Tag Archives: Emily St. John Mandel

Meeting Emily St. John Mandel

23 May

If you’ve been here a while, you’ve seen a number of posts about Emily St. John Mandel’s book, Station Eleven. I’ve posted a book review and two book club reflections about her book because it was chosen as the 2015-2016 Great Michigan Read by the Michigan Humanities Council. The finale of the program is usually an author tour around the state and Mandel came to a city near my parents’ house two weeks ago so I had to go!

Me and Mandel

Me and Mandel

The obvious question when an author from western Canada living in New York chooses Michigan as a setting for her novel is “Why?” Mandel had visited Petoskey, Michigan on a book tour one time and fell in love with the area. She said that was her main reasoning, really. She also liked that as a peninsula, it had access to fresh water and a boundary around which the symphony could travel. When my mom was reading the book, she noticed a few lines about how things were more violent in the South. She asked Mandel why this might be. Mandel simply shrugged and said she figured there were more guns in the south. We thought so, too.

She was asked about a sequel which surprised me because I saw the book as very complete. The asker referenced the electricity at the end as the means for a sequel. She assured us this is a standalone and was making the point that the world will continue to change after the story ends. There is a future for these characters.

The symphony played a big part and Mandel was asked why she included them. She liked the idea of a symphony being improvised because of the odd mix of musicians that made it up. The idea was really fun to her and she ran with it.

Everyone wanted to know about the prophet and if she was trying to make a religious statement. Mandel included him because she sees in areas where there is not a strong societal structure, warlords are able to take control. Even though the US does not have a lot of strong religious figures now, she felt the collapse might lead to one. He’s an inevitable figure in a state of anarchy.

This book is a large deviation from what Mandel normally writes. She has written genre fiction before and wanted to do some more literary fiction, but with a strong plot. She didn’t want to be labeled a crime writer and decided to write something about the lives of actors so her first ideas were not post-apocalyptic. She thought about the things we take for granted; phones, planes, lights, the computer I’m using to type this. What would we do as a society if we lost those? We have become complacent to the technology around us, what would we do with solitude and quiet? These two ideas together helped craft the book.

Another popular question is why she chose Shakespeare. At first, she had the actors replaying episodes of Seinfeld or How I Met Your Mother, but it didn’t feel right. She realized that if something was preserved, it would be the best theater of the current world and that’s arguably not a sitcom. The parallels between Shakespeare and the Station Eleven characters is staggering and it played well into the plot the more Mandel looked into it.

Mandel talked about the weird Google rabbit holes she had to go down for this book. If you took a truck down to its frame, how much would it weigh? How many horses would be needed to pull that? She said a lot of the things she needed to know were hard to find and she spent a lot of time on survivalist discussion boards. She does not recommend doing this. A lot of the research went into pandemic research. She felt there were two ways to end the world, the other being a nuclear holocaust, which can be very political and she didn’t want to get into politics. But plagues have unknown or undiscovered origins. The Romans thought they had brought on a plague by sacking a shrine. We all have relatives who at some point in history survived a plague. How cool is that?

There are many reasons readers are drawn to stories of disaster. The one I’ve heard most is economic inequality, the idea that this world is unfair and if it were remade, we could remake ourselves based on our skills and not the hand we were dealt. The other idea is that it always seems like some current event is going to end the world. We all think we’re living at the end of the known world. Mandel’s point is that when the world does end, another one will begin. Yet another idea is that in our modern age, there is so little left that’s uncharted, so little to explore. We want a world that we don’t know or understand and apocalyptic stories satisfy that restlessness.

Miranda’s comic book was something Mandel wanted to say about art. She wanted a character who, like her, went to art school and found it was hard to become employable. That was her own story. As the plot evolved, the book started to tie the story together and it became a good way of reflecting the future world in the present story.

img_3006-1Before I had the chance to, someone else asked Mandel if she had advice for aspiring writers. Her first advice was to finish stuff. It’s so easy to start writing a book and when it gets hard, to put it aside and start something else that’s fun and new. Push through the problems, finish a story and see where it goes. She said to also actually write (I’m guilty of this), not just talk about writing but to actually write. She writes by hand (first time I’ve heard an author say this!) and she writes everywhere, even on trains while she’s out for the day. Five to ten pages is a good day. Mandel doesn’t have a high school diploma and wants people to know that publishing is not closed to them if they don’t have the MFA or creative writing degree that ads online tell us we need.

