Tag Archives: J.K. Rowling

WWW Wednesday, 21-June-2017

21 Jun

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: Still nothing with A Son of the Circus by John Irving. One more book to go before I jump back into it, though! Soon enough I’ll be back on this one.
I got through a bit of Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi. I had some technical difficulties opening it on my phone but those cleared up and I’m able to read it during lunch again.
I really pushed to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig this weekend. I didn’t make great progress, but I got through the first 150 pages or so. I think this is a book where if I don’t finish it, I can still go to the book club discussion and not have too much ruined for me. At least I hope it’s one of those books!
I started two new audiobook. The first is one for my phone, Abraham by Bruce Feiler. I heard Feiler speak a few years ago and have a signed copy of this book I haven’t gotten around to. Feiler narrates the audiobook so I’m having a good time of listening to him read it.
The second one is Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling. I could only find this audiobook on CD so I grabbed it to listen to in my car. Car audiobooks are usually a slow-go for me so I expect this to be on here for a while.

Recently finished: I finished up Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay on Friday. I really liked this one and I posted my review of it yesterday if you want to go check that out. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.
I forgot this one last week because I was determined not to write a review of it. I had to read a full book for my class so I wanted to count it toward my Goodreads goal for this year. The book was People Analytics in the Era of Big Data by Jean Paul Isson and Jesse S. Harriott. It was well written but doesn’t go along with the theme of this blog so I’ll leave my review at that.

Reading Next: I’m still not making plans! I need to get through what’s already on my plate before I even think of something else. I’m hoping to get back to Son of the Circus soon so I’ll concentrate on that.


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!

Challenge Update, February 2017

2 Mar

I’m surprised at the number of books I finished this month. I’ve been really stressed between school and work and working out. Somehow, I’ve been able to manage it all. Well, most of it at least. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in February:

Misterio de la guia de ferrocarriles // Agatha Christie (4/5)
Away // Amy Bloom (3/5)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? // Mindy Kaling (3/5)
The First Phone Call from Heaven // Mitch Albom (4/5)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay // J.K. Rowling
You’re Not Doing It Right // Michael Ian Black (4/5)

I’m surprised how many of these are physical books I was able to take off my shelf! It’s getting shorter during this book club hiatus but I really miss talking to people about books!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

5/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. No change this time. All of my books were either modern or in the 1920-1930s which should be no surprise to those of you who know my 1920s love! I have no idea if I’ll knock any of these out next month but I’ll try my best to make some progress on this.

Goodreads Challenge

12/50
Still ahead of schedule! I know that man of my books this month were on the shorter side so I’m aware that my speed might not be what it needs to be, but boy does it feel good to have that number! 12 already! I’m 5 ahead of schedule.

fantastic-beastsBook of the Month

If you’re surprised that I’m choosing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling, you need to come visit me here more often! I love Rowling and the HP universe and I thought this screenplay was really fun to read and let me enjoy my favorite universe in my favorite time period. What’s not to love?

Added to my TBR

I know you won’t believe me, but I didn’t add any books this month! I scarcely believe it myself, but it’s true! I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll add a ton next month… I’m down to 113 and feeling good!

Personal Challenge

I mentioned in my challenge announcement post that I had some non-reading goals set for myself in 2017. I figured this would be a good place to keep myself accountable to those as well. Here goes!

  • Keep my 4.0 GPA: This is rough. The class I’m in has no prerequisites, but a lot of the people in it have a bachelors’ in the subject so I feel really behind and I’ve been working really hard to keep up. I’ve only gotten one grade back and so far, so good, but we’ll see!
  • Knit blankets:  I’m just finishing one up now that will poise me to be ready for a while. My cousin’s wife hasn’t found out the gender of her baby yet so once she does, I’ll send one off and have to get started on another one.
  • One race per month: My husband and I ran a 15K trail race in February. Burr! Very cold but very satisfying when we finished it.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: As I said before, I sent it to four readers and one of them has gotten back to me. We had dinner and she and I talked over some possibilities for changes I could make. I probably won’t get to them until this summer, but I’m having fun dreaming up ways to incorporate the changes!

