Tag Archives: Erik Larson

Book Review: Thunderstruck by Erik Larson (3/5)

4 Apr

I have a lot of love for Erik Larson. I’ve read a number of his books and enjoyed them. I like how he makes history feel like a story and how he intertwines science and invention into his stories. So naturally, I’m running through his backlist.

Cover image via Goodreads

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

Other books by Larson reviewed on this blog:

Dead Wake (4/5)
In the Garden of Beasts (4/5)

Summary from Goodreads:

In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men—Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication—whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time.

Set in Edwardian London and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners, scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed, and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, “the kindest of men,” nearly commits the perfect crime.

I liked the story and the way Larson wove the stories of Crippen and Marconi together, but I did feel like there was a large lull in the middle. Wireless was a fickle obsession for Marconi and it took him years to get it right. Reading about those years of trial and error was a bit redundant. Especially the many men who tried to undermine him and their varying degrees of success. I would have preferred a bit more about Crippen but I’m guessing there isn’t much more to be known. He seems to have lived a very quiet life.

Crippen doesn’t seem quite capable of what he’s accused of. While that’s part of what makes the story so unbelievable and captivating, it also makes it a bit confusing. It seems very little was asked of Crippen after he died and that he didn’t leave any clues behind. I’m a bit amazed that more wasn’t asked of him before his execution. You’d think with such a major chase going on, people would want to know how he committed the crime.

Crippen was my favorite character. I liked his up-and-down career and how he managed to have such an odd wife. Belle wanted everything for nothing and must have been very hard to live with. He seemed to be coping well right until the end. The fact that he snapped fascinates me and is part of why I want to know more about him and his motivation than history allows.

Marconi’s frustration with his invention was relatable in an abstract sense. There are things that I work on which frustrate me yet I continue to work on them. Training, writing, former school subjects, the list goes on. But Marconi was relentless and even seemed to make a living with his wireless system before he had figured out the operation of it completely. He was relentless in his trials and goal of figuring out wireless and that was admirable.

Erik Larson
Image via Twitter

The chase at the end was wonderfully written and exciting to read. I felt like someone reading about it in the newspaper while it was happening and my heart was jumping when it came to the ends. I wanted them caught so badly! I can see why the murder was so sensational at the time and why it drew so much attention. It also seems it was a good time for wireless to have made such a mark on the world and a great way for the technology to make it into popular use.

As I said, the book dragged for a bit when Marconi was the focus in the middle and it seemed he would never figure out wireless. There was a lot of trial and error, and it felt like the errors dominated. There were a lot of failures and competing companies and parties and none of it interested me much. I knew this would somehow tie to Crippen’s story and I felt it was a bit too much to remember all the names and places of failures and challenges.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Bob Balaban. I’ll be honest and say that the narration didn’t have a lasting effect on me. With a non-fiction book like this that doesn’t have speaking characters, per se, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Bob let the story be told without interfering or making it about his performance instead of the book. I’d say he was wonderfully absent.

I don’t think Larson was trying to get a theme across much in this book. I’d say he was more trying to tell a story. It’s a story of how technology can catch up with us and change the game. Wireless telegraphy was a means for ships to talk to each other and for North America and Europe to be able to converse. However, it also stepped in and changed what could have been a flawless crime by Crippen. It can be used in ways we don’t expect to do things we’d never anticipate.

Writer’s Takeaway: It wasn’t until I’d finished this book that I realized there was next to no dialogue. It flowed well, like I was being told a story, and not like a history textbook that it could have easily morphed into. Larson does a wonderful job of this in his books and it’s one of the things I most admire about him. He uses a multitude of sources to tell his stories and they come off flawlessly and effortless. Though I bet there’s a lot of effort. An awful lot.

This book was fun and entertaining but it dragged a bit for me in the second half before rushing to a conclusion. Three 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:
Erik Larson’s “Thunderstruck” | The Silk Moustache
Review Thunderstruck by Erik Larson | Care’s Books and Pie
Edwardian England: Erik Larson’s Thunderstruck | Author Susan Berry

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WWW Wednesday, 20-March-2019

20 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve been really enjoying Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The way the plot is told is really engaging and I like how each character reveals a bit more about the plot. It’s making me want to drive around just to listen more.
I began a new ebook and decided on Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. This was one that was recommended by my page-a-day book calendar in 2013. I’m still working that calendar off. Maybe once every ten years will be good for another one.
My book club’s next pick is Dodgers by Bill Beverly and I’ve grabbed it on audio. I don’t know anything about it, really, I’m just going in blind like I normally do. I’m so early into this one that I’m not ready to form an opinion yet. More to come.
I’m making a great effort to tear down my TBR mountain and I’ve started another one from the list, Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. I’ve been reading Bohjalian for a few years now and my copy of this one is actually autographed. I’m keeping my fingers crossed but I’ve got a feeling this break-out hit will be a win with me.

