Tag Archives: Out Stealing Horses

WWW Wednesday, 11-November-2015

11 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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?


Animal FarmCurrently reading:  I’ve had the chance to read a little bit of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell during lunch once or twice this week. It’s keeping me moving forward, but I’m still not engrossed enough to power through to the end. Hopefully, that will come soon.
Nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.
I’ve decided ‘engrossing’ is a good word for how I feel about The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. She’s such a talented writer and I’m always itching to listen to more.
Nothing with Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen but it looks so tempting on my bedside!
I hope to finish Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner very soon. I’m completely engrossed in the characters, but my finals this weekend are taking up a lot of time! I’d love to say I’ll have more time after that, but then I’m doing the second half of NaNo. I can’t wait for December when my world calms down!
I’m slowly getting into Animal Farm by George Orwell. I was stuck on the introduction for a long time and the story is just starting to pick up.

Recently finished: I’m so sad to say I didn’t finish anything this week! I’m ashamed now, but I’m hoping this number goes up a lot when school is over!

On the bright side, I did post one book review this week. Please go and check out my review of Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses which I gave 3 Stars.

Station ElevenReading Next: My book club met on Monday and we’ve got our next book. I’ll be reading Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and I’m really excited about it! Station Eleven was chosen as the Great Michigan Read for 2015-2016 so there will be a lot of discussions and events focused on this book. Get ready for a flood of posts on it!


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!

Advertisements

Book Review: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (3/5)

5 Nov

For those of you who have been around for a while, you might remember me referencing this awesome page-a-day book calendar I had. It was awesome. Every day had a new book recommended to me along with a plot summary and a sentence or two about the author. I added a ton of books to my TBR with this calendar (24) and I’m slowly getting through them with eight to go. Only one of the 16 I’ve read so far had a 2-Star rating and none have gotten a 1. This was a solid group of books and I can say with confidence that Out Stealing Horses was a good recommendation from the calendar.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (translated by Anne Born)

Summary from Goodreads:

Trond’s friend Jon often appeared at his doorstep with an adventure in mind for the two of them. But this morning was different. What began as a joy ride on “borrowed” horses ends with Jon falling into a strange trance of grief. Trond soon learns what befell Jon earlier that day–an incident that marks the beginning of a series of vital losses for both boys.

Set in the easternmost region of Norway, Out Stealing Horses begins with an ending. Sixty-seven-year-old Trond has settled into a rustic cabin in an isolated area to live the rest of his life with a quiet deliberation. A meeting with his only neighbor, however, forces him to reflect on that fateful summer.

This was a very character-driven book and for me, that worked against it. I like books that have a bit more action than this one. There were parts packed with action, like a bridge exploding and a boy being killed, but these things were not central to the plot. The journey was Trond realizing the nature of his relationship with his father and becoming a man. I might have rated it lower if it weren’t for the writing. It was absolutely beautiful. There were passages I stopped and re-read because they were so powerful that I needed to re-experience them. I even read some aloud to my husband, which is unusual for me. I might have missed the big ‘moment’ in this book because I read it in two chunks with another book in between, but it didn’t ‘wow’ me as much as I’d hope it would.

Trond was a wonderful character. I loved his hopefulness as a child and his resilience to the bad things going on around him. He was aware of his changes, but still unfamiliar with what was happening to him and I thought that worked well. He was trying to figure out what was going on around him with only part of the puzzle and I liked the things he pointed out and I felt they were realistic observations and conclusions for someone in his situation. Older Trond was as likable and in many ways, was just as young as his boyhood self. He had an incredible amount of strength and endurance for a retired man (maybe men are just better in Norway) and I found his reclusiveness endearing.

Lars was my favorite character. I thought his emotional journey from a boy to older man was fascinating. I can’t imagine living with the guilt of what Lars had done. When he finally told his story to Trond in the end, I was touched. I understood his jealousy and anger and how misplaced it must have felt. I thought he was a very complex character and I enjoyed his role in the story.

Ther are times when I want to be alone, like Trond. I want to focus on the things that are important to me and enjoy what I’m doing, even if it’s hard work. I envied his life in the cabin from time to time, especially when picking this book up after a long day in the office. I’m not sure I could stand such an extreme loneliness as Trond subjected himself to, but it seems appealing from time to time! My parents have a cabin and I was reminded of it frequently when Trond spoke about his home. It made me want to visit.

