Tag Archives: Elena Ferrante

Book Review: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (4/5)

5 Mar

A good friend gave me this book for Christmas too many years ago. It’s languished on my shelf even as I heard amazing things about Ferrante and enjoyed a shorter of her novels. I finally had time to grab the audiobook and listen to the story. While I didn’t think it was as mind-blowing as some seem to, I did enjoy this book. As a side note, I have no author image here because Ferrante is anonymous.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein

Other books by Elena Ferrante reviewed on this blog:

The Lost Daughter (and Book Club Reflection)

Summary from Goodreads:

Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its protagonists, the fiery and unforgettable Lila, and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflictual friendship. Book one in the series follows Lila and Elena from their first fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence.

Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists.

This felt like a period piece to me and that kept me from connecting to it. It was so clearly set in the 1950s and the experiences Elena and Lila had were so specific to that time. It lost some of its universality to me because of this. Getting married at 16 to a man in his late 20s and having to apply to go to middle school were such central tenants of this book and so in contrast to my life. The friendship Elena and Lila shared, at its core, is universal, but I felt that was lost and it kept me from a perfect 5 rating. I’ve had many friendships similar to the girls. There’s always some level of competition and comparison between two people as close as these girls. It was very real to me and the balance of power in this relationship is well set up.

Some of the characters were hard for me to connect with because of cultural difference between modern America and 1950s Italy. The relationships between the male and female friends were complicated. The way Elena felt about her parents, especially her mother, was very strange to me. While each character felt real, I struggled to keep all of the friends and neighbors straight and many of them feel flat because I couldn’t remember their small details.

Elena was my favorite character. Not just because she was the narrator, but because I felt she was most like me. I loved school and I felt awkward and ugly in my body going through puberty. I think that’s somewhat universal. I felt out-of-place around the ‘popular’ kids, the rich kids in this story. I’ll admit there were times I felt superior when I did well on assignments and other times I felt like a failure for my lack of a relationship in social situations. The back and forth Elena felt reminded me of myself in middle school and high school.

What made the relationship between the girls so good was that you could understand why Lila acted the way she did. Elena had such a fundamental understanding of her friend that she was able to break down her reactions and actions and see how she’d affected Lila. The creation of the shoes was very emotional for Lila. Though we never hear her say it, her actions and the way Elena understands them, show her passion. It’s even how the book ends! (Not a spoiler, I promise.)

I enjoyed Elena’s time Barano. She came into her own during this time, physically and mentally. Having to be her own person outside of Lila’s shadow was hard for her, but she figured it out. She found a way to be happy that didn’t involve school or Lila. I think that independence is what gave her the confidence to have Antonio as a secret boyfriend and further gave her the social confidence she didn’t have before going to Barano.

There wasn’t a part of the book I would have cut. In the end, all the little stories and bits that seemed unimportant were needed. They developed the characters and the relationships that culminated in the wedding and without them, it would have been impossible to understand all the nuances of what happened to the friends that day.

My audiobook was narrated by Hillary Huber. I’m not sure if it could have been helped, but there were times her pronunciation of the Italian words confused me. I think this should be credited to me not speaking Italian more than Huber’s reading. She had a very airy tone to her reading that made the book feel like a memory. Because of how the book starts, it’s clear that it is but 12 hours of dreams can get old fast. This makes it sound like I didn’t like Huber’s narration which I really did, promise!

Female friendships can be some of the most complicated webs between two people. My husband is frequently amazed at how I interact with my female friends. Ferrante gives them all the detail, dirt, and tears they deserve in this book. Elena and Lila, while competitive, catty, and at times rude, love each other. Their families do not understand them at the level they understand one another and their husband and future husband will never share the same love the two women do. I’m honestly jealous of Elena and Lila. I’m still waiting for my lifelong female friend.

Writer’s Takeaway: A book does not need to focus on a dramatic incident or life-changing event to be impactful and memorable. This book is a great example. It can focus on two people or one relationship. Many other books with this focus concentrate on it’s coming together or falling apart but Ferrante did an amazing job of emphasizing the drama in daily interaction and I commend her on that.

