Tag Archives: Every Man for Himself

WWW Wednesday, 12-August-2015

12 Aug

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?


CastleCurrently reading:  I should get Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell back soon. I hope. I miss it.
Also waiting for I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. So yeah, no ebook right now is weird for me and I’m not a fan. It makes me angry.
Good progress The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer yesterday. I drove to Chicago for a conference (which is why my response time probably sucks. Sorry.) which means 5 hours of audio time. I’ll have another 5 on Sunday so I hope to be almost done with this one soon!
Steady progress with Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian. I like it? It’s interesting, but I feel bad for the main character instead of outright liking her. So a bit mixed at this point.
I was able to start The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and so far, it’s interesting. Not the light-hearted read I need right now by any means, but enjoyable. It’s one of those ‘so crazy it has to be true’ stories and it’s mindblowing.

ExtraordinaryRecently finished: I made it through The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. This was way too slow to start for me and it was hard to make my way to a good point. I wish it had been a lot faster because I lost interest and mentally gave up on it.

And a book review! Look at me go. My review for Every Man for Himself by Baryl Bainbridge went up yesterday. Go check it out.

DarkPlacesReading Next: Next for physical book will be A Widow for One Year by John Irving. I think my work book club is falling apart and it’s making me sad.
I hope to start a new eAudio soon, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I’ve had it on hold forever and it’s finally coming up, just after the movie comes out. Could this be more perfect?


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!

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Book Review: Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge (4/5)

10 Aug

I read Bainbridge’s final book, The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress, a few years ago and was fascinated by her style. It was raw and full of little details that came back in the end to make the end amazing. Seeing she had a book about the Titanic, I knew I had to read it. I’m a huge Titanic fan. You wouldn’t even believe the number of books I have on it, it’s awesome. I was lucky to find a copy of this one at a used book store last year and it’s been sitting on my shelf, waiting. It seemed about time to jump on another When Are You Reading? book and this was the top of that list. Let’s do this!

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge

Summary from Goodreads:

The sinking of the world’s greatest luxury liner, the invincible and magnificent S. S. Titanic, has captured people’s attention ever since that tragic April night in 1912, when 1500 people lost their lives. And no one has better dramatized this memorable event than Beryl Bainbridge in Every Man for Himself.

I knew what kind of style Bainbridge uses so I knew to a degree how this book would work. It would start with no explanation of who people were or what they were doing or where they were going. All would be revealed in time. There would be a lot of references to small things that happened earlier in the plot, so it’s best to pay attention. And the boat would sink. That I knew from history. As for what characters to expect from a Titanic novel, I didn’t know. It surprisingly kept to characters similar to James Cameron’s movie. The rich and famous on Titanic make for a great story so you can’t fault Bainbridge for this. I liked it. My prior knowledge likely helped a lot when reading it and understanding who the people were. She introduced a lot of characters, all the big players, really. It might have been a lot for someone else, but I loved it. The sparse prose, historical characters, and great setting made for a killer book.

Some of the characters seemed unreal. I liked this about the other Bainbridge novel I read and I liked it about Scurra this time. No one seemed to know who he was and he was always hard to find when you were really looking for him. It gave the book an air of mystery, something that added to a book where the reader knows a major climax from the setting. How do you make a Titanic story original? Add a mysterious man next to an emotionally unstable narrator. Win.

Scurra embodied someone almost imagined and I loved that about him. I couldn’t quite tell if Morgan was making him up. He was Morgan’s adversary at times but was able to give him comfort no other character could. Though the idea of thinking your father is sleeping with a girl you like is a bit odd. Scurra made the plot fun when it could have been a bit lackluster and have a bit too much internal dialogue without him. He added some good flavor.

Wallis seemed a very modern woman. She defied some gender norms from the time (much like Titanic’s Rose) and seemed very sure of herself. I could relate to her more than the other female characters who seemed rather stiff and fake.

Beryl Bainbridge Image via the NY Times

Beryl Bainbridge
Image via the NY Times

I liked the behavior of the men while the boat was sinking. Bainbridge did a good job of giving us their reactions to almost certain death. Some were frantic, some were in denial. It was very realistic to me and I like the contrast between them. The men drinking in the salon and their excitement about free booze sticks out to me still.

I thought the beginning was a bit too fantastical for a book ground in a historical event. The man dying in Morgan’s arms reminded me of Shirley Jackson more than anything else. I felt it set a bad tone for the book, but I thought it improved from there.

