Tag Archives: Say Nothing

WWW Wednesday, 3-March-2021

3 Mar

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 got through a few pages of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono so this is still moving, though at a snail’s pace.
On hold with Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green. Stand by.
I’ve been able to renew Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson so I’m not as stressed about finishing this one. I have a little bit of time that I can enjoy starting my Buddy Read soon!
I started a for-fun audiobook in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee but I had to put this on hold because I realized my next book club audio is 22 hours! I’m really enjoying this so far, just trying to meet the deadlines I have.
So I started The Overstory by Richard Powers. I hadn’t heard of this one before and all I really know going in is that it has a natural world bend and it’s super long. Here’s hoping I can finish it in time for the book club meeting!

Recently finished: I stayed up late to finish Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe before the file returned. Totally worth it. This was one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a while and I really enjoyed it. I wish I’d read this book before my husband and I visited Belfast in 2018. We decided not to do a Black Taxi tour because of our short time, opting for the Titanic Museum and the Giant’s Causeway instead. I’m wishing now we’d scheduled another day there to see more about the city’s history.

Reading next: I’ll be starting The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett soon. I think I need some fiction with so much non-fiction going on and I have a feeling I’ll fly through this one to our stopping points. It will be a nice change of pace and I’m looking forward to diving in.

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: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

2 Mar

I didn’t know how much I was going to enjoy this story until I was already engrossed in it. I visited Belfast in 2018, mostly to see the Titanic Museum. I didn’t know much about The Troubles. I knew about the IRA only from the parallels drawn between it and ETA, which I did my undergraduate thesis on. This research gave me the perspective that the IRA is a terrorist organization. But this book rarely uses that word. It’s more often referred to as a paramilitary group. I think that different perspective is what made this book so fascinating to me.

Cover via Amazon

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

Summary from Amazon:

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville’s children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress–with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.

Patrick Radden Keefe’s mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past–Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.

Some of this was so crazy that you wanted it to be fiction instead of a bitter true history. The murders and deaths were terrible and hearing about the dangers of daily life in Belfast during this time made me wonder why my mother didn’t stop me from visiting because of old headline fears. This book took decades worth of headlines and developments and told a story. While it starts and ends with Jean McConville, the story seems to spend a lot of time with Dolours Price. Price’s story is an extreme example of the IRA’s brutality but it highlighted much of the organization’s history without bringing in too many other people. I found it fascinating to hear about an armed struggle from the side I’d always been told was the enemy. I won’t say this changed my opinion of the IRA; more that it helped me understand why someone would be drawn to the other side.

Keefe