Tag Archives: Fahrenheit 451

Book Club Reflection: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

7 Dec

I’m so sorry it took so long to get this post to you all. NaNoWriMo got in my way. About a month ago, my book club met to talk about Fahrenheit 451. I read the book for the first time in school and was surprised to see the group was split 50/50 of those who had read it before and those who were reading it for the first time. One new reader went as far as to say this is now probably her favorite book! The copy provided by our library had an intro by Neil Gaiman which many people really liked. I almost wish I’d had that copy.

A little background information on the book. The idea first came out as a short story called ‘The Fireman’ in 1949 which was serialized over a few years in Playboy magazine. The book as a single work was published in 1953. Bradbury says he got the idea from reels of Hitler burning books but in the same breath will say the book is not political commentary. We felt it had a very ‘Cold War’ feeling, especially at the end when the whole world ended in a split second like it could have with nuclear war. Turning in neighbors (and husbands) reminded us of McCarthyism. Very interesting timing.

Most of our discussion about the book was about themes, we didn’t talk much about characters. The one person we did talk about was Millie. She acted a lot of the time like she was out of it and didn’t realize what was going on around her, but there were two times when she did something to let the reader know how affected she was my Montag’s actions. The first was when she tried to kill herself. It let the reader know early on how unhappy she was and this was followed up by her turning in her own husband at the end of the book which let us know she knew what he was doing and was conscious enough to know it was dangerous.

The other person we couldn’t help but talk about was Beatty. He and Faber were the ‘smart’ people in this book and it’s interesting that Bradbury put them on opposite sides of the censorship debate. Faber sees book burning as a loss of ideas and Beatty wouldn’t disagree, but he’s afraid of what the wrong people will do with those ideas in their head. He thinks it’s safer to control who gets those ideas. There’s usually an intelligent person on the side opposite your own so it was refreshing to hear what he had to say.

At the beginning of the book, Clarisse says to Montag, “Nobody has time for anyone else,” and this is proven to us over and over in ways that are frighteningly similar to today’s world. There are three inventions in Bradbury’s book that we have today: the Walkman, ear radios/Bluetooth, and panel TVs. The mechanical dog was a lot like a modern drone. In addition, we see family TV shows, much like reality TV today. People will feel connected to the ‘real’ people on reality shows, sometimes more so than to their real families. The characters in the book are distracted by the seashells in their ears the same way we’re distracted by our smartphones and tablets. Everything from the government was in a soundbite and the short, easily avoidable aspect of this made the war that ended their lives seem far away and untouchable. Millie was abusing prescription drugs to get a high, something our society battles today. In the end, the characters were back to oral traditions and memorizing stories.

In my review, I argued that Bradbury would like the internet and the free exchange of ideas. When I proposed this to the group, most of them disagreed. The Internet enables us to connect with friends but it also provides us with highly artificial relationships and ways of making us feel less alone when we are completely alone. This is the same comfort Millie feels with her TV family. We are connected and can share thoughts, but a lot of what we are sharing is mind-numbing garbage like cat videos or memes. The upside to the internet is that it’s harder to get rid of than books. Try burning the internet.

Those who had seen the movie adaptations felt the books were more timeless than the films. With the film, the idea of ‘the future’ at the time it was made still seems dated while the book is vague enough to let you come up with your own ideas.

One of our members pointed out that Montag is a paper manufacturer and Faber is a pencil company. When Bradbury was asked about this, he said it wasn’t a conscious decision to do so, but maybe it was somewhere in his head when he choose the names.

I’ll have another reflection up soon for my other book club. Both are taking breaks until January so look for some more then.

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 Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (4/5)

12 Nov

It’s been a long time since I read tis book. I think it was Sophomore year of high school for my American Literature class. I remember it ‘didn’t suck’ and that was about how much I cared then. I have a copy of this book on my shelf, but when my book club picked it for our November read, I realized the audiobook would be easier and picked that up.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury also wrote The Martian Chronicles

Summary from Goodreads:

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

I didn’t remember this book well so I went into it with a different idea of how it would end. I was looking for something that focused more on books when the government was much more a focus of this novel. I remember Clarisse being a bigger character and forgot all about Mildred and Faber. The idea of burning books to limit idea sharing and to better control the population is frightening and close to home. We have books in America that are banned and challenged all the time. Reasons range from sexual content to ideas and it’s the latter that scares me. Why would we restrict ideas? If we do, are we getting closer to Bradbury’s world? It’s a scary road to go down.