I liked this book but didn’t fully connect with it. 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:
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante | booksaremyfavouriteandbest
‘My Brilliant Friend’ by Elena Ferrante (Review) | Tony’s Reading List
My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante | From Isi
Meet My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante | Second Chances

Advertisements

WWW Wednesday, 21-February-2018

21 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.


Currently reading: Unfortunately, I’ve had to put Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte by J.K. Rowling on hold for a short while for a book club selection. I’m hoping I fly through it and can get back to this soon!
I have the saddest news. I lost the hold on The Circle by Dave Eggers! I went to read it at lunch yesterday and it had returned and when I went to check it out again, I couldn’t! I’m so sad that I’ll have to wait to get back to this story.
FINALLY! I’ve just started Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire this week! It’s great to get on to a new audiobook. I’m still getting into it so not much to report here. Trying to remember the first book is taking a lot of my concentration now, haha.
I also started Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. I remember Taylor and Turtle better than I thought I would. It’s  the side characters I don’t remember well but I’m sure I’ll pick it up quickly.
I started a book club selection as well, X by Ilyasah Shabazz. This is a fictionalized account of the story of Malcolm X as written by his third daughter. Shabazz will be speaking in my area later this year (or maybe early next year) so look for quite a few more posts about this book going forward!
Because I lost the hold on The Circle, I started another ebook. This time I picked The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. Yes, I realize that means I have six books going right now! This is a lot for me and I’m feeling more than a bit overwhelmed but I will press on!

Recently finished: I finished a book! I’m so excited to be able to say that after a long time of nothing making its way to this list. I wrapped up A Widow for One Year by John Irving. I adore Irving and this book was ‘classic Irving’ and it was great to read something of his. The last Irving book I read was very different from his normal style and topics so it feels like returning to an old friend.
I wrapped up My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante yesterday during my run. Woo! It ended a bit abruptly and I’m unsure if I want to keep reading the series and find out more about what happens to these characters. Let’s call it TBD at the moment.

No reviews this week! I’ll have ones for Irving and Ferrante soon.

Reading Next: I’m going to say I have no plans. I really hope to finish some of my six going on right now before I start worrying about what comes next. I think I have too much on my plate already, haha.


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-February-2018

14 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.


Currently reading: You’ll notice a pattern in this post. It’s exactly the same as last week. Yep. I’m really close to finishing A Widow for One Year by John Irving and I’m banking on finishing it by next week. I feel like there’s a lot of action still to go, but the disk count shows that I’m close to the end so we’ll see how Irving wraps this one up.
I’m almost halfway through Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte by J.K. Rowling which I see as a big accomplishment. I did a lot of reading on a snowy day that kept me indoors all day and got through about 50 pages in one day! And I didn’t have to take a nap afterward!
I’m almost halfway through My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. The weather has made it hard to get out for my long runs which is where I make great progress on this one. Maybe the book fairies will give us a break in the weather so I can listen more? Or maybe we’ll get another 11 inches, who knows?
I’m barely making progress in The Circle by Dave Eggers. It’s going to be a long haul on this one. That’s nothing against Eggers or his book, just the nature of my ebook reading that keeps it slow and plodding. This will slowly make its way to the top of this paragraph as it sits on my ‘Currently Reading’ shelf for ages.

Recently finished: Sadly, nothing again. I don’t even have any reviews to report on. It’s just been that kind of week.

Reading Next: I’ll be getting Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire from the library this week so I can start it right away. I hope I remember enough from the first book to dive into this one without too many problems!
I also plan on starting Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver when I finish Ferrante’s book. I read the first book in this duology a few years back but I remember it pretty well. I adored that the small girl was named Turtle! I’m excited to hear more about her.


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-February-2018

7 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.


Currently reading: I feel like I can say I made good progress with A Widow for One Year by John Irving. I didn’t drive as much this week as I did the week before but I had one or two longer trips where I got through a disk. I hope to finish this up in the next two weeks, I’ve really liked it!
Progress has slowed a bit on Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte by J.K. Rowling. School is starting up and that’s meaning a lot of nights where I’m too tired to read before bed! It’s a sad situation for me, but a reality some times. I’ll keep pressing forward as I always want to finish one book in Spanish each year and I’m committed now that I’m over 200 pages in.
I’ve gotten through about a third of My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. It’s slow-moving but it has a lot to say about human nature that I’m enjoying. The characters are so realistic that I can almost re-name them to be friends from my childhood!
I haven’t made much headway in The Circle by Dave Eggers. Lunch at work has been cut short a lot so I’ve only gotten through a few pages each day. I think I’m (embarrassingly) still on chapter 1!