Because of the nature of the Titanic disaster, this book deals with priorities. If you’re going to lose your husband, do you stay and die with him? What do you take with you off of the sinking ship? Doesn’t it seem silly to worry about our appearances when we could be dying? Bainbridge satirized a lot of societies priorities. Some characters still prioritized these tangible possessions when their lives were in danger and it made a very powerful statement.

Writer’s Takeaway: When I read Bainbridge before, I learned about her tendency to refer to prior events in her book. Something small that seemed odd might be hugely important later in the book. My least favorite scene of the dying man came back in the end and was very important to another character. Little things like this keep the reader on his or her toes and I think make for a more exciting book.

A really enjoyable read with a lot of rich historical details. Four out of Five stars.

This book fulfilled the 1900-1919 time period for my When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

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

Related Posts:
Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge | The Friendly Shelf
Every Man for Himself- Beryl Bainbridge | Savidge Reads
Every Man for Himself- 2015 Reading Challenge | A. Suiter Clarke

Challenge Update, July 2015

3 Aug

Summer road trips are helping my reading progress immensely. I love it. I feel like I’m coasting into the end of the year flying high on books read. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in July:

Harry, A History// Melissa Anelli (4)
Hollow City// Ransom Riggs (2)
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet// Jamie Ford (5)
Every Man for Himself// Beryl Bainbridge (4)
The Martian//Andy Weir (4/5)

Some reviews to come, but most are ready for your consideration.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/13
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. Every Man for Himself filled the 1900-1919 period for me so I’ve got the 1500s and 1600s left. I’ve picked books for them, one of which I own and the other of which I’ll have to get from the library. I see the end!

Goodreads Challenge

31/50

Four books ahead! I’m kicking butt at this. I was afraid how it would go with the shorter commute, but I’m doing fine. This one should be no problem to finish by December.

Book of the Month

Even though I gave it four stars, I would say for this month it’s Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge. She’s so unique and I think the book should be more widely appreciated. That and it made me want to watch Titanic which was awesome.

Added to my TBR

I’ve stopped posting about books I add but I thought it would be fun to wrap these up once a month and talk about them.What a perfect time! I realize this list gets longer faster than I read so we can see the perpetual problem I have.  All links lead to Goodreads.

  • Library of Souls// Ransom Riggs (I’ve got to know how the series ends!)
  • The Nick Adams Stories// Ernest Hemingway (Library book sale find. Many take place in Michigan!)
  • A Pale View of Hills// Kazuo Ishiguro (Book sale and I like Ishiguro.)
  • A Virgin Blue// Tracy Chevalier (Book sale and a favorite author. This is one I haven’t read.)
  • Yes Please// Amy Poehler (Love her in Park & Recreation and was finally convinced from WWW Wednesday to add it.)

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!

WWW Wednesday, 22-July-2015

22 Jul

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?


ExtraordinaryCurrently reading:  Slow progress on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I’m enjoying the story a lot more now that I’m back into it. The first section was rough to get through, but I’m starting to see the connections between characters and it’s getting interesting.
No progress with. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I lost the hold so this one might be a while.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins flying by. I’m into the part that will make up the Part II movie so it’s all new to me again. I love it.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is going slowly, but it’s enjoyable. I’m on disk 6 of 22 so that’s progress, though granted not much.
I was able to start The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman late last week. So far, so good though I’m going into this with negative connotations because I really disliked the last Hoffman book I read. Just trying to stay impartial.

ManforHimselfRecently finished: I cried finishing Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge. I think my own Titanic knowledge made it worse because I knew which characters would live and die. Bainbridge did a great job of incorporating the well-known passengers, much the way the James Cameron movie did. I started watching the movie after finishing this. Still ongoing due to a bad TV.

Only one book review this week, Wuthering Bites by Sarah Gray which a lot of you said sounded interesting. Hope you like my review.

MartianReading Next: I should get  A Widow for One Year by John Irving this week! I’ve been waiting on this one for a while so I’m looking forward to it. I’ll also be starting the audiobook of The Martian by Andy Weir. My husband and I are driving to New York and back for our annual trip so I hope this keeps us entertained while we go through Canada (fastest route between Detroit and Syracuse).


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, 15-July-2015

15 Jul

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?


