Tag Archives: Robert Louis Stevenson

WWW Wednesday, 17-October-2018

17 Oct

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: It might be optimistic, but I think I can return to The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl soon! I’ve only got one more book standing in my way. The future is at hand!
Unsurprisingly, I’m still working through A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. I’m getting close now, only a normal-length audiobook to go!
I’m moving slowly through Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson but I think this will be faster than some of my other ebooks. It’s a lot shorter than I thought it would be, honestly. I double checked four times that I didn’t have the abridged version!
I began listening to A Night to Remember by Walker Lord on my phone. I love everything Titanic and I’m honestly surprised I didn’t have this on my radar earlier than I did. It’s a short one and I expect I’ll fly through it.
I began Not Me by Michael Lavigne on Friday. Not too far into it yet but I’ve had such a good run of print books that I’m optimistic that this one will go fast. too!

Recently finished: I finished two again! The first was The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz which was a phone audio. I was happy to wrap it up on my way home from school. It was a very satisfying ending for me and set up well for another one in the series! I gave it Four out of Five Stars and posted my review yesterday, check it out.
The second was Dark Matter by Blake Crouch which I flew through. I was skeptical for about the first 100 pages and then finished it in less than 24 hours. I’m yawning as I type this because I sacrificed a lot of sleep for this book. So worth it. A full Five out of Five Stars and my review will be up tomorrow.

I also posted my review of Artemis by Andy Weir last Friday. It wasn’t The Martian, but it was good. I’ll expect good things from Weir in the future. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: It seems too optimistic to think about finishing yet another book this week. If I do, it will probably be an eaudiobook and next will probably be That Night by Chevy Stevens. This book haunted me for a while before I found it on clearance when a Barnes and Nobel closed and decided to buy it. We’ll see how it goes.


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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WWW Wednesday, 10-October-2018

10 Oct

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 see The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl sitting on my bedside table every night. I want to finish it soon. Let’s see if I can.
I’m still in love with A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. The separate plots and characters are coming together now and it’s been so cool to see everything work together toward what I’m assuming will be an amazing ending. I don’t want this to end!
I made great progress with The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz this week and should finish it up really soon! I’m enjoying this as much as the original trilogy and I hope Lagercrantz keeps it going.
Since I finished Artemis, I was able to start Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I hope I can sprint through this one as quickly! I’m on a hot reading streak lately.
I working on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson as my ebook now. This will fulfill yet another time period for my When Are You Reading? Challenge which means I’m in the middle of three books to finish that off! Let’s just hope I can polish them off before the end of the year.

Recently finished: I wrapped up Bel Canto by Ann Patchett during lunch last week. The ending had me a little puddle of emotions that was not ready to jump into four straight interviews. I think the movie will make me cry. This will be a good one. My review went up yesterday so please go check that out!
I spent most of Saturday in bed resting and reading Artemis by Andy Weir. It was a quick read, much like The Martian and I enjoyed it. My review will be up tomorrow. It felt good to get through a book so fast!

I posted my review of The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert on Monday and them promptly went to my book club on the book that evening. Look for the book club reflection coming soon. It was an interesting book to put it lightly. To be honest, I really disliked it!

Reading Next: Another book club read to block me from reading Poe! I’ll be starting Not Me by Michael Lavigne next. I’m not sure how we came to select this one as there’s not much about it on our library site and it looks like it won’t be one I can audiobook. Darn.


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!

Book Review: Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan (2/5). Too long and poor audio.

18 Sep

If someone recommends a book to me, I feel required to read it. Double that if it’s a librarian. So when a librarian asked me if I’d read this title, and added on top of that how much she enjoyed the audio, this seemed like a no brainer. Well. I’ll be more selective of the books I decide to read now because I’ve gone through a string of not-very-good recommendations. (To clarify, that’s in-person recommendations. Book blog recommendations have yet to fail me.)

Book Cover image via Goodreads.com

Book Cover image via Goodreads.com

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

Fanny Osbourne has finally found it in her to run away from her cheating husband and go to Europe to pursue art. She’s taken her three children in tow and never expected to fall in love in France. No less with a man ten years younger than her. But she can’t run away from the charms of Robert Louis Stevenson. After ensuring a divorce from her husband, Sam, Fanny and Louis begin an adventurous life together, never settling down completely and keeping near to the water. Louis has bad lungs and being near the sea seems to make him better which leads them to settle down in Samoa. Finally able to work on some land she calls her own, Fanny’s mind starts to betray her and she finds herself paranoid and for once being the patient instead of the nurse.