Recently finished: No surprise that I didn’t finish anything this week. I’m not sure I’ll have anything here next week either. I did manage to write a review of The Color Purple that went up on Monday so please check that out! I’ll be posting my book-to-film review tomorrow so get ready for that!

Reading Next: My plan is still to read Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire after I finish Irving. I’ll need a refresher on what happened in Wicked before I do. I remember the book and the musical being very different, but not much more than that.


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, 31-January-2018

31 Jan

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 was able to make some good progress on A Widow for One Year by John Irving. I had a lot of meetings to drive to last week so I got through three disks! I’m still just over halfway through this book but I’m feeling good about finishing it before the library makes me bring it in to prove I didn’t lose it.
I made steady progress in Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte by J.K. Rowling. I’ve been training hard and some nights I go to bed without reading so I know I could have read more, but I’m still happy with what I’ve gotten through.
Sad news that the audiobook I have access to for The Poe Shadow was abridged! I decided to pass it up in favor of the full novel sometime in the future. Instead, I started listening to My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. A very good friend of mine said a literature professor she had during her MFA said this was her favorite novel of all time and I’ve had it on my shelf for years. I’m glad I’m finally getting to it.
I needed a new ebook and the next on my list is one I’m very excited about: The Circle by Dave Eggers! I really wanted to read this one a while ago and never got around to it. I’ve just started but I’m very excited.

Recently finished: No surprise that I finished The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. It was a quick audiobook though I wish I’d had a different narrator for my experience. I posted my review yesterday if you want to read all my thoughts. I gave it 4 out of 5 Stars.
I also finished The Color Purple by Alice Walker which was a pleasant surprise. I was also glad to have a happy(er) ending. I should have my review of that up tomorrow and a movie review up next week. I love when there’s a movie!

I posted my review on How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie on Monday if you want to check that one out. I gave it 3 out of 5 Stars.

Reading Next: I’ll be out-of-town for my next book club meeting so I don’t have any pressure there to put aside Harry for another book. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ll need a CD Audiobook next and I’ll turn to Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire. I read Wicked when I was in high school and I’ll have to find a refresher on what happened so I can continue with the next book in the series!


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 Club Reflection: The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante

22 Dec

I’m not alone in my dislike of the characters in this novel but it seems a lot of my fellow readers didn’t dislike the whole book because of it. I was surprised at the mixed reactions of our group when we got together to discuss The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. We wanted to read this one because Time Magazine lists Ferrante as one of the most influential people. She’s also called the ‘best known least known’ writer in Italy. Despite her popularity, no one knows who she is, only that she lives in Naples. She’s credited with linking the old Italian writing style with a new style. I’m going to have to give her writing another try.

One of the women who attended our group was a guest to us. She’s active in other groups in the area but hadn’t been to one of our meetings before. She decided to come because she lived in Italy for a part of her childhood before moving to the US and had wanted to read one of Ferrante’s books. She read a few more after this one before our group met and loved them all. She said she wanted to know what American-born readers thought. Listening to her talk about her experience with the book made me like it more, to be honest. There was a lot about modern Italian culture that I didn’t pick up on because I’ve never lived there. We couldn’t picture the people and setting very well because it wasn’t something familiar to those of us who didn’t grow up in Italy. We didn’t understand the class and regional differences in the writing. Leda was brutally honest, but the focus of her wrath was not always very apparent to us.

Part of what I didn’t like about the book was that Leda was so selfish and unlikable. Yes, she was honest, but to most of us, that could only go so far. She seemed damaged by her own childhood with a mother who continually threatened to leave her. Leda had the nerve to do what her mom always talked about and actually left. We found it odd that she made a point of being meticulous in her pregnancy (page 122) but once her daughters were born, seemed to neglect them. It was hard to read (listen) to her talk about not comforting her children when they cried. She wanted people to like her and understand why she did what she did, which was hard to do. She wanted Gino to like her and think she was right and she grew so mad when he didn’t agree. It was like when she flirted with her daughter’s boyfriends and was mad when they didn’t return her affection. She was so selfish.

