Tag Archives: Bill Bryson

‘A Walk In the Woods’ Movie Review

19 Jun

Image via Movie Poster Shop

It’s been a while since I read a book that had been turned into a movie and it was a nice break. It let me say to my husband on Saturday, “I have to watch this movie!” I enjoyed A Walk In the Woods a lot as an audiobook and I was curious how it would be turned into a movie so it was a delight to see this and see how things developed.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Nick Nolte. I had an idea in my heads of what Katz would look and act like, much of it derived from the narrator of the audiobook. Nolte didn’t hit it exactly, but he was pretty darn close! I enjoyed his portrayal and how he struggled with the hiking but became so much better as the film went on. When he wanted to give up, he let Bill talk him out of it. That was a lot of growth from when he got off the plane.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Katz’s drinking. I’m glad this still got brought up. I thought with the direction the film was going that it would be cut since it was at the end of the book. It was one of Katz’s biggest demons and another big moment of growth for his character.

Running into bears. This was a bit much for me. The two did run into some kind of creature (I suspect a bobcat) but the encounter was nowhere near as exciting as the one in the film. It seemed a bit too convenient that the bears were scared off by the men in their tents. Honestly, that wouldn’t always work.

Cover image via Goodreads

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

Nature facts. Toward the end, Bill goes off about the American Chestnut but it’s the first time he’s talked about nature or the trail at all for their entire trip. The book had Bill giving facts about the trail’s history and the landscape they’re walking through the whole time. Why take it out at the beginning and leave only the Chestnut?

Things That Changed Too Much

Not stopping in Tennessee. When Katz brought up fast forwarding the trip, I was ready for it. The Smokey’s were the worst part of the trip for both of them. I was really surprised when Bill kept going and they didn’t skip ahead to Virginia. That was a bit too much for me.

Not taking a break and coming back to it. I didn’t like the pace of hiking the trail in the book, but this was weird. Instead of taking the summer apart and Bill hiking parts of the trail by himself, they stopped completely in Virginia. In my mind, they weren’t as close to ‘finishing it’ as they came in the book. They had all of New England that wasn’t touched. Either way, the book and movie fell short of what I was hoping for in the story, but the movie even more so.

This was what I was looking for in a fun read about hiking and being outside. I’ve been couped up inside with school projects and I’d love to get out like Katz and Bill. Reader, have you seen the A Walk in the Woods 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!

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WWW Wednesday, 13-June-2018

13 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 made better progress with The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver than I expected to, which was a welcome surprise. I figured out what the structure of the book is and I’m really intrigued to keep read it and see what happens!
I got a few runs in and made some decent progress on Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. I’ve enjoyed See’s writing in the past and this book doesn’t disappoint and I’m glad I’ve gotten to read it!
I’m afraid my progress has slowed with The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. I’m not as interested in it as I wish I were and it’s made me read less at night and find other things to do with free time during the days. I’m pushing just to finish in time for book club now.
I started a new audiobook in my car but not the one I thought I would. I’m reading The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer. It’s the second in a series I started a few years ago (I’m seeing a trend) and I remember the previous book well enough but it’s getting mixed up with other Meltzer books to me. I’ll sort it out in time, haha.

Recently finished: I finished A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson late last week and I want to go hiking so badly now! It was a fun read and I meant to pick the movie up at the library and totally forgot. Darn! I hope I can watch this one soon, it seems like it would be a pretty funny film.

I posted my review of Paul Beatty’s The Sellout on Thursday and my book club reflection of it on Monday. It wasn’t a favorite of mine or my book club. Unpopular Opinion Alert!

Reading Next: No change on Brainiac by Ken Jennings. I’ve already had to renew it and I haven’t cracked it open. I really hope I can get to it 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!

Book Review: A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson (5/5)

12 Jun

I’ve read two Bryson books before this and liked them both. I saw this book at a used book sale around the time the film came out and decided to add it to my TBR. It was the first Bryson memoir I’d encountered and I ended up listening to it so I could enjoy it sooner. I really want to go hiking now.

