Tag Archives: Bonnie Jo Campbell

Book Club Reflection: Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

17 Jan

My book club had very split opinions about Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Once Upon a River. I was a huge fan. Others disliked Margo and by default, didn’t like the book. With such a strong narrator, it didn’t surprise me we were polarized.

Bonnie Jo Campbell is a Michigan-born author from the West side of the state. She was born in Kalamazoo in 1962 and for those out of Michigan, yes, a lot of our cities have awesomely fun Native American names. She got her Bachelors’ in Chicago, the closest big city to that side of the state. Her Masters’ is in Mathematics and her MFA is from KZoo’s own Western Michigan University (undefeated in the regular season this year!). She’s married but our moderator couldn’t find if she had children or not. Her other books, which have been well received, are primarily short story collections. We were able to find that her first book is about a girl born on the river with a mother named Margo. Um….! I might have to read that.

Being a Michigan-based author, we felt Campbell did a great job creating rural Michigan. The East side, where I’m from, is very different from the Michigan Campbell describes, but it reminds me of the parts of Northern Michigan I visit, where my parents own a cottage. It’s fun to remember how diverse a single state can be.

Though the Stark River and Murrayville, the settings Campbell created, are fictional, they were great representations of the state. The water is very important to the story and it’s used in a lot of ways. Margo is cleaned in it, eats from it, and recognizes that on it, she can be cleansed of her past. It’s also lethal (spoiler ahead). Smoke is literally dragged down into the river and couldn’t be saved. The river is always moving and changing. When Margo needs to run away, she can follow the flow downriver or make her way upriver to find a change and that’s what she likes about the river. Lakes are different. Her mother lived on a lake and Margo didn’t like the feel of it. She craved a river.

One thing we noticed is that while rape and sex were present in this book, they weren’t focal points. Especially when Cal raped her, it didn’t feel terrifying and victimizing. It was confusing and uncomfortable which we felt was likely more life-like. Margo used sex with various men as a survival tactic. She wasn’t looking to have a good time, she was trying to find her next meal and some shelter. I really enjoyed her character and strength.

Not everyone liked Margo as much as I did. We all agreed she was mature for her age and was very resourceful. A lot of people saw her as a misfit who didn’t fit in. I felt she fit in on the river but there were several references to her not fitting in amongst her peers. She was trying to get herself in order and have her life together and as a reader with a much different lifestyle, it was hard for us to recognize at first, but she had her life in order by the end of the book. She had what she wanted as far as a boat and a place to hunt and she was ready to start a family and settle down. Margo didn’t talk much. She was alone a lot so there weren’t a lot of people to talk to. There were some people who wondered if she was mentally impaired. A reporter asked Campbell if Margo had Autism. Campbell didn’t purposefully create a character with Autism but has said it’s possible Margo does. It wasn’t her intention.

A lot of Margo’s luck seemed to come to her because she was beautiful. She never says this about herself, but the men in the story and her mother say she is. She might not have been able to find shelter with men if she wasn’t, but it seemed incongruent with her rugged lifestyle. If she’d spent as much time looking good as her mother did, she would have been a knock-out.

Each of the men who loved her had a different name for Margo. It was a nod to how she recreated herself each time she was with another guy. All the time, she was trying to recreate the best relationship she’d had with a man until then, the relationship she had with her grandfather. In this respect, Smoke was the closest she found. He and Fishbone were the only ones who didn’t try to have sex with her and some of us think it’s because they’re gay. It’s implied in the story that the two loved each other but Fishbone wouldn’t admit to it. It reminded me of Brokeback Mountain. It’s hard to admit to a different lifestyle if there’s a lot to lose and Fishbone stood to lose his family and didn’t want to risk it.

Paul and Margo’s father were both shot in the book. In the case of Paul, Margo was in control instead of her cousin. We wondered if she noticed this. Michael was at risk and she stepped in the way her cousin did to save someone she loved. The difference was that she pulled the trigger instead of watching.

The Indian was the most confusing character for many of us. He was a personification of the river, something Margo loved. He gave her money and a ride, much like the river. With him, she leaves the river for the first time and maybe she needed someone who reminded her of the river to get away from it. We found it funny that he was trying to find his culture and, though Margo was in no way a Native American, she was living the culture he was looking for better than anyone else he’d found.

