Tag Archives: Eleanor & Park

WWW Wednesday, 4-March-2015

4 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading, and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. 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?


Currently reading:  I’m still working on my resolution to read a book in Spanish and I’ve picked La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. No movement on it this week but I keep seeing it on my bed-side table and thinking I need to get back to it.
Left BehindI’m working on my new eBook, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. This past week was really busy and I slowed down my reading in general and didn’t get to a lot of this one, unfortunately. I hope it takes a turn soon because the action seems to have slowed.
I’m reading a physical copy of The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan. It’s really great so far and I’m enjoying the story a lot. There’s nothing better than well-written historical narratives to me. They make me feel well-informed and happy at the same time.
I started a new audiobook to bide my time until my library hold comes in. My mom recommended Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell to me a while ago. She said it reminded of of Ken Follett and that got me to pick it up right away.

Recently finished: We finally finished The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway! It’s been a long journey but after a lot of driving this weekend, we finished it off. I’m glad we did and I’m hoping I remember the beginning well enough to write my review!
Ptolemy GreyI finished the audio for The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley on Friday. The story started out a little hard to read for me but by the end I was really enjoying the story. I’m glad I read this one. Review coming soon.
On Monday night, I spent an hour or so going through The (Forgotten) Rules of Expectations written by my good friend, Nicole M. Jacob. This is a great little collection of poetry and if you’re a fan, I recommend this read.

Only one review written last week, but it seems to have been a really popular one; Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I adored the book and it seems a lot of you did, too!

Reading Next: I’m still waiting to read The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. The woman who owns the copy went on vacation but just got back and gave our other member a copy. I’ll see how long until I get a hold of it.
Round HouseMy book club’s next selection is The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I have the audiobook on hold and I hope to start it soon!

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). 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: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (4/5)

26 Feb

A well written YA book is a breath of fresh air for me. I’ve read a lot of heavy adult fiction lately and having something light, conversational and a bit romantic is great to cleanse all the sadness. Eleanor & Park came at the perfect time for that and I flew through this wonderful story. Rowell is quickly becoming a favorite author.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Summary from Goodreads:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

How does Rowell write characters that are so much like me and every other person who reads her books? Honestly, I see myself in Eleanor and Park and I know I’m not the only one saying that. We’re all a bit red-headed misfit and half-Korean punk. I kept reading as fast as I could to see if the characters would have the ending I thought they deserved. In some ways I was happy with it, but in other ways I was disappointed. (SPOILERS FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH) I wanted more from the ending, but that’s not how Rowell writes. I know what I’m supposed to think the three words were, “I love you.” By I’m a cynic. What if they were “Forget about me?” Do we really know? I wanted something more conclusive.

Of her books, I think Attachments had the most conclusive ending and Fangirl had the most vague. This sat in the middle but on the Fangirl end of the spectrum.

I love Rowell’s characters. Almost as much as I love John Green’s. Well, maybe more. I think Rowell taps into that book-nerd past many readers share and makes you remember the beauty of it. I loved that they read Alan Moore comics together. I liked that they listened to U2. It was cool and nerdy all at once.

I liked Park best. Eleanor was too much like me in some ways. It’s the parts of me I didn’t like: over-analytical, concerned about appearance, quick to anger. But Park was cool, some things I wanted to be: bold, independent, strong. They were both likable but if I had to pick one, the choice is easy. Plus, who didn’t want an eyeliner-wearing comic-dork ninja for a boyfriend at 16? I know I did.

Eleanor’s social situation reminded me of grade school. Luckily, I couldn’t relate to her home life, but dreading gym class, being friends with people because they were nice to you, being shunned by the ‘cool’ kids and dressing in cheap clothes reminded me of myself. I never wanted to ‘fit in’ and do the ‘cool’ things, much like Eleanor. I had my friends and we were happy. It was cool to see a character who was the same way.

Rainbow Rowell Image via the author's website

Rainbow Rowell
Image via the author’s website

I loved the date that Eleanor and Park went on together. It was so reminiscent of dating in high school, the freedom of a drivers’ license. I liked Eleanor exploring a city she lived in for the first time and how much Park wanted to show it to her. She was finally awarded some level of freedom and the ability to enjoy the world around her. It was really beautiful.

It was hard to read about Eleanor feeling accepted by Park’s family because I’ve had similar problems. My in-laws express their affection in very different ways than my parents always have and even after five years of being around them, I still don’t think they like me and have trouble figuring out if they’re upset. It hit really close to home to see Eleanor struggle with this and I understood what she was feeling very intensely. I think going into someone else’s home for the first time is uncomfortable no matter the circumstances. We all expect the world around us to work the same way but within our personal sanctuaries, we have rules. For example, we are a lid-closed toilet household. If I go somewhere and the lid is up (we won’t even go to the seat being up), I get really uncomfortable. They’ve broken my rule but it’s their house. This is how I saw Eleanor feeling in Park’s house.

