Tag Archives: Erika Robuck

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!

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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.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 26-October-2016

26 Oct

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.


Cat DancingCurrently reading: I think I got through one chapter of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I’m still enjoying this one even though I’m going through it so slowly. I always read ebooks slowly so this is no surprise.
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett. Ugh.
I was able to start Stiff by Mary Roach on Friday. I introduced my coworker to audiobooks and he wanted to start this one during a work trip to Cleveland. We got through almost three hours of it and I’m going to show him how to get books on his phone so he can finish it himself. Yay!
I started The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham. It’s more of a Western than I was expecting which is wonderful. I don’t remember the last time I read a Western and I’m really enjoying it!
I started the audiobook of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. This book focuses more on Zelda before the plot of Call Me Zelda so it will be interesting to listen to these two close to each other and compare the character.

bookofliesRecently finished: My book tidal wave came! I finished three this week. The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer was my latest finished, earlier this week. It was fun to listen to a thriller but it always seems like some things are too convenient in this genre and it bothers me from time to time. Overall, enjoyable. My review will come next week.
I finished Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck last Thursday. It was a little too over-dramatic for me at times and too slow at others. Overall, everything tied up well and I liked that but it wasn’t quite right for me. My review went up yesterday.
I finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova and have already watched the movie. Wow! The writing in this book was a little weak in places in my opinion, but the plot was great and I’m really amazed at Genova’s ability to write Alice. My review went up Monday.

Reading Next: I try not to do this, but I’m not going to put anything here this week. I’m just starting so many books, it’s hard to say when they’ll be over and I’m not anticipating anything just yet.


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!

Book Review: Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck (3/5)

25 Oct

My love of the 1920s and my love of The Great Gatsby led me to wanting to read books about Fitzgerals and mor notably, his wife Zelda. Much is written about both and they were very influential members of the Lost Generation. I’m really glad that this means a lot of fiction about Zelda and her life to get me in the mood for more 1920s awesomeness. I wanted to read this book for a long time and found a copy at the library’s used book sale, but I ended up going with the audiobook of this title.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Call me Zelda by Erika Robuck

Summary from Goodreads:

From New York to Paris, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald reigned as king and queen of the Jazz Age, but those who really knew them saw their inner turmoil.

Committed to a Baltimore psychiatric hospital in 1932, Zelda vacillates between lucidity and madness as she fights to forge an identity independent of her famous husband. She discovers a sympathetic ear in her nurse Anna Howard, who finds herself drawn into the Fitzgerald’s tumultuous lives and wonders which of them is the true genius. But in taking greater emotional risks to save Zelda, Anna may end up paying a far higher price than she ever intended.

I thought this book would focus more on the time leading up to Zelda being committed so that was a slight let-down. I really liked how Anna told the story. It would have been so different to have Zelda talk about her life with Scott but having Anna see it objectivly and figure out how they had become what they were was really interesting. I liked having Anna’s backstory and adventures in the story as well, it gave it a lot of depth. Most of the time, I was cheering for Anna even when Zelda was a pain. Some things I found a bit unbelievable but I could see the Fitzgerald’s relationship growing the way Anna saw it and understood it from the past. It seemed a very sad but very real marriage.

One of the things that bothered me about this book was Anna’s obsession with the Fitzgeralds. She doesn’t seem to understand it herself so as a reader it was harder to understand. Why was she so taken with this one patient? It seemed to be her celebrity and Anna reacts irrationally to this which is made frustrating by all of her other actions being so rational. If she was going to quit her job and stand up for a woman who was clearly not stable because she was a celebrity, why would she be so put together when it came to all other decisions? This inconsistency was essential for the plot but dragged it down for me.

Despite this, Anna was my favorite character. It was hard to get attached to Scott and Zelda at this point in their lives. I’m sure if it had been 10-15 years earlier, they would have won me over but past their heyday, they’re not as likable. Anna had things going for her and though she was a somewhat bland character, she was easy to root for. I just had to hope she made logical decisions.