When Mandel was 26, she had the first draft of a novel and started searching for agents. She got a full request from one agent who later rejected the novel, but sent her a lot of ideas on how to change it. Mandel made those changes and, though it wasn’t requested, resent the manuscript to that agent. It was accepted. Two years and 35 publishers later, the book landed. Mandel recommended looking at the agents of books you love or books similar to yours. Let them know that’s why you’re querying them in your letter. Flattery almost always works.

I ran into my friend Chelsea in line and she was nice enough to take the picture of Mandel and I. I got my two books signed and they’re now safely on my shelf. I don’t have another author event on my calendar but I’m sure I’ll find something to go to soon.

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 Club Reflection: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

10 Mar

Because it was chosen as the 2015-2016 Great Michigan Read, both of my book clubs have read Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I think it’s a fun book to discuss and I really enjoyed hearing what this other group had to say about the story.

Though he dies in the opening paragraphs, Arthur seemed to be the central character of the book. Everything that happened revolved around him and many of the characters are brought together because of him. Most of the characters were a bit underdeveloped but for a dead man, Arthur makes a huge impression on the book and could be considered the main character. Jeevan is a well-defined character at the beginning of the book because of his interactions with Arthur and what happens the night Arthur dies. Unfortunately, he disappeared for a large chunk of the timeline and only makes a brief appearance at the end. The jumpy timeline was a little off-putting for some members of my group who would have preferred a chronological story.

Arthur wasn’t very likable. One reader suggested we didn’t like him because he was the only character we got to know. He’s described by his best friend as acting through life, even in his social life. He felt he was only ‘real’ when he was home, on the island he grew up on. He marries his first wife because they share that and she makes him feel ‘real.’ Toward the end of his life, he years for that reality and seems to be trying to share it with his son. Celebrity had been his dream for so long and he realized in the end that it was worthless and didn’t give him anything. Kind of like an iPhone after the collapse of civilization.

We had a long debate over the prophet. If you haven’t read the book, this paragraph will spoil the ending so skip on down to the next. We wondered when he became so radical. My school of thought is that his mother radicalized him before the collapse. She gave up celebrity and fame and moved to Jerusalem, the heart of three faiths. To me, this shows he might have had a very sheltered upbringing with Elizabeth and could point to him being inclined toward radicalization very young. Another argument is that he began developing his school of thought after the fall on his own. When he ran out of battery in his game, he picked up the Bible that his mother gave him and ended up preaching to a plane full of flu victims. He rationalized in his brain why he had survived and others had perished. The final thought was that Elizabeth had radicalized him after the fall by telling him he was special and chosen by God and that if she were still alive, she would be his strongest follower. I’m curious what any readers of this post think, please leave a comment below.

The book made us very aware of the things we take for granted. We’re not very many generations removed from people who lived with the technology of those after the collapse. However, we’ve lost the survival skills those ancestors 1000 years ago lived by. We know what conveniences we’d have to give up with a collapse which would be more emotionally trying than not knowing they ever existed. Though some people might claim they’d miss television or cars most, we thought running water, medication, and communication would be the hardest to live without.

The troop clung close to Shakespeare but we wondered if there was a reason. The message in the stories didn’t ring true with the life situations they were in so why was it so popular? I’m sure this is not the right forum for why Shakespeare has stayed relevant for 500 years so I’ll say only that there’s something about him that’s survived this long so it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think he would still be a favorite in twenty years. If they weren’t going to perform Shakespeare, we thought Greek tragedies would also be popular. And everyone loves a musical!

Our other long debate was about history. Should the survivors teach their children about the old world? Or is it better not to know? Those who remember are looking back on a horrible incident from their past, something that has scared them. They’ll likely view ‘before’ as a bad thing. However, having the knowledge of what has been discovered before has the potential to rocket the society through scientific discoveries faster than the original discovery took. Instead of learning how to make penicillin, we already know and only have to duplicate the process. Instead of learning the most efficient ways to make a product, we would already now. The society after the collapse had already advanced enough to have a class system where Clark didn’t have to work because he somehow achieved a class status where he didn’t have to do that. The symphony could survive without putting down roots. Everyone was headed back to what they’d had before.

Mandel will be in my area in May so I’ll be able to meet her and have my books signed then. I’m very excited to talk with her about how she started writing.

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!