A Walk In the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Apalachain Trail by Bill Bryson

Other books by Bill Bryson reviewed on this blog:

The Mother Tongue
Made in America

Summary from Goodreads:

The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).

I didn’t know what to expect from this book. I liked Bryson’s sense of humor and wit in the two books I’d read previously, both of which are non-fiction. I hoped it would translate to memoir as well. I was glad it did and really enjoyed the dynamic between Bryson and Katz at the beginning of the book. I felt the story changed a lot when they split up for the summer and it was never really the same when they rejoined each other. I did feel I was cheated a bit because I’d thought they were doing the trail in one stretch, not in a big stretch to start, small daily stretches with just Bryson in the middle, and then a short stretch together at the end. I understand it’s reality, it just wasn’t what I believed when I started out.

I felt Katz seemed very believable. He had his foibles but he was also a strong person and did his best to hike the trail. I did feel Bryson pained himself in a dazzling light, but what memoirist wouldn’t. It’s his story so he’s sure going to look good in it. The quick descriptions of his fellow hikers were fun but I wonder how much they would have changed if he’d stuck with them for any length of time.

For lack of other options, I’ll say Katz was my favorite character. I liked his devotion and obsession with modern life and technology and how that contrasted with his time on the trail and dedication to get up and walk every morning. His reluctance was clear and I kept hoping for him to have a change of heart, but I don’t think it ever came about.

I related to Bryson better. I’m someone who likes to finish something when I start it. I won’t complain, even if my decision is making me miserable. I put my head down and push on. I felt like Bryson was doing this in the early parts of the trail. I would have done the same. Fake it until you make it. He pretended he was having fun and enjoying himself even when he wasn’t.

Bill Bryson
Image via Amazon

I liked the first third of the book best; when Katz and Bryson were hiking the trail together. I could feel their excitement and their dread that the trail went on forever and they’d never reach Maine. Every minor setback felt like life-or-death and I could see how that would happen on the trail.

I was disappointed with the middle portion of the book when Bryson was hiking alone. I felt these were a bit melodramatic and filled with a bit more background on the trail and the Park’s Service than I wanted to hear. Other parts of the book, he mixed that information in well with the story, but the middle was a bit too heavy on history and background and light on hiking time. Probably because there wasn’t much.

My audiobook was narrated by Ron McLarty. I enjoyed his narration a lot though his accent threw me at times. It didn’t come out much, but when it did, I laughed aloud a few times. He had good inflections for Katz and Bryson and Bryson’s frustration came out well with McLarty’s voice.

Bryson has an appreciation of nature that’s mostly forgotten in our society today. The trip he took was guided with maps and involved minimal contact with the outside world. Today, that same trip would likely be taken with a cell phone and periodic Facebook updates for friends and family to know he was OK. It’s hard to escape nature but Bryson found some benefits from doing so.

Writer’s Takeaway: My favorite memoirs blend story with background and research and Bryson does this well. You learn about the trail, the area he’s in, the people who have been there before, and what led him there. It’s a great blend and rather than one story about walking a long distance, you get that plus four or five other areas which are well researched and where you learn a lot of related things. He’s a master of this as I’ve learned from his other books.

I enjoyed this book and really can’t say something too bad about it. 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:
A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson (1998) | I’ve Just Finished Reading…
A Walk In the Woods | So Much To Read
A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson | Ton of Worms

WWW Wednesday, 6-June-2018

6 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 haven’t really touched The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver because of school. I thought I might get through some of it, but I’ve only just started chapter two. I think this one will be here for quite a while.
I’m about done with A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson. I’ve been really enjoying this story and Bryson’s story about hiking the trail. He does a great job of interweaving his story with the history of the area and leaving me feeling informed and invigorated to go for a hike!
I was sick last week so I didn’t work out much and as a result, I didn’t get through much of Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. I hope to keep making some progress on this during the week and then possibly do more for a long run this weekend.
The only book I’ve made decent progress on is The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. I’m not really enjoying this, per say, but I’m very interested in it and what it has to say. I have to keep remembering that it was written almost fifty years ago and it reminds me how much the world has changed.

