Tag Archives: Paul Jury

WWW Wednesday, 18-January-2017

18 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!

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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.


statesofconfusionCurrently reading: I only have three disks left in World Without End by Ken Follett. The audiobook is so big it will be nice to have it out of my car soon, haha. Yay for progress!
Not too much with The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge this week. I had some irregular lunches and not a lot of time waiting at the doctor this week. It’s going pretty fast, though, and I think I’ll wrap it up in the next month or two.
I didn’t listen to South of Broad by Pat Conroy during my long run this weekend. I needed to concentrate on my breathing in the cold weather so I missed out on about an hour of that. Ah well. I need to finish it up in the next couple weeks for my book club meeting but that should be no problem.
I’m back into Misterio de la Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie though it’s slow going. I usually take longer to get through my Spanish books so it’s expected. I hope to wrap up soon-ish.
Again, nothing with Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. We’re going on a road trip next month and to be honest, that might be the next time I listen to it at all.

Recently finished: I finished up States of Confusion by Paul Jury pretty quickly. It was a fun memoir, but not my favorite. My review for it went up on Monday if you want to check that out. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.

I also finished my review for Trap by Robert K. Tanenbaum. It was not a genre I enjoyed, but it was still a fast read. I gave it Three out of Five Stars as well.

Hanging OutReading Next: The plan is still to read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. It’s tempting to put Christie aside and start this, but I’m going to wait it out and try to shrink my Currently Reading list just a bit.

Shameless Plug: If you’re still looking for reading challenges in 2017, take a look at my historical fiction reading challenge, When Are You Reading? Let me know you’re interested and I’ll add you to the participant list. I had 13 people participate last year and I’d love to have a bigger group this year!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

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

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Book Review: States of Confusion by Paul Jury (3/5)

16 Jan

I saw a YouTube video right around the time I started this blog that made me laugh (see link below). It made me decide I wanted to read the creator’s book about his journey around the US. Over three years and one interlibrary loan later, I got my hands on a copy and read through it pretty fast.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

States of Confusion: My 19,000 Mile Detour to Find Direction by Paul Jury

Summary from Goodreads:

Rather than deal with the problems he was facing as a recent college grad, Paul Jury decided to leave them in his rearview mirror. He might not have known the direction his life was headed, but he knew the route he was taking to hit all forty-eight contiguous states on one epic road trip. Filled with plenty of adventure and the unforeseen obstacle (or twelve), this book puts you in shotgun to see where the road takes Paul. All he knows–after crashing on the beer-soaked couch of his younger brother’s frat–is that there’s no going back. Paul Jury graduated from Northwestern University and headed on a road trip before finally getting a gig as a writer in LA.

When I put this book on my TBR, it would have been beyond perfect for me. I had just changed jobs and was entertaining the idea of going back to grad school. I was newly married to my amazing husband and slumming it on a bad apartment while we waited for him to finish his student teaching and for me to recover from a bad job. That’s the frame of mind to be in when reading this book. I tried to reflect on that lost feeling I had at that time when I wasn’t sure where I was going but was content to be on the road there. That’s how Paul must have felt. The jobs he had were OK but not right and he wasn’t sure he was in the right place, to begin with. This is a good book for someone just past a major change in their life, be in ending college, a relationship, or a job. It’s not a travel book. Right now, in 2017, that was what I was looking for and it came up short. I wanted to hear more about the things Paul saw in this 19,000-mile drive and a bit less about his debate to be a writer or not. I appreciated the bits about training for a marathon and living off PB&J but I wanted to hear more about the 4 Corners and surfing in LA. It just wasn’t exactly what I wanted today.

I wasn’t sure what to think of Paul. He was a fraternity guy and seemed to hit a lot of those stereotypes but he also seemed like a bit of a free spirit, which is a very different visual in my mind. I couldn’t tell how much of his personality was what he wanted me to think of him (putting on a face) and how much was credible and real to life. The same goes for Sarah. Because Paul was alone so often, it was hard to judge him based on his interactions with people. A lot of what we get from him is internal dialogue. It makes it hard to figure him out.

I think I’m Sarah. I was someone looking to settle down after school and I thought I had a plan. I got a ‘practical’ degree and had a job lined up when I graduated (in which I lasted six months). I couldn’t understand how Paul was OK with having so little direction and so much uncertainty in his life. Even at the end, when he ‘knows’ where he wants to go, there’s a lot he doesn’t know ahead of him. I related to Sarah who wanted to follow her plan and was frustrated when Paul wanted to deviate. As Paul says there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s who I am and not who he is.

