Tag Archives: Away

WWW Wednesday, 15-February-2017

15 Feb

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.


phone-callCurrently reading: My husband and I were finally able to listen to some of Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. We had four hours in the car and got through some of it. This is a really long book so we might be at this one for a while. We have next weekend to get through a bit more.
I’ve been making steady progress on The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler during lunch and doctor’s appointments. I’ll keep it up at this pace as much as I can. Lunch has also transformed itself into a study time for me which might take over a bit.
I started reading Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling. It’s great reading this now because it’s moving super fast and I can pick it up and put it down easily as school makes other demands on my time. I should finish it soon.
I also started The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom on audio. Albom narrates the story which is a fun twist. He loves basing his books here in Michigan (where he’s also from) which makes fun reading for me!

awayRecently finished: I knocked out Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling really fast. Celebrity memoirs tend to be fast reads and I enjoyed getting through this one fast. My review will come up tomorrow so look out for that.
My review of Away by Amy Bloom posted yesterday. I liked the book but was disappointed by the ending. I thought it seemed like the main character gave up at the end and that disappointed me.

My review of El misterio de la guia de  ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie posted last Thursday. Thanks again to those who commented on it, I’m really excited about having finished it so quickly!

nightsoldiersReading Next: Night Soldiers by Alan Furst is in transit! I should be able to pick it up from the library soon and get started on it. I’m keeping my 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!

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Book Review: Away by Amy Bloom (3/5)

14 Feb

The page-a-day book themed calendar I had in 2013 has struck again! This calendar filled my Goodreads shelves when I fist started using the software and there are many on there to this day that I have yet to read. (Actually 6, I just checked.) It won me over saying only that it was set in the 1920s. It doesn’t take much prodding to get me to read if that’s the setting.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Away by Amy Bloom

Summary from Goodreads:

Panoramic in scope, Away is the epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent, an accidental heroine. When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New York’s Lower East Side, to Seattle’s Jazz District, and up to Alaska, along the fabled Telegraph Trail toward Siberia.

Lillian’s story was epic, to say the least. What started as a young immigrant trying to make a living in New York turned to the story of a mistress and from there to a murderer to a convict and finally to a frontierswoman. She endured the hardships of every place she went to an extent that bordered on unbelievable. Each part of her journey could have been a short story that, strung together, was Lillian’s journey from Russia to New York to Alaska.

I enjoyed the side characters in this story and I think Bloom knew she created some great ones. Lillian endures and while that’s admirable, she’s very fluid, adapting to what’s around her at the time. It’s the people she’s adapting to that make the story interesting. The Burstein men are hiding secrets left and right and Lillian becomes an accomplice. Gumdrop wants to redefine her life and sees Lillian as a kindred spirit though they are so different. John Bishop is quiet and introspective and his fierce loyalty has already caused him one heartbreak. Each of these characters (and others I haven’t mentioned) were very different from each other and from Lillian. They marked her journey to Alaska and are what made it memorable.

Gumdrop was a favorite of mine. She seemed very bland at first and desperate. But as she reveals her story to Lillian, talking about her mother and child, she becomes a much deeper character. I loved the scene with her, Lillian, and Snooky. It was dark but really showed Gumdrop’s strength and all Lillian would do for Sophie. I adored that Bloom gave us short stories about what happened to the strongest side characters after Lillian leaves their lives. Gumdrop has the best story, in my opinion, and lives out the dream she always wanted.

I related best to Lillian when she was living in New York. While she wanted to work, she was also forced to act the perfect wife which I think a lot of modern women can relate to. She felt cooped up in the apartment waiting for Meyer and she would get upset when he’d come later than expected. She wanted to be respected and valued and I’m sure every woman has wanted this from someone in their life, either a father, boss, friend, teacher or romantic partner. Unfortunately, we still live in a society where some men want women in traditional roles and more and more women are finding them unfulfilling.

Amy Bloom Image via the author's website

Amy Bloom
Image via the author’s website

I found Lillian’s walk to Dawson most intriguing and a bit unbelievable. Maybe I didn’t catch it, but how could she have survived with no shelter in the cold in that part of Canada? Were there cabins each a day’s walk from each other? They weren’t all mentioned, to be sure, but there had to have been something to keep her going. Her food was explained and with snow around, water wouldn’t have been an issue, it’s the shelter that gets me. Anyway, it was sill my favorite part of the book. Her determination is evident and so strong. Each step, she knows it’s to find Sophie that she continues and while she’s excited, she also seems scared and rightfully so. I saw how strong Lillian was in this part.

The ending was my least favorite part and I’m going to talk about it here so skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want it spoiled. I thought Lillian gave up too easily. It wasn’t like her to give up. She was so determined and spent so much time trying to get to Siberia just to give up, especially when someone who wanted to help her showed up. I get that she had almost no chance of finding Sophie, but she was so sure it could happen. Maybe they were both better off with the way things turned out, but I think Lillian would have kept pushing forward.

The audiobook was narrated by Barbara Rosenblat and I thought she did an amazing job. She gave Lillian an appropriate accent and portrayed the numerous side characters in great ways. Her voice was good for a sweeping narrative of America and Canada which follows a Russian Jewish immigrant. That’s got to be a niche market.

Lillian is driven by love for her daughter. That’s a very powerful force. She comes to respect her late husband less and less which is sad, but her love for Sophie never wavers. The things she did to get to Sophie from letting men take advantage of her to murder to unimaginable physical pain are incredible. That love drove this novel.