Part of what made this novel a little difficult for me is that there was no character I could relate to. Zelda and Scott are nothing like me and Anna was very haunted by her past, something I’ve never felt. The only other strong character was Peter and while I’m also a Catholic, I’m no priest. Maybe he was the easiest for me to relate to in retrospect, but I don’t think he had enough of a role in the plot to be a character I felt was flushed out enought to be relatable.

Erika Robuck Image via Goodreads

Erika Robuck
Image via Goodreads

I enjoyed hearing about Anna’s life, especially her romantic relationship with Will and Sorin. Sorin was a great side character and I wanted even more out of him. He seemed very shy to have saved her from a violent attack. And I thought Anna was weak-willed not to confront him about his misunderstanding earlier which, in my opinion, ruined all chances of them being together. Maybe Robuck always wanted her to be with Will and that was cute and sweet, I can appreciate it.

I was really upset when Anna quit her job to work for the Fitzgeralds. She was not being a medical professional by the way she acted, covering for Zelda and becoming to close to her. It was very out of character from how she described her time in the war. If she’d been that much of a professional, she wouldn’t have formed the bond and then we wouldn’t have this story. If there’d been some kind of emotional trauma that could have started her close feelings to Zelda, it would have been mor believable.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Amy Landon. I thought Landon did OK but her voice was somewhat flat through the book. She has a very ‘whimsical and airy’ voice which was right for large parts of the novel as Anna seems to observe the things around her without feeling them. But at times when there was a fire to put out or emotional trauma, this vocal quality made me feel disconnected from the real trauma Anna was feeling.

It seems odd to say, but friendship was a big theme of this book. Anna shouldn’t have befriended her charge like she did and it was highly innappropriate and then Anna left them to go back to her own life which seems a poor thing for a friend to do. But the ending was something only a friend would do. What Anna did for Zelda was a great service to her and it as sweet to see. I’m not sure it was believable, but it was sweet.

Writer’s Takeaway: Character motivation was lacking for me in this book. Anna went from disciplined and professional to covering for mental patients and quitting her job. There needed to be more motivation for this drastic change because I didn’t blieve it and was put-off by her inconsistency from the beginning.

A fun read but frustrating at times and somewhat flat. 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:
My Review of Erika Robuck’s Call me Zelda | Musings in the Middle
Two Books about Zelda Fitzgerals: Z and Call Me Zelda | Book Addiction

WWW Wednesday, 19-October-2016

19 Oct

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.


zeldaCurrently reading: No movement with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment which might grant me a little bit of time coming up this week, but I’m, unfortunately, not hopeful. We’ll see how this goes!
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett. I keep thinking about the story and I can’t wait to get the audio back!
I made decent progress on The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer as I did errands this past weekend. I’m hoping to get this done soon because I have some other audiobooks I really want to catch up on but I’m being realistic and I know a car audiobook will take me some time.
I’m really getting close to finishing Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck. I’m not a big fan of this one, to be honest. I’m kind of looking forward to it being over so I can move on to something I think I’ll enjoy more.
As many of you implied, Still Alice by Lisa Genova is great. I’m flying through it and I’m hoping to finish up soon so I can get on to some other titles but this is a great roller coaster to be on!

Recently finished: Nothing! I’m so sad about this. I really wanted to say I’d gotten through at least one of these titles, but no such luck! I’m hoping for a tidal wave of ‘finishing books’ to come in the next week and pack this section to the brim. Fingers crossed.

stiffReading Next: I’m still planning on Stiff by Mary Roach which is sitting on my bedside table and ready to be downloaded on my phone. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it either way but right now, audio is sounding better so I can grab some physical books off of my shelf.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 12-October-2016

12 Oct

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.


stillaliceCurrently reading: I read just a little bit of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I was hoping it would be more, but I think it was two chapters. Not too impressive.
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett. I now have two people in front of me in line. I hope none of them end up checking it out!
I ended up carpooling to my conference over the weekend so I didn’t listen to much of The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer this week. I try to have it on in the car as much as possible but I’ll probably struggle to get through it. I have it on eaudio as well so if I finish my other book, I’ll pick this one up in that format.
I’ve made moderate progress with Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck, mostly from my runs. It’s not my favorite so far but I’m enjoying it enough. We’ll see how this goes.
I started  Still Alice by Lisa Genova on Sunday night. It seems like it will be a fast read so I’m hoping to get through it well before my book club meets.