How were your challenges? I hope you made it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2017, 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!

Book Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling (5/5)

23 Feb

I don’t think there was any chance I wouldn’t read this. My husband got me a copy for Christmas and it sat on my shelf taunting me. I was waiting for a hold to come in at the library and decided I had the time so I might as well read it. I feel even more in love.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Other books by Rowling reviewed on this blog:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Summary from Goodreads:

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Having seen the movie, there was nothing in the plot itself that surprised me much. The only thing I might mention is that I was unsure how old Credence was supposed to be in the film. Ezra Miller looks younger than he is and I thought he was supposed to be in his mid to late-teens, not his early twenties. No wonder Grindelwald didn’t suspect him! The art in this book was a great joy. The drawings of the animals I had seen on-screen were really fun and I enjoyed having them as part of the scene breaks while reading.

It’s hard to judge the characters too harshly. I think we’ll learn a lot more about Newt and what drives him going forward. The only character that bothered me was Queenie and I felt the same when I was watching the movie. She seems almost stupid with what she reveals about herself and her ability to read minds but she’s very resourceful at the same time. She uses her looks and flirtation to get everything she can and she seems almost useless besides this. It was kind of frustrating when paralleled with a strong character like Tina.

Jacob is so easy to like and very lovable. Folger did a great job with him in the film and Rowling wrote him well, too. He’s very well-meaning and just stuck in a bad situation. I’m glad the muggle all Potterheads wanted to be was a good person!

Tina loved to try to do the right thing even when it was hard. I think most people can relate to that. Be it saying something no one wants to say or helping someone who annoys you, Tina tried to do the right thing and would put herself at a disadvantage to do it. It made her very admirable and made her easy to look up to and relate to her bad situations that most people have faced from time to time when putting their necks out for someone else.

J.K. Rowling Image via The Telegraph

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

I loved the Niffler. I think most people did. I didn’t expect for a little creature to have such a great personality and shine in the book and story so much. Pickett was a close second to me.

I thought the scenes chasing down many of Newt’s creatures were a bit of fluff for movie-goers. They didn’t add much to the plot, but they must have looked good! (I did see it, they did look good.) Reading the screenplay made these stick out to me and I realized how little difference they made to the plot.

 

The pending exposure the magic community is facing is having Grindelwald start something similar to a race war, what Voldemort is able to provoke in the Harry Potter series. I think this is very timely with the escalating racial tensions we’re seeing in America. The things said about Jacobs and other no-maj’s are not the nicest things people could say and there’s a strong sense of superiority in the magical community that Newt points out, doesn’t exist in the UK. I’m really interested to see how this evolves with Jacob as a main part of the plot.

Writer’s Takeaway: I’m not sure what else I can learn from the great J.K. that I haven’t already. I think she had fun with this book and that excites me because I thought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was fun, too, but it was so much deeper than that. I think we’ll see a big growth of these characters and a big deepening of the plot in the movies to come and that makes me so excited.

As if there was any doubt, this book gets a full Five out of Five stars from me.

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 Post:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling || Review | Romi Reads

WWW Wednesday, 22-February-2017

22 Feb

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.youre-not-doing


Currently reading: We didn’t make any progress on Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs during our trip this weekend. We had a few things on our minds and used the time to talk instead. There are worse things in this world!
Not much with The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler because I’ve been out-of-town so much but I’m still really enjoying the book and I hope to keep moving on it!
I started another comedian memoir because I needed something light to read over my vacation. I grabbed You’re Not Doing It Right by Michael Ian Black from my shelves. I enjoyed his commentary on the VH1 I Love The… series and I watched Wet Hot American Summer last summer and remembered how funny he was. The book is a great delivery of his dry humor and I’m really liking it.
I also just started The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. I’m glad Bryson seems as fascinated by the English language as I am! Sometimes I find myself wondering how much money a linguist could make because it’s so fun!

