Tag Archives: Hum if You Don't Know the Words

WWW Wednesday, 13-January-2021

13 Jan

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 managed to read a few pages of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono while I was waiting for a lane at the pool over the weekend. Nothing major, but I’m getting more into what lateral thinking means which is interesting.
I missed finishing Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie before my book club meeting but I’m still going to finish it. I’m enjoying the book a lot so there’s no reason to stop.
I grabbed the library’s copy of The Bear by Andrew Krivak and started it over the weekend. I think this is going to be a really quick read so I’m not expecting this to stay on this list for long.

Recently finished: I finished A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro pretty quickly. The ending threw me for a loop and I’m still puzzling through it. I was hoping to have a review up this week but some stomach pain has kept me sidelined a bit more than I’d like so it might be next week before it gets posted.

My review of Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais went up on Thursday last week. I liked the book and gave it Four out of Five Stars. I’m looking forward to discussing with my book club at the end of the month!

Reading next: It’s almost time to start my next Buddy Read! We decided to go in a different direction this time and we’re trying our first graphic novel. We’ll be reading an adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred by Damian Duffy and John Jennings. I’m excited to get started on this and enjoy a new format of story.


Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Review: Hum If You Don’t Now the Words by Bianca Marais (4/5)

7 Jan

This was a book club pick I wasn’t happy about because there was no audiobook available. With how slow I’ve been on audiobooks, I should have been more excited. When I found out my library didn’t have a copy and I’d have to do an ILL, I wasn’t pleased, but I made due. I’m glad I stuck with this title despite the difficulty of getting my hands on it. It was a gem.

Cover image via Amazon

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

Summary from Amazon:

Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a ten-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred…until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing.

After Robin is sent to live with her loving but irresponsible aunt, Beauty is hired to care for Robin while continuing the search for her daughter. In Beauty, Robin finds the security and family that she craves, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin knows that if Beauty finds her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a desperate decision with devastating consequences. Her quest to make amends and find redemption is a journey of self-discovery in which she learns the harsh truths of the society that once promised her protection.

I was a little thrown off at first by Robin’s narration. She was at the same time well-spoken and also naive which I wasn’t ready for. I realize it was Marais’s way of writing a young girl’s voice for an adult audience and once I adjusted to it, I found the humor and enjoyed it. This was a complicated and wonderful story. I know a little about apartheid in South Africa so I had a basic understanding of the setting. Marais did a wonderful job of bringing 1970s Johannesburg to life for someone who’s never been and didn’t live through the time. I wasn’t aware how much the media controlled information to and from the country which struck me the most.

Marais’s characters are exceptions to their time and I think that’s what makes them interesting. I don’t, however, believe they’re giving me a good representation of the time period. We know that Maggie and Wilhemina are exceptional. We know that Edith has seen more of the world and has a broader view of right and wrong than most South Africans. We know that Beauty is more educated than most Black women of the time. Victor’s sexuality makes him a target and makes him want to rise against the oppressive system that keeps him down. They are joined in a fight against the overwhelming majority keeping them underground. While I believe people like them existed and I’m glad they did, I think the book could have been stronger if there were bigoted major characters, not just neighbors and nameless passers-by.

I hope there were people like Beauty in the world at that time. I hope smart, intelligent women were fighting for their families like Beauty did. I hope more women were able to show the whites that they were wrong and that their ideas could be challenged. Her patience was incredible and the way she helped change Robin’s way of thinking with action and truth was incredible. I’d like to hope she wasn’t fiction because she amazed me.

I think Robin’s ways of thinking were challenged much like ideas in America are being challenged today. The BLM movement and the political division in our country are making me wonder why some people think the way they do and questioning the way I think as well. Do I think I’m right because of the media I consume? Have I considered other sides? Robin faced these hard questions at a young age with remarkable grace. I hope we as a nation can do the same.

Bianca Marais
Image via Amazon

Robin’s relationship with Cat was my favorite part of the story. This is a bit of a spoiler so skip this paragraph to avoid that. I had imaginary friends growing up, so I related to Robin here. Mine weren’t as corporal as Cat, but they existed to me all the same. I thought it was interesting how much she insisted on Cat and how aware she was that Cat was imaginary. Her letting go of Cat was very significant. My mom says I sent my imaginary friends home with my Grandparents one day and never mentioned them again. I feel like Robin was more aware of what Cat meant to her and how she had to give her up to grow.

I felt that the ending was a little too perfect. Robin’s ability to show she was ‘woke’ (as we’d say now) seemed to draw just a little bit too perfectly on what Beauty had taught her. Beauty’s illness was timed so perfectly that she and Robin could have a conversation before she became unresponsive. And King George was willing to take an enormous risk for a young girl because she talked to him. All of it was a bit too much for me when it all came together. 

Family has a lot of different meanings. Robin’s family changes in a second and then continues to evolve. The people who come to make up her family care about her and she learns to care about people she never would have considered before. It sounds like a bad joke when you list them by the characteristics that make them unusual in 1970s South Africa (a Jew, a gay man, a Black woman, a young girl). But what makes them different becomes what binds them together. Alone they are scared, but together they are powerful. The title is what Edith says to Robin when she doesn’t know the words to a hymn. It’s about blending in when you’re alone and becoming part of something bigger.

Writer’s Takeaway: The alternating viewpoints worked wonderfully in this book. Robin may see something through a child’s eye but Beauty could ground it in something more serious and vice versa. Their two ways of seeing things didn’t often clash but they would round out the other to really lift the story.