I’ll be missing my book club for a few months due to my class falling on the same night until May. I’m sad about this, to be sure, but I’m sure they’ll be fine without me. I’ll miss writing these for a few months but they’ll be back! 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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Book Review: Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell (4/5)

5 Jan

I heard of this book because the author was visiting a local bookstore but I hadn’t felt the motivation to read it. When it was picked for my book club, I was indifferent. I took this book with me to Phoenix and when I finished the book I was in the middle of the last morning there, I picked this up on the plane. I was easily 150 pages in before we landed and I was hooked. If (stupid) work hadn’t gotten in the way, I would have finished it sooner.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Joe Campbell

Summary from Goodreads:

After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother. But the river, Margo’s childhood paradise, is a dangerous place for a young woman traveling alone, and she must be strong to survive, using her knowledge of the natural world and her ability to look unsparingly into the hearts of those around her. Her river odyssey through rural Michigan becomes a defining journey, one that leads her beyond self-preservation and to the decision of what price she is willing to pay for her choices.

I should know better than to read the back cover of a book before I start it. Knowing Margo’s father was going to die and her mother was going to disappear didn’t ruin the whole book, but it wasn’t the best thing to know before being a few chapters in. Oh well. I loved Margo. She was strong in a way most women aren’t. She was afraid to do what needed to be done, be that shooting a deer or sleeping with someone who would protect her. It wasn’t admirable but it was necessary. I’ll spoil the end here, but this needs to be said. I’m glad she didn’t stay with her mom. She was so much stronger and more interesting than her mother. She was smart to realize she needed to be a different kind of mother than her mom was to her.

Sometimes I thought Margo was a stretch, especially when she was with Michael. Her life with him was so different from what she had before or would have after and it was odd to me that she was so happy with him. I don’t think she would have married him even though she said she would. I thought the other side characters were wonderful, a very diverse mix that I could see living on the West side of Michigan. (Side note, I love that this took place in my home state!)

Smoke was my favorite character. He reminded me a bit of my grandpa, getting on in years but refusing to give into poor health and insisting he’s fine. I thought it was realistic that he was so cranky but in the end was the sweetest friend Margo could find. He was fiercely independent and at the same time was very giving. It must have been hard for Fishbone and Margo to watch him get sicker and sicker.

Some of Margo spoke to my primal instinct. There are times I’ve wished I could shoot someone who was bothering me or hurting someone I loved. I’ve wanted to run away from people I don’t like and I’ve wanted to say what I’m thinking to a man. I’ve also wanted to not wear makeup or fitted clothes and stay in a lake (or river) for hours. Alas, I never owned a boat. (Because that’s the only thing stopping me from becoming Margo and abandoning this blog, obviously.)

Image via the author's website

Bonnie Jo Campbell. Image via the author’s website

I liked the end. Margo seemed happiest living in Smoke’s boat. It was the most luxury she’d had in the book but it was also somewhere she was happy and in an environment where she could enjoy her life. It was the best of both worlds and it assured me that she could be a mother.

Her relationship with Michael seemed counter to Margo’s personality. No wonder she never unpacked all her stuff. Forcing her to get her GED and try out going to church was so different from the things that made her happy that it’s no wonder she had little trouble leaving. It might have cemented in her mind that she could live off the land, but I didn’t understand the point of that part of the book.

 

A lot of people tried to give Margo things that would make her ‘happy.’ The Murray’s had an idea of what would make her happy, Brian had another idea, then Michael, and then her mother. None of them were right. Margo kept running away because she wanted to make her own decisions and she ultimately got on best with Smoke because he didn’t try to force anything on her. Even Fishbone tried to get her to reconcile with her mother or have the baby in a hospital but she wouldn’t do either one. She had to make her own choices.

Writer’s Takeaway: I wish I could put into words what made Margo so likable. She was very terse but the words she said had a big impact on me. So many bad things happened to her but I never felt bad for her. She didn’t see herself as a victim so I never saw her as one. That was part of what was so strong about her.

The ending was a little abrupt for me, but I enjoyed this book on the whole. 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:
Bonnie Jo Campbell’s ‘Once Upon a River’ Sets Sale | Night Light Revue
Reader’s Journal: Once Upon a River | The Evening Reader

Challenge Update, December 2016

3 Jan

Considering the holiday, I should consider any progress good progress in December. However, I always have higher hopes for myself than I’m ever able to achieve. I wanted to do a lot more reading this month than I ended up doing. Drat. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in December:

Writing the Breakout Novel // Donald Maass
Once Upon a River // Bonnie Jo Campbell
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt // Caroline Preston

After the tidal wave last month, this isn’t a huge surprise. What is exciting is that all of these were physical books. Yay paper!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. And I finished! If you’re interested in joining in on this one for 2017, check out the info page.

Goodreads Challenge

52/45
Bam. I’m going back to 50 as my goal for 2017 because 45 didn’t seem like enough of a challenge. We’ll see what I can get through this year.

onceuponBook of the Month

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell really impressed me. I’m hoping others in my book club felt the same way. I’m hoping to read more from Campbell in the future. The ending left me a bit down but the rest of the book was really enjoyable.

