Tag Archives: Amanda Knox

Challenge Update, May 2015

2 Jun

I’m continuing with good progress this month, thankfully. I was worried about my cyclical movements so far this year, but now I’m doing better. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in May:

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (3)
The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer (3)
Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox (4)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (4)
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine (4)
The Bohemians by Ben Tarnoff (2)

And reviews for all! I’m most proud of that. I’ve been doing well at staying up to date on my reviews.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

8/13
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. My timeline will track all of my books and show which time period they fall into. I’ve knocked off one new period this month, 1800s with The Bohemians. I have a plan for the five remaining and I’m excited to say I think I’ll finish well ahead of time this year.

Goodreads Challenge

22/50

Now two books ahead of schedule! I didn’t think I’d keep that pace up, but I’ve been doing well. Even with the slow down of listening to A Game of Thrones on audio, I think I can keep up my pace.

Book of the Month

I thought it would be fun to pick my favorite book for each month reading and feature it. For May, I’m going to pick Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox. I was so engrossed in this story and it read fast. I recommend it!

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re doing better than me! If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, 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!

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Book Review: Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox (4/5)

28 May

I needed to read a memoir. It had been a really long time and memoirs are one of my favorite genres. I think A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard turned me off to them, but it’s been a long time and I needed to try again. And I’m really glad I did. I have a lot of memoirs on my shelf and now I’m itching to get to them!

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox

Summary from Goodreads:

In the fall of 2007, twenty-year old college coed Amanda Knox left Seattle to study abroad in Perugia, Italy for one year. But that November 1, her life was shattered when her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, was murdered in their apartment. Five days later, Amanda was taken into custody and charged by the Italian police; her arrest and the subsequent investigation ignited an international media firestorm. Overnight, this ordinary young American student became the subject of intense scrutiny, forced to endure a barrage of innuendo and speculation. Two years later, after an extremely controversial trial, Amanda was convicted and imprisoned. But in 2011 an appeals court overturned her conviction and vacated the charges. Free at last, she immediately returned home to the U.S., where she has remained silent, until now.

With all of these true crime books, there’s always a skew in the direction of who is ‘right.’ And by ‘right,’ I mean who won the court case. After Knox’s appeal case, she was ‘right.’ So I have to take what she wrote as ‘right’ because the courts ‘proved’ it was true. Do you see my skepticism here? Good. All of this aside, I liked this book a lot. Knox writes well and her story was really interesting. I could tell that her facts and references to court proceedings were well researched and augmented her memories. I found the parts where she was recalling her friends from jail were very engaging and I could tell her prison diaries helped her keep these memories fresh. Obviously there was a lot of press around this case and it was good to hear what was true and what was blown out of proportion. Overall, this was a really solid read.

I felt a little more skeptical of the beginning of the story than I did toward the end. Maybe I got wrapped up in it. A lot of it seemed to be Knox maturing. When she first got to Italy, she did a lot of dumb things that made me frustrated with her. By the end, she was more responsible and level-headed and I believed her story more readily.

Knox did a good job of portraying those around her though my favorites were those she knew in jail. Again, I think this is because of her jail diary. She did a good job of showing that these women weren’t blameless and some of them needed to be in jail, but that they had redeeming qualities and quirks the same way she did.

I liked Rafaele and I wish we’d gotten to see more of him. Because so much of the book focused on the trial, Rafaele quickly became a minor character. From the little I’ve read about him, he was pressured to say Amanda had been the killer and that he wasn’t involved but he never betrayed her like that. It’s good he didn’t or he would have had a reduced sentence instead of being acquitted!

Amanda Knox Image via NBC News

Amanda Knox
Image via NBC News

It’s hard to relate to someone living in jail, but Amanda made herself relatable. She read a lot, specifically Harry Potter, and she still had relationships with her friends and family, though they were strained. There were things that made her like any other young 20-something despite her environment. I don’t think people change completely when they’re in jail and I’m glad Amanda kept the happy side of her alive.

Knox’s memories of the crime itself seemed hazy which is what made me skeptical. Especially contrasted with her very vivid memories of her time in jail. I understand why this was with the trauma she had endured. Memory is a funny thing in times of high emotion. I, for example, don’t remember getting engaged because I was so excited. Apparently I said yes, which is good. I was getting frustrated reading about Knox’s reactions after the event and how she refused to go to American authorities when she was being questioned. She thought being a grown up meant not asking for help and this is so flawed that I was angry.