I listened to the Listening Library edition of this book narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra for Eleanor and Park respectfully. I think Lowman did an amazing job and I adored her parts of the story. She gave Eleanor a strong voice and didn’t make Park sound too feminine. Malhotra did a good job, but there were some parts of his narration I wasn’t a big fan of. His voice for Eleanor was really squeaky and annoying and I didn’t think it fit her character. His female characters in general feel a bit flat to me, except for Park’s mom. I think he did a great job of bringing her to life.

As someone who met her husband at age 14, it’s hard for me to ignore the message of this book. You can fall in love at 16. You can fall in love any time. As much as you try to run away from it, it can chase you even if you’re in Minnesota. I thought the way they talked to each other was very real and I liked the slow development of the relationship. They were scared of what they felt for each other, like Romeo and Juliet. (Yes, I caught the parallelism. It was awesome.) Society shouldn’t dismiss people who get married young or who marry their high school sweethearts as naive or stupid. We can meet people when we’re young who we want to keep with us forever and that should be embraced.

Writer’s Takeaway: I adored the narrators and their distinct ways of thinking. I also think Rowell did a great job of bouncing back and forth between the two to keep the story flowing. I liked the short little parts about what the two were thinking while they were together, that was adorable. Great way to pace the book.

Overall really enjoyable and well-developed characters. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1980-1999 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

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:
Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | prettybooks
Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell |Pages and Tea
A Chat with Rainbow Rowell about Love and Censorship | The Toast

WWW Wednesday, 18-February-2015

18 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading, and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. 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?

Sun Also RisesCurrently reading:  No movement on The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. We had house guests this weekend so the hubby and I didn’t have much lone driving time. I’m antsy to finish this so I hope to soon. I think we only have one disk left!
One of my resolutions this year was to read a book in Spanish and I’ve picked La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I might have read five pages, so slow-going is an understatement here. It’s a good story, I just don’t have the time to really devote to the book and get through it.
I’m working on my new eBook, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. I’ve read four chapters so it’s slow, but the book’s keeping my interest well. I’ll be interested to see how the movie adaptation is because this one is quite religious and I’m not sure they’d keep that for a mass-release movie but I hope they kept to the book.
My book club book for March is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. I’ve read two Eggers books before and loved both of them. I really like this one so far and I’m reading it faster than expected. I’ve heard that there’s some controversy about the main subject, but I’m avoiding it until I finish the book and can form my own opinions.
My new audiobook is The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley. The book is mostly written from the point of view of a man with dementia so it’s a bit hard to follow at times but it’s really interesting to follow his train of thought. I’ll have to see how I feel when I get farther into this one.

EleanorRecently finished:I finished Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell on audio. I LOVED IT but had a problem with the ending (typical Rowell reaction from me). I’ll go over it in my review so look forward to that one.

I’ve published two reviews, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, which was Read Along #3. Look for Read-Along #4, probably in March or April!

Atomic CityReading Next:  On Monday I’ll get my next book club selection, The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan. We usually do one non-fiction every six months and this one looks like a great choice!

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). 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, 11-February-2015

11 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading, and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. 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?

Currently reading:  No movement on The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. It’s hard being so close to the end but not moving forward. I hope I can keep pushing this one soon.
One of my resolutions this year was to read a book in Spanish and I’ve picked La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I was able to get through a bit this week, but nothing to be proud of. This one will be here for a while.
I started a new audiobook that I’m really enjoying, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I read another of Rowell’s books at the end of last year and really enjoyed it. She has such a natural flow with characters and this is no exception. I’m really liking it.
I got a new eBook, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. This one is slow so far and that’s how I usually am with eBooks so no surprise. I saw that this was made into a Nick Cage movie recently so I’ll have to compare the two once I finish it.

Recently finished: The snowfall of finished books continues! I finished the audiobook of The Diviners by Libba Bray last Wednesday. I almost changed my post but decided to keep it for this week. Woo hoo!
Thursday night I finished The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera for Read Along #3. My post will probably go up next week to finish off the discussion. I’ll be starting up another Read Along soon so stay tuned for that! I’d love to have you all join in.
I finished Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat early this week. It was a lot faster of a read than I thought it would be and I enjoyed it a lot.

One review finished this week as well. You can read my review of California by Eden Lepucki but I’ll warn you, I wasn’t a fan.

Reading Next:  I’ll be going to my book club tonight and our next book is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. I’ve read two Eggers books before and really enjoyed them so I’m excited to start this one tonight!

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Spread the word, WWW Wednesday is back!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Recently Added to my To-Read Shelf

9 Oct

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

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

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