Added to my TBR

I only added one! I’m so excited to say my TBR is at 120 now. Maybe a goal for 2017 will be to drop it below 100? I added one book this past month because I couldn’t help but buy it. Come to think of it, I might have to add a few more that I’ve picked up. But that’s a problem for 2017 and this is a post about 2016.

  • The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving. Many of you know how much of a fan I am of Irving. This is one of his earliest novels and is no longer in print. I found it at a used bookstore and can’t wait to read it.

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, 28-December-2016

28 Dec

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.


frankieprattCurrently reading: It’s going slower but I’m making my way through World Without End by Ken Follett. The case holding the audiobook is huge! I feel bad for anyone who tries to sit in my passenger seat for the next month or so. I’m really glad to be finishing this one.
Two days of lunch-reading The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge as given me moderate progress. I wasn’t expecting the narration to change between shipmates and I can’t decide if I like it yet.
I’m enjoying  South of Broad by Pat Conroy a lot. It’s making me look forward to my runs, actually. The narrator is excellent which really helps.
While I waited for my ILL to come in, I picked up another ‘available at the library’ book off my list, which is The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time because of the images of the 1920s and its unusual format.

onceuponRecently finished: I finished Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell on Friday. The ending was a bit of a let down after the amazing book but it was still enjoyable. I’m thinking of reading more by this author because I enjoyed the main character, Margo, so much.

Only one book review since last week which is Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. I really enjoyed Maass’s book and I thought his suggestions were great because they can apply to so many different genres. I’m still planning on going through the workbook one of these days. I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars.

Hanging OutReading Next: I have a loan request out for States of Confusion by Paul Jury but I’m not sure how long that will take to come in. If I finish Frankie Pratt before the end of the year, I’ll pick up Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling from my shelf. If I finish after the new year, I’ll start my customary ‘book in Spanish’ for the year which will be Misterio de la Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie, a Poirot mystery. It would be my first Christie book.


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, 21-December-2016

21 Dec

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.


southofbroadCurrently reading: I have good news about World Without End by Ken Follett. I lost my eaudio hold on it (sad face) BUT it turns out my library has an unabridged copy on CD! I swear when I looked before it was only an abridged copy but I asked and was pointed to an unabridged version. I’ll continue with it on CD but it will take a bit longer to finish this way.
Minimal progress on The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge, mostly during my lunch breaks once or twice per week. The good thing is that this is a shorter book so it won’t take long to finish it even at my slow pace.
I’m still in love with Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell and I wanted to have it finished before now. I’m hoping I won’t drag it out longer than next week.
I needed a new eaudiobook so I started  South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Despite its length, it seems short compared to World Without End because it’s half the length!

Recently finished: Nothing finished this week. (Insert sad face here.)

However, I got a few reviews up. The first was for The Tempest by William Shakespeare which I posted on Monday. I think I need to see the play live to really appreciate and understand it. The audiobook was a little much to follow. 3 out of 5 Stars.
The second was Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove which I posted yesterday. The book felt very dated to me and it was hard to think how Grove’s advice would apply to me. 2 out of 5 Stars.

statesofconfusionReading Next: Gosh, I really don’t know. I guess it’s time to turn to another library book which would leave me with States of Confusion by Paul Jury. I saw a funny video Jury made about his travels that got me interested in this book. It requires an interlibrary loan so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it comes in. If it takes some time, I’m sure I can grab something off my shelf to fill the time.


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, 14-December-2016

14 Dec

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.


onceuponCurrently reading: A lot of my progress with World Without End by Ken Follett came to a halt while I was on vacation. There wasn’t a good time to listen to the audiobook between enjoying the weather and hanging out with my traveling companion. I lose the hold tomorrow and I’m afraid it’s going to be another small eternity until I get it bad. Sad face.
I didn’t make much progress The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge. Her books are easy to get back to so I’m looking forward to it when I find the time.
I am devouring Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. I’m completely in love with Margo and her terrible life that she’s managing to not only survive but thrive in. I can’t wait to keep reading this one!

breakoutRecently finished: I finished Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass the morning I left Phoenix and I enjoyed it a lot. I got some great ideas for things to change in my book. I’ll be starting on the workbook as soon as I get those changes incorporated into the story and I’m excited to get it out to beta readers!

