Archive | January, 2022

WWW Wednesday, 26-January-2022

26 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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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.


Ghost

Currently reading: I wasn’t quite as good this week about getting through The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson. I’m being patient with myself and remembering that some weeks are better than others. I’m sure I’ll get there.
I don’t have any ideas yet on how I can find more time for True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. We’re getting close to when Baby is going to start sleeping in another room, so that might be what finally gives me the time. I do miss this story as I was really enjoying it.
I made a decent dent in Tabula Rasa by Ruth Downie. I have a better idea of where the plot is going to go and I’m looking forward to the mystery Downie has woven for this installment!

Recently finished: Nothing new this week. I’m not surprised, though. I did manage to post my review of The Ghosts of Eden Park on Monday so please check that out! I gave it Three out of Five Stars but I feel like that rating doesn’t convey how much I enjoyed it.

91tzXN8Fp0LReading next: I think I’ll finish my ebook soon once I get back to a groove which will mean I’m picking up A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman next. It will be fun to have a thriller!

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 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 Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott (3/5)

24 Jan

I heard of this book when a friend from college, Becca, mentioned it on her Instagram page. I have a lot of family in Cincinnati and I love my 1920s bootlegger stories so it seemed custom made for me. I enjoyed the book a bit more than I think my rating lets on, but not enough to raise the rating to a 4. I’m a stickler like that.

0451498631.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SX500_The Ghosts of Eden Park: The bootleg king, the woman who pursued him and the murder that shocked Jazz Age America by Karen Abbott

Summary from Amazon:

In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law and starts trafficking whiskey. Within two years he’s a multi-millionaire. The press calls him “King of the Bootleggers,” writing breathless stories about the Gatsby-esque events he and his glamorous second wife, Imogene, host at their Cincinnati mansion, with party favors ranging from diamond jewelry for the men to brand-new cars for the women. By the summer of 1921, Remus owns 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States.

Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt is determined to bring him down. Willebrandt’s bosses at the Justice Department hired her right out of law school, assuming she’d pose no real threat to the cozy relationship they maintain with Remus. Eager to prove them wrong, she dispatches her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into his empire. It’s a decision with deadly consequences. With the fledgling FBI on the case, Remus is quickly imprisoned for violating the Volstead Act. Her husband behind bars, Imogene begins an affair with Dodge. Together, they plot to ruin Remus, sparking a bitter feud that soon reaches the highest levels of government–and that can only end in murder.

Remus’s story reminded me of Gatsby in many ways and I think the parallels are justified. He had a persona, a larger-than-life life that everyone had to know wouldn’t last. I enjoyed hearing about his heyday as a bootlegging king more than I liked the trials that followed. I felt the story got bogged down in legal details toward the end. I recognize that part of the story is probably the easiest to write about since so much of it was reported, but it wasn’t as interesting from a reader’s point of view. I did like that Abbott left it a bit up to her reader to decide if Remus really was mad or not.

Imogen and Remus both seemed a bit too much like caricatures. I’m not sure if that’s the way they acted for the press or if they really were like that, but it came off as a show. Late in the book, it’s obvious Remus is acting in a way to present himself as unhinged, but earlier in the book it seems like a persona he wanted to affect. Maybe this was part of what made the book a little ‘off’ to me. They just seemed so much larger than life that I couldn’t buy it.

It was hard to dislike Remus as a character with the way he was presented. He was scrappy and resourceful in a way you want an anti-hero to be. I couldn’t celebrate the things he did, but he was good at them. He understood what people wanted and used those motivations to his advantage. It seems unfortunate he put so much trust in Imogen, but you also want a man to trust his wife the way Remus trusted Imogen. I disliked him more at the end when he gamed the system to get out of such a horrible crime. That’s another thing that soured the book for me toward the end.

It was hard to relate to these characters. Prohibition is such a unique time in American history that it can be difficult to think of what it was like to live during the period. I think future generations will feel the same way about the COVID pandemic. Imogen and Remus’s social standing also made them seem a bit more untouchable than others I’ve read about. The mansion they owned was straight out of a movie! They were American Royalty in their day, something I don’t aspire to be.

