Challenge Update, July 2017

1 Aug

Being out of school finally helped me catch up on reading and it was awesome! The end of June was slow reading for me but I found the time to get through my book club selection and I’ve been flying since then. I thought my vacation was going to slow me down a bit but I read every day and a ton on the long plane rides. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in July:

Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths // Bruce Feiler (2/5)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values // Robert Pirsig (3/5)
The Importance of Being Earnest // Oscar Wilde (5/5)
Career of Evil // Robert Galbraith (5/5)
A Son of the Circus // John Irving (2/5)
Commonwealth // Ann Patchett (4/5)

This was a big audiobook month for me. I got through two very long books, though, and I’m really happy about that. I can finally see my bedside table because it’s not crowded with books at the moment. We’ll see how long that lasts, though. Probably not even a week.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
Nothing new for the second month in a row! I’m starting to realize I need to be selective with my reads if I’m going to make this. ‘The Future’ shouldn’t be a hard category to fill given the amount of YA dystopia that’s available on audio. It’s going to be the 1500s and 1600s I’ll struggle to fill. Any suggestions?

Goodreads Challenge

33/50
Five books ahead! This summer has made me feel really good about finishing this challenge. It felt like I was just going to scrape by while I was in school but I’ve made some great steps forward and I’m confident now. Yay!

Book of the Month

Cover image via Goodreads

I’m going to have to give this to The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. I laughed while running at this one which was somewhat painful and a little awkward because the person on the treadmill next to me thought I was a bit crazy. Then again, most people on treadmills are a bit crazy so this is accurate.

Added to my TBR

I’ve gone up two books to 111. I knew my vacation would do this to me because I love buying books while I’m on vacation. I’m surprised it only went up that much!

  • Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. Simply, I love Larson and I wanted to put another of his books on my list because I always want to be reading his books.
  • How the Mistakes Were Made by Tyler Mcmahon. A woman from my writers’ group used this one as an example to talk about second person point of view and it piqued my interest.
  • The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita Brottman. I saw this one at Powell’s and wanted to buy it but it would have taken me over the budget my husband set for me so I bowed out and put it on my TBR instead.
  • Chemistry by Weike Wang. This was my buy at Elliot Bay Book Company, which I’ll post about later this week. I have a crazy story about this book that I’ll be sharing there so please check that out on Thursday.
  • Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. This was my spontaneous buy at Powell’s! I’ll post more about this next week but I’m really excited to read it. It sounds like a cross between The Martian and Station Eleven, both of which I loved.
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. This was another Powell’s buy. I only have one more book on my shelves in Spanish that I haven’t read yet and Powell’s had an entire shelf of YA lit in Spanish. YA is a good genre for me to read in Spanish because it challenges me, but not too much. I wouldn’t feel comfortable reading Marquez in Spanish! I’m looking forward to reading this translation though it might be a year before I do.

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: No class now so this one is still going well.
  • Knit blankets:  I finished the blanket I was close to finishing last month so I’m all caught up! No pregnancies I know about where I’m waiting on a gender so now I’m looking pretty.
  • One race per month: This was a crazy month for races! I did my first 5K open water swim early in the month. It was easily the most difficult thing I’ve ever done! I cramped three times but I didn’t get pulled out of the water and finished DFL (Dead ****ing Last) but in under two hours! My husband and I did a charity ride for MS Research which was a two-day event where we put in 80 miles each. Finally, the day before I left for vacation, I did a sprint tri. My run time wasn’t good but my swim and bike were some of my best so I consider it a 50% success despite my poor overall time.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t made any progress. I kept myself busy so I’ll try to make time before my class starts at the end of August to do some work here.

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

Until next time, write on.

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

Book Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (5/5)

31 Jul

I waited a long time to read this. I’ll continue to tell myself it’s so I wouldn’t have to wait too long for the fourth book to come out, but in reality, it’s because I didn’t want to bother with an audiobook on CD. It bugs me to have one just in the car. I have a short commute to work and I do most of my listening while running which means CD audiobooks take me a very long time to get through. I was finally ready to enjoy this one, though. And I’m so glad I did.