fantastic-beastsRecently finished: I finished Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling last Thursday. It was a super quick and fun read. I’m super excited for the movie to come out so I can watch it again from home this time! I’ll likely post a review tomorrow.
I also finished The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom on Thursday, it was a big day for me! This was a good audiobook and I really liked that Albom narrated it himself. I posted my review on Monday so please go check it out and see why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

I posted one other review, Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars, please check it out!

nightsoldiersReading Next: I know I’ve been saying it for weeks but I picked up Night Soldiers by Alan Furst from the library last night! I’m going to start in on this one as soon as I finish Black’s book, which I hope is really 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, 15-February-2017

15 Feb

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.


phone-callCurrently reading: My husband and I were finally able to listen to some of Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. We had four hours in the car and got through some of it. This is a really long book so we might be at this one for a while. We have next weekend to get through a bit more.
I’ve been making steady progress on The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler during lunch and doctor’s appointments. I’ll keep it up at this pace as much as I can. Lunch has also transformed itself into a study time for me which might take over a bit.
I started reading Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling. It’s great reading this now because it’s moving super fast and I can pick it up and put it down easily as school makes other demands on my time. I should finish it soon.
I also started The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom on audio. Albom narrates the story which is a fun twist. He loves basing his books here in Michigan (where he’s also from) which makes fun reading for me!

awayRecently finished: I knocked out Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling really fast. Celebrity memoirs tend to be fast reads and I enjoyed getting through this one fast. My review will come up tomorrow so look out for that.
My review of Away by Amy Bloom posted yesterday. I liked the book but was disappointed by the ending. I thought it seemed like the main character gave up at the end and that disappointed me.

My review of El misterio de la guia de  ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie posted last Thursday. Thanks again to those who commented on it, I’m really excited about having finished it so quickly!

nightsoldiersReading Next: Night Soldiers by Alan Furst is in transit! I should be able to pick it up from the library soon and get started on it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!


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!

Discussion: Do you change your world to fit fan demands?

22 Sep

My husband sent me this article from Vox. It talks about the homosexual undertones in the newest Harry Potter installment and the subtextual content of the previous seven books. It’s an interesting argument to be sure, but it got me thinking.

Rowling originally wrote the series for young children (I believe I was in 4th grade when I read the first one). Now, some of you might argue with me here, but my experience was that I wasn’t introduced to homosexuality outright until I was in the 7th or 8th grade. This isn’t to say that my experience is normal or that this is right, it’s just my experience. I grew up with no gay relatives or close family friends that necessitated it being explained to me that not every house was like mine, the assumption I believe many of us make growing up. Now, I’m going to extrapolate here that I’m not the only one who grew up this way though obviously, not everyone did. Breaching the topic of homosexuality can be more delicate in some homes than others and, like ‘the talk,’ I think many parents want to talk to their children about these topics before they come up in social situations. The age at which parents do this, I believe, depends on the culture the child is raised in and the social context of that childhood.

Feel free to argue, this is a set of assumptions based on my (American Midwestern) upbringing. It allows me to make this next assumption.

Because homosexuality can be introduced to children at different ages through adolescence depending on upbringing, I don’t believe it’s common in books aimed at middle-grade reading levels. I’ve seen a surge in YA books with homosexual protagonists or main themes, but I haven’t seen many middle-grade books. I think this is for the reasons I outlined above.

Going back to Harry.

If the first book is aimed at a middle-grade audience, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Rowling to have excluded homosexual characters from her book. Sexuality in general was not stressed in the novel. Besides parents, there are no references to romantic relationships among the core group of characters and because we looked through Harry’s eyes, any on the periphery didn’t play a main role. Looking at the first book alone, I don’t think many would argue that Rowling stuck to the expected content of a book aimed at that age group.