I felt bad for his mom the whole book. She was obviously worried about him but trying to be supportive which was a tough combination. Paul was doing something crazy but admirable at the same time. It would scare me not to know where my (theoretical) son was and know he was in such an unreliable vehicle (or two).

Paul Jury Image via Tutor Profiles

Paul Jury
Image via Tutor Profiles

I liked Paul’s journey around the northwest. I’m trying to find a time this summer to explore that area and it was great to hear him speaking so reverently about the scenery in that part of the country. I will, however, try to make it all the way to Seattle. I’m dying to go and check it out.

I felt a lot of the people Paul visited didn’t add much to the book. I would have liked to either see them play a larger part in his story and be flushed out more or ignored completely to let the story come through better. It felt like name dropping but the names didn’t matter to me.

 

There are many ‘finding myself’ stories out there and this is an admirable one. Paul set a stiff goal for himself when he said he’d see 48 states in 48 days and sometimes he was reckless to make that goal. I see that in a lot of searching novels. Driving 19,000 miles would give one plenty of time to explore anything that got stuck in your head. The same as seeing Italy and Bali or hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. Everyone will go about it in a different way. I think the idea of a journey helps people along the road and being a writer helps even more. I don’t think it always makes for a good read and unfortunately, that’s where this fell short for me. A journey has stops along the way and for me, Paul didn’t take much from his stops and that made it hard to see the journey as part of him finding himself. He seemed to use the quiet time between places to find himself. He could have meditated or gone for walks to do the same thing. It lacked some meaning to me.

Writer’s Takeaway:  This book is a good study for someone thinking of writing a memoir. Sometimes you need to wait. I think Paul could have taken a lot from his trip but he needed hindsight to see the growth it brought him and see how his journey helped him end up where he needed to be. It seems like this book was primarily written from the blog posts Paul composed along the way and I think they needed a bit more reflecting to give the book the ‘growth’ quality it was going for. Paul’s decisions at the end seemed a bit out of left field. I think he saw them coming, but the reader did not.

Enjoyable to be sure, but not life changing. The images of Indiana and Illinois were switched in my copy. 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!

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WWW Wednesday, 11-January-2017

11 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!

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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.


statesofconfusionCurrently reading: I’ve made a bit of progress with World Without End by Ken Follett this week. I try to turn it on whenever possible in my car so I can keep listening to it. I’m loving it and I’ll be sad and happy when it ends.
I got to read The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge during lunch twice since last week. I’m at about 60% of this book and I hope to push through and finish it soon.
My friends and I are competing in a year-long running challenge and I’ve been very motivated to listen to South of Broad by Pat Conroy during my runs. I’m finally over half way and I think I’ll just finish before my book club at the end of the month.
I made decent progress with Misterio de la Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie but set it aside because I have a new book! (see below)
No progress with Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs this week. My husband and I are very busy now in the beginning of the year. I’m not sure when we’ll get back to this one so it might be on here a while.
My Interlibrary Loan came in! I was able to get through a lot of States of Confusion by Paul Jury over the weekend and I read a bit more since the week started up. It’s a quick read so I’m hoping to finish this one soon.

Recently finished: With that huge list of current reads, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise I didn’t finish a single book! I keep picking up and putting down titles and starting on super long ones, it’s no wonder. I hope to add a few here soon!

I’ve gotten two reviews up since last week! The first is Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. I really enjoyed this book and will have a report up about my book club’s discussion of it soon. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
The second review is for The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston which I put up yesterday. This book was a fun adventure through the 1920s, my favorite era. I gave it a full 5 out of 5 stars.

Hanging OutReading Next: My class this semester will conflict with my book club meetings so, until May, I’m reading my own book list! I’ve been meaning to get to Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? I know it’s been on this list a few times but I really REALLY mean to read it soon.

Shameless Plug: If you’re still looking for reading challenges in 2017, take a look at my historical fiction reading challenge, When Are You Reading? Let me know you’re interested and I’ll add you to the participant list. I had 13 people participate last year and I’d love to have a bigger group this year!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

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

WWW Wednesday, 4-January-2017

4 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!