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Karen Abbott Image via the author’s website

The lavish lifestyle Remus and Imogen led for a time was the most interesting part of the book to me. The ultra wealthy have had a variety of ways of showing off their wealth throughout history and the home they had and the parties they threw were quintessential of their day. While it seemed too good to be true, it was fun to read about.

The ending of the book seemed too different from the beginning. It was a good example of life being stranger than fiction for sure. We hadn’t questioned Remus’s sanity the entire book and then at the end, we’re made to reexamine if what we’ve heard was the story of a madman. It seemed a little too odd to me and wasn’t as enjoyable as the early parts of the book.

While there are two narrators credited, Rob Shapiro narrated a lot more of the story than Cassandra Campbell did. Shapiro narrated Remus’s story while Campbell took Willebrandt’s. Willebrandt’s story fell off to me about half way through the book and Shapiro took over the large bulk of the narration. I liked both narrators. Non fiction doesn’t lend itself to as much range in voice performance but both were able to keep tensions running and bring out the characters. Shapiro’s voices for Remus helped portray the larger-than-life persona he affected.

Remus is a shining example of how money can’t buy happiness. He was probably one of the richest men in America but his marriage was rocky and he had few friends. His story highlights how money causes more problems than it solves. The comparison to Gatsby is very apt and I might even call this the real life Gatsby story. It would be better in a more fictionalized adaptation to see how Imogen and Remus’s relationship might have played out.

Writer’s Takeaway: Toward the end, Abbott seemed to rely so heavily on first-person sources that the story started to suffer. There was so much source material for her to work from and it seemed a little bit too crammed in. I would have appreciated a little more speculation or some more straight forward linking between stories to make it feel a bit like fiction.

I enjoyed the book, but it won’t be a favorite. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1920-1939 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

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 Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott (4 out of 5) | GenerationGBooks
The Ghosts of Eden Park: Whisky Blood | Candice Clark’s Portfolio

Challenge Update, October, November, December 2021

20 Jan

With how slow reading has been for me, quarterly updates might make the most sense for a while. I hope to get back to reading near the level I was before Baby, but I’m not going to count on it. With how late this update is, you can tell I’ve got a lot going on! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in October, November, and December.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (4/5)
The Running Man by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) (4/5)
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda (4/5)

All audiobooks this time. That feels about right with how slowly I’ve been getting through books. I’m a little sad at how short this list is. I used to read this much in a month and now it’s taking three times as long. I hope I can find a new pattern for reading soon.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

8/12
In the end, I didn’t finish the challenge. None of these three added to the time periods I was missing. I’m hoping to try this again in 2022 and be MUCH more purposeful about the books I read to fill up the missing periods.

Goodreads Challenge

23/45
In the end, I only finished 51% of my goal. With Baby coming about half way through the year, that doesn’t surprise me. I thought I went low with 45, but not quite low enough. I’m aiming for only 15 in 2022 and I think I can make that.

RunningBook of the Quarter

I enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. The projections about the future of reality television, rich/poor divide, and healthcare hit home win this book and it was sick and twisted, but still a fun read. The Running Man by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) was a great dystopian thriller, a genre I haven’t visited in a while but was glad I did.

Added to my TBR

37, a new record low! I did add a few through the holidays, though, or I’d be even lower.

  • The Perfect Mother // Aimee Molloy. My sister in law thought this title was a funny fit for my new title as Mom. It’s a psychological thriller so I’m sure the title is sarcastic but I’m still hoping to enjoy this one.
  • Running is a Kind of Dreaming // J.M. Thompson. I’ve enjoyed a lot of running memoirs and combining that with the mental health benefits of the sport seems like a win to me!

How are your challenges going? I hope your year is starting off well. If you’re interested in the When Are You Reading? Challenge for 2022, I’m hosting again so you can click here to learn more and let me know if you want in.

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.

WWW Wednesday, 19-January-2022

19 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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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.