But there are seven books, not one. And as the characters grew up, so did the reading level and intended audience. 19 years later, we’re reading a book where the 11-year-old who lived under the stairs is the father of an angry 13-year-old. Harry grew up. Should the world have ‘grown up’ too?

The article criticizes Rowling for writing a highly white heteronormative series. With a few exceptions (Dean, the Patil twins, Cho), this is a fairly accurate assumption. Dumbledore was never explicitly gay in the books and fans only know of this because of interviews Rowling later gave.

Here’s my question: Should Rowling have added more explicit descriptions of some characters homosexuality in later books?

PRO: Her audience matured and would have been able to deal with the changing characters as their own worldview was changing as they aged. By the time Cursed Child came out this year, many of us who remember reading the books as they were released are old enough to have children of our own (though some have turtles and that’s totally fine). A lack of homosexual characters is not reflective of reality and we’re to believe that wizards are born the same way as Muggles and would, therefore, have similar instances of homosexuality in their culture. Rowling’s world is not representative of modern Britain.

CON: Rowling started the book series to appeal to a young audience. Adding explicit references to homosexual characters could deter parents from having children enjoy the series at a young age. After the world was established as heteronormative, adding homosexual references would have been forced and might have led to inconsistencies in Rowling’s characterization of many main characters.

I’m unsure what to think about the instance of Harry Potter. As for myself, it’s making me look at my writing and wonder if I’ve included the diversity fans would expect from my stories in terms of sexual preference. Do I have the diversity of characters in terms of race, educational background, religion, etc. that my story deserves or would be expected to have? Should I look at my characters in terms of what (possible) fans might expect from my world or are they my characters to form as I originally saw them? Has being a white heterosexual Catholic tinged my character selection to a point where it’s arguably skewed? What steps should I/would I be asked to take to correct this? Would I be getting too far away from ‘write what you know?’

I think this topic can be applied to all kinds of diversity in a huge number of books. I’m curious how you all feel about this and I love using Harry as a common launching point for discussion. Please be kind and realize we all come from strongly different backgrounds.

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!

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (5/5)

15 Aug

I was so beyond excited to read this book. I’ve been looking forward to it since it was announced and I went to a midnight release party to celebrate it. Would I surprise anyone if I said I finished it by 2:30 PM the day it came out? I didn’t think so.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

Other books by this author:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Summary from Goodreads:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I was apprehensive, to be honest. This is my favorite franchise of all time, what if it wasn’t what I was hoping for? It was so fun to see the characters I love all grown up and grappling with parenting. It was great to meet the young children we only get a very brief glimpse into during the epilog of the 7th book. This was everything I could have hoped for. I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free and I’ll let you all know if you need to skip a paragraph.

I loved Scorpius and Albus. It would have been easy to make them similar to their fathers but Rowling (who I’m going to credit with the plot for this review) built them into entirely different people. I liked how they developed and interacted during the accelerated first years of the book and I enjoyed their relationship during the main focus of the plot as well. Again, I don’t want to get to any spoilers here, but Scorpius was very smart and resourceful when he needed to be and he had that Slytherin cunning to get him through.

If it’s not obvious, Scorpius was my favorite character. It was too easy to read Albus as a whiny teenager while Scorpius had real problems to deal with and a positive outlook on things that were beyond his control. I liked Ron the least. I thought he was turned too much into a bumbling dumb old man. It was disappointing.

I think Albus was easy to relate to. Growing up, I felt the pressure to be like my parents. I should be as successful as them, as happy as them, and do the work they did. I can’t imagine what that pressure would feel like if Harry Potter was my dad! The end of Deathly Hallows gives us a rosy view of Albus but this book really digs into the difficulty he has to go through.

J.K. Rowling Image via The Telegraph

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

Ok, being vague here to not give away the plot. I liked Scorpius and Albus’s adventures in the meat of the novel. I liked what they had to go through to fix the problems and put things back to how they were. Was that vague enough? I hope so. If you read the book, I hope you know what I’m talking about.