Recently finished: I finally finished Origin by Dan Brown while I was waiting for my computer to update on Friday. I didn’t realize how close I was to finishing it. I’m glad to be caught up on the series and I’m excited to see what else comes next from Langdon. I’m sure there’s more to tell. I gave the book Four out of Five stars. A review will be up next week.
I was able to finish This Is a Book by Demetri Martin quickly. It was a fun book of essays, drawings, and lists. Not much substance to it but fun all the same. I gave it Three out of Five stars.
I think I’ll have finished Thunderstruck by Erik Larson by next week. I’m getting through it pretty quick with my long bike rides. It’s not my favorite thing to listen to while riding because it’s so technical, but I can tell the plots are about to intersect and I’m excited to see how.

And so many reviews as well! I was first able to review Books for Living by Will Schwalbe. This one was really touching and a great book for book lovers. The post went up last Thursday, please go check it out.
I also reviewed The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. This was a surprise winner for me and I’m so glad I finally gave it time. I wish I’d gotten to it earlier. Four out of Five Stars.
I also wrote a review yesterday for Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Yes, that is a review every day since my last WWW Wednesday! I’ve had so many good books to review. This book blew me away and I think I may soon have a new favorite YA author. I gave the book Five out of Five stars, changing my rating when I started reviewing it and realized I had nothing bad to say about it.

Reading Next: I’ll need a new car audiobook soon and the next up is one I’m very excited about, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while and I’m getting giddy about starting it soon.


Leave a comment with your link and 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, 13-March-2019

13 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m getting so close to finishing Origin by Dan Brown! The story picked up and I’ve been reading it really fast to keep going. I’m excited to know this will likely be on my ‘finished’ list next week.
I started Thunderstruck by Erik Larson and made a decent dent in it with some long bike rides this week. I’m honestly thinking this could be finished in a week because of the amount of riding I’m doing. This progress will have to slow down when the weather gets better and I can ride outside.
I grabbed a new audiobook for my car due to some amazing progress reading (see below). I decided to pick up Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I was reminded that I wanted to explore this book by reading Will Schwalbe. When I heard him speak, he mentioned being part of a book club for adults that read children’s and YA books and how much his group enjoyed this one. So far, I have to agree!
I picked up a library copy of Demetri Martin’s This Is a Book. I’m a big fan of Martin’s comedy and I saw him live (gosh, was that ten years ago?) so I’m excited to see what he can do with a book of essays.

Recently finished: A big week for finishing books! First was Books for Living by Will Schwalbe which I finished because of a surprise trip to Ann Arbor (45 minutes for me) to see some friends. The drive gave me time to finish this one and get excited about my book on hold. Look for a review tomorrow!
I also wrapped up The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton which was a surprise and a huge hit for me. I loved the characters and their passion for writing reminded me of some close friends I used to write with. It was a feel-good piece for me, though there wasn’t a lot of feeling good for the characters. Review coming next week.
I was so eager to finish Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys but now I miss it! This was a wonderfully fun book and I’m so glad I added it to my TBR and was introduced to a new and amazing author. I’m looking forward to reading more by Sepetys in the future.

And reviews! The first one I posted was last Thursday where I reviewed Shannon A. Thompson’s Minutes Before Sunset. I don’t think I was the ideal reader for this one, but I read it quickly and enjoyed one of the characters a lot. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed You Are An Ironman by Jacques Steinberg. I read this book at just the right time in my life and it really resonated with me and gave me something to enjoy while riding. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I feel it’s too soon to think of anything except an ebook. My next one will be Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. This is one of the last Book Calendar recommendations I have left and I’m getting excited about finishing the long list that amazing (and awful?) calendar created.