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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.


libraryCurrently reading: I wasn’t able to make much progress with World Without End by Ken Follett during the holiday break. I didn’t drive anywhere alone and didn’t feel like forcing my husband to listen in so I didn’t make much progress. I’ll press on, though! It’s still really enjoyable.
Also not much with The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge. It’s still enjoyable and I’m moving through it at a moderate pace, but it will still be a while.
I had a cold over the weekend so all of my plans of listening to South of Broad by Pat Conroy and enjoying some long runs were dashed and replaced by me cooped up in bed. Sigh.
I was able to start Misterio de la Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie as my Spanish-language read of the year. I hope I can move through this one quickly but my Spanish books always take longer because of the brain power they devour.
My husband and I started an audiobook together while we were driving to Ohio and back. We picked Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs, the third and final book of the Peculiar Children trilogy. We both enjoyed the first book but were not big fans of the second. We’re a bit skeptical about this one and we keep trying to pick out if there’s a traitor. It’s fun trying to be one step ahead of everyone.

trapRecently finished: I flew through The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston. It was a much shorter read than it at first appeared because so much of the story was told through pictures. I would compare it to a graphic novel in that respect. The story was a bit bare boned but it was really enjoyable and I would recommend it highly.
I picked up a book I didn’t intend to this week. My brother’s girlfriend got us all books for Christmas and I finished Frankie Pratt sooner than expected so I picked up my gift, Trap by Robert K. Tanenbaum. It wasn’t my usual genre but I read it quickly. I’ll say that’s partly due to interest and partly due to being sick and unable to get out of bed or off the couch much.

statesofconfusionReading Next: I’m still waiting for States of Confusion by Paul Jury to come in from the library. I’m not sure how long ILLs take so this might be here for a while.

Shameless Plug: If you’re still looking for reading challenges in 2017, take a look at my historical fiction reading challenge, When Are You Reading? Let me know you’re interested and I’ll add you to the participant list. I had 13 people participate last year and I’d love to have a bigger group this year!


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, 28-December-2016

28 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!

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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.


frankieprattCurrently reading: It’s going slower but I’m making my way through World Without End by Ken Follett. The case holding the audiobook is huge! I feel bad for anyone who tries to sit in my passenger seat for the next month or so. I’m really glad to be finishing this one.
Two days of lunch-reading The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge as given me moderate progress. I wasn’t expecting the narration to change between shipmates and I can’t decide if I like it yet.
I’m enjoying  South of Broad by Pat Conroy a lot. It’s making me look forward to my runs, actually. The narrator is excellent which really helps.
While I waited for my ILL to come in, I picked up another ‘available at the library’ book off my list, which is The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time because of the images of the 1920s and its unusual format.

onceuponRecently finished: I finished Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell on Friday. The ending was a bit of a let down after the amazing book but it was still enjoyable. I’m thinking of reading more by this author because I enjoyed the main character, Margo, so much.

Only one book review since last week which is Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. I really enjoyed Maass’s book and I thought his suggestions were great because they can apply to so many different genres. I’m still planning on going through the workbook one of these days. I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars.

Hanging OutReading Next: I have a loan request out for States of Confusion by Paul Jury but I’m not sure how long that will take to come in. If I finish Frankie Pratt before the end of the year, I’ll pick up Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling from my shelf. If I finish after the new year, I’ll start my customary ‘book in Spanish’ for the year which will be Misterio de la Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie, a Poirot mystery. It would be my first Christie book.


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-December-2016

21 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.


southofbroadCurrently reading: I have good news about World Without End by Ken Follett. I lost my eaudio hold on it (sad face) BUT it turns out my library has an unabridged copy on CD! I swear when I looked before it was only an abridged copy but I asked and was pointed to an unabridged version. I’ll continue with it on CD but it will take a bit longer to finish this way.
Minimal progress on The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge, mostly during my lunch breaks once or twice per week. The good thing is that this is a shorter book so it won’t take long to finish it even at my slow pace.
I’m still in love with Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell and I wanted to have it finished before now. I’m hoping I won’t drag it out longer than next week.
I needed a new eaudiobook so I started  South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Despite its length, it seems short compared to World Without End because it’s half the length!

Recently finished: Nothing finished this week. (Insert sad face here.)

However, I got a few reviews up. The first was for The Tempest by William Shakespeare which I posted on Monday. I think I need to see the play live to really appreciate and understand it. The audiobook was a little much to follow. 3 out of 5 Stars.
The second was Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove which I posted yesterday. The book felt very dated to me and it was hard to think how Grove’s advice would apply to me. 2 out of 5 Stars.

statesofconfusionReading Next: Gosh, I really don’t know. I guess it’s time to turn to another library book which would leave me with States of Confusion by Paul Jury. I saw a funny video Jury made about his travels that got me interested in this book. It requires an interlibrary loan so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it comes in. If it takes some time, I’m sure I can grab something off my shelf to fill the time.


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!