Tag Archives: Ann Patchett

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!

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!

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!

WWW Wednesday, 5-July-2017

5 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: Still nothing with A Son of the Circus by John Irving. I’m hopeful I’ll get back to it soon with my book club being off for a few months and having read one of the future selections for my other club. I want to finish this one soon!
I read a bit of Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi during my lunch breaks like I’d wanted to. This one is slow and steady but I’m enjoying it a lot.
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling has been going well. I convinced hubby to listen to it while we drove to our holiday weekend vacation. I’m about half way now and I still have no idea who the crook could be. I hope to find out soon!

Recently finished: I just finished Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig while I was Up North (northern Michigan). It was a good read and I really did like it, despite the time it took me to finish. I’ll likely have a review up next week.
I got through Abraham by Bruce Feiler over the weekend. I didn’t like this as much as his other book that I’ve read but it was still interesting. Another review for next week.

Reading Next: I plan to start Commonwealth by Ann Patchett today. I hope this is a quick one and I’m really looking forward to it because it seems like one I’d really enjoy. Fingers crossed!
I’m also about to start The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. I have an audiobook that’s full cast and only two hours so I think this one will be done by next week.


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, 28-June-2017

28 Jun

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

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

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

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


Currently reading: I’m so sad to say no movement with A Son of the Circus by John Irving. I really want to get back to it soon!
Just a bit of movement with Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi. My class if over (!!!) so I can read during lunch again. And maybe outside, if it’s not raining.
Sadly, I did not finish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig before my book club met on Monday. I’m so upset! It was a really busy time for me and this is what fell by the wayside. I still want to finish it because I do enjoy it but it’s now been ‘spoiled’ for me a bit.
I’m making slow progress on Abraham by Bruce Feiler. It’s a bit heavier than I was expecting and it’s hard to pay attention while cooking and take everything in!
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling has been great. I’m three disks into the 15 disk story so I still have a while to go but this one is looking great!

Recently finished: Nothing! Look how long that ‘reading’ list is, can you really blame me?

Reading Next: I’m trying my darndest to get an audio copy of my book club’s next book, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. I’d love to have this on audio so I can keep reading Son of the Circus in print. Fingers crossed.


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!

Bookstore Destinations for Travelers

19 Jan

I’ve got a couple great trips looming ahead of me this year and I’m really excited to for two staples of my travels: beautiful churches and books. Every time I travel over the weekend, I try to go to a local church (preferably the cathedral) and see the architecture of a different part of the country. Northern Michigan versus Arizona versus Florida, etc. I love to compare them and see beautiful buildings. The other part of my trips is going to bookstores. I love local and usually used bookstores. They reflect a great character of the area and often have tons of people excited to talk about books with you.

It seems I’m not the only person who does this. My friend Sue sent me an article before Christmas that shares some favorites of author Ann Patchett (see book review for Truth and Beauty). If you have some travels planned for this summer, take a look at this list for some suggestions and things to fill your itinerary. It’s always a welcome add to a trip.

This may be a bit early (except for those of you in Australia), but happy travels for this year! Bring a good book with you and see if you can find another one along the way.

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: Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett (4/5)

11 Jul

Again, I forget how this book graced my list. I’ve got to stop this because it’s been a bad trend of reading a book I really enjoy and not having someone to thank for the recommendation after I’ve read it. If you’re out there, thank you, referrer, for gracing me with this beautiful book.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett

Summary from Goodreads:

What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren’t bound to by blood? What happens when the person you promise to love and to honor for the rest of your life is not your lover, but your best friend? In Truth & Beauty, her frank and startlingly intimate first work of nonfiction, Ann Patchett shines a fresh, revealing light on the world of women’s friendships and shows us what it means to stand together.

Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work was. In her critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir,Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, the years of chemotherapy and radiation, and then the endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn’t Lucy’s life or Ann’s life, but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long, cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this book shows us what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined.

I’ve never read another of Patchett’s books and I’d never heard of Lucy Grealy before starting this book. Now I feel tempted to add both to my growing TBR. Patchett had a great narrative voice for a memoir like this one. She was lyrical enough to write beautiful prose but not so much to make it feel ungrounded. I was amazed by Ann’s unending love for a friend that pushed her to such extremes. I’ve had tough relationships with friends before, but none that have pushed me as much as Lucy pushed Ann. I marveled at her patience and love.

Lucy Grealy Image via Goodreads

Lucy Grealy
Image via Goodreads

Patchett made Lucy jump off the page. I didn’t look up a picture of Lucy until I was writing this review and she looks pretty similar to what I imagined. To be honest, I thought her jaw would look much more notable than it does in this picture (I’m not sure what stage of surgical reconstruction this comes during). Yes, it’s noticeable, but not something that would stop me on the street. I can see how the resulting problems of being unable to eat or completely close her mouth would result from this and I sympathized for Lucy for the majority of the book. I felt sorry for her when her behavior was self-abusive, but for a long time, she seemed redeemable. It seemed like things could work out for her and she could be OK. But when the drugs started, it was hard to sympathize with her and I could tell Ann felt the same way.

I hope Ann didn’t make herself too different in this book because I really liked her. She was caring and smart and seemed to make logical decisions so I could see myself being like her. I wanted to be like her. She was hard-working and really believed she could be a writer and make a living doing that. Or maybe she seemed so level-headed next to Lucy. Who knows but I still liked her.