Writer’s Takeaway: As a reader, I hate when characters are dropped and I’m left wondering what happened to them. I felt Bloom gave her side characters good closure without dwelling on them. Gumdrop or Chinky or the Bursteins are wrapped up nicely, with just enough information to keep my wandering mind at bay. I liked this technique a lot.

A good read but a bit unbelievable and a bit disappointing in the end. Three 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 Post:
Just my final thoughts on the ending of Amy Bloom’s ‘Away’ | The Northshore Book Club

WWW Wednesday, 8-February-2017

8 Feb

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.


Hanging OutCurrently reading: So this weekend and next weekend I hope to make progress on Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. Hubby and I have a couple-hour drive both weekends and we usually listen to audiobooks to pass the time. Fingers crossed.
I got to read some of The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler during my lunches the past few days and I’ve really enjoyed it. I won’t finish this book anytime soon, but I’m going to enjoy the ride.
I finally started Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and I’m already half way through! It’s so fun and light that it’s easy to sit down and read 30 pages before I realize my back is sore, haha. I think I’ll get through this one quickly.
I’m also half way through Away by Amy Bloom. A couple long runs and some business in the city has given me a lot of time to listen. It’s very dark but I’m enjoying the story a lot and loving the 1920s setting!

ferrocarrilesRecently finished: I finished Misterio de la Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie on Saturday. It was a really good read! I’m excited to have finished my Spanish read so quickly this year. My full review will be up tomorrow. Is there a movie or TV episode about this one (The A.B.C. Murders)? I’d love to see Piorot on screen! Is it normal in Christie novels not to have all the information ou would need to solve the murder yourself? I was a bit let down by that in the end.

nightsoldiersReading Next: I requested my next physical book through ILL so who knows when it will come in, haha. I’m hoping to read Night Soldiers by Alan Furst. This was a recommendation on the book themed daily calendar I had in 2013 and I’ve been waiting for it ever since. I’ll have to pick something random if it doesn’t get in soon.


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, 1-February-2017

1 Feb

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.


libraryCurrently reading: I’m getting very close to the end of Misterio de la Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie. It takes a lot of effort for me to read it, but I’m getting toward the end and can feel Poirot closing in on the murderer!
No move on Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. It will likely be until my road trip later this month before we make any headway on this one.
I’m already on the third chapter of The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. I was fortunate to have a few lunches to read last week and I got into it. I like it so far but I’m curious to see where Swyler goes with it and why she chose to have a male narrator.

WithoutEndRecently finished: I finished World Without End by Ken Follett after my post went up last Wednesday. I loved it! My review went up Monday. A full 5 out of 5 stars.
I also finished Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf which was slightly less enjoyable. Many of you thought it might be because I listened to it and I think that’s probably right. Still, it wasn’t one I really enjoyed. 2 out of 5 stars. My review went up yesterday.

I also posted a review for The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge which went up last Thursday. Not my favorite of Bainbridge’s novels, but still enjoyable and very educational. 3 out of 5 stars.

awayReading Next: I’m so close to starting Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling! I can almost feel it haha. I see it on my shelf almost every day and I can’t wait to pull it down and dig in.
I’ll be starting a new audiobook today, Away by Amy Bloom. I put this one on my list because it’s a 1920s era book. I own a copy which I found at a book warehouse but in order to get through my TBR faster, I’m going to listen to it.


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

23 Oct

I’ve somehow managed to add another five books to the shelf.  I’m at 99 right now and I’m hoping I can keep myself under 100.  The book I’m reading now is short so I’m keeping the positive thoughts.

  • Divergent by Veronica Roth: I have a policy of reading the book before I see the movie.  Thus, Divergent must be read before the movie is release next year.  No excuses.
    Tris lives in a dystopian future where at age 16, all children choose a sect where they will devote the rest of their lives.  It sort of Hunger Games-esque, which makes it all the more appealing to me
  • Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg: This book is the new February book for my edgy book club.  It’s replacing Gone Girl because it’s not available in paperback yet.  (Frustration).
    At the age of 80, Steve’s mom lets slip that she had a sister.  Steve believed that his mother was an only child and is shocked by the news.  Interested, he begins to delve into his family’s past.
  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai: Nicole had posted an interview between Malala and John Stewart on The Daily Show and it seemed interesting so I watched it (you can view it here).  I was floored at her maturity and the insightful things she said.
    Malala wasn’t afraid to speak out when her right to education was taken away.  Backed by her parents, she began to fight for schooling.  In 2012, the Taliban boarded a bus she was on and shot her in the eye.  She has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest person ever nominated.
  • White Oleander by Janet Fitch: This book was a read-alike for Affinity, appearing on a list our moderator gave at the end of the meeting.
    This is the story of Astrid, a foster child in Los Angeles fighting to find herself.
  • Away by Amy Bloom: This book was the recommended book on my pate-a-day calendar today.  I’m surprised I don’t add more from it, but this one struck me as interesting.
    It’s the 1920s and Lillian has escaped from Russia to America after the death of her parents.  When she hears that her daughter might still be alive, she sets her sights on Alaska and the journey to find the only member left of her family.

That’s it for now.  Have you read any these?  Any I should bump up and read sooner?  Any that aren’t worth my time?  Let me know, Reader.  Until next time, take care.