Recently finished: I got nothing this week. It’s been very busy and on the bright side, I did well on my midterm! I was able to post my review of Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson yesterday so please check that out.

Reading Next: I’m holding onto Brainiac by Ken Jennings to start when I finish Friedan. I think that one will be a quick read.
I’m hoping to start Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club as my next car audiobook. I’ve been wanting to read something by Tan for a while and I think this hit will be a good place to start.


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, 30-May-2018

30 May

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 a few pages through The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver during my lunch break but not too much. I’m through chapter 1 now and I already had to renew it. This will be a long, slow haul.
I’m really enjoying A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson and with all the driving I’m doing for school, I’m going through it pretty quickly. I may even finish it in the next two weeks, pretty fast for me!
I hadn’t gotten far in Critical Chain so I switched audiobooks when one I’ve been anticipating more became available. I started Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. I enjoyed the first book in the series, Shanghai Girls, and I remember it well enough that I’m picking up right where I left off.
I started a new physical book as well. My book club’s next selection is The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. It’s not something I ever would have picked up otherwise and so far, I’m enjoying it. I’m early on but I’m hoping to get through this quickly because I’ve got some other books I want to read.

Recently finished: I finished The Sellout by Paul Beatty last week. It was a day after my book club meeting but the ending wasn’t startling enough that anything was ruined for me by listening to the discussion. I liked it well enough, but the satirical tone wasn’t something I got into.

I also posted my review for The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne. I love a good memoir and this book hit the spot for me. It was a great mix of emotional and funny and I recommend it. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I forgot about my book club selection so I have a physical book on my bedside table and I’m afraid it will be a while before I get to it. It’s the library copy of Brainiac by Ken Jennings which happens to be large print. It was the only copy the library had so I feel a bit weird about it, but it’s my only option. On the bright side, I’ll get through it much faster than I would another book with the same number of pages.


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, 23-May-2018

23 May

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 haven’t made much progress with The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. I’ve been getting my school reading done during lunch at work so I’m not falling behind in that, but I’m not getting ahead in reading. I expect this will be on this list for a while.
I sped through The Sellout by Paul Beatty but didn’t quite finish it in time for my book club meeting. I’m still going to finish it but it’s a little bittersweet knowing more about the ending than I otherwise would. Oh well.
I’ve had some good movement with audiobooks! I wasn’t able to get The Joy Luck Club as fast as I wanted to so I started A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson instead. This is making me excited for summer and thinking about getting the gear so I can be a backpacker soon! I’ve wanted to do some longer hikes for a while but I don’t have the gear… yet.
I also started another eaudiobook. I picked up Critical Chain by Eliyahu Goldratt. I read his critically acclaimed The Goal in college and I’m excited to see what else this business master has to share.

Recently finished: I wrapped up The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne last Wednesday right before bed. I really adored this book and I’m surprised how few reviews of it I found after posting. It seems it wasn’t widely distributed even though it was well received. My review will be up tomorrow.
I plowed through Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson on my errands and drive to school. This was a great, albeit short book and it’s making me curious about what else Woodson has written. Does anyone have recommendations for more by her?

I posted my review of Mister Monkey by Francine Prose on Thursday last week and my book club reflection of it went up yesterday. The book was good but it didn’t blow me away. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’m set on audiobooks for a while so it looks like I’ll get to pick a physical book next. I keep knocking down my towering TBR from the top and next up is Brainiac by Ken Jennings. My mom raised me on Jeopardy! so I watched Jennings in his legendary run on the show. I’m interested to see what he has to say about the world of competitive trivia and learn a little more about a person who can pack so many facts into his head!


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!

