Tag Archives: Gary D. Schmidt

WWW Wednesday, 17-September-2014

17 Sep

Time for MizB’s WWW meme! Not too much progress this week, but I suspected that would happen.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

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

Currently reading:  I will be picking up Canada by Richard Ford again at lunch today. I hope to make a dent in it! My audiobook is The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory. So far, this one isn’t disappointing. Gregory’s ability to throw in tons of historical detail and still move a plot is incredible. My ebook is The Domesday Book by Connie Willis and it’s moving as slowly as expected. I’m devoting a lot more time to it than I normally do to an ebook and I’m only at 13%. The race is off for Read Along #2 and I’ve finished the first section of The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I’m itching to start section two!

Recently finished: Only one finished this week. My book club selection for October is We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson and I finished it at lunch yesterday. This is one that was hard to read before bed because it was so creepy! Really good but not my normal style.

I’m banging out these book reviews lately. It’s been hard to catch up. Check out reviews for Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors and Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt.

Reading Next:   Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is still waiting on my library list. I don’t have much else waiting now because I just started so many! I wish it would come in soon, but I’m starting to give up a bit. If I can finish Canada, I want to read another one in Spanish and I’m likely to pick up Misterio de La Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie. The English title is The ABC Murders. Has anyone read this one? It will be my first Agatha Christie and it will be in Spanish so it’s bound to be a good time!

Let’s see if I can get through Canada this week, but no promises! How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

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: Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (5/5). Combining Abuse, Disability, Theft, Birds, and Jane Eyre

16 Sep

I hadn’t planned to read this book, but a co-worker was insistent enough to hand it to me and when someone hands you a book, it’s a moral obligation to read it and return it as quickly as possible. Well, I think that. Some people I’ve lent books to don’t feel the same way. But I did my moral duty and finished this book easily in three days.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Doug has just moved to a new town and he’s convinced it won’t be any different from the old one. His dad will still get angry and hit him or his mom, he’ll still struggle in school, and he’ll still fight with his older brothers. But somehow, when he meets Lil Spicer on the steps of the library, things change. And finally, for the better.

I didn’t expect to like this book. I expected to fly through it because it’s written for a younger audience and would likely be almost light while it talked about dark topics (I’m looking at you, 13 Reasons Why). Instead, Schmidt wrote about a real boy with real problems who has to suffer through them and find his own internal strength while not being afraid to lean on those around him. What a complicated character for a young book. I was really impressed.

When I finished, my co-worker asked how I liked it and I told her it was perfect because, “I wanted to kill half the characters and hug the other half.” Truthfully, that’s how I feel about the people I meet in real life. Some of them are awesome, incredible people and some of them shouldn’t share my air. I loved how real the characters seemed and so many of them were really dynamic. Doug himself was really dynamic, but his father and brothers changed a lot as well. While I hope there’s no one like Mr. Swieteck out there, I could believe that there is and that’s a credit to Schmidt’s writing.

Doug himself was my favorite character. I understood why he was so angry at first and I loved that he wanted to be different from his dad and brothers by being a good kid but kept resorting to what he had been taught. He was easy to sympathize with even though I’ve never had a similar life situation. And he was so dynamic! He changed in all the ways you want a main character to grow and it was so great to watch it. Add on that the great voice that Schmidt gave him and you’ve got a very lovable 8th grader. I adored him.

I related most to Lil because she was a book person. There wasn’t much else about her that I could sympathize with, but knowing this about her early on in the story made me like her instantly. I guess that’s a good way to get readers to like someone.

I loved the Audubon aspect of the story. I think it was a really cool thing to bring into the story and it made the story very visual for me. I liked looking back at the pictures at the beginning of the chapters to see what the birds looked like. I loved hearing about Doug’s struggles to paint and draw them. His mission to bring them all back to the library was heartbreakingly beautiful for me and I think was a great thread to run through the book.

Gary D. Schmidt Image via Wikipedia

Gary D. Schmidt
Image via Wikipedia

Major spoilers in this next paragraph so skip it if you don’t want to know. Lil’s illness at the end was so devastating to me. So many bad things were happening around Doug that it was hard to see him deal with it. And Lil had been such a positive character that it was really tough to see her weakened. That part of the book reminded me off the story in The Things They Carried when O’Brien reflects on the girl he knew as a child who died from cancer. It’s always so sad to see a child suffer and Lil Spicer broke my heart.