An enjoyable story that I sped through. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1960-1979 time period for the 2021 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts: 
Author Interview: Bianca Marais, author of Hum If You Don’t Know the Words | Life Between Pages 
Hum if you don’t know the words by Bianca Marais | A Haven for Book Lovers 
Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais | Reading Ladies Book Club 
Wednesdays With Writers: A Smashing Debut from Bianca Marais Explores the Apartheid, Racism, the Soweto Uprising, Motherhood, and So Much More in Hum If You Don’t Know the Words | Leslie A. Lindsay 

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WWW Wednesday, 6-January-2021

6 Jan

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: Again, nothing new with Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. This will be here a while and I’m really okay with that, no big rush.
I’ve just started Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and am liking it a lot so far! My book club meets next week to talk about it so I don’t think I’ll finish in time, but I’ll get as far as I can and still plan to attend the discussion.
I’ve just begun A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro as well. This is a shorter book so I’m hoping to get through it pretty quickly. I’ve loved and hated Ishiguro books before so I don’t know how this one will go.

Recently finished: I finished A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger at 7:30PM on New Year’s Eve to finish my 2020 When Are You Reading? Challenge! It was a close one to be sure. I’m telling myself it won’t be as close in 2021. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars and posted my review yesterday if you want to check it out.
I started trying to re-normalize my sleep schedule before going back to work and would wake up and lie in bed reading Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais until my husband woke up. It helped me finish it pretty quickly! I plan to post a review soon. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I should be better about my book club selections so I’m sure I’ll start one of those next. My next read is The Bear by Andrew Krivak. I read just the first sentence of the summary and this one sounds great. I’m excited to get into it soon.


Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 30-December-2020

30 Dec

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: Nothing new with Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. Perseverance. 
I really hope I finish A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger before midnight tomorrow. It’s the last book I need to finish my 2020 When Are You Reading? Challenge and I don’t want to come up so close!
I’m getting into Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais more and more and I’m finally vested in the characters. It took a few lazy mornings ready to get into it but I don’t feel much like stopping anymore.

Recently finished: I wrapped up The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. My reading buddy and I had our final meeting about it yesterday. It’s nice to finish the year up and finish a book, too. I’m sure we’ll start on another one soon enough. I posted my review yesterday. I didn’t love this one and ended up giving it Three out of Five Stars. Hate me if you want. I think I would have liked it better if I read it as a teenager.

Reading next: I’m still planning on Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie next, I just need to get to it! I’m going to run out of time to finish it, I’m afraid.
I hope to start A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro after I finish Hum. Not in a big rush but I am looking forward to this one.


Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 23-December-2020

23 Dec

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 managed just a few pages of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. Meh, I’ll get through it eventually, right?
I’m just starting the final section of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I tend to read fast and I want to have a good memory of this book before discussing it with my reading buddy so I wanted a bit, but now it’s time to get through it.
I’m really close to finishing A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger. I didn’t think I’d be pushing this one so close to the end of the year!
My inter-library loan of Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais came in! I started it and I had my first big shock by page 60 so I’m excited to keep reading this one.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week. I did post my review of Golden Glow by Dan D’Addona and Kaitlin Sandeno so feel free to check that out if you want.

Reading next: I need to get moving on audiobooks so I can start Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. My group meets in January to read it and I’m afraid I won’t finish!
I’ll start A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro soon. I hope this one is gripping, I think I need that soon.


Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 16-December-2020

16 Dec

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: Nothing new with Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. I know I’ll get back to it eventually so I’m trying not to worry about it much.
My reading buddy and I had our second-to-last meeting about The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger yesterday. So I’m pushing through to the end! I’m excited to wrap this up this week and have a review up soon.
I made some big progress with A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger after a long drive to the doctor’s office last week. I’m a lot more optimistic that I’ll finish it this year now.
I started a new physical book this week and picked up A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’m a big fan of a few Ishiguro works but he can be hit or miss with me. Let’s hope this one is a hit.

Recently finished: I wrapped up Golden Glow by Kaitlin Sandeno and Dan D’Addona on Sunday which means I’ve now read all the autographed books on my shelf! Once book events can happen again, I know I’ll fail at this again but for now, it’s a good feeling. I plan to have a review up next week.

Reading next: My library has reopened and I’m still waiting on the inter-library loan of Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais. Fingers crossed!
I’ll need an audiobook soon so I’m going to pick up Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is a book club pick for January so I want to give myself plenty of time to wrap it up.


Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 9-December-2020

9 Dec

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 actually read a little bit of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono! About a chapter. It’s not much, but I’m happy with it.
I’m back in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and I’ve still got about 40 pages in our section before I hit our last stopping point. It will be fun to finish this one before the new year.
I’ve taken a break on Golden Glow by Kaitlin Sandeno and Dan D’Addona while I get back to Salinger. I’m sure I’ll be back to it shortly and I should finish it quickly, I’ve taken a big chunk out of it.
I haven’t gotten through a lot of A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger but I’m enjoying it so far. I’m not very worried about finishing it by the end of the month, but it will be closer than I’d like.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week. Though I’m optimistic I’ll have something finished next week. I was able to post my review of The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown last Thursday. My book club met last week to talk about it and I’ll post notes from our discussion tomorrow. I really enjoyed this book and gave it a full Five out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I think I’ll need a physical book next and it will be one of two. My library is currently closed and I’ve requested a book via Inter-library Loan. So it will depend on when that’s available. I’ve requested Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais. This is a book club selection that wasn’t available digitally so I’m hoping to get a copy. The group doesn’t meet until January so I have time.
If the library doesn’t open up soon, I’ll grab one from my shelves. It will be A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’ve had this one on my shelves for a long time and I look forward to finally getting to it.


Leave a comment with your link and 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!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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