I loved the contrast between Guy at the beginning and him at the end. Milly and Guy are very blissful at the beginning and they’ve been taught not to trust things they don’t know or understand. But Guy is worn down by Clarisse. I thought this was a very natural progression and it was well done in the book. The Guy we see at the end comes up with original ideas for evading the police and forms human attachments that are more than superficial. He is a very different ‘guy’ by the end.

Beatty was a great character. He was very smart, obviously, and smart enough to let you know what he knew without being in danger. A stupid villain is useless which made Beatty scary. In the end, he wasn’t really the bad guy. Mildred turned Guy in, not Beatty. He wanted to trust Guy, to give him the benefit of the doubt and let a slip-up be just that and nothing more. Once he was reported there was nothing else Beatty could do. He was sympathetic, which made his death all the more surprising.

I think any book lover relates to Faber on some level. You want to be the person who would keep books hidden if they were ever banned. But he’s not the one I related to most. I related to Guy because he’s learning to question the world around him the same way children learn to question things as they grow up. In Bradbury’s world, no one developed the capacity to think for themselves. Those that did were silenced. Guy’s story is frightening because we’ve all gone through the process of individualized awakening and the idea of that sense of individuality being forbidden is frightening.

Ray Bradbury Image from Wikipedia

Ray Bradbury
Image from Wikipedia

I liked the chase scene at the end. I’d forgotten it was in there and I liked the level of suspense it added to the book. The vagabonds Guy meets are very likable, too, which made me like the scene more. It showed how complete guy’s ability to think for himself had developed and it showed the group mentality of all the others very well. It was a great climax.

I can’t think of a part of this book that I didn’t enjoy. It’s very short and to the point and I liked that about it. There were no fluff scenes and there was almost no back story to slow it down. I can say I was annoyed by the beginning, but I was supposed to be. I thought it was wonderfully paced.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Stephen Hoye. I think I’ve listened to something he narrated before (possibly Brave New World) because his voice sounded familiar. I thought he did a good job, but nothing that blew me out of the water. His inflection is a little flat, but that’s fitting for this book and I think it was intentional to help convey the fear Guy was experiencing and the expressionlessness of the people in the society.

It’s a little overwhelming that ‘Guy’ is supposed to refer to every man and imply that this is every man’s journey as I touched on before. We all have to have an individualized awakening that helps us realize what is important and how we can have an individual identity separate from the whole. There’s also the important theme of controlling information. With no books, the governing body can control what information everyone receives from their TV families and on advertisements and in schools. It’s frightening to limit individual expression. I think Bradbury would approve of the internet and blogs because they allow people to communicate and share ideas, sometimes dangerous ideas, with very limited censorship and in a quantity that the government couldn’t silence if they tried. I think, had blogs been a medium when he was thinking of the concept for this book, the message would have needed a different story.

Writer’s Takeaway: Bradbury does an amazing job with Guy’s voice in this book. He starts the narration off in a very flat and disinterested way which is reflective of Guy’s personality and interaction with the world. As it develops into a reactionary voice, Guy learns more about himself and his ideas. I think this parallel helps emphasize the change and I really liked it as a writing tool.

 

A classic story that I’m glad to have revisited again. 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:
Book Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury | Pretty Books
Review of “Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation” by Tim Hamilton | Rhapsody in Books

WWW Wednesday, 4-November-2015

4 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?


Crossing to SafetyCurrently reading:  Fewer doctors appointments so fewer chances to read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Take the good with the bad, I guess.
No progress with  I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai still.
It feels weird to say I’m enjoying The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, but I’m very impressed with it. Anne’s diary is so eloquent and full of great details, two things mine never were.
No progress with Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It keeps tempting me on the bedside table.
I’m loving Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. He’s a beautiful writer and this is a ‘stay in bed’ book for me. I can’t wait to get back to it.
It turns out what I thought was an audiobook of Slaughterhouse Five was an ebook and I’m not starting one of those right now. So instead I picked up Animal Farm by George Orwell. My husband has recommended this for a long time so I’m looking forward to it.