And reviews! This tidal wave will keep coming, I promise. First was Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler which I really enjoyed. It had the flapper view of Zelda I missed in an earlier book. 4/5 Stars
The second was In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, a long-awaited one for those who have been with WWW for some time. It was worth the wait and, as it happens, I ran into a man at the airport on Sunday who was reading it! He had wonderful things to say about the book as well. 4/5 Stars.
Finally, The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. This book was not my favorite but I’m still determined to read another of Ferrante’s books that’s on my shelf. 2/5 Stars

southofbroadReading Next: I have another book club selection on my shelf, South of Broad by Pat Conroy. This one is a chunkster so I’m hoping to get started on it with plenty of time to read it before the book club meets at the end of January.


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, 7-December-2016

7 Dec

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.


WithoutEndCurrently reading: I’m tearing through World Without End by Ken Follett. I’m hoping to finish it before it gets returned again and I’m listening every chance I get. I’m on track 20 out of 36 so wish me luck!
I got through only a few pages of The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge. The ship is just about to leave so I’m expecting the action to ramp up very soon!
I’m loving Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. I’m been taking notes on its pages and writing notes to myself on index cards after I’ve thought about something Maass brings up. It’s given me a lot of ideas for improving my book and I’m excited to implement them!

Recently finished: Nothing this week but I started putting up reviews again! Go check out my review for The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham. I wrote it a few weeks ago but was holding off posting it until NaNo was over. Many more reviews to come in the next few weeks!

onceuponReading Next: I’m still planning on Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. I haven’t picked it up from the library yet but I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow and I better grab it to bring with me and read on the plane! I can’t go anywhere without a book. Check out Instagram to see my vacation pictures!


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-November-2016

30 Nov

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.


breakoutCurrently reading: I got World Without End by Ken Follett back! I started listening to it on Friday during my run and I’m beyond excited to keep listening. I hope to finish it this time, but there’s a lot going on between now and when it returns again.
I’ve only read a bit of The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge. Again, as an ebook, I don’t tend to read these quickly. It helps that I own this one and won’t have to continue to check it out every three weeks!
I picked up Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass on Sunday and I plan to start applying it to my novel-in-progress in December and January. I’m not sure how much of it will be fun to apply and how much of it will frustrate me and make me want to pull my hair out, haha.

paranoidRecently finished: I finished Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove Sunday morning. It wasn’t as informative as I’d hoped it would be. The advice applies better to senior level managers and since I’m only at the entry-level point of my career, I’m not sure how much of it I’ll use and I’ll likely forget the important parts when I would be ready to use it. Oh well.
I finished The Tempest by William Shakespeare on Friday before I started back up with Follett. It was hard to follow while running, which is the first time I’ve said that. Usually I have no trouble but I found I needed to picture the actors moving across a stage and it was hard for  me to do that and not run off the side of the road.

onceuponReading Next: It’s likely going to be Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, my book club’s January pick. I have another book club book coming up soon so I better start in on these and make sure I get them both done in time!


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-November-2016

23 Nov

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.


birthdayboysCurrently reading: I’m so anxious to get World Without End by Ken Follett. All my audiobooks are about to wrap up and it would be the perfect time to jump back into it full-force. Soon enough…
I’m still making only minor progress with Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. It’s slow reading and a lot of it is about the computer industry which is outside what I know. Also, the book is really dated sometimes, asking if the Internet is going to be a big thing for companies to adapt to. Ha!
I was given a copy of The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge a few weeks ago and finally started in on the ebook. It’s exactly what I suspected so far, which is a good thing! I’m a fan of Bainbridge’s style so I’m looking forward to this one.
I also started listening to The Tempest by William Shakespeare. My husband has read almost all of the Bard’s works and of the ones written in the 1600s that I haven’t read, he recommended this one. It’s quite short so I should be done soon!

BeastsRecently finished: SO MUCH PROGRESS! I, unexpectedly, finished In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson on Thursday. I was only at 79% but it turns out the rest of the book was notes and references! That was a pleasant surprise. It was a good read and I almost wish Dodd had been in Germany a bit longer, but I can’t change history.
I also finished Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler on Thursday. It was a bit more abrupt than I was expecting but it was appropriate. The part of Zelda’s life when she was in treatment was glossed over a lot so it sped to the end quickly. Still, the book was really enjoyable.
I’ll have a lot of book reviews to write at the beginning of December because I also finished The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. I didn’t enjoy this one much, to be honest. I’m a bit nervous about reading another Ferrante novel but I’ve got one on my shelf so I’ll get to it eventually.

breakoutReading Next: There are a few options. I’d like to start working with Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass as part of NaNoWriMo. I should get through this re-read of my novel and be able to start on some serious editing with the book before the end of the month.
The other option is Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, my book club’s January selection. For that club, January will be my last meeting before I have to miss three months due to class. (I’ve already cried over this.) I might delay starting it a bit so it’s fresh in my mind for the meeting.


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!