Book Club Reflection: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

25 Jan

I’m excited to share my second post about Great Michigan Reads selection, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I’ve previously posted a book review you can read here. This was one of my top books of 2015 and if you haven’t picked it up yet, I really highly recommend it. You can follow along with the posts I have forthcoming (at least two more).

Emily St. John Mandel Image via Michigan Radio

Emily St. John Mandel
Image via Michigan Radio

Emily St. John Mandel was born in British Columbia and studied dance in school. I liked that the story focused a lot in her native country, Canada, and not in her current place of residence, the United States. She was homeschooled as a child and every day had to write a story or poem which helped fuel her love for writing. She currently lives in New York and in the opinion of my book club, she looks a lot like Anne Hathaway.

Jeevan had an interesting role in the book, being at the beginning and appearing throughout. Whatever his role was, he was anonymous or unknown to the characters he was interacting with. He was ‘the paramedic in the crowd,’ ‘the paparazzo,’ ‘the doctor.’ His brother and later his wife knew him well, but the main characters in the story were always removed from him, like he was there to help but never to participate fully.

By the end, he’d found his purpose and calling in the medical field. Finding a purpose was important in the story. Arthur never found his. He was always acting, even in front of his good friend, Clark, and his wives. He tried to be close with his son, but it never worked out. The symphony, on the other hand, had found their purpose in performance. For them, surviving wasn’t enough. They needed something else to keep them going, to help them feel connected to humanity. Art and performance was their purpose, something Arthur never seemed to find.

We had hoped Miranda would make it back to North America. She was describing the boats in the water that would have been isolated with no contact to the outside world and the virus. She could have been safe if she’d made it to those boats and sailed away. On the last pages, Clark mentions ships sailing out in search of other humans. We thought that would be Miranda. Kirsten is a lot like an heir to her because she has the comic books and the paper weights and it would have been really cool to have them know about each other.

The comic was an unusual way to tie the characters together and parallel the main plot at the same time. The comic characters want to return to what they knew before their world was destroyed which is the goal of many of the inhabitants of Year 20. With the two copies in the world, Tyler and Kirsten take them and interpret them completely differently. This isn’t so different from how religious works are interpreted in different ways by individuals or sects. Having them come together at the end and fight was a really cool way to see what determination and the passage of time did to Tyler to make him into the Prophet and how it helped keep Kirsten grounded.

The tagline ‘Survival is Insufficient’ permeated Kirsten and the novel. Books could have survived in libraries, but music would have been lost. No radio and no way to play recorded music erases all the history of music but having survival as a main priority almost completely wiped out the players. The symphony must have been one of a kind. The people who came to hear them probably hadn’t heard music in years besides what they could sing themselves.

One of our members lived in a small, remote town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a few years and she told us about groups performing opera, ballet, bluegrass and other mediums that would come to town and be attended by everyone in town. There wasn’t a lot to do for culture and arts so when the opportunity presented itself, the whole town grabbed it and took advantage of the time. The Traveling Symphony would have attracted crowds in much the same way for a long time. It’s similar to when traveling circuses would roll into town and attract crowds.

We questioned why Shakespeare was performed. Other than the tie-in Shakespeare has with the plague in Europe, they’re well-surviving plays that can be performed without technology. In Shakespeare’s time, there wasn’t lighting and special effects and sets like you’d see in 2016. They could be performed with simpler techniques which the magicians knew how to do. Plus, there would have been plenty of copies available at abandoned schools and libraries and people would be familiar with the topics. The culture had started to evolve to a point where some were ready to start creating their own art as demonstrated by the Clarinet writing her own play. Their way of life was stable enough to start making something of their own.

Would the remote societies of Mandel’s world have been as impacted? Would the small towns with limited access to major towns have been hit by the illness? How self-sustaining could they have been and could they still be there? Small island nations might not have been touched at all and indigenous people might not have noticed. We tend to think of society as those who are connected but there is still a large group of people who would have been less impacted and could still be living a similar to what they had before the flu.

The flu gave humanity to start the world over. We could have stopped the evil and violence that had become engrained in societal dynamics but it was still there. Good and evil would not go away, it’s something that we can’t wash out of human nature. There is a shame and a pride in the tattoos Kirsten has on her wrists. She doesn’t want to talk about those she’s killed, but she feels a need to recognize that it’s happened. There’s an organization to the society that could not be escaped. People still form into groups and cities.