Invisible BridgeCurrently reading:  My hold on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell came in! I hope to get some reading done on this one. I’ve had a lot more ebook time lately because I’m in physical therapy for runners knee and between waiting in the lobby to be called back and doing warm up on a recumbent bike, I get a few pages in each day.
Consequently, I’m letting my hold on I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai expire for now. When I finish Atlas, I hope to pick this backup.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is going well. I’m beyond the point of the first movie and this is the part I don’t remember too well. It’s getting excited. I’ve set aside my PT exercise time as Mockingjay time.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is going slowly. As I feared, with my new commute, I don’t get as much audiobook time. I’m on the third CD of 22. I hope I can renew this one a few times!
I’m really enjoying Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge. I love the Titanic so the setting has me really excited. I forgot how much her writing style makes for a quick read and I’m plowing through it. Hope to have this one finished next week.

HotelRecently finished: I cried while finishing Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. The ending was a huge heartbreaker for me and I really loved it. Though I was reminded a bit of The Orphan Train with the ending and kind of saw it coming. Oh well, still a good story.

A couple of reviews for you to check out as well. The first is A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. The long journey through the first book is finally over!
The second is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan. This was my favorite book of June and I highly recommend it!

Crossing to SafetyReading Next: I should get my copy of A Widow for One Year by John Irving next week so that’s forthcoming. There are a few other possibilities, though. My next book club selections are Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner and The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. I might jump on those early if I get a chance so I’m not stopping midbook to read one of them later this month. You have to plan ahead as a bookworm!


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, 8-July-2015

8 Jul

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?


MockingjayCurrently reading:  Stil a hold on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Wait and see.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is going pretty well. With my big trip over the weekend, I didn’t get a lot of ereading time on my phone. Not much of a need for it in the middle of the woods. Hopefully this can pick up soon.
I’m really enjoying Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Henry is a really great character and I’m enjoying his story mixed between flashbacks and the 1980s.
Two new audiobooks this week. The first is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins which is a re-read for me. I wanted a refresher of the story before I see the film. I’m curious how much had to change because of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death and how accurate they could keep the story.
The second new audiobook is The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. I don’t remember how this fell onto my radar but I think it might have been a recommendation? We’ll have to see how it is because I’ve only just begun. With my shorter commute to my new job, I’m not sure how fast I’ll get through this 22 disk audio.

HollowRecently finished: Two finished! Both audio. Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli was really good and it reminded me of all the awesomeness that is Harry Potter and being a Potterhead while the books were being released. Great read.
My husband and I flew through the audio for Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. I didn’t like this one as much as the first. I’ll have to write the review to put my thoughts together.

WidowReading Next: No changes to my plans. It will be a physical book that I read next. Either A Widow for One Year by John Irving or Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge. Depends on when I get a copy of ‘Widow’ from my work book club girls. Sounds like I might get it soon!


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, 1-July-2015

1 Jul

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:  No progress on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Hoping the hold comes through soon!
My audiobook is Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli and it’s going well. I find myself insanely jealous of Anelli’s life every time I open it up.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is going pretty well. I wish there was more about her. Right now it seems like a history lesson about her region of Pakistan. I know it’s setting up the political situation that led to her getting shot, but it’s still not as interesting as I was hoping for.
I started Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford earlier this week. Our book club has chosen it as our selection to discuss in July. No shame to say this was my recommendation! I hope it’s a good one, I’ve heard good things.
I technically haven’t started it by the time this post goes up, but my husband and I are leaving for a trip to the Smokey Mountains and of course we had to have an audiobook to supplement the nine-hour trip (each way!). We choose Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which we listened to last year. I hope it’s good!

BitesRecently finished: I fought my way through Wuthering Bites by Sarah Gray. It’s not that the book’s bad, but that I wanted to finish it by Monday. Wuthering Heights isn’t a book you rush through and this one is the say way. I kept wondering how much longer this was because of the vampire plotline.

And two book reviews! The first was for La sombra del viento (The Shadow of the Wind) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It feels good to have this one behind me because it was a long journey, but wrong because I enjoyed it so much.
The other is On the Okey Dokey Trail by I. Leigh Private. I enjoyed it but thought it lacked a little depth. Check out the reviews to know more!

ManforHimselfReading Next: There are two possibilities. The first is that my work book club gets me a copy of A Widow for One Year by John Irving before I finish Hotel.
If that doesn’t happen, I’m going to continue my fight to finish the When Are You Reading? Challenge. Next up is Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge. I was introduced to Bainbridge a few years ago when I read The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress for my book club. The author has a really cool style. I saw that she had a book about my favorite event in history, the sinking of the Titanic. I was lucky enough to find it at a used bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI and I’ve been waiting for a reason to read it ever since. So pumped!


As I’ve said, I’m in a car on my way to Tennessee so please forgive me if responses are delayed. It all depends on how good the audiobooks are and how good the phone reception is!

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!