Image via Seattle PI blog

Image via Seattle PI blog

The book talked more about media influence than I expected. Knox describes how in Italy, the jury is hearing a civil and criminal case and supposed to filter which data applies to which case. On top of that, those who are chosen are hounded by media attention on the case which can influence their decisions even further. The one item that I remember from the (limited) coverage I heard was about the bathroom covered in ‘blood’ (see image). This is in fact not blood but a chemical agent used to test for blood that oxidizes and becomes pink after being applied. None of this is blood. But if I were to see this picture running in the Daily Mail and was told it was blood, I would think Knox was guilty and sick. I would be an influenced juror. There are a lot of reports that came out before the trial that were later found to be false. It reminded me a bit of the media influence in Gone Girl. We can’t always trust what we read in papers or on-line. This makes me sound like a skeptic, but more than that I’m not opposed to changing my opinion on something when facts come up later.

Writer’s Takeaway: Writing every day helped Knox cope with her situation. I think it also made her a better writer. If nothing else, it helped her keep memories very vivid when it came time to write her memoir. For anyone who thinks they might write a memoir, I would recommend a diary or some kind of daily log. Maybe you’ll never end up using it, but at least you’ll have written more. I need to stop before I talk myself into keeping a diary again.

Very entertaining and well written. I recommend this book. 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!

Related Posts:
Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox (review) | The World of a Crazed Writer
Waiting to be Heard – Amanda Knox | Una Vita Vagabonda
Amanda Knox’s Memoir: Waiting to be Heard –  A Review from Andrew Cattanach | booktopiablog

WWW Wednesday, 20-May-2015

20 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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?


CloudAtlasCurrently reading:  Minor progress on La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Two more book club books coming my way so I can’t even promise I’ll get to this soon.
Still going with A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I’ve been having to make a lot of calls in my care lately or have been with someone else so I’ve slowed this down a bit. I hope to pick it up again soon.
Things are going more quickly with The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine. The plot is moving very quickly and I’m really enjoying it.
I started a new eBook, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I’m really excited about this one because it’s been #1 on my TBR for about a year now. I tried starting it once  a while back and never made it past page five. I’m beyond that already now. This should be a fun ride.
I’ve got a new book club selection as well.  The Bohemians by Ben Tarnoff. Not too far into it yet and I’m excited that it will help me fulfill the 1800s for my When Are You Reading? Challenge. I need to focus on this one more.

OceanRecently finished: I absolutely flew through Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox. I haven’t read a memoir in a while and it was really refreshing. Knox’s story is fascinating, even if what I read was biased and has been called into question. I hope to review it soon.
I also finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. This was a great little story. It was a bit more fantastical than I was anticipating, but I still enjoyed it a lot.

I wrote one review this week, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Take a look and let me know what you thought of these books.

WidowReading Next: My work book club selected our next book and it will be A Widow for One Year by John Irving. I’m stupidly excited for this selection because it’s off of my TBR and Irving is my favorite writer of all time. I can’t get my hands on it soon enough!


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!

WWW Wednesday, 13-May-2015

13 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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?


KnoxCurrently reading:  I was able to read just a little bit of La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Right now, it’s looking like I’ll have time for it more this summer but not much before then. Stay tuned.
Still going with A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. It’s good and I like it, but I’m not going to be moving very quickly through it.
I’m enjoying The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine. I’ve gotten to the part that’s more of a story line and less of a generic flashback/back story. I like this a lot more.
I’m really enjoying my eBook, Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox. It feels good to be reading a memoir again and this one is really riveting.
My newest book club selection is The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. It’s a nice short one I hope I can knock out in one week!

InnerRecently finished: I flew through my latest book club selection, The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer. I enjoyed the fast-paced thriller even though it’s not normally my genre. I did find it a bit far-fetched, which is normally my complaint. Review coming soon.

I wore a review for The White Tiger that posted Monday. I’d been talking about this book for a long time and a lot of you asked about it so click over there to see my thoughts.