Challenge Update, March 2017

3 Apr

This was a rough month for reading. I went through a bit of a dry spell and had a few long books I was hoping to make progress that that will likely show up next month. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in March:

The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way // Bill Bryson (4/5)
Night Soldiers // Alan Furst (3/5)

Yikes! I honestly didn’t think it was that bad! Night Soldiers really slowed me down and I’ve been going for some longer audiobooks lately that are making all of my progress a bit sluggish. Oh boy.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

6/12
Despite so few books, I did fulfill another time period. Night Soldiers filled the 1940-1959 period very well. I’m half way there now and only three months into the year. This feels good but I see a lot of earlier time periods I need to fill, which can be tricky.

Goodreads Challenge

14/50
Thankfully, I had enough read in the past few months that I’m still ahead of schedule here. I hope this doesn’t turn into a push at the end to keep up! I have one finished for April already so I’m feeling optimistic but this could still go poorly. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Book of the Month

I’m going to give it to The Mother Tongue. The book was really interesting and audio was a great way to experience it. If anything can make early morning running less terrible, a good audiobook can and this filled that need.

Added to my TBR

I did add one, but my overall TBR is down one to 112! I can’t remember it ever being this low and I’m ecstatic!

  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I heard there’s a new movie of it coming out this year and after enjoying another Poirot, I want to dig into the most famous one!

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: It will be close! I’m struggling a little with this class and I think my participation and quiz grades are keeping me afloat. He’s supposed to post grade updates soon so I will see!
  • Knit blankets:  I’m caught up for the moment. My cousin’s wife hasn’t told us yet if she’s finding out the gender and if so, what it is. I’ll have to finish another blanket up once I send one to them which could be any time!
  • One race per month: I ran the 10K race in the Ann Arbor Marathon races and got a personal best time! 58:36! My husband and a friend ran it as well and we all got PBs. This is a good start for the season.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: No update here. I’m still hoping to get to the changes one of my Beta’s got back to me but I haven’t had the time with school going on. I hope to this summer, though!

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!

WWW Wednesday, 15-March-2017

15 Mar

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: Again, nothing with Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. Husband has been traveling a lot lately, which is very unlike him! I’m usually the one out and about, haha.
I think I read five pages of The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler on Friday and I was really excited about it. Still reading has been bogging me down a lot and with Spring Break this week (WOO!) I’m hoping to get back to this a bit.
I made myself read a good chunk of Night Soldiers by Alan Furst over the weekend. I gave myself a no-TV rule and it really worked! It’s still going to be tight to finish it before it’s due, though.
At my library board meeting, I was reminded that we have an author coming to visit soon, David Maraniss, who will talk about his book Once In a Great City about Detroit. I got an audiobook copy of this one over the weekend and started in on it right away.

Recently finished: Was able to finish up The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson during a long workout on Saturday. I’m so relieved to have finished something! My review went up Monday so please go check it out!

Reading Next: Again, nothing planned. I think I’ll need a physical book next and I’ll grab whatever looks right off of my shelf. I’m going to let myself enjoy the freedom in that for once!


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: The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson (4/5)

13 Mar

I wanted to read this book when I thought Bryson was a little more dry and scholarly and a little less fun and quirky. I thought it would be more systematic instead of picking up on the fun parts of language history. I read another of his books, realized I was mistaken, and still wanted to read another because they are fun and entertaining. They can make a long drive or a long run much less terrible.

Cover Image via Goodreads

The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson

Other books by Bill Bryson reviewed on this blog:

Made In America

Summary from Goodreads:

With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson–the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent–brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can’t), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world’s largest growth industries.

Listening to this book was a joy. I didn’t have to worry about the different pronunciations Bryson talked about or read them in the phonetic alphabet because the narrator did it for me! A lot of this book talked about the language’s shift from old English to modern English, the words we lost and gained along the way, where words come from, and how they’re preserved or dropped. It’s clear there were a few resources Bryson relied heavily on for certain chapters. He organized the book well and was able to explain how certain words come to be in a very amusing way. I wasn’t ready for this book to be funny and I got looked at while running at the gym for spitting out a few giggles.