Cover image via Goodreads

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

Other books by Galbraith reviewed on this blog:

The Cuckoo’s Calling
The Silkworm
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Summary from Goodreads:

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

I felt the last book was really building to some relationship drama between Strike and Robin and this book did not disappoint! The killer involved was a great mystery as well. I was guessing the whole time who the guy could be and I was even questioning men like Wardle because I knew it would be someone we’d already met and I wanted to be ahead of Strike for once. I’d written the real killer off a long time before for similar reasons to Robin, but I really enjoyed figuring out what was going on.

The one thing that confuses me in the whole book is Robin and Matthew’s relationship. I don’t get why she keeps going back to him. Honestly, I don’t know if I could if my husband was as terrible as Matthew. Other than that, I loved the characters even more than in the last book and I can’t wait to see what Galbraith does with them from here. It’s going to be a very different dynamic in their relationship now.

I adore Robin. I love her even more now that she’s talked about his history a little more. She’s a very strong character and I feel like she’s finally learning how to be strong on her own because of her job with Strike. Again, if she hadn’t stuck with Matthew, I think I’d like her more, but I can see how she’d want to continue with the relationship. In all honesty, it was the easier decision. I hope that’s not why she did it, though.

I related to Robin more than I’d like to admit, but in a way that I think most married people can. I got cold feet for a bit during my engagement. There, I said it! I was 23 and getting married to someone I’d known since I was 14. I don’t think it’s unusual to second guess a life-changing decision for a minute before you make it and I know my husband and I had a few conversations that helped me feel reassured we were making the right decision. Though we had nothing as big as Robin and Matthew’s trust issues to deal with, yikes!

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

The investigation of the three men was great, but I really enjoyed the chapters from the killer’s point of view. It helped me guess along which was fun. One of the complaints I’ve had with this series is that you can’t try to figure out the murderer along with Strike because some things are kept from the reader. Having the chapters from his view helped me feel closer to the answer and once it was revealed, I felt like I should have figured it out! Not from Strike’s evidence but from something in one of those chapters. I thought this was a good addition to the book structure.

I’m repeating this a lot, but Robin staying with Matthew kind of bothered me. She’s strong and gutsy in work, but it doesn’t carry over into her personal life and it frustrates me. I wonder if this will start to develop going forward in the series. She seems a bit committed at this point, though!

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Robert Glenister, the same man who narrated the first two books in the series. I think he does a great job with the books. He easily slips into an American accent when needed and I think (though I’m no expert) he does different accents for the British characters depending on where they’re from. None of it seems oddly forced and I really enjoyed listening to him read this book!

Robin’s revelation about her past was a big part of her character development in this book. I liked what Galbraith was saying about Robin being seen as more than the victim of her circumstances. Knowing that Rowling is a feminist and rather outspoken, this was a consistent message with what I know of her. Robin didn’t talk about what happened to her because she was seen as a victim and some saw her as inviting what happened to her. I think that happens a lot with rape victims and I think Rowling addressed what Robin went through well.

Writer’s Takeaway: I can’t get over how much I liked the chapters from the killer’s point of view! It added just enough dramatic irony that I stayed more engaged than I otherwise would have. For these hard-to-solve mysteries, it was great. Especially because the clue that gave it all away was something I, as an American, would never have picked up on.

I enjoyed this story a lot and I’m now eagerly anticipating the fourth installment. 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:
Career of Evil by Rober Galbraith | A Captivating Thriller or a Huge Disappointment | Whimsy Pages
“Career of Evil – Cormoran Strike #3” by Robert Galbraith | Mike Finn’s Fiction

WWW Wednesday, 26-July-2017

26 Jul

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.


