Tag Archives: John Jennings

WWW Wednesday, 3-February-2021

3 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. 


Currently reading: Nothing new with Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono this week. I might have to find a time I can read a few pages in the morning so I can keep making my way through this one. The lines at the pool are getting shorter so that’s not a good time anymore.
I think this is my last week with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. My 20 minutes in the morning is helping me get through it fast and I’m so glad to finally be in what I feel is the final stretch.
I’ve barely started Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green. I honestly can’t give much of an opinion on it yet but I’m looking forward to anything John Green has written.

Recently finished: My reading buddy and I wrapped up Octavia Butler’s Kindred by Damian Duffy and John Jennings over the weekend. My full thoughts will be up tomorrow (I hope). We’re debating what book to grab next and I’m not really sure what we’re in the mood for, but I don’t think we’ll do another graphic novel . This wasn’t good for a buddy read format because it was hard to take notes and it read so fast that we were meeting twice per week.

Reading next: I’m holding for Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson. The mail in my area has been horrible since December and since these are sent via mail to my library, it could be a while before I get my copy.

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: Octavia Butler’s Kindred adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings (3/5)

2 Feb

This was my first foray into the graphic novel. My reading buddy and I had decided to read Kindred and the graphic novel and paperback were comparable prices at our bookstore so we decided to try something new with a graphic novel. I’m not sure I’d recommend the format for a discussion the way we do (virtual at least 4 times during the story). It would be better for a solo read.

Cover image via Amazon

Octavia Butler’s Kindred adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings

Summary from Amazon:

Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.

This story was very moving and really powerful. I’ve read stories about American slavery before and most of the ones I remember were told from the slaveholder’s point of view. Having a Black character tell the story was much more powerful. Dana was great for telling this story because she made it easier to compare the treatment of Blacks in the 1970s to slaves in the 1800s. She lived in both worlds and learned how to survive. Having a white partner made it an even more stark contrast and I liked how Butler included Kevin for this. The images in the book were really striking. My reading buddy and I liked the color selections, where the 1970s was monochromatic while the 1800s was in full color and much more vivid.

I thought a lot of the characters were good reflections of their time. Dana and Kevin were progressive, even for their era, but didn’t come off as unrealistic. I think the ways they acted in the 1800s were believable, too. They had to learn to temper their gut reactions to things to realize what life was like on a plantation. I think Rufus and the people who lived on the plantation were credible characters for their time as well. Sarah was the one I felt for the most. She’d really suffered at the hands of the Weilyns and her protective feelings over Carrie were understandable and realistic. She was a really strong woman.

Dana was my favorite character and it made reading her story more enjoyable. She was smart and very resourceful. I was scared for her when she would travel but I knew she was smart enough to survive whatever was coming her way. Watching her adapt was terrifying and inspiring at the same time.

There wasn’t really a character I related to in this story and it didn’t prevent me from enjoying it. What’s enjoyable about this story is that the characters are in a situation that is impossible to imagine. Time travel’s unreality makes it fascinating to see what would happen if the impossible were possible and think what would happen to people in those crazy situations.

Damian Duffy and John Jennings
Image via the University of Illinois

[Small spoiler ahead.] Dana’s travel back to find Kevin was my favorite. On top of the story with Rufus, I was anxious about the two of them being reunited. It added a level of suspense on top of the mystery and horror of her situation that I thought made for a really compelling section of the story.

[Bigger spoiler alert ahead.] The ending of the book was a bit too rushed for my liking. After Dana returns from her last trip, things wrapped up almost too quickly. She seemed to move on from a very traumatizing situation very quickly and Kevin was supportive but I got a feeling he was also telling her to move on. We know that Alice is a relative because of a family bible but now she can’t find anything about her relatives. Their names are in the Bible so I felt that would have been the perfect place to start. I turned the last page expecting more and was a bit disappointed.

The illustrations were well done and helped me visualize the story well. The scenes of violence and abuse I found particularly moving and hard to look at because of their impact. I liked Dana’s depiction a lot and felt the way she was dressed was a great contrast to the 1800s which kept her from blending in and kept the focus on her.