We were left hanging at the end. So many of our group wanted them to go on to the city with electricity. One member predicted that they would go, perform, and leave the city. They did just fine without lights and their purpose was to perform so staying did no good. As of now, I can’t find any Station Eleven on Fanfiction.net, but I’m sure someone is writing it somewhere.

I’m looking forward to another discussion on this book in late February. 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!

Challenge Update, December 2015

5 Jan

I think I did pretty well at finishing up a lot in December. I had a slow November, but I picked it up early in the month and slowed down coming into the holidays. But who didn’t? You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in December:

Sense and Sensibility//Jane Austen
All the Light We Cannot See//Anthony Doerr
Animal Farm//George Orwell
Station ElevenStation Eleven//Emily St. John Mandel
Go Set a Watchman//Harper Lee
Clout Atlas//David Mitchell

And I’m only one behind on reviews. BAM! What a good way to start 2016!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

13/13
Challenge Completed!
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. My timeline will track all of my books and show which time period they fall into, but it’s a little behind on the updates.

I’ll be hosting this challenge again next year if you’d like to join in! Here’s the info for the 2016 Challenge.

Goodreads Challenge

571/50
Challenge Completed!
I might go down to 45 next year. With a shorter commute to work, I don’t have as much audio time as I used to.

Book of the Month

Station ElevenWithout a doubt, it’s Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. If you saw my post yesterday, you saw my rant about how much I loved this book when I made it my #2 book of the year. Please go pick up a copy now!

Added to my TBR

No chain in the TBR this month. I added as many as I tackled. Meh, there are worse things.

  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (I loved Lawson’s first book and I finally caved and put this on my TBR. Little did I know my brother was getting me a SIGNED COPY for Christmas! I’m so pumped to read this.)
  • True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey (I watched Ned Kelly as a kid [because Orlando Bloom is in it] and I’d love to know how much of that was fictionalized. Plus, 2 for 1 sale at the library WIN!)
  • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (After how much I loved The Namesake, I’ve been looking for a well-priced copy of this book and I finally found it at the 2 for 1 sale. I’m so excited to read this!)
  • Dollface by Renee Rosen (1920s molls and mobsters book. I’m sold.)
  • https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61834.A_Night_to_RememberA Night to Remember by Walter Lord (The Barnes and Noble near me was closing. After I finished crying, I went and found this book on clearance. I love the Titanic so it was only natural for me to grab it.)
  • That Night by Chevy Stevens (Another B&N closing book. We have the same last name, so I had to do it.)

A little more book shopping than I intended but It will all be worth it in the end. Some great finds on this list!

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re doing better than me! If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, 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!

Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (5/5)

31 Dec

So many good things had been said about this book so I was excited to read it myself. This book was chosen as the Great Michigan Read for 2015-2016 by the Michigan Humanities Council so there are a lot of events and discussion focused on this book in my area. If you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll remember how many times I posted about Annie’s Ghosts. Expect the same from this book.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Summary from Goodreads:

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

I’ve spoken with people who are put off by this book being ‘dystopian.’ The way they speak about it makes it sound like a lesser genre and one that wasn’t deserving of being chosen by the Humanities Council. I think this book is a perfect choice. It’s a big ‘what if?’ book, a type that has been very popular before (1984, A Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, etc.). Because that ‘what if’ involves a step backward in civilization does not make it a lower book. I find it says even more about humanity. I loved the characters and how they were related to each other. I liked the jumps forward and backward in time. And I really liked Kirsten’s relationships with the other characters. It all worked really well together to make for a book I found hard to put down. When I did put it down, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

There was a huge variety of characters and I loved that about the book. Some were rich, poor, smart, uneducated, old, and young. I thought Mendel did a great job of explaining the different life paths that people were led to as a result of the flu. The main characters, Kirsten and Jeevan in particular, were great and I could sympathize with their fears. I found the prophet to be a bit unbelievable, but I think that was the point. I thought it was realistic how Kirsten’s brother died and I’m glad they addressed how people would die in ways that wouldn’t have been an issue in the old world. It seemed very real.

Kirsten is a very likable main character. She bridges those who remember the old world too well and those who didn’t know it at all with her age and limited memory. She has a good amount of mystery to her (who did she kill, what happened during the year she forgot?) but not so much that she’s unlikable. You know enough about her to like her. The friends she had in the symphony were good people and you could see that she would do anything for them and it helped me like her.