The doll said a lot about Leda. She wanted to be the hero to the Neapolitans on the beach, the lower class people who Leda thought should look up to someone educated like herself. She seemed jealous of Elena and Nina. They were close like her family never was and was likely to never be again. She wanted to make them suffer, to be as unhappy as she was. Once she had the doll, she kept trying to fix it, to make it pretty, but what was inside it was so dark and dirty, coming out over and over unendingly. We felt she inserted herself into their story so she could be a part of it just to feel important.

There was something I caught that some didn’t so I wanted to see if anyone else caught it. Nina’s family was part of the Camorra, the Italian mafia based in Naples. It’s implied when Gino talks about them being bad people. Did anyone else catch that? Only some of our group did.

A few people pointed out that if you reread the first few pages after finishing the book, you can see that the whole thing is told in flashback after Leda gets into a car accident. She has a pain in her side and wakes up in a hospital seeing her family around her. The pain is a reference to her stab wound but we couldn’t decide if we thought her family had come from Canada to see her or if she was hallucinating. My vote was for hallucinating. Thoughts?

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

Book Review: The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante (2/5)

13 Dec

After reading that Elena Ferrante was named one of the Most Influential People by TIME Magazine, we wanted to read one of her books. The library chose The Lost Daughter for us. I have another of Ferrante’s books on my shelf that I’ve been putting off and I was excited to get this quick preview of the book.

Cover Image via Goodreads

Cover Image via Goodreads

The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante
Translated by Ann Goldstein

Summary from Goodreads:

Leda, a middle-aged divorce, is alone for the first time in years when her daughters leave home to live with their father. Her initial, unexpected sense of liberty turns to ferocious introspection following a seemingly trivial occurrence.

A short summary for a short book. The book was only 125 pages but the audiobook I listened to was still 4:57! I was not a fan of this book. I thought Leda was whiny and I didn’t like the constant flashbacks and the way she described the Neapolitans she met. A big part of that might have been how little I know about Italian culture (this will be covered in my upcoming Book Club Reflection). Leda was so unlikable that I couldn’t enjoy the book. I wanted her to be unhappy and she was but rather than feel vindicated, I wanted her to shut up and go away. It was a really frustrating experience for me.

As much as I hated Leda, I admit she was believable. There are people who will leave their children because they can’t handle being a mother and there are mothers who scream at their children over seemingly trivial things. There are adulterers and there are people who are flat-out rude. That doesn’t mean I like these people. I hated Leda and I honestly liked when she was hurt in the end. I’m not sure I would want to write a protagonist that was so unlikeable and I’m not sure I’d want to be the person who related to her, but she was believable.

Nina was my favorite character. Except that she was cheating, I didn’t like that. I thought she was believable, a woman who was pretty from far away but was seen as ugly up close. That was realistic to me. I thought she was a good mother to Elena and she was easy to like. I felt bad for her because her in-laws seemed so terrible and crass. I understood why she was in the situation she was in, but that didn’t make it easier to read about.

As much as I don’t want to say this, there were some parts of Leda I could relate to. I hope I’m not the only one who will admit to this, but I judge people in my head. Maybe not as harshly as Leda seemed to but I will make some snap judgments about people based on how they look, are dressed, or speak. I know this sounds terrible so let me give you an example. I was on the running trail with my husband yesterday and I saw a guy in some nice running shoes out by himself. My initial thought was, “You do this to get an hour to yourself on the weekends while your wife watches the kids.” If that’s true, I’ll never know, but that’s my judgment. I can’t be alone in this, right? (Please comment and tell me I’m not a terrible person.)

I liked the ending so this is going to be a spoiler. Skip to the end of the paragraph to avoid it! I was glad Nina was so mad at Leda for taking the doll. She should have been even angrier! Elena is miserable because she lost her doll and to think that Leda had it all along and could have given it back was maddening. I’m glad she got stabbed, too. It wasn’t a bad stabbing but she deserved to suffer for what she did. Yes, this is partially my dislike for Leda but also I’m glad Nina did what she did! I’m glad she didn’t use Leda’s apartment for her affair, too. She seemed inclined to cheat to get away from her crying daughter and enjoy herself for a few hours and if Elena would be happy with her doll returned and the apartment would keep Nina from enjoying herself because it reminded her of Leda, all the better.