As a reminder, I’m on vacation this week so everything you see below is complete conjecture on where I think I’ll be. I’ll let you know next week if I was right!

Currently reading: A few pages here and there with Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi. I’m going to guess it’s mainly while my husband plays Pokemon Go on our vacation and I need something to fill the gap. I don’t think I’ll finish it soon, but I’ll keep working on it.
I’m going to start the audiobook for I’m Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum. I got this book at the library used book sale but I’m going to listen to it so I can get through it faster.
My physical book is whatever you all picked for me last week and as of now, I’m not sure what that is! Whatever you chose, I’m sure I’m enjoying it.

Recently finished: I (hope I) finished A Son of the Circus by John Irving during my travels. I decided to take it and sell it at a used book store while I’m away so I can buy more books without weighing down my suitcase.
I finished Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling. This one I’m sure of because I finished it right before I left! I adored this book and I gave it a full 5 out of 5 Stars and I’m eagerly awaiting the final book in the series.
I should finish Commonwealth by Ann Patchett before this post goes up. I have about a disk left on my phone and I’ll be doing a few runs where I’ll listen to it. I’m adoring it so far and I hope to continue loving it.

Reading Next: Whatever I traded A Son of the Circus for. It’s hard to say at this point because I’m still reading it as I type this!


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!

Leaving on a Jet Plane

20 Jul

By the time this post goes up, I’ll be on my way to Seattle! I’m taking time off to go on vacation with my husband. We’re spending a few days in Seattle visiting his college roommate and I plan on hitting up the used bookstore down the street from his apartment. Space Needle and Pike Place Fish Market are of course on the docket as well!

Then we take a bus up to Vancouver where we plan to climb Grouse Moutain. Honestly, I don’t have much else planned for this leg of the trip besides exploring the beautiful city.

Lastly, we’ll take another plan to Portland where my friend’s sister has graciously agreed to put us up. Of course, Powell’s is in the plans! I hope to spend a whole day there, haha. I’ve been dreaming of visiting this places for ages so look forward to a post on it! Voodoo Doughnuts is a must for us while there, too. I’m beyond excited.

So I’m out all next week. Check out my Instagram to follow all the fun things we get to see.

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, 19-July-2017

19 Jul

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 got back to A Son of the Circus by John Irving! I know, it’s been a while. It’s taken me a bit of time to get back into the swing of it and remember everything that’s happening but I’m so excited to be reading it again and I’m really loving it.
A mild step forward Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi this week. I plan on going through this slowly so no problem that it’s taking a while.
Things are starting to really ramp up with Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling. I hope I can finish this before I head off on vacation because I’ll hate having to leave it behind and not know how it ends for a week!
I was able to transfer Commonwealth by Ann Patchett to my phone easily so I’m working on this as an audiobook now. It was weird going from me ‘reading’ the book in my head to listening to a narrator do it, but I’m over that hump now and still loving this story!

Recently finished: I finished The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde during my run last Thursday and it feels really good to have finished a book! It was really funny and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The review went up on Monday.

Reading Next: So, here’s the thing. I want to take a book or two on vacation with me but I want to take ones that I wouldn’t mind leaving behind. The plan is for them to be sold at used book stores when finished and new ones purchased. This is hard for me because I love keeping all the books I read, even if I don’t like them very much! However, I’m determined not to pay for a lot of bags. I hate to say it, but I likely won’t bring A Son of the Circus because it’s huge and I’m almost done with it. So, I picked out four choices and I want you guys to vote and tell me which to bring!


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!

My Big Book Dilema

18 Jul

My big West Coast trip is coming up fast! I’m beyond excited and starting to put together my baggage. I’m having some serious bookish struggles, though. I need your help, Readers!

I posted this on Instagram yesterday and I’m still struggling with what to do. I have about 150 pages left in this book and I’ve been reading it forever because it’s quite the chunk! I love Irving and I’m finally into the book and enjoying it so I hate to put it aside for a trip, but it’s so big! It’s going to take up a lot of precious space! Especially for only 150 more pages, I’m wondering if it’s worth it.