It’s hard to say I related to any of the characters directly, but I could see myself in Kirsten and Jeevan. When Jeevan hold himself up in his brother’s apartment, I kept thinking that it was what I would have done. I would have waited for things to calm down before I’d gone outside, I would have waited as long as possible before venturing into the new world. I would have tried to find a community like Kirsten where I got to travel and where I felt needed. Their stories together let me picture what my life could have been like in the world of the book.

Emily St. John Mandel Image via Michigan Radio

Emily St. John Mandel
Image via Michigan Radio

I found the descriptions of ransacking to be incredibly beautiful and haunting. Thinking about what would be left in a school and what would be valuable was eerie. Thinking of finding the dead there was strange as well. I would have thought of raiding grocery stores and sporting goods stores, but looting houses and classrooms seem desperate and it was a good way to show how the world had changed.

Okay, major spoiler here so skip to the end of this paragraph to miss it. When Clark showed Kirsten the city with lights on and then nothing came of that, I was upset. I thought that was something too big to gloss over at the end. I think we’re told the symphony is headed that way, but we don’t find out much on top of that. Are you kidding me? I’d be running there ASAP, trying to figure out if they were able to bring the world into the 20th Century. That would be incredible.

The tagline of the entire book is ‘Survival is insufficient.’ Merely making it through the world is not enough, there has to be a way to contribute to it and to remember what there was before. The symphony has a wonderful way of doing this with theatre and music. The importance of what came before is so important in the story. Clark collects mementos of the previous world because he hopes they might once again be needed or that remembering they existed will help somehow. The cities with electricity or bringing back the internet could prove that one day these things are again needed. It’s the same reason we study history. We have to remember what happened before so we can learn from our mistakes and make better decisions the next time. Maybe all we learn about the flu is how to better protect against it before, but remembering all we learned about civilization, technology, and geopolitics is worth remembering and remembering well.

Writer’s Takeaway: Gosh, with a book like this, I’m intimidated to write this section. What did I learn from reading the book? Just that I wish I could write like Mandel. It’s hard to put my finger on what I liked about this one. Part of it was the mystery she kept about the characters and the setting which was appropriate because of the state of the world. The other was her organization and layout of the plot. There was a lot going on and it all came together in the end but to get there, it took a lot of organization and building. Mandel did it beautifully.

I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to everyone. 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:
Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel | Savidge Reads
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel | Dream by Day
Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven | Faulkner House Books

WWW Wednesday, 16-December-2015

16 Dec

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. 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?


100 yearsCurrently reading:  I’m almost at 90% of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Still hoping to finish this by the end of the year so I can take it off my list.
On hold with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Stay tuned.
I put A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab on hold but I’m starting back into it today. I’ll likely interrupt this again for another audiobook. I do that with ones I own. It’s probably not fair to them.
I started One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez a little ahead of when I thought I would. I’m still in the first few chapters, but all I’ve read about this makes me excited and a bit nervous to dive in. We’ll see.

Station ElevenRecently finished: I flew through Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Those of you who said I’d love it were 100% right, it was really amazing. I highly recommend this one to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.
I started and finished Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee! It came in on Thursday morning last week and I finished it last night. It was better than I expcted because I went into it with really low expectations. happy surprise!

No book reviews this week, but they’re piling up for next week so get ready for that.

PrincipeReading Next: Wow, having finally made it through my huge bedside stack, I’m not totally sure what I’ll read next. It might be time to start my Spanish language read of the year, which can take me forever sometimes. It’s time for another Harry Potter read so it will likely be Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling.
If I think I have time to squeeze in another book, it will probably be Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I’ve had it on my shelf forever and just want to read it!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

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

WWW Wednesday, 9-December-2015

9 Dec

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. 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?


Station ElevenCurrently reading:  Hit 85% in Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I got another renewal out of it so I hope to keep pushing through and finish it by the end of the year.
Nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I want to be back into this by the end of the year and maybe wrap it up early 2016.
So excited to tell you all I started Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel! It’s as great as you all promised it would be and I’m excited to finish this one up quickly because it’s hard to put down.
I just started listening to A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I got this audiobook for free back when the Ford Audiobook club still existed. I’m excited to get into it because I’ve seen so many good reviews.