BohemiansReading Next: Next Monday I’ll get a copy of The Bohemians by Ben Tarnoff. It’s our bi-annual non-fiction which I tend to either love or hate. We’ll see.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 6-May-2015

6 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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?


KingfisherCurrently reading:  No movement with La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I’m hoping to get back to it really soon, though. I’ve sped through a few books so have some time to read this between book club selections.
Still going with A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I’m liking it so far. I hope the story lines start to cross more because they seem a bit disjointed.
I’m enjoying The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine. It’s pretty great and I’m sad that it’s only 8 hours.
I began a new book club selection, The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer. The author is going to be in town soon to speak so there will be a few more posts on this book and this author. Stay tuned!
I just grabbed a new eBook, Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox. I haven’t read a memoir in a while and the Amanda Knox story sounds like a really good one!

White TigerRecently finished: I finished The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. I didn’t expect to like it too much, but I did enjoy it. My book club discussion will hopefully be tomorrow and I’ll get to see what the other ladies though.
I also finished Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins which was my ebook for the past few months. It was very different from what I normally read and I liked the story but wasn’t a fan of the characters. I’m looking forward to writing a review on it and sorting out my feelings on it.

OceanReading Next: Nothing immediate, especially because I hope to work on ‘Sombra.’ In a few weeks, I’ll be getting a copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman for book club. I’m excited to read my first solo Gaiman work. The only other one of his I’ve read was Good Omens, co-written with Terry Pratchett.


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!

Recently Added to my To-Read Shelf

9 Oct

My list has gotten out of control this past week!  Nine books added to it.  That brings me to a total of 95 and I don’t know how I’m ever going to make a dent in it.  Oh Reader, I’m begging you; let me know if any of these are terrible or not worth my time.  I can only read so much before I die.

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: After reading Fangirl, Nicole started on this one and assures me that it’s amazing.  Two teens who know falling in love won’t last, but can’t help doing it anyway.
  2. The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly: Here’s another book I won on First Reads!  And to make it even better, it’s set in the 20s and talks about bootleggers.  I couldn’t be more excited.  It’s the story of two detectives who go to investigate the disappearance of fellow agents and get mixed up with Miss Dixie Clay, the most notorious bootlegger in the south.
  3. Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson: On my previous post talking about the credentials a writer needs, Nicole send me a list of links and one was to Ingermanson’s blog.  I liked is writing style and advice so I think a read of his book might be in order.
  4. Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson: The logical following of a book on writing fiction is the more niche book on YA fiction.
  5. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: I have a theory that if you see a book twice, you should just scoop it up and read it.  I saw Sepetys book once on Bermuda Onion’s Weblog so when I saw it again (Lord knows where), it had to go on the list!  The daughter of a prostitute, Josie longs to get escape New Orleans but the thread tying her to a mysterious murder is strong.  It sounds like some solid YA fiction that I’m glad I found.
  6. Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox: After how much I disliked Jaycee Dugard’s memoir, I was hesitant to add Knox’s to my list.  When a friend from my Spanish group recommended it, I couldn’t resist and here it is!  If you’re unfamiliar with Amanda’s story, I’ll summarize.  She was 20 and studying abroad in Italy when her roommate was killed.  Amanda was tried and convicted of the murder, spending four years in Italian prison before new evidence brought the case back to trial and she was acquitted and allowed to move home to the US.  This is her story.
  7. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: This is another book I’ve seen repeatedly and couldn’t keep off of the list.  This memoir traces a woman’s decision to escape from a crumbling life and hike alone on the West Coast trail with minimal experience.  I do love a good memoir and this one seems to have won many awards (hopefully for the right reasons).
  8. Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market by Victoria Hanley: I asked at my writer’s workshop if anyone had read any good books about YA publishing specifically and this one was recommended.  I hope to give it a go soon!
  9. Writing and Selling the YA Novel by K.L. Going: This was another workshop recommendation and I’m not as sold on this one.  Any suggestions, reader?
  10. The Round House by Louise Erdich: Recommended by my supervisor who reads almost as much as I do!  When his mother is violently attacked, Joe is desperate to bring her back from the edge as she draws into herself.  His quest takes him and his friends to the Round House, a sacred place of worship of the Ojibwe.

Reader, I implore you for your help!  Which of these are keepers and which can I pitch?  Please help me prune down the ever-growing list to a manageable size!