451Recently finished: I finished off Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury early this week. I’m glad I didn’t remember a lot of the story because the whole thing surprised me and it was fun to keep reading it.

Only one book review this week for Made in America by Bill Bryson. Thank you to those who commented on this saying his other books are quite different. That’s very reassuring to me!

Reading Next: Honestly, I don’t have plans for anything right now! I have two ebooks, two physical books, and I just started an audiobook so I’m actually not thinking ahead right now. This is kind of refreshing.


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, 28-October-2015

28 Oct

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?


AnneFrankCurrently reading:  I’ve had enough long waits at doctor’s offices this past week to make some progress with  Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I’m at about 60% or so and I’ll make my way to the end soon enough.
No progress with  I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.  It’s coming…
I’m getting close to the end of  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I’m enjoying it a lot. Bradbury makes for good fall reading. Even though he’s not writing horror, his books have a creepy vibe to them that goes well with Halloween.
I started the audiobook for The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank late last week. The play stuck really close to the transcript so there haven’t been a lot of surprises yet and I don’t think there will be a ton. I’m blown away by how insightful Anne is and how well-written her diary is. It’s such a testament to how writing is less of an art these days.
I’ve only got through the very beginning of Sense and Sensibility by Jane AustenI hope to get back to reading this seriously around Christmas.
My book club met Monday night and we’re picking up Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner for our next meeting. We’ve read Stegner’s book The Angle of Repose a few years ago and really enjoyed it so this one should be fun!

Made in AmericaRecently finished: I finished Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson on Thursday. I should know better than to do non-fiction in audio because it’s hard to get into it when it’s read aloud. I gave the book 3 out of 5 stars.
Saturday morning I refused to get out of bed until I’d finished Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. I was hoping for a bigger ending, but I was still happy with how it ended. The writing was beautiful even if I felt the plot was a bit slow for my taste. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars as well.

Two book reviews in this past week. I’ve been keeping up well! The first was What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. I gave the book 4 our of 5 stars.
The second was The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. I had mixed feelings on that one and gave it 3 out of 5 stars.

SlaughterhouseReading Next: I’m still planning on Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut being my next audiobook. I don’t have a lot of plans besides that because of how many books I’m starting into. Stay tuned for sudden changes in plans.


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, 21-October-2015

21 Oct

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?


CloudAtlasCurrently reading:  Not much with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell this week. Unless it gets really interesting really quickly, I’m not sure I’ll finish it this year.
Still nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.  I’ve got to get through Cloud Atlas first. Yikes.
Steady progress Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. The writing in this book is really great and I’m excited I’m finally finding the time to read it.
I’m super close to finishing Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson. I’ve made a few longer car trips this month which helped me get through it. I’m wondering if Bryson’s other books are like this. I have A Walk In the Woods on my shelf and I hope it’s a little different as a memoir than this non-fiction.
Steady progress on  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.I’m about half-way through and I don’t remember much of the story at all. This all feels really new to me so it’s exciting to see what happens next still.

SamuraiRecently finished: I finished  The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama on Friday. I liked the ending and found it fitting, but it still felt very open-ended. This will be an interesting book club discussion.

Just one book review this past week and I think a lot of you already checked it out. Please take a look at my review of Robert Galbraith’s (J.K. Rowling’s) The Silkworm. I gave it Four out of Five stars and really enjoyed the story. I’m glad she’s started a mystery series!

AnneFrankReading Next: I hope to start Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut pretty soon as I’m getting close on 451. It’s a good time for classics.
Even more classics, I should have time to start Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen before my next book club selection. I might have to stretch this one out a bit to fit in those other books, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
The next audiobook for my car is going to be The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read this one. I’ve seen the play, but never read the book in school or had another reason to pick it up. I’ve been admonished enough and I’m excited to read the word’s right from Anne’s hands.


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

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

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

WWW Wednesday, 14-October-2015

14 Oct

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?