I should have been more skeptical of this going in. I’ve read two other ‘famous wives’ books before this one, The Paris Wife and The Aviator’s Wife and I wasn’t a fan of either. By the time I realized this was another in that trend, I was so in need of a 1800-1889 book that I said ‘screw it’ and got a copy any way. I liked it enough at the beginning because Fanny is a strong woman and I thought she was a good protagonist. But about four disks in, I started feeling the slowness. Some audiobooks seem like they take longer than they do, the same as some books seem to be longer than they are. I thought this one would never end. I was also highly disappointed in the narrator, Kirsten Potter. Stevenson is Scottish and they spend a lot of time with a British friend, which should lend itself well to audio accents to distinguish character differences. However, Potter seemed to have some trouble when switching between characters with different accents. On occasions, Louis would speak with no accent that would slowly become British and then later be strongly Scottish and Fanny at times spoke with a Scottish accent. Instead of clarifying who was speaking, I found myself frequently more confused. I don’t tend to comment on audio often, even when I listened to the audiobook, but I was really disappointed in this one.

Fannny seemed a bit ahead of her time as far as woman’s rights are concerned, though that was explained away on a European influence. She was very head strong and went after the things she wanted, sometimes at the expense of those around her. Her pushing nature could be good, as in her divorce from Sam, but they could be punishing as well, in the example of planting the cocoa plants in Samoa. She’s the kind of person I’d like to work with, but wouldn’t want to be friends with. Until her mental illness, she seemed like a very real person I could know, so that’s a tribute to Horan’s writing.

Sam/Lloyd was my favorite character. He was gone from a good chunk of the novel, but when he came back, he played a rather large role in Fanny and Louis’s lives. I loved how he wanted Louis to mentor him and he became a very good help to his parents while they were sailing. Maybe I liked him best because he was a good brother to his older sister and that reminds me of my brother (not that I’m comparing myself to Belle!).

I found all of these characters to be very removed from myself. Their concerns and lifestyles were nothing like those I’m used to in 21st century Michigan. Your literary friends on the other side of the world are saying your wife is pushy? Can find good help these days in Samoa? The art school doesn’t accept women?!?! Yeah, not really my life now and I don’t see it ever becoming my life. It made it hard to get into this book.

Nancy Horan Image via Barnes & Noble website

Nancy Horan
Image via Barnes & Noble website

Belle and Fanny’s reunion was my favorite part of the book. It was good to see Belle realized she had become her mother. They had both made rash decisions when it came to men but realized they were stronger than that and could learn to do their own things. I was scared for Belle when she went off to Hawaii to be married and it was good to have her reappear in the book with a cutie pie little son.

I actually disliked most of this book. I think it was exceedingly long (14 disks on audio) and I never felt like I knew what the purpose was. I like in books when there is a defined journey and I don’t like the excuse of ‘life is a journey.’ Taking the Ring to Mordor is a journey; killing Lord Voldemort is a journey; establishing a new government system in Panem is a journey. Living with Robert Louis Stevenson is not a journey. You’re only done with it when you’re dead, not when you’ve accomplished something. I was bored.

Loyalty to family is the biggest theme I can think of for this book. Fanny was loyal to Louis when he was sick and when she had the chance to be reunited with Belle, Fanny did it in style. She included her good-for-noting husband even though he and Fanny did not get along. She let Lloyd follow his dream of being a writer and supported her children even when there wasn’t the money for it. Fanny was a loyal character and when she needed to rely on those around her, she could, because she’d taught them to be loyal.

Writer’s Takeaway: Stories need a journey. I feel that the novels I’m writing have a journey and when the journey’s done, I’ll end the story. Horan has a different take on this and it’s not for me. I couldn’t get into this book because I didn’t know what the characters were after, what they wanted to accomplish. I waited for them to die and that’s not an exciting story to me.

The poor audio doesn’t help my rating for this. Two out of Five stars.

This book fulfills 1880-1889 for my When Are You Reading? Challenge and Foreign Country: Samoa for the Where 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:
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan | booksaremyfavoriteandbest
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan, review | Book Drunkard
Audiobook Review: Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan | Writers’ Rumpus
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan {Book Review} | tempestbooks