Phew! What a list.

slade-houseRecently finished:I got through Slade House by David Mitchell on Friday and my review went up on Monday. I liked it more than I thought I would and it actually makes me want to read more Mitchell! I know, shock! After Cloud Atlas, I never thought that would happen. My book review went up on Monday so go check it out!

My book review of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz went up last Thursday. I enjoyed the book a lot so go check out my review. It got 4 out of 5 Stars from me.

stiffReading Next: My book club’s next pick is Stiff by Mary Roach. I’ll see if I can eaudio this one and maybe read a ‘for fun’ book from my TBR! It’s been a while since I knocked one of those out!


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!

WWW Wednesday, 5-October-2016

5 Oct

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.


Before I start, know my mid-term is this evening after work so I probably won’t get to you all until tomorrow! So sorry.

bookofliesCurrently reading: I think I read one page of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. Yeah, it’s been a slow week for that. We’ll see what the next few weeks hold but I’m not too hopeful this will be a quick one.
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett.
I still haven’t read much of Slade House by David Mitchell. It’s a little creepy so far which is always good for a fall book. It’s not reminding me of Cloud Atlas at all which is a good sign!
I started a new audiobook in the car which is The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer. This is a book where I own a signed copy and I’m very strict about my signed books leaving the house, so I thought it might be better to listen to it rather than limit myself traveling with it so much. I have a long car ride coming this weekend so I hope to get through a lot of it then.
But I still needed an audiobook on my phone so I started Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck. I feel weird about this one because I own the physical book but my shelf is so big that I feel like I’m never going to tackle it without resorting to audio on a few of these. It still feels weird.

aristotleRecently finished:I really enjoyed Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. It was just the YA break I needed from the serious literature and non-fiction I’ve been reading. It was fun and I really enjoyed it! Review coming soon.

My review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot went up last Thursday. I enjoyed the book a lot and was already able to discuss it with my book club. That post went up yesterday. I gave it Four out of Five stars.

stillaliceReading Next: The plan is still for Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I might squeeze another audiobook or two in before I start it. Or maybe I’ll listen to it on audio! I’ll figure something out.


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!

Recently Added to my To-Read Shelf

14 Sep

I’ve successfully added another three books to my To-Read Shelf so it’s time to tell you all about them!

  1. Loba by Diane di Prima.   This book was lent to me by a friend, the same person who lent me Post Office.  Loba is Spanish for she-wolf and di Prima’s piece explores feminist issues through poetry.  I’ve never read Beatnik poetry before so this one will be a very different experience.
  2. Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck.   Whenever I tell anyone that I’m researching the 1920s, they have another book I should read or movie I should watch.  This is one of those recommendations.  Tracing the life of Zelda Fitzgerald, this novel concentrates on her battle with madness and insanity in a mental hospital at the outbreak of the Depression.  Zelda forms a relationship with her nurse, Anna, that becomes much more than the two anticipated.
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.   Nicole found this on-line and realized that the two of us must read it.  The story focuses on Cath, who is an extreme fangirl: writing fan fiction, dressing up for releases, etc.  When she goes to college, her sister and fellow fangirl declines living together and distances herself from Cath.  Cath must develop her own path and contemplate leaving her fandom behind.

So there they are!  Have you read any of them or heard anything about them?  Which ones should I jump at or are there some I might want to take off of my list?  Leave a comment and let me know!