451Currently reading:  I’ve made a bit of progress on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell but I’m stuck in the middle of the book, in the Hawaii section, and so overly uninterested that it’s a struggle to keep going. I’ll keep making my way as best I can.
No progress on I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Stand by.
I’m getting close to finishing The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama. I might even finish it today I’m so close!
I’m going to jump on Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson as soon as I finish Samurai. I’m excited to get back into it.
I made major progress with Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson while driving to and from Indiana for a conference this weekend. I’d like to think my progress with this book makes up for my lack of progress with Samauri and Cloud Atlas but I’m not sure it works that way.
I began a new audiobook for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury on Sunday. I was going to read my physical copy of this book, but listening to the audio will give me more time to get through some other physical books I’ve been slacking on. So far the narrator’s really good and I’m enjoying Bradbury again.

Talk About RunningRecently finished: I finished up the last twenty minutes What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami as I drove to Indiana. I liked this one and related to Murakami as a writer and athlete. I especially liked when he talked about triathlons! Yes, major geek moments for me.

And two book reviews for you all this week! Please check out my reviews of Bird Box by Josh Malerman (5 stars) and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (3 Stars). I know a lot of you had been asking me what I thought of these so let me know if you agree, disagree, now hate me, etc. I’m about caught up on reviews and there will be one more tomorrow!

SenseReading Next: For an audiobook on my phone, I still plan to pick up Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Yes, I’m pushing this back a little bit, but I do want to get to it.
I’ve been meaning to read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen for ages. I have a really cool copy of the book that shows you where to fold the pages to make book-art out of it to spell out Love. That proably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’ll be sure to post pictures when I finish.


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

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

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

WWW Wednesday, 7-October-2015

7 Oct

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?


Made in AmericaCurrently reading:  I’ve been picking at Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It’s renewed again and I’ll keep working on it, but I’m still not engaged. I think I’m close to this magical event in the middle that everyone says will blow my mind, but I’m not there yet. I hope it happens?
I don’t even have I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai checked out anymore. I should probably take it off this list.
I’m working my way through The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama. I’m about a third of the way through it and I’m enjoying it so far. It was a bit slow to start but has a good pace now.
I haven’t read any of Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson this week, but I hope to pick it up for a bit after I finish ‘Samurai’s Garden.’
I wanted a new audiobook for my car so I went to the library and got Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson. I wanted to read this one to see what I could learn about English in the 1920s when my book is set. So far I’m in pre-Revolutionary America and I’m finding myself zoning out a lot. Not good! Maybe I’ll be more interested when we get to the 20th Century.
I also started a new phone audiobook, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. As a runner (or would be runner, darn tendonitis) and writer, I was intrigued by this book. Murakami’s really cocky but has some great insight and I’m enjoying this so far. It’s short, a little over 4 hours, so I hope to get through it quickly.

Never ToldRecently finished: I finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng late last week. Parts of the ending were satisfying, parts were disappointing. It raised my expectations for my Ford Audiobook Club selections to be sure. 3 out of 5 stars and a review coming next week.

One book review this week again, The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. I liked this book though it’s not my favorite of her Tudor series. Let me know what you think.

SlaughterhouseReading Next: I’m still planning on picking up Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury next week. I’ll read some of Out Stealing Horses in the meantime, but this is next as a physical book.
For an audiobook on my phone, I’ll probably pick up Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve never read this classic and it feels wrong to me.


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, 30-September-2015

30 Sep

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?


SamuraiCurrently reading:  At least I can say I read some of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell this week though it’s embarrassingly little. It’s honestly stalled for me and I’m having trouble being engaged.
I guess you can figure out I didn’t read any of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. To be continued…
I picked up with Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng again. I’ll get through it soon, I’m enjoying the story.
I picked up The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama for my book club on Tuesday night. I’m looking forward to reading this one as another woman from our club has enjoyed it.
I needed a new ‘in between book,’ one I pick up in between reading book club books. I grabbed Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson from my shelf, one I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I hope it’s good!

Bird BoxRecently finished: Two finished! One physical and one audio. I got through Bird Box by Josh Malerman on Friday. I was waiting for my husband at our campsite for our bike event and I couldn’t put it down! A full 5 out of 5.
I also finished The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith on Monday. I liked the story, but I felt like I wasn’t given enough information to try to figure out the killer by myself. Oh well.

One book review this last week. It was The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. Please let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought.

451Reading Next: Well, it’s time for the next book club selection! We’re going with a classic this time and I’ll be picking up Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I read this my Sophomore year of high school and don’t remember much so it will be fun to pick it up again as an adult and see what I think.


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!