It’s hard to comment on the adaptation without having read the original novel. A part of me still wants to read it (or listen to the audiobook). I know adaptations usually have to take out a lot of the story and I wonder how much I missed by reading the adaptation. I also wonder how much richer my idea of the Weylin plantation is because of the images.

Butler’s story brings the atrocities of slavery into a modern perspective. Instead of a historical fiction story where all characters have a mindset of the time, Kevin and Dana bring a more relatable perspective to the time and give opinions similar to those of the modern reader. Having a Black main character highlights those differences when Dana can compare the way she’s treated at work and by her husband with the way she’s treated the second she arrives in the 1800s. This story is powerful. The graphic novel adaptation really highlights the experience Dana is having. You can’t forget the bruises and scars she has when they’re in every frame.

Writer’s Takeaway: The profile of Butler in the book highlights that she wrote this book because she couldn’t find a science fiction book with a Black female main character. She wanted to be able to see herself in the main character. This is so reflective of the push now to have minority voices published more often. Butler took her own life experiences and poured them into a story that gives a powerful look at a time period that’s often written about. This also encourages me to continue to ‘write what I know.’ Butler’s familiarity with Dana shows and makes her very powerful.

An enjoyable story that I feel suffered slightly from being adapted. I’m not sure graphic novels are a format for me. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1800-1899 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:
Octavia Butler’s Kindred, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings | Intellectus Speculativus
Graphic Novel Review: Kindred | The Bookish Kirra
Kindred: A Graphic Novel | Great Stories Club, Book Discussion
Review: Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation | This Weblog is Unique. Just Like They All Are
Kindred the Graphic Novel: A Review | Nerds Color

WWW Wednesday, 27-January-2021

27 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 guess it’s a good thing that I got a lane quickly so I didn’t read a lot of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono on the pool deck this week. Still hovering in chapter 4.
I finally feel I’m making some progress with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’m taking some time in the morning to listen and do some light strength-building which is helping me move through this faster.
My reading buddy and I are flying through Octavia Butler’s Kindred by Damian Duffy and John Jennings. I’d be done by now if we weren’t stopping to discuss as often as we are. I expect this one to be wrapped up next week.
I’m waiting on my library hold and realized that it’s time to start my Spanish read of the year. This is my final owned book so I’ll have to do some shopping soon for a stockpile for the next few years. I decided on Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green. My reading level in Spanish is pretty well suited for YA so I’m optimistic this will be a good read for me.

Recently finished: I finished The Bear by Andrew Krivak late last week. It became a bit of a chore after the book took a turn I wasn’t a big fan of, but I’m glad I finished it. I think it will be an interesting book discussion and I’m curious to see what others thought of the ending and if I’m alone in my skepticism. I posted my review earlier in the week so please check that out to see all my thoughts. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I’m still waiting for my hold of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson. I’ve been talking to my husband about writing more often, hoping it will help me commit to carving out time for it and that he’ll help me push myself to do it, too. We can only hope.

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, 20-January-2021

20 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: Waiting for a lane at the pool seems to be my best reading time for Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. I got through another chapter. So I’m pushing forward, but still quite slowly.
I’ve made it halfway through Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I know I’ll finish it but I feel like I’ve been stuck forever. I’m enjoying the story, but at only halfway, I’m curious how the long and winding story can end.
I got to a point in  The Bear by Andrew Krivak that took me by surprise and slowed me down. It’s a twist I wasn’t ready for and I’m not sure how I feel about it. This isn’t a long book and I’ll probably finish it next week, but this is why it’s not done already.
My reading buddy and I started Octavia Butler’s Kindred by Damian Duffy and John Jennings and we’re speeding through it. Neither of us was ready for how fast a graphic novel would read and we’re meeting frequently to talk about it. I suspect this one will be over quite quickly.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week. I hope to have at least one here next week!

I posted my review of A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro on Monday. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars. Please check it out and let me now what you think!

Reading next: Let’s see if I can motivate myself to write again, shall we? I’m going to try reading Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson and see if that works. Sometimes, reading about writing is all I need to want to get back to writing.

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, 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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