Tag Archives: Geraldine Brooks

WWW Wednesday, 25-October-2017

25 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.


Currently reading: I’m getting close to half-way in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison but a few busy weeks at work is likely going to make for slow going. I will endure!
I’m really enjoying Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and I think I’ll finish it this week, time permitting. It’s hard to put my finger on what makes his writing so great but this story is amazing.
I started a new audiobook and it’s a quick one! I’m embarrassed to admit I’m a Detroiter who’s never read Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. I know this is going to be a quick one so I expect it will be on my finished list next week. Fingers crossed!

Recently finished: I finished Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks on Friday during a run. I wish it had ended without an epilogue! I think the story was really good but the epilogue ruined it. I wrote a review and posted it Monday if you want to check out some more of my feelings on the book.

Reading Next: I had another book club selection here, but I might not be going to book club now. I know, I’m a terrible person having missed the last three for this group! I’ve had good reasons each time, I promise. In my defense, it’s an annual meet-the-players night for the Detroit Red Wings. I’ve gone the last two years and loved it and I think I’m going to have to go again in the new arena! TBD still, so I’m saying I don’t know what I’ll read next.


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: Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks

23 Oct

This is the last book I needed to read for the When Are You Reading? Challenge! This book was carefully selected for its setting in the 1600s. I’ve found there’s not a lot of books set in this era so it’s become a struggle each year to find a new book with this time period setting. I’m sure I’ll find more and hopefully, they’re not all depressing and about the plague!

Cover image via Goodreads

Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks

Summary from Goodreads:

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a “year of wonders.”

I liked this book through the last chapter but I wish I hadn’t read the epilogue. It really ruined what had been a dynamic book. I liked that the character’s lives kept changing and that I couldn’t guess the terrors that would befall the citizens of the village and the characters we loved. I liked the dramatic irony of knowing Eleanor was going to die but not knowing how. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I think the epilogue was predictable and it made me roll my eyes. What is it about women having to get pregnant as their lives change at the end of best-selling books? I had a flashback to Sarah’s Key. It was too similar and soured the taste of what was an enjoyable book despite its depressing subject.

Anna was almost too perfect but her flaws made her believable enough. She didn’t seem to express too much emotion but that may have been the reader of my audiobook (the author herself). She had her moments of self-pity but was always able to pick herself back up. It seemed unbelievable but juxtaposed next to so many people who didn’t recover, she seems slightly more believable. Michael and Eleanor were great characters and I think they really made the novel.

Eleanor was a great character and it was hard not to love her. I felt bad for her, especially when Michael revealed his true colors. Even before then, it was obvious she was a sad person and that she was trying to atone for some great loss or fault. Her giving nature was contagious to Anna and I wished that it had been passed on to other women in the village.

Though I’ve never had a situation like Anna’s, I could understand her thoughts about giving up. I think a lot of people experience this when it comes to difficult work assignments, school, or relationships. Sometimes, it’s so tempting to give up and let yourself be overrun. Anna’s situation was truly dire, more so than anything I’ve experienced. Regardless, I’ve still felt the desire to curl up into a ball and forget about everyone else or to have enough to drink to forget for a moment that something terrible is happening. I guess we all have to be like Anna and not give into those thoughts every time they cross our minds.

Image via Amazon

Following Aphra’s demise was the most interesting part of the book for me. She was never a character I cared for much but I pitied her and watching her life slip away from her was heartbreaking which, in turn, means it was very well written. I could see how she would find everything that had rooted her slowly slipping away and I could see how it would come to the end and how she found herself. It’s sad to see that happen to a person but Brooks wrote it in a very believable way.

But that ending! The epilogue really ruined the book for me. I recommend anyone reading this book stop and not read the epilogue. I think Anna riding away from town would have been a fine ending but learning that she’d had a baby and named her Eleanor was too much of an eye-roller for me. Anna cared so much for her village and it was hard enough to think she’d leave them all but with her mothers’ instinct, I could almost believe it. Still, I wish it had stopped just a bit sooner.

The audiobook was narrated by the author and this is one of the cases where I think that was a terrible idea. Brooks made Anna sound drab and in a sense, I guess she was. However, the effect was that Anna felt removed from her emotions and almost had a ‘dead inside’ feel to her. She seemed to react superficially to everything around her and it was like she was a narrator and not a player in the story until the end when she got involved with Michael. I wish a professional narrator had done this one because I think I would have enjoyed it much more.

This story is one of loss and grief and how people deal with those two things. Anna and Eleanor fight to keep everything and don’t let their grief overwhelm them. Aphra lets her loss affect her entire life and loses herself in grief. The other villagers fall somewhere between these women and the book lets us see the interplay between the group. Both can be deadly.

Writer’s Takeaway: I felt like Anna was too much of a window to the plague and not enough a player in the story. This is why I can’t give this book a higher rating. Maybe it was the narration, but I think at least part of it was the writing. I wish Anna had been a bit more vested in most of the story. With her boys passing so early on, she felt numb to other people’s grief because she was living in a cloud of her own and only watching what happens around her. She finally had that fog lift at the end, but I wasn’t emotionally invested in her anymore. I would say that pacing the book differently and letting Jamie and Tom live longer might have helped me stay vested in Anna’s grief.

This was going to be a four-star read for me until the epilogue. Three out of Five stars.

This is the final book of the When Are You Reading? Challenge and I’ve now completed it! This book fulfilled the 1600-1699 time period.

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:
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks | Ardent Reader
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks | Blogging for a Good Book

WWW Wednesday, 18-October-2017

18 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.