I think the biggest difference to me between this play and the original novels was the multiple points of view. Not only do we get Albus and Scorpius’s conversations, but we have Harry and Ginny as well as Hermione and Ron. That was weird for me and threw me off a bit. I know it’s better for a play, but it was not ‘Harry Potter-y’ and to me was one of the most marked differences.

 

I think we’ve all wondered what would happen if one thing in our past changed. Maybe something that we consider insignificant but it could have resounding impacts on the future. I liked the way this was explored in the novel. (Again, trying to be vague here.) I thought the alternatives that were presented made sense and showed how important every part of our past can be.

Writer’s Takeaway: I hadn’t read a play in a while. I read Shakespeare in high school but I honestly think that might be the last time I cracked one open. It was fun to read this style again, but I see why Rowling needed some assistance to be an effective writer in this format. There’s a lot to consider with who is on stage when, how much you can do with effects, scene changes, etc. I think the team pulled the whole thing off well.

Yes, it’s because of the nostalgia and I don’t care. A full Five out of Five stars.

I did the math and the majority of this plot takes place in the future so I’m counting this title toward ‘the future’ time period for the 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:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling | GemsBookNook
Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne | Bookiecookie Blog

WWW Wednesday, 3-August-2016

3 Aug

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.


5LL-7.09.F.inddCurrently reading: I read about a chapter of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. My husband is out of town for a few days which might give me some time to read while I’m eating dinner alone. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I make a little progress here.
Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles is a short book and I’m hoping to finish it before this weekend when I head out of town. Then I can take just my ‘next’ book with me and not worry about running out of reading material. Maybe I’ll send another book ahead just in case…
The audiobook I want to listen to next has a hold on it, so in the meantime, I’m going to listen to The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I had a roommate in college who read this and talked to me about how it helped her relationship with her boyfriend and ever since, I’ve been interested in listening to it myself. It’s a shorter audiobook so I hope I can power through it before the other hold comes in.

626F6F78747265616D=7474747474727576707<7473Recently finished: I finished off two! The first was 10% Happier by Dan Harris. This was a cross between a memoir and a self-help book. I liked it, but I wasn’t convinced to start meditating, not just yet. I understand how mindfulness might help a person and I understand there are proven health benefits, but I’m still a skeptic. I struggle to fit in my five minutes a day of prayer! We’ll see how that goes. Review will be up soon.
I don’t know how I could have blanked on this, but another WWW reminded me that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling would be released before this week’s WWW. I’ll post soon about the release party I went to and I’ll add that I finished it about 14 hours after starting it. The book reads really fast because of the formatting and it was one I want to reread soon because speeding through it, I’m sure I missed something.

WithoutEndReading Next: I’ll be taking In One Person by John Irving with me on vacation this weekend. I’m not sure if it’s much of a beach read, but I’m really looking forward to diving into Irving. I love his crazy-twisted books.
The next audiobook I plan to undertake is World Without End by Ken Follett. This will be a long trek and I’m ready to make it because I enjoyed the first book so much. I’ll likely lose the hold and have to come back to it a few times, but I hope it will be worth it in the end.


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!

Challenge Update, July 2016

1 Aug

I was finally able to pick it up in July! Woo. I’m hoping to carry this through August because after that it will be back to school and hard for me to fit too much reading in again. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in July:

Truth & Beauty // Ann Patchett
In the Hand of Dante // Nick Tosches
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Illustrated) // J.K. Rowling and John Kay
The Drunken Botanist // Amy Stewart
The Invention of Wings // Sue Monk Kidd
10% Happier // Dan Harris
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child // J.K. Rowling

Reviews are up for all except the last two, both of which I finished Sunday. I’ll get to them soon. You can tell I’ve been writing reviews pretty soon after finishing books lately. I think my reading has slowed down since I got my new job about a year ago but I’m still reading as much as I can and I’m much happier in the new role.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. I’m glad to say I added TWO this month! I filled in 1800-1899 with The Invention of Wings, set during American slavery. I decided to count Cursed Child for the future. If you do the math, it starts 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts (1997+19=2016) but a lot of the action takes place three years later (2016+3=2019) so I’m counting it in the future. One more to go! I’ll have to see about finding a book set in the 1600s, it was a challenge last year as well.