The other side to this is that I plan on selling the books I finish to a used book store while I’m on my trip. I’ll then buy some more so it’s kind of like recycling, right? So, if I take this book, I won’t bring it home. This makes me sad because I love John Irving and I won’t be able to add this one to my collection (which is a measly 4 right now despite how many of his titles I’ve read). Not bringing it home is making me teary.

I’m so lost and having some serious bookworm problems, Reader. What should I do? Help a girl out.

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: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (5/5)

17 Jul

I’d seen the play, but never read the screen play of this work. A few years ago, someone recommended this to me as an 1800s read for the When Are You Reading? Challenge. I’d already found something for the time period, but I added it to my TBR anyway. I needed a nice short audiobook recently and chose this one. At two hours, it was a great length. And the full cast narration was a delight.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Summary from Goodreads:

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gewndolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend the “rivals” to fight for Ernest’s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!

Strangely, my strongest recollection of this story was the cucumber sandwiches in the first act. I just remember the actor eating all of them and thinking it was hilarious. This whole play was really funny and it made me forget how terrible running can be for a little while. Listening also made me want to see the show again.

The characters are such awful exaggerations of society that it’s very easy to laugh at them. Only Jack seems to be somewhat collected and even he has times of being a bit ridiculous. I don’t think Wilde could have made fun of society with relatable or down-to-earth characters so it was a wonderful choice.

Algernon was my favorite character in the play. He was absolutely ridiculous and made me laugh in every scene he was in. At first, I thought he was terribly clever and out maneuvering Jack but I soon realized how vain he was, along with everyone else of course, and that his remarks were not witty but oblivious and narsacistic. I still loved him.

I didn’t relate to any of the characters, but I think you should all question me if I had. Not being able to relate to a character isn’t an issue for me in a comedy like this one. It’s hard to laugh at someone who reminds you of yourself.

I loved all the backhanded comments about things being in fashion. Thinks that ‘one must’ or ‘one must never’ do were great and made for many of the best lines in the play. Wilde had a great way of pointing out how ridiculous some of the customs of his society were and I loved hearing about it in this format.

As terrible as it sounds, I was disappointed that things worked out for everyone in the end. It wouldn’t have been very funny if things had gone poorly, but I think it would have been appropriate for them to flub a few things up in the end. These weren’t the smartest people, after all. But things working out the way they did was funny and I guess that’s what you’re going for as a comedy writer.

The full cast production was wonderful. This is a play with few enough characters that each voice was distinct enough I could tell them apart without having to be told who was speaking. It was fun to listen to it like a conversation. The narrator for stage direction barely spoke expect to announce arrivals and departures. I think this is the best way to listen to a play. I prefer it to the single-narrator version of The Tempest I listened to last year.

I liked Wilde’s way of talking about how ridiculous he found some of the practices of his society. He especially seemed harsh on marriage and family ties. It makes me want to read more into his life and see why he might have felt this way. I do remember reading he was arrested for homosexuality though he was married and maybe felt trapped in a marriage he had a poor opinion of. I’m just speculating but I can see how that might lead someone to have slighted feelings against societal pressures.

Writer’s Takeaway: What I really loved about this book was the witty one-liners. There’s a great list on Goodreads and a favorite was from Aunt Augusta: Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can’t get into it do that. I enjoyed the quick chuckle and I think lines like this, frequency dependant on the genre, are always welcomed and can help lighten a heavy mood, even in a dark book.