I have a good friend in an MFA program and the things she’s told me about the journey seemed very similar to the time Lucy and Ann spent in Iowa. There’s grading and being a TA and writing and workshopping and success and failures and cold. It seems MFA programs are never anywhere warm, always in the Midwest or New England. The residencies they were always competing for seemed really fun and like a writer’s dream. I wish it didn’t’ seem an MFA was the key to getting in.

Ann Patchett Image via the Chicago Tribune

Ann Patchett
Image via the Chicago Tribune

I liked their time in Iowa and that immediately after, when they were both struggling to write and be heard. It reminded me of being right out of college, living in a small dingy apartment and wondering what to do next. I think many people go through that part of their life and choose not to look back on it, but Patchett addressed it perfectly as a painful but necessary step to get to where you are.

Hearing about Lucy’s drug addiction was really hard for me. She seemed to have so much going for her and I couldn’t understand why she would do those things to herself. Nothing was ever enough for her and she pushed so much to change her situation but couldn’t control it. I didn’t see how drugs made her feel more in control. I felt bad for her at her at first, but it didn’t seem like she had any desire to change her situation.

Patchett narrated the audiobook herself and I thought that was a lovely touch. She didn’t get overly emotional, but it was clear that she had a deep love for Lucy and she made their nicknames for each other seem effortless and fun. I think another reader could have done it well, but Patchett did it best.

I question now how far I would go for a friend and how far a friend would go for me. Is it different from what I would do for a relative or my husband? Why? Why does blood matter when someone is so important to us? I loved what Patchett had to say about friendships, they are more powerful than family sometimes and that’s something I need reminding of from time to time.

Writer’s Takeaway: Patchett had a great way of making a narrative poetic. Some authors are too flowery for my tastes, but Patchett did it well. She would tie in metaphors and some imagery when I wasn’t expecting it but never too much to take me out of the story. I enjoyed that and I think it made the story stronger.

An enjoyable memoir, to be sure, that says a lot about the value of friendships. 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: 
Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett | Taking it to the Streets
My Ann Patchett project: Truth and Beauty | AlenasLife
Sullen Grealy, sister of author Lucy Grealy, is Hijacked by Grief | Books on the Brain
Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty: A Mixed Bag | Lily Iona Mackenzie

WWW Wednesday, 6-July-2016

6 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.


Stewart_DB_USA_POB_03_28_13.inddCurrently reading: I used my new eReader and got through a chapter or two of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. It helps that I’m struggling with my current book a lot and needed something to break the monotony so I gave this title a little more attention than I would have otherwise. I’m about 1/3 of the way done with it.
Though there’s more of a plot of In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches, there are still annoyingly long chapters about a religious theory that I hope will tie into the plot, but I’m not sure how. I’m getting tired of it and I really do not like this book. I’ll push through to the end because the modern plot line is interesting, but expect a low rating of this one!
My newest audiobook is The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. Steward did a virtual talk at my library over a year ago and I’ve been looking for a way to read her book since then. The ebook was a pain because the pages were PDFs and they didn’t come out well on my phone, so audiobook it is!

TruthBeautyRecently finished: I finished Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett over the weekend and really loved it. My review will be up next week but I have to say I’m not tempted to read some other Patchett novels and Lucy Grealy’s books because I feel like I’d have a deeper insight to all of them having read this book. I recommend this one to anyone who loves a good memoir.

No reviews this week because I’ve only finished this one book and took Monday ‘off’ from blogging to celebrate the 4th of July. Stay tuned for next week!

WingsReading Next: The plan is still The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I should be picking it up soon and it will be a welcome read after I finish Tosches. I hope it’s like being held by my mom after a bad swim meet. Fingers crossed.


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, 29-June-2016

29 Jun

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.


TruthBeautyCurrently reading: I think I got through four pages of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I had been doing a lot of this reading in my phone during my lunch breaks but I had to read for my class a lot in the past weeks. Well, big news here is that MY CLASS IS OVER! I turned my final paper in on Monday and I’m free until August. I can’t tell you all how excited I am about this. I hope I can pick up reading Larson some more during lunch because I really enjoy his writing.
I’m still not a fan of In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches. Almost 100 pages in and there’s been a total of 3 pages devoted to the plot I thought I was going to find and about 25 pages devoted to Tosches talking about why he’s a great writer and what’s wrong in the publishing world. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
I began a new audiobook, Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett. I think this one was recommended to me, but it’s hard to remember who or when. I love memoirs and I haven’t read Patchett yet which I think helps because I come in with no preconceived ideas of what her writing will be like.

IceCreamRecently finished: My ceaseless cravings for ice cream will hopefully stop soon because I finished The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. I adored this audiobook and the character. I really recommend it to anyone with an interest in historical fiction or business. Gilman touches on both well and it was a great combination. I kept laughing during my runs and making my husband question my sanity.

I posted my review on Monday so please go check it out! This was a 5 Star read for me.

WingsReading Next: The book club met Monday and our next selection is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I’m tempted to put down Tosches to pick this up and read it first, but with the free time from my class being over, I’m trying to be optimistic about powering through it fast(ish). We’ll see how it goes.


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!