read this one. My review posted yesterday if you want to check it out! It seems a lot of my friends with young kids or who are also pregnant have read this one. I might have even stumbled upon a pregnancy I didn’t know about because of a Goodreads review! I feel like a detective.

Reading next: I’m still debating this one. My reading buddy and I might pick up again soon since we’ve got a lot of momentum. I might need to pick up a book club read. Or I might need an English book to grab when my brain is too fried for Spanish. So I’ll leave this blank one more week to let my life settle and see where I need to go.

Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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