I really enjoyed this read and recommend the full cast audiobook highly. 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:
‘The Importance of Being Earnest’: Bright, but Shallow | Washcult

‘A Hologram for the King’ Movie Review

13 Jul

Movie Poster via Wikipedia

When I read A Hologram for the King, I wasn’t expecting much. I’d read an Eggers book before but the topic was so vastly different that I didn’t see how the same man could have written both books. I adored Hologram but couldn’t articulate well why. It reminded me a bit of Waiting for Godot but set in Saudi Arabia. That doesn’t instill much confidence, does it? I was excited when the movie came out but it didn’t get much hype. I took it up north to my parents’ cottage to watch with them and hubby and everyone seemed to like it though it had a meandering plot similar to the book.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

The King’s Metropolis of Economy and Trade. Description of the city is one thing, but seeing it on-screen was incredible. I kept having questions about how there was water and electricity in that remote part of the desert, but that’s beside the point. It was crazy to see the city rising out of the desert and even crazier to know it’s based on an actual city! The novel used the real name, King Abdullah Economic City.

Yousef. The quirky and mischievous driver was more fun in real life. He was really funny and I can’t remember how much of that humor was present in the book. My favorite line was when he found out Alan was late and said, “If you’re in a hurry, we should be going this way,” and did a complete 180 in the taxi.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Seeing Mecca. I don’t remember that part from the book at all. It was fun to have it thrown in, adding a little more adventure to Alan’s trip to Yousef’s home. It was clear the images were stock, which was the only thing that bothered me. I think they could have been worked in a little better but it was a fun scene to add.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

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

Communication with Kit. Alan was writing to Kit all the time in the book. His inability to provide for her as a father was a major motivator for him to stick around in Jeddah and wait for the King to show up. It was clear she was part of his reason and motivation, but I think it was more stressed in the book.

Things That Changed Too Much

The ending. This was the only thing that really bothered me. I remember the ending of the book is annoyingly vague. Alan was going to stay but wasn’t sure what he would do or where he would live. Nothing was going well with Dr. Zahra and he was very alone. All of that was different in the book. He was selling housing units at KMET, he was living with Zahra, and he seemed really happy. One of the things I loved about the book is that it didn’t wrap up in a nice little bow but the movie did. It was 20 seconds at the end, but it was too much for me.

I was sad to hear this was a box office flop. I guess other people don’t enjoy movies about waiting as much as I do. Reader, have you seen the A Hologram for the King 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!

WWW Wednesday, 12-July-2017

12 Jul

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: Nothing with A Son of the Circus by John Irving but I have a plan! I’m hoping to switch Commonwealth to audio soon and that will give me time to finish this one! If everything lines up perfectly, I’ll take this one to Portland with me and sell it at Powell’s and buy another book there! Nerd dreams!
I got through a bit of Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi during lunches and waiting for the chiropractor, but nothing major. This book is pretty long and I think I’ll be reading it the rest of the summer at least.
I’m enjoying Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling and have convinced my husband to let me do all the driving so I can listen to it in the car while he plays games on his phone. It seems to be a win-win situation for us.
I’m loving Commonwealth by Ann Patchett so far. Her writing is amazing and the characters are drawing me in. I have the CD audiobook as well and I’m thinking of ripping it to my iTunes and putting it on my phone so I can finish it there when I finish Earnest. I have a multi-step plan to finish all of these, I assure you.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a fun listen. The full cast is helping it read more like a play than the last time I listened to a play on my phone. It’s quite short and I should be finishing it up shortly.

Recently finished: Nothing this week! I seem to have an all-or-nothing record with finishing books. I suspect at least one here next week!

I did get some reviews up, this week. First was a review of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig that I published on Monday. I’ve already posted my book club reflection of the book but I had a bit of my own insight that I wanted to be sure to share as well.
I also published my review of Abraham by Bruce Feiler. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as Feiler’s other book that I read a few years ago so if you’re interested in his religious books, I recommend Walking the Bible.