Doug’s story taught us that everyone can change and everything can get better. Doug was so negative at the beginning of the book and believed that everything would end badly for him. Even when something went well, he would sabotage it so that things would go badly. But slowly, he let things go well and they started to get better and his attitude even changed. When his attitude changed, he could surround himself with more positive people and make good things happen. His positivity even extended to his brothers and his father, the three people who brought him down so far at the beginning.

Writer’s Takeaway: Doug’s voice was what pulled me through this book so quickly. His comments to the reader (“Can you believe that? I am not lying.”) made me smile as I was reading and I think would make this book more relatable to young readers. I love a book with a strong voice.

What a refreshing book! I loved it and flew through it. A full Five out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

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

Related Posts:
Okay for Now – Gary D. Schmidt | Don’t Take My Books Away
More than okay | The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say shhh!
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt | Biblio Links

WWW Wednesday, 3-September-2014

3 Sep

Time for MizB’s WWW meme! This week was moderate progress but I’m still slugging through a few.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

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

Currently reading:  I’ve stalled reading Canada by Richard Ford but i can almost see the light of when I can pick it back up. I think it’s in about a month? The audio of Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan is getting close to the end. I’m on the second-to-last disk and I can’t wait to finish it. I’m loving and making good progress on The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. It’s written in a very compelling way, using a first person plural voice. I like it a lot. I’ve also just started  The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, which is my next book club selection. My mom recommended this a few months back and I was excited to see it on our book club list.

Recently finished: Just one this week,  Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. I read this so fast it was never on my ‘currently reading’ section. A co-worker lent it to me and I read it in three days. I want to talk to her about it, but this is her vacation week. Dang it.

And one book review for you all! Check out my review of Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn that I put up yesterday.

Reading Next:  I’m still waiting on Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett to come in at the library. I asked about a library bounty hunter position, but I don’t think she realized I was serious. I’ve got the audio for The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory in my car, ready to start as son as ‘Sky’ is done. This will fill in the 1400s for my When Are You Reading? Challenge and then I’ll only be one from finishing. Yay! Pretty soon I’ll be starting Read Along #2 and the book we’ve chosen is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I met Umrigar about a year ago and she blew me away; what a wonderful woman. I’m excited to read this book! If you’re interested in joining the Read-Along, check out my post explaining what it’s all about and drop me an email.

Hopefully I can finish ‘Sky’ early this week. I’m ready for it to be over. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

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-August-2014

27 Aug

I was hoping for a bit more movement in MizB’s WWW meme because of Bout of Books, but I think I did it wrong. You’ll see what I mean.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

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

Currently reading:  I’ve stalled reading Canada by Richard Ford so I can read a library book… and then I’ll have a book club book… and one a co-worker loaned me. In short, this might be on hold for a while. The audio of Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan is progressing, but getting under my skin. The narrator is really inconsistent with the accents she’s given the characters and it’s driving me mad. I started a new ebook, The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. It’s a nice short book so I hope this will move faster than most of my other ebooks have.

Recently finished: Two this week;  The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I finished it Tuesday afternoon last week in the airport but didn’t have a way to update my WWW from last week, so I’ll count it for this week. Last night I finished Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors and I’m sleepy because of it! I’m ready to start a new one at lunch.

Reading Next:  I’m still waiting on Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett to come in at the library. I’m almost giving up on getting this back any time soon. Maybe it’s worth reporting to the library? I’m not sure how that process works. I’ve got two books coming up soon. My next book club selection is The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I’m excited because my mom read this a while ago and really loved. I hope it’s a good discussion book as well. The other is one my co-worker is lending me, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. She and I have similar tastes in YA so I’m looking forward to a quick, solid read. I’ll crack it open during my lunch break in a few hours. Pretty soon I’ll be starting Read Along #2 and the book we’ve chosen is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I met Umrigar about a year ago and she blew me away; what a wonderful woman. I’m excited to read this book! If you’re interested in joining the Read-Along, check out my post explaining what it’s all about and drop me an email.

My goal is to finish ‘Marble Sky’ this week and get started on one of my ‘Reading Next’ books. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

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!