Currently reading: I’ve been able to read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison only one more lunch time so I haven’t moved much in it. So far I like it but I think I’m still coming to the main plot. I know this is a short read so I hope i can get through it pretty quickly.
So far, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is really great. I wish I had more energy before bed to read it becaue I think it’s one I could lose myself in. Too bad school reading and workouts have me falling asleep without getting many pages in.
Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks has been good so far. I wanted to listen to music on my half marathon this weekend but I should have given myself time to listen to this one! I’m about halfway through but I keep thinking I could be farther into it.

Recently finished: Nothing! I recently started all three of my books so there’s no surprise to me that I don’t have anything on this list this week. I’m working on finishing something for next week but we’ll see what life has planned.

Reading Next: My next book club pick will be Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I’ll start this as soon as I finish Civility which I hope is sooner rather than later.


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, 11-October-2017

11 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.


Currently reading: I started reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison last week. It seems to be going fast because my ereader already says I’m 10% of the way through it after only two lunch readings. I’m thinking this one will move very quickly.
I started Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and I’m very engaged so far. I know it’s set in the 30s but it has a very 20s feel of it to me so far. We’ll see how this goes!
I started Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks on audiobook very recently. It’s still a bit too early for me to make a call on it so stay tuned!

Recently finishedI made great progress to finish Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. I’m glad I read this one and sorry it took me so long to get to it! It was a better version of Edan Lepucki’s California and I’m glad I found it. My review went up Monday so please go take a look.
I was able to wrap up The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory as well. I can’t say this was my favorite of Gregory’s books, but I still liked it. This was a little heavy on the history and didn’t seem to have much drama to it. I like when Gregory invents scandals (or embellishes the ones that are already there) and romances. This one seemed too teemed in history. A review went up yesterday so you can see my complete set of comments there.

Reading Next: No plan now as I just started three books! I’ll see how these progress before I decide on the next one to pick up.


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, 4-October-2017

4 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.


Currently reading: I’m still making good progress with Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. If I wasn’t in school, I’d likely plow through this one a lot faster but as it is right now, I don’t leave a lot of time to read before bed at night because I’m so exhausted! I’ll keep on trucking through this one.
I took some time out from The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory to finish another book (see below). I’m back on this one now and I think I’ll have it finished up by next week! And yes, I’m only reading two books right now. Do you even believe me?

Recently finished: I lost my ebook hold on Armada by Ernest Cline but I was able to find it as an audiobook and I finished it up! I was so excited about this. I had a long run and a long car drive on Saturday and I had only twelve minutes left when I got home. Pretty perfect. I wrote a review which was posted yesterday. Please go check it out! I heard this one was sold as a movie already but no definitive timeline for when it will come out. I wonder if Ready Player One doing well as a movie will help this move forward.

Reading Next: I’ll still get to Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks as an audiobook, no change there.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is sitting next to my bed, waiting for me to pick it up.
I haven’t started a new ebook since I finished Armada. I think it’s going to be The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I won this in a giveaway ages ago and never had a chance to pick it up


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, 27-September-2017

27 Sep

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.


Currently reading: Armada by Ernest Cline is still really fun. It’s an ebook I’m going through quickly which means I’m making time to read it. Yay!
I’ve made good progress with Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. I’m ready every night before bed but I’m not going to take this one out of the house because it’s autographed, haha. I’ll probably need another 2-3 weeks to knock it out.
I made good progress on The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory this week. My running is up a lot as I prepare for the Detroit International Half Marathon next month. I had a record week for miles which means a record week for listening time, too! This is a long one, but I think I’ll get through it fast.

Recently finished: Nothing this week, unfortunately. After two last week, it’s not a surprise to me. I did post my review of Still Life by Louise Penny last Thursday. I gave it 4 out of 5 Stars. Please let me know your thoughts!

Reading Next: I plan on Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks being my next audiobook as soon as I finish with Gregory. It’s fun to knock out these last historical fiction books for my reading challenge!
My book club met this week and gave me my next physical read, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. Even more historical fiction! This is going to be fun.


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, 20-September-2017

20 Sep

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

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

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

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


Currently reading: Armada by Ernest Cline is going really fast for me. I’m making time to read it a lot because I enjoy it so much. It seems a bit like Ender’s Game mixed with War Games so far. I hope he makes something else happen so it will stand out more.
I decided to go another direction with my next book and I started reading Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. It’s a book I own that’s autographed, which means I don’t like to take it out of the house unless I absolutely have to. I think I’m going to be home mostly in the next few weeks so that won’t be an issue. Plus side, it’s set in the future! Yay for finding books to finish up my challenge.
I did start The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory though on audio instead of a physical book. I’m still too early to really give an opinion on it but my long runs are sure to get me through it fast!

Recently finishedI was able to finish The Detroit Electric Scheme by D.E. Johnson last week and got my post up on Monday! It feels good to finish a book and even better when I didn’t like the book and I’m finally through with it. I gave the book 2 out of 5 Stars.
I was able to finish Still Life by Louise Penny sooner than expected. I guess my long runs are paying off! I’ll have a post up about it tomorrow. In summary, I enjoyed this a lot more as it went on. It started off a little slow for me but the twists and turns had me itching to figure out the killer before the end! This will be a very different discussion for my book club, I wonder what kind of questions we can ask about a mystery compared to some more traditional literature.

My review for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz went up last Thursday. I really enjoyed this book. Please go check out my review. I know a number of you had read it and I’d love to hear your thoughts on Oscar.

Reading Next: With how early on I am in my books, I haven’t really thought this through yet. I do need to read Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks. This will hit my final time period for the When Are You Reading? Challenge and I’ll be done! That’s likely to come next on audio. We’ll see about other formats.


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!