41JYZlm4QsL

Currently reading: I’ve been able to continue reminding myself to read The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson instead of scrolling social media! I’ve read a few chapters and I’m feeling the momentum. I’m hoping I can finish this one up this month!
I think I might need to find a new routine for True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. Reading right before bed isn’t feasible right now. Rather than wait for Baby to move to sleeping in another room, maybe I need to find another time to read print. Any ideas?
I was able to start Tabula Rasa by Ruth Downie over the weekend! I know it will be a slow go, but I’m still excited to have started this one. These books always make me laugh and it’s fun to revisit beloved characters.

0451498631.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SX500_Recently finished: I finished The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott! I took advantage of a dentist appointment with a decent drive time to knock it out. I’m working on a review and hoping it will be up this week. It was fun when I knew the parts of Cincinnati where the story took place. I have a lot of family there so I visit a lot but haven’t lived there myself. I gave the book Three out of Five stars but I enjoyed it more than that rating might imply.

91tzXN8Fp0LReading next: It seems early to be picking anything here. I think an ebook will be the next thing I pick up. Looking at my TBR, A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman would be next up. I enjoyed Malerman’s Bird Box and as a fellow Metro Detroit resident, I’ve always felt a need to support him. I’m hoping I like this one just as much.

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 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.

Announcing the 2022 When Are You Reading? Challenge!

18 Jan

when are you reading 2022 final (1)

It’s back again! I’ll be running the When Are You Reading? Challenge yet again in 2022. I wasn’t able to finish in 2021 (more to come on that in a full post), but I’m planning to be more purposeful this year and I’m hoping it will happen! One can only hope.

The premise of the challenge is to read one book from each of twelve time periods. It’s up to the reader where a book lies. You can do it based on publication date or setting, whatever you want. Feel free to switch it up, too.

The challenge is located here. If you’d like to participate, leave me a comment somewhere on the blog letting me know and giving me a link to your challenge page or post. I’ll add a link to my challenge page so other readers can visit you and see what you’ve been reading. 

The time periods are:

  • Pre 1300
  • 1300-1499
  • 1500-1699
  • 1700-1799
  • 1800-1899
  • 1900-1919
  • 1920-1939
  • 1940-1959
  • 1960-1979
  • 1980-1999
  • 2000-Present
  • The Future

I do hope you’ll consider joining me. I’ve had a lot of fun with this challenge over the past several years and I’m looking forward to doing it again.

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.

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WWW Wednesday, 12-January-2022

12 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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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.


0451498631.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SX500_

Currently reading: I was able to keep going with The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson again. I have to keep reminding myself that I’d rather read than scroll Instagram and it seems to be working!
Nothing again in True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. Print doesn’t seem to be a good medium for me right now. I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it again but I hope it’s not too long!
I was able to listen to a little bit from The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott. I’ve recovered from my cold and was able to start doing a little running, though it’s tough with how cold it’s been here! A warm Sunday let me get outside for a bit which was great.

Recently finished: I’m optimistic. Next week?

41JYZlm4QsL

Reading next: I want to read Tabula Rasa by Ruth Downie soon! I enjoy the narrator for this series a lot and I’m hoping it continues.

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 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, 5-January-2022

5 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

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


Kelly

Currently reading: I read a few chapters in The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson this week! I kept reminding myself to read instead of scrolling pictures in Instagram I’d already seen and it seems to help. Let’s see if I can keep it up.
Still nothing with True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey but I’m optimistic it’s coming soon. Baby has been self-soothing to bed better which may leave some down time before I turn the lights out in the next few weeks. Let’s hope it continues!
Nothing much with The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott. I got sick and haven’t been able to run or drive anywhere while I recover. Thankfully, I’m feeling much better so I hope this moves forward soon!

Recently finished: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

41JYZlm4QsL

Reading next: I still plan to start with Tabula Rasa by Ruth Downie so I’ll have some historical fiction to start my year. This fun series will give me some welcome smiles, too.

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 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.