Leave a comment with your link and 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, 6-March-2019

6 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I haven’t had as much time to read Origin by Dan Brown as I would like. Work has been crazy and lunches have been short to help squeeze in more training time before and after work. I feel like I’m coming close to a climax, but I have a lot to go still, too.
I’m enjoying Books for Living by Will Schwalbe and am moving through it faster than I thought I would. I’ll probably finish it this weekend so I’ll have a review soon! So far it’s only added one book to my TBR so I’ll consider that a win.
I’ve been flying through The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton and hope to finish it this week, too. It was recommended to me when I told a family friend about my old writing group. It’s giving me flashbacks to that group and I really miss my Novel Girls!
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys has been a really fun eaudiobook while I’m training. It’s a very escapist plot and when I’m suffering on the bike, it’s very needed! I still have a while to go on this one, but I’m being optimistic I can finish it this week, too! Wouldn’t that be amazing if I finished three?!

Recently finished: No surprise to me that after finishing three last week, I don’t have anything on here this week. Though next week it should be stacked!

Reading Next: My hold on Thunderstruck by Erik Larson came in so I’ll start it as soon as I finish Sepetys. I’m excited to hear another Larson story because he always keeps me so entertained!


Leave a comment with your link and 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, 27-February-2019

27 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: Still moving steadily through Origin by Dan Brown. I haven’t had a lot of lunch reading time to move through it, but I’m finding as much time as I can. It’s nice to have this to turn to when a little time presents itself.
I began listening to  Books for Living by Will Schwalbe in my car. Since I’ve heard him speak, I keep hoping he’ll suddenly start narrating the book, but no luck with that so far. I’m glad this one is short after the last Amy Tan odyssey I was on.
I grabbed the next book off my TBR shelf and started The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. It was serendipitous because I grabbed the next book off my shelf to take on a train trip to Chicago and when I looked at what it was, realized I bought it in Chicago the last time I was there in 2015. Too funny!
I started a new eaudiobook. With all the riding I’m doing, they’re going fast. I found a copy of Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, which has been on my TBR for ages. I guess with one of her books being made into a movie, more copies of her past books are available. Fine by me!

Recently finished: I finished The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan late Wednesday last week. It was a bit of a relief to be done with it, I wasn’t enjoying the middle of the book even after I enjoyed the beginning. The end was good, but I wish it had been more consistent throughout. I posted my review yesterday.
I finished Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson over the weekend while traveling back and forth to Chicago for a conference. I think I may take a break from YA for a bit, I feel a bit ‘teenaged out’ after a few YAs in a row. I also have to decide if I’ll finish the series, but I’m honestly thinking of not doing so. My review will be up next week.
I was able to finish You Are an Ironman by Jacques Steinberg with all of the bike time I had. This book was perfect for me to read right now and I’m so glad I was able to enjoy it while training for my 70.3. It was the perfect thing to keep me motivated during the first few hard weeks while my body was adjusting.

Reading Next: Since I’ve been flying through audiobooks on my phone, I have another one on hold: Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. I love Larson’s writing and it will be fun to have one of his histories to enchant me while I am riding for hours on end.


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

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

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

Book Review: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (4/5)

12 Dec

For those of you who follow WWW Wednesday, you know I’ve been reading this book for a long time. I read it as an ebook so that’s not unusual for me. I always keep an ebook on my phone to fill in those moments waiting for the doctor or while eating lunch alone at work or other little moments I’d rather fill with a book than with checking Facebook. I had a physical copy of this book but I lent it to a coworker who was fired before he could return it to me. I still have the dust jacket but I never got a chance to read it before I lent it to him. Reading the ebook makes me feel like I can finally stop worrying about where that book is.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

Other books by this author:

The Devil in the White City
Dead Wake

Summary from Goodreads:

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the New Germany, she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Goring and the expectedly charming—yet wholly sinister—Goebbels. In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity.

Wow, it took me eight months to read this! I still remember a lot of the details, though. It was really interesting to hear about Hitler’s rise to power through the Dodd’s eyes, especially Martha. Because of her memoirs, her voice was very strong and Larson used it a lot to tell the story. Dodd himself was much duller than his daughter and she was a good way to keep the book’s pace going. I liked all of the officers he included and I liked the struggle within the German government. I would frequently forget Dodd had a son and I think that’s a fault of the book but other than that, it was really well written.

Larson did a great job of bringing these people to life. Creating someone I could picture meeting from his or her diaries can’t be easy but Larson did it. He even made Hitler seem approachable in the scenes where he appeared. He did an incredible job with the setting and showing how fearful the characters were. Looking back, we’d like to think everyone would have taken the warning signs of the Nazi purpose seriously but it’s understandable that not everyone would have taken up arms against Germany, especially considering the great debt they owed the US. I thought Larson did a good job of explaining why people reacted the way they did to the Nazis.