Goodreads Challenge

30/45
Four ahead! I’m feeling a lot better about this. For a while, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I’m out of the woods now and we’ll have to see how I finish out the year. This is a good time for me to feel like I can start a long audiobook.

Book of the Month

626F6F78747265616D=7474747474727576707<7473This probably seems obvious, doesn’t it? A big Potterhead like me, picking a book of the month. Yes, I’m going to pick Harry every time and this month, my favorite book was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. I’ll be posting more about the book in the coming days so look out for more about how amazing this book was.

Added to my TBR

I only added three! And one of these I’ve already started so ha! I’m really proud of this because, for a while, it seemed my TBR would never go down but I’m knocking it apart bit by bit now.

  • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. I’m not sure how this wasn’t on my list before. I’m a bit ashamed of that.
  • Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. This got great reviews when it came out and I got it from the library sale for $1. What’s not to love?
  • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I needed a short audiobook to listen to while waiting for a hold to come in and this seemed a good filler for the time I have. I started it yesterday and I hope to finish it soon.

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. 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!

Book Review(ish): Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay (5/5)

18 Jul

So while this is technically a book review, it’s going to be more of an illustration review. I now own six copies of this story; three books and three movies. For those curious, that’s the original Scholastic (American) printing in hardcover, the Salamandra (Spain) print in paperback, the illustrated, one VHS copy, and two DVD copies (one on its own and the other part of a four-disk set). I’m a bit obsessed and very proud of it. My husband teased me endlessly when I said I wanted the illustrated edition for Christmas. But that was only to dissuade me from buying it so he could give it to me. The little stinker

SorcererIllustrated

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay

The beloved first book of the Harry Potter series, now fully illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Kay.

For the first time, J. K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books will be presented in lavishly illustrated full-color editions. Rowling herself selected artist Jim Kay, whose over one hundred illustrations make this deluxe format as perfect a gift for the child being introduced to the series as for the dedicated fan.

Yep, I’m for sure part of the ‘dedicated fan’ this was marketed to. I pre-ordered the Chamber of Secrets illustrated a month ago and it doesn’t come out until October. So. Pumped.

I reread this slowly, in bits as I waited for my husband to get ready for church or while dinner was cooking. The last week, I read it a bit more in a hurry, but never too fast. There’s no reason to speed through these gorgeous illustrations.

Kay does an amazing job. The characters look the way they’re described in the books, not like the actors in the films. Some things were, I thought, a bit too far off (the Sorting Hat) but other things were spot on (Snape). I don’t want to share pictures of it because they deserve to be treasured at their spot in the book as you read it. Which you should. Immediately.

The pages with no pictures were still beautiful, having drops of watercolor on them and a textured background that was lovely. I liked the small in-line pictures as well, of small things like Trevor. The full-page pictures were treasures, giving us images of characters like Dumbledore or Ron and depicting epic scenes like Hogwarts at night or Diagon Ally. There were a few full-page spreads (one is the cover, no big surprise) that were breathtakingly beautiful. I particularly enjoyed two illustrations that were modeled after a page or two from a magical textbook, one on trolls and another on dragon eggs. I thought that was a wonderfully creative way to get into the world.

I won’t say too much more. The story is amazing, as ever, and moved me to tears (as ever). The illustrations made me connect even more with the text and I loved it. I was happily surprised that it was the British text so now I own a third ‘translation’ (this being the original and the American and Spanish being seconds) of the book. I’m looking forward to the next one.

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!