IMG_2549 Recently finished: Three! I finished three! I used my half day on Friday to finish Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Immediately after, I did the folding and finished that up on Saturday. Doesn’t it look awesome?
It was a nail biter, but I finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr on Sunday driving back from my writers group meeting. I had a paper copy on hold at the library just in case. Phew!
On Monday, I finished up the end of Animal Farm by George Orwell. I didn’t realize I was so close to the end so it was a nice surprise!

Another two book reviews up. This should keep steady now that NaNoWriMo is over. The first is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank which I finished before NaNo. I really enjoyed reading (listening) to this book after having seen the play twice. 4 stars.
The second is Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. I wrote this review late and I didn’t finish it up until after my book club met! I’ll have to write up that reflection this week and you should see it next week. 5 stars.

WatchmanReading Next: I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself. I only have One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez on my bedside table though I have an idea what my first book of 2016 will be. There’s a lot of overlap in my book clubs early in the year because of library sponsored author appearances so I’ll have time to read at least one of my choosing. Yay!
I saw that I’m next in line for the eAudio of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee! Eeeeek, so excited!


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, 2-December-2015

2 Dec

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. 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?


SenseCurrently reading:  Still hovering at 80% in Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Thanksgiving didn’t give me a lot of eBook time.
Nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (still).
I made a lot of progress with Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’ve started to care about the characters a lot more and I’m hoping to finish this weekend. It’s hard for me to read a lot of this in one sitting so I read a little bit as often as I can.
Still on pause with Animal Farm by George Orwell.
I’m worried I might not finish All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr before I have to return it. I’ve got it for a few days still, but I’m not yet 75% of the way through! I’ll have to tighten down on listening to it while I do my stretches and cook. I hope that will be enough!

Recently finished: I can’t remember the last time I reported nothing finished for two weeks in a row. This is such a downer.

100 yearsReading Next: Still not change. I’m really excited to start Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel after all the wonderful things I’ve been hearing about it. You guys are getting me to finish Austen as fast as possible!
I hope to be in the middle of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Christmas. I think that would give me enough time to finish it before my book club meets to talk about it.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

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

WWW Wednesday, 25-November-2015

25 Nov

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. 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?


MalalaCurrently reading:  I hit 80% in Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I find the parts with Luisa more interesting so I’m glad to be back to that.
Nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.
I’m still working through Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’m about 25% of the way in so doing well enough. I hope to finish it this month, but that might not happen.
Nothing with Animal Farm by George Orwell. Another book on standby.
I’m really enjoying All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It’s a great story and the audio on this one is incredible.

Recently finished: None this week! Too much NaNo time, not enough reading time!

Station ElevenReading Next: No change here, either. Next is Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven which is tempting me on the side of my bed, waiting for me.
The other is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Again, sitting there and trying to push me through S&S every day.


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, 18-November-2015

18 Nov

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. 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?


All The LightCurrently reading:  I’m still trucking through Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell during lunch. I’m actually making decent progress now that it’s back to the characters I’m interested in. I can’t find the connection between future Korea and the old British guy in the nursing home yet. I’m hoping that one becomes clearer soon.
Nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. If everything goes well, maybe by the end of the year.
I’m picked up again with Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It’s still early on and I’m reminded what frustrates me about writing from that era, but I’m trying to look past it!
About half-way through Animal Farm by George Orwell. This will have to wait a while before I get into it heavily again because of my new audiobook.
I got All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr on audiobook. I wasn’t expecting it to come in so soon, but I’m excited it did! I only get this for three weeks so I’ll have to work at getting through this chunkster before my hold expires.

AnneFrankRecently finished: Two this week. The first is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. It ends so abruptly that I wasn’t ready for it and thought I was starting a new disk on my way home. The final disk was a series of afterward and essays. I really liked those because it gave good context to the story. I rated it 5/5 Stars.
Saturday morning I finished Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. He’s a wonderful writer and I’m so glad I read this. I’ve read his two mos popular books now and his other ones seem to be significantly less popular so I’m not sure I’ll get to that any time soon.

One review this past week, for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I’ll have a book club discussion for this in December so look forward to that as well.

100 yearsReading Next: I’m still planning on Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven after I finish S&S. It’s come so highly recommended by you all that I’m itching to pick it up.
I have another book club book waiting for me by my bedside, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This is a book I recommended to the group so I hope I enjoy it and I hope others do, too. If not, I’ll have a lot to answer for, 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!