Martha was fun to read about. Her plot often took us away from Berlin and away from the Nazis but at the same time, it added to my enjoyment of the story so much that I’m inclined to forgive it. Her love affairs were with prominent German and Russian men which gave her an air of importance. I thought it was funny that the Russian government considered her for spy work. I don’t think she cared enough about what her father was doing to be of much use to the government.

Dodd’s struggle to be taken seriously was something that spoke to me. I think many people could relate. Sometimes, due to age, gender, background, or another reason, a person is disregarded out of hand as not knowledgeable. Messersmith didn’t help Dodd gain any credibility in his office and many others seemed to work against him and not to recognize that he was competent. Because he was different from previous ambassadors, he was branded as incompetent and as much as he fought for legitimacy, he never got it. Here’s the difference between non-fiction and fiction. Sometimes real people never achieve their goals.

As I said, I enjoyed Martha’s story. I especially liked her on-and-off relationship with Boris. She was a very emotional person and by that I mean she followed her ever-changing emotions rather than think with her head. She divorced her husband without a care in the world it seemed. However, later in life, she struck up a romance with him again. If she was really thinking of him after their divorce is anyone’s guess. The men in the German army and government she dated could have landed her in serious trouble but she didn’t seem to care and I have a guess that if she could, she would have gone on a date with Hitler himself in a heartbeat. She was fun to follow and made a very serious topic more lighthearted.

The beginning of the book, describing how Dodd was selected bothered me. It was necessary, don’t get me wrong, but it started me off on the wrong foot with Dodd. Like his dissenters, I didn’t think he was a good choice and I thought there were men better qualified who should have been considered. In a book where Dodd is the hero, so to speak, I didn’t want to fight for him because I knew how much of an outsider he was and how far a shot he had of being successful.

This book is very relevant today. I’m going to try not to get political here but it will be hard. When Hitler rose to power, no one thought that he would end up the leader of the Holocaust. People saw him as someone who could save their country from debt and restore it to its former glory. To any American or well-informed world citizen, this should sound familiar. The Dodds saw the warning signs of what Hitler was doing. If there are warning signs here in America, if we’re headed down the same road, who will see them? And will that person be taken seriously enough to do something before it’s too late. I’d like to think that with the free media in the United States, those who know something will find a platform to say something.

Writer’s Takeaway: One thing I’ve been focusing on lately in my book is subplots. It’s hard to keep a subplot running the entire length of a novel and takes a lot of planning to make it work. I think of Martha’s story like a subplot. The main focus of the book is Dodd and his inability to get anything done in a Berlin that is so different from the Germany he knows and loves. Keeping that the focus of the book while showing Martha’s journey during their time in Berlin shows great skill at planning and executing his subplots.

A good read. My length of reading should be no reflection on the quality of this book. 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:
“In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson- A Book Recommendation | Rabbi John Rosove’s Blog
In the Garden of Beasts : Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin | Tony’s Book World
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson | The Critiquing Chemist

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!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 2-November-2016

2 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.


zCurrently reading: So far not much at all with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I’d be happy to finish this before the end of the year, but I’m not sure even that will happen!
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett. I’ve got to be getting it back soon, right? The only problem is when to listen to it now that I have two other audiobooks going!
Stiff by Mary Roach has been a fun read. I’m getting close to the end and it’s safe to say I learned a lot but it hasn’t always been things I think I’ll use in my daily conversations. Roach has a great style and I’m curious about her other books now.
I’m getting close to the end of The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham. There’s only been one part so far I didn’t think was believable but I’ve really enjoyed this book.
It will be a slow go with Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler only because I’m not planning on driving a lot any time soon and this one is in my car only. I like the story and the narrator is great but this will be here a while.

Recently finished: As expected, after last week’s tidal wave, noting finished this week. I think a few will be here next week so I’m optimistic.

lostdaughterReading Next: My book club met Monday and I’ve been reminded that my next book will be The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. I have another of her books on my shelf that I haven’t gotten to yet but it comes highly recommended so I’m excited to start with this shorter title.
I’m in need of some help to finish my reading challenge this year. Can anyone recommend a book that’s set in the 1600s? It’s the only time period I have left for the When Are You Reading? Challenge. Thanks to anyone who can help!


I have a class after work Wednesdays through November so please be patient with me due to delayed responses. I’m checking as often as I can.

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!