Reading Next: I’m going to worry about starting a new book until I get through my current reads first! It’s a big slog of them and I hope to minimize the number before I leave for my big trip at the end of the month! I know I haven’t posted much about it here, but I’m VERY excited! Don’t worry, WWW Wednesday will not be interrupted!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

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

Book Review: Abraham by Bruce Feiler (2/5)

11 Jul

This book has been on my shelf for some time. I read Feiler’s book Walking the Bible about four years ago and subsequently had a book club discussion of it and met Feiler himself. I decided to buy this book because I enjoyed Walking the Bible so much and unfortunately it has languished on my shelf ever since. I realized there was an audiobook copy of it narrated by Feiler and was able to enjoy that recently.

Cover image via Goodreads

Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths by Bruce Feiler

Other books by Bruce Feiler reviewed on this blog:

Walking the Bible

Summary via Goodreads:

Both immediate and timeless, Abraham tells the powerful story of one man’s search for the shared ancestor of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Traveling through war zones, braving violence at religious sites, and seeking out faith leaders, Bruce Feiler uncovers the defining yet divisive role that Abraham plays for half the world’s believers. Provocative and uplifting, Abraham offers a thoughtful and inspiring vision of unity that redefines what we think about our neighbors, our future, and ourselves.

I was a little disappointed by this book only because I think Walking the Bible is far superior. While WtB had a journey and that plot dominated the Biblical exploration and enhanced it, I felt Abraham was more of a textbook with references to academics and readings that I hadn’t studied. Even though Feiler was in Jerusalem and other important landmarks, he didn’t write about the experience of being there. The audiobook copy I had contained 40 minutes of WtB at the end, which only reminded me how much more I enjoyed that book.

The many faces of Abraham was a big focus of Feiler’s writing. It made it hard to believe any single interpretation of him because each religion and faction believed their interpretation so vehemently. As a Christian, I’m inclined to believe the Christian interpretation, but that conflicts very strongly with the Jewish interpretations which are hard to reconcile. For a single man, he has a lot of lore and facts that contradict each other.

 

Feiler did a good job working his own disbelief and a bit of his bias into the story. He admits at the beginning to his Jewish upbringing and bias toward the Jewish Abraham. He begins with this man and sets him up as a basis for the Christian and Muslim man to be compared against. I liked that he was open about his own bias due to his upbringing and I appreciated that.

I enjoyed the parts that, like Walking the Bible, were told like Feiler’s journey through the Holy Land. I enjoyed hearing about his visit to the holy sites associated with Abraham. The description of soldiers and travel to these places was fascinating and almost hard to believe by someone who’s never visited the region.

Some of the historical reflection on interpretation textbooks and historical texts bogged the story down in my mind a bit. I felt there was more of this than his travels and it made the book a little slow for me. I was listening to it while cooking and my husband asked me if it was the Bible! I thought that was a good reflection of how little it sounded like a non-fiction book.

Feiler himself narrated the audiobook. I like when authors do this because I think it makes the book sound more ‘real,’ having inflection where it’s intended. I did notice Feiler’s New England accent on a few words which likely wouldn’t have been there with a professional narrator, but it made it more real to me. I think he has a good voice for narration.

Feiler’s purpose in this book was to bring the three monotheistic religions together with their single founding father, Abraham. I’m not sure he accomplished this goal. He found that Abraham was very different depending on who he was speaking with. Some things, such as the son he intended to sacrifice, conflict with each other. There are some things similar between each Abraham, but I don’t think Feiler was successful in identifying a man to unite three faiths, rather pointing out the discrepancies between them.

Writer’s Takeaway: I’ve read a fair amount of non-fiction and this format was one that didn’t work for me. I wanted to read more of a story of Abraham and how he changed but what I got instead was too much of a textbook, quoting scholars and old texts. I was really hoping this book would be more like Walking the Bible and I think that’s part of the reason I was disappointed in this book. It wasn’t what I expected based on my experience with the author.

This book was informative, but maybe overly so. Two out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
Abraham Study- week 3 “Birth” | Rev. Sharon’s Blog
Book Review: Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths | Edge Induced Cohesion
‘Abraham’ by Bruce Feiler (Book Review) | Perfect Chaos