Per Petterson Image via the NY Times

Per Petterson
Image via the NY Times

I liked the scenes in Trond’s youth when he’s learning about his father and Jon’s family. The relationship between Trond, his father, and Jon’s mother kept me reading because I was so confused by it all! I couldn’t imagine how Jon’s father felt the whole time and when Lars explained what happened with his father, it made sense to me. I loved this plotline and how it was interwoven with Trond’s story.

I struggled to understand what Trond’s father was doing. I understood some of it, as far as smuggling people and goods across the border during wartime, but didn’t understand why he had to be away from home and in hiding when Jon’s mother didn’t. It seemed to me that they were equally culpable in whatever it was that he needed to hide from. I believe that I understood ‘out stealing horses’ was their code for taking something across the border, but I might have imagined that to give the title more meaning.

 

To me, this was a classic coming of age tale and reminded me a lot of Richard Ford’s Canada which I read last summer. Both deal with a boy finding his way in the world without a good father figure to carve a path or, in the case of Trond, with one carving a path but disappearing before everything was set in his mind. I think Trond needed his father to be around a bit longer to grow up properly and that his desire to be alone comes from not learning how to love from his father (am I getting deep or what?). I think that, in his mind, Trond needed his father to tell him it wasn’t his fault Jon’s father broke his leg and that there was nothing romantic between Jon’s mother and him and that the way he felt about Jon’s mother was normal. Trond didn’t get the affirmation he needed from his dad.

Writer’s Takeaway: As I’ve said, the writing in this book made up for my lack of enjoyment in the plot. I loved how Petterson would take a moment in the novel to say something about humankind that was so deep and profound that it almost took you out of the story. There are some universal truths that are worth interrupting the narrative to point out. This was a favorite:

People like it when you tell them things, in suitable portions, in a modest, intimate tone, and they think they know you, but they do not, they know about you, for what they are let in on are facts, not feelings, not what your opinion is about anything at all, not how what has happened to you and how all the decisions you have made have turned you into who you are. What they do is they fill in with their own feelings and opinions and assumptions, and they compose a new life which has precious little to do with ours, and that lets you off the hook. No-one can touch you unless you yourself want them to. You only have to be polite and smile and keep paranoid thoughts at bay, because they will talk about you no matter how much you squirm, it is inevitable, and you would do the same thing yourself.
Pages 67-68

Amen!

Beautiful writing but a slow plot for my liking. Three out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

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

Related Posts:
Per Petterson ~ Out Stealing Horses | Peninsula Arts Reading Group
Out Stealing Horses – Per Peterson | Book to the Future
Read This: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson | Kendall Goodwin
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson | Robert Earle

Challenge Update, October 2015

2 Nov

I feel like I read a lot in October. I get through a lot of audiobooks when I road-trip and I had a solo trip and some longer car rides to get through audio plus having some determination to get through some physical books. You can decide how I’ve done. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in October:

Everything I Never Told You // Celeste Ng (actually finished in September, oops)  3
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running // Haruki Murakami 4
The Samurai’s Garden // Gail Tsukiyama 3
Made in America // Bill Bryson 3
Out Stealing Horses // Per Petterson 3

And I’m doing pretty well on reviews! Out Stealing Horses will be out this week.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

13/13
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. My timeline will track all of my books and show which time period they fall into, but it’s a little behind on the updates.
Challenge Completed!

Goodreads Challenge

48/50

I will finish this next month, I’m so determined! I think 50 was a good number for me this year. With school, I’m not able to read as much and it felt like I still accomplished something great with this number. I’m 8 books ahead of schedule now so I’m getting farther and farther ahead of pace.

Book of the Month

Out Stealing HorsesMaybe it’s because it’s fresh in my mind, but I’d have to say Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. The writing was beautiful and there were passages I had to underline and read twice because they were so beautiful.

Added to my TBR

I missed one book for September which was A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. But this month, the list exploded. I blame going to a bookstore.