I hated the flashbacks to when Leda left her kids. Even if Marta and Bianca were brats (and there’s nothing to indicate they were any worse than normal children), Leda was terrible to them and the things she thought about them were even worse. As someone contemplating having children, this was a terrible book to read because now I’m afraid I’d be as angry and bitter as Leda toward my children!

The audiobook I listened to was read by Hillary Huber. Huber had a good voice for Leda and conveyed all of her anger and bitterness well. My complaint is that she read it too slowly. A 125 page book should not be a 5 hour audiobook, it just shouldn’t. For me, it was too much and took away from my enjoyment of the book. I wanted to move on to something else!

I believe Leda is the lost daughter referred to in the title. She talked a lot about her mother and upbringing and how much she disliked her mother and was always being told her mother would leave her if she misbehaved. When she was old enough, Leda left home and turned her back on her Neapolitan family and background. In the book, she’s very rude to the Neapolitan family and thinks she’s better than them. She’s distanced herself from her past in a very major way.

Writer’s Takeaway: Not every character a writer writes will be likable. Hopefully, it’s not the main character as Ferrante did in this book. I think Leda is a good study of how to make a character unlikable but I don’t think it’s a good example to make the unlikable person the protagonist.

I really did not enjoy this book. Two 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 Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante | booksaremyfavoriteandbest
The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante | Consumed by Ink
Rejoice, Ferrante Fans! A New (Children’s) Novel Is On Its Way | FlavorWire

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!

WWW Wednesday, 16-November-2016

16 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.


paranoidCurrently reading: I got through just a little with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I have a bit of time at my new doctors to read a few pages before he’ll come into the exam room. It’s something right?
Still no World Without End by Ken Follett. I’m about in a perfect spot for it. Maybe the book genies are waiting for me?
I’m getting close with Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. I’m starting to see how this book and Zelda in her 20s can lead into the Zelda I read about in Call Me Zelda when she’s older. It’s fun to have read them in this order but maybe chronologically would have been better.
Since The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante is so short, I’m almost done with it. I might have finished it by the time you read this! I’m not a huge fan so far. I hope the ending can bring everything together for me.
It’s been slow with Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. Business books are never too engrossing but it’s mostly been that I’m so tired when I finally get to bed! I’ll try to buckle down and get some of it read but no promises.

Recently finished: Nothing! I’m falling back into the “tons or none” phase of reading. I need to stop starting so many books at the same time, haha.

Reading Next: My book club will be announcing our next pick soon so that will be the next one I pick up. Maybe I’ll squeeze in a Shakespeare before then? Depends on how soon I find out!


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, 9-November-2016

9 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.


lostdaughterCurrently reading: Nothing with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I got it renewed again but I’m not sure I’ll find the time to devote to it. I know, it’s sad. I’m enjoying the book, too! I think I’m not too far from the end.
I’m so certain I’ll get World Without End by Ken Follett soon. I’m next in line for the hold and I’ll dedicate my time to the book 100% when I get it.
I’ve enjoyed Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald so far. The narration is great but I’m starting to feel really bad for Zelda! I want better things to happen to her but having read more about the end of her life, I know it’s not all rosy.
I began The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante on Friday and I’m already making substantial progress on it. The file is just under 5 hours long so I’m expecting to finish this one soon. Which will leave me time for Follett as soon as it comes back!
I started reading Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. This is a book my old boss recommended and said it was very influential to him so I’ve wanted to read it forever. Finally going to get to it!

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Recently finishedStiff by Mary Roach was really fun. I finished it early Thursday morning while I was running and was thinking about it most of the rest of the day. My review of it went out yesterday so please go check that out. I gave it a full 5 out of 5 stars.
I finished The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham on Friday so WOOO for finishing books! It was a better week than I expected. My review will be up around December 1st as I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo and will not be posting (besides WWW Wednesday, of course) until December. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Reading Next: I’m thinking of reading a Shakespeare to finish up the When Are You Reading? Challenge but haven’t decided on one yet. Can anyone recommend one that’s specifically set in the 1600s? If not, I’ll pick any because they were written in the time period. Close enough!


I have MY FINAL TODAY (!!!!) so please be patient with me due to delayed responses.

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!