There were two parts of the book I really enjoyed. The first was the detail of how British English and American English came to be pronounced differently. Bryson detailed how English was before the American Settlers came over and then how the two changed since then. I ‘ve always wondered why we speak so differently. The theory that they will one day become so dissimilar as to be different languages is interesting, but as Bryson points out, modern technology has Americans, Brits, Australians, and South Africans speaking to each other via the internet so frequently, that future differences are less likely to happen.

My other favorite part was talking about names and how that developed. It’s fairly easy for me to see where my name, Stevens, came from (likely a shortening of Stevenson, ‘Steven’s son’) but it was fun to hear about other last names. Bryson also went into details about place names and I was happy to hear so many Michigan cities mentioned. Of course, Detroit coming from the French was mentioned, but I was glad he also mentioned Milan. I first saw the city name written down and asked, “Where is Milan?” pronouncing it like the Italian city. I got a stern look and was reproached, “It’s MY-lan.” With a long I. Same with Lima, Versailles, and Charlotte (other cities I drive by in the Midwest pronounced LYE-ma, ver-SALES, and shar-LOT).

The chapter on the dictionary was the least interesting to me. It did emphasize how quickly the language was evolving, but I thought there was a lot more history on a few men in this chapter than any developments in the language. I would have liked to see a shorter chapter on it and maybe a bit more focus on how the dictionary preserved pronunciations or changed them.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Stephen McLaughlin. Kudos to him for having to pronounce so many words in a variety of languages and accents. One of the later chapters had to deal with word games in French and he rambled them off like a pro. If he was off with any of his pronunciations, I’m none the wiser because his Spanish was spot-on when used and the little I know of Italian and German was well done, too.

Bryson’s focus was on how the language has changed, but he also talked about things that had stayed the same. I appreciated hearing about how words had changed very little since Shakespeare’s time. He also focused on how it could evolve going forward which was almost alarming. English words are being adopted into most world languages mainly due to innovation and English words being used for things and concepts that did not exist previously. If you know another language, think of words for technology and new concepts. In Spanish, I’ve heard both ‘el internet’ and ‘el márketing’ used even if there are Spanish words for these things (el red y el mercadotecnica). Bryson points out that Japanese does this the most. With English words infiltrating foreign languages and English becoming the common language for business, we might start to lost the beauty of other languages and in fact, start to lose speakers of those languages.

Writer’s Takeaway: Bryson hides some jokes in his writing, like when talking about where the last name ‘Bush’ came from. I enjoyed these small jokes tucked into the book. I’m not sure how well they would work in fiction, but in non-fiction, which can be dry, Bryson kept it interesting and fun. I really appreciated this in a book that easily could have been bogged down in details.

I enjoyed this book and I’m sure I have loads of fun facts to spring on people now. 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:
The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way // by Bill Bryson | The Aroma of Books

WWW Wednesday, 8-March-2017

8 Mar

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?

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libraryCurrently reading: No movement with Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. This might sit on my list for a while.
I keeping creeping forward with The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. I’ve had to do a lot of reading for school during my lunch breaks so that hasn’t given me a lot of time there to read. I’m still enjoying it and hope to keep making forward progress.
I’ve made steady progress with The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. It keeps me interested during long runs, which is nice. I think I still have four hours left, though. It’s not great to listen to while cooking and cleaning so it’s been slower than I’d like.
It’s been slow going with Night Soldiers by Alan Furst. I wish this was moving faster, but I don’t like it enough to sit down and power through it. There’s something about the writing style which stays a little above the character’s feelings but rambles that’s slowing me down.

Recently finished: Nothing this week! I’m so sad to report that. I’m not even close on any of these books to think I’ll have one finished for next week. Maybe Bryson, but I’ll have to get in some long runs for that to happen!

I did post a review of You’re Not Doing It Right by Michael Ian Black. Please go check it out! I gave it 4 out of 5 Stars.

Reading Next: I still have nothing planned. I think I’m going to reward myself by picking a book off of my shelf that has been tempting me for a while. I have it narrowed down to two but I don’t want to commit yet! I think a short one will be welcomed after Night Soldiers.


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.

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