  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (She’s coming to our area on a book tour and this selection will be read in my book club)
  • Dreams of Joy by Lisa See (see (ha!) above note)
  • The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel (She’s the Great Michigan Reads author for this year so will be doing a tour. I didn’t know she had other titles out!)
  • The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (Found a hardcover on clearance for $6 at Meijer so I had to.)
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (I’m going to have to read this eventually.)
  • The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (I’m super curious to see what someone else did with this series!)
  • Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle (My husband told me about another YA 1920s book, so I had to.)

So I’m still under 150, but just by a nose at 144. I’m trying to keep it down.

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re doing better than me! 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!

WWW Wednesday, 28-October-2015

28 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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?


AnneFrankCurrently reading:  I’ve had enough long waits at doctor’s offices this past week to make some progress with  Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I’m at about 60% or so and I’ll make my way to the end soon enough.
No progress with  I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.  It’s coming…
I’m getting close to the end of  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I’m enjoying it a lot. Bradbury makes for good fall reading. Even though he’s not writing horror, his books have a creepy vibe to them that goes well with Halloween.
I started the audiobook for The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank late last week. The play stuck really close to the transcript so there haven’t been a lot of surprises yet and I don’t think there will be a ton. I’m blown away by how insightful Anne is and how well-written her diary is. It’s such a testament to how writing is less of an art these days.
I’ve only got through the very beginning of Sense and Sensibility by Jane AustenI hope to get back to reading this seriously around Christmas.
My book club met Monday night and we’re picking up Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner for our next meeting. We’ve read Stegner’s book The Angle of Repose a few years ago and really enjoyed it so this one should be fun!

Made in AmericaRecently finished: I finished Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson on Thursday. I should know better than to do non-fiction in audio because it’s hard to get into it when it’s read aloud. I gave the book 3 out of 5 stars.
Saturday morning I refused to get out of bed until I’d finished Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. I was hoping for a bigger ending, but I was still happy with how it ended. The writing was beautiful even if I felt the plot was a bit slow for my taste. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars as well.

Two book reviews in this past week. I’ve been keeping up well! The first was What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. I gave the book 4 our of 5 stars.
The second was The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. I had mixed feelings on that one and gave it 3 out of 5 stars.

SlaughterhouseReading Next: I’m still planning on Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut being my next audiobook. I don’t have a lot of plans besides that because of how many books I’m starting into. Stay tuned for sudden changes in plans.


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, 21-October-2015

21 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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?


CloudAtlasCurrently reading:  Not much with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell this week. Unless it gets really interesting really quickly, I’m not sure I’ll finish it this year.
Still nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.  I’ve got to get through Cloud Atlas first. Yikes.
Steady progress Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. The writing in this book is really great and I’m excited I’m finally finding the time to read it.
I’m super close to finishing Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson. I’ve made a few longer car trips this month which helped me get through it. I’m wondering if Bryson’s other books are like this. I have A Walk In the Woods on my shelf and I hope it’s a little different as a memoir than this non-fiction.
Steady progress on  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.I’m about half-way through and I don’t remember much of the story at all. This all feels really new to me so it’s exciting to see what happens next still.

SamuraiRecently finished: I finished  The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama on Friday. I liked the ending and found it fitting, but it still felt very open-ended. This will be an interesting book club discussion.

Just one book review this past week and I think a lot of you already checked it out. Please take a look at my review of Robert Galbraith’s (J.K. Rowling’s) The Silkworm. I gave it Four out of Five stars and really enjoyed the story. I’m glad she’s started a mystery series!

AnneFrankReading Next: I hope to start Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut pretty soon as I’m getting close on 451. It’s a good time for classics.
Even more classics, I should have time to start Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen before my next book club selection. I might have to stretch this one out a bit to fit in those other books, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
The next audiobook for my car is going to be The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read this one. I’ve seen the play, but never read the book in school or had another reason to pick it up. I’ve been admonished enough and I’m excited to read the word’s right from Anne’s hands.


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, 14-October-2015

14 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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?


451Currently reading:  I’ve made a bit of progress on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell but I’m stuck in the middle of the book, in the Hawaii section, and so overly uninterested that it’s a struggle to keep going. I’ll keep making my way as best I can.
No progress on I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Stand by.
I’m getting close to finishing The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama. I might even finish it today I’m so close!
I’m going to jump on Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson as soon as I finish Samurai. I’m excited to get back into it.
I made major progress with Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson while driving to and from Indiana for a conference this weekend. I’d like to think my progress with this book makes up for my lack of progress with Samauri and Cloud Atlas but I’m not sure it works that way.
I began a new audiobook for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury on Sunday. I was going to read my physical copy of this book, but listening to the audio will give me more time to get through some other physical books I’ve been slacking on. So far the narrator’s really good and I’m enjoying Bradbury again.

Talk About RunningRecently finished: I finished up the last twenty minutes What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami as I drove to Indiana. I liked this one and related to Murakami as a writer and athlete. I especially liked when he talked about triathlons! Yes, major geek moments for me.

And two book reviews for you all this week! Please check out my reviews of Bird Box by Josh Malerman (5 stars) and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (3 Stars). I know a lot of you had been asking me what I thought of these so let me know if you agree, disagree, now hate me, etc. I’m about caught up on reviews and there will be one more tomorrow!

SenseReading Next: For an audiobook on my phone, I still plan to pick up Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Yes, I’m pushing this back a little bit, but I do want to get to it.
I’ve been meaning to read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen for ages. I have a really cool copy of the book that shows you where to fold the pages to make book-art out of it to spell out Love. That proably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’ll be sure to post pictures when I finish.


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, 7-October-2015

7 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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?


Made in AmericaCurrently reading:  I’ve been picking at Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It’s renewed again and I’ll keep working on it, but I’m still not engaged. I think I’m close to this magical event in the middle that everyone says will blow my mind, but I’m not there yet. I hope it happens?
I don’t even have I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai checked out anymore. I should probably take it off this list.
I’m working my way through The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama. I’m about a third of the way through it and I’m enjoying it so far. It was a bit slow to start but has a good pace now.
I haven’t read any of Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson this week, but I hope to pick it up for a bit after I finish ‘Samurai’s Garden.’
I wanted a new audiobook for my car so I went to the library and got Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson. I wanted to read this one to see what I could learn about English in the 1920s when my book is set. So far I’m in pre-Revolutionary America and I’m finding myself zoning out a lot. Not good! Maybe I’ll be more interested when we get to the 20th Century.
I also started a new phone audiobook, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. As a runner (or would be runner, darn tendonitis) and writer, I was intrigued by this book. Murakami’s really cocky but has some great insight and I’m enjoying this so far. It’s short, a little over 4 hours, so I hope to get through it quickly.

Never ToldRecently finished: I finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng late last week. Parts of the ending were satisfying, parts were disappointing. It raised my expectations for my Ford Audiobook Club selections to be sure. 3 out of 5 stars and a review coming next week.

One book review this week again, The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. I liked this book though it’s not my favorite of her Tudor series. Let me know what you think.

SlaughterhouseReading Next: I’m still planning on picking up Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury next week. I’ll read some of Out Stealing Horses in the meantime, but this is next as a physical book.
For an audiobook on my phone, I’ll probably pick up Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve never read this classic and it feels wrong to me.


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, 30-September-2015

30 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading 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?


SamuraiCurrently reading:  At least I can say I read some of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell this week though it’s embarrassingly little. It’s honestly stalled for me and I’m having trouble being engaged.
I guess you can figure out I didn’t read any of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. To be continued…
I picked up with Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng again. I’ll get through it soon, I’m enjoying the story.
I picked up The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama for my book club on Tuesday night. I’m looking forward to reading this one as another woman from our club has enjoyed it.
I needed a new ‘in between book,’ one I pick up in between reading book club books. I grabbed Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson from my shelf, one I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I hope it’s good!

Bird BoxRecently finished: Two finished! One physical and one audio. I got through Bird Box by Josh Malerman on Friday. I was waiting for my husband at our campsite for our bike event and I couldn’t put it down! A full 5 out of 5.
I also finished The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith on Monday. I liked the story, but I felt like I wasn’t given enough information to try to figure out the killer by myself. Oh well.

One book review this last week. It was The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. Please let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought.

451Reading Next: Well, it’s time for the next book club selection! We’re going with a classic this time and I’ll be picking up Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I read this my Sophomore year of high school and don’t remember much so it will be fun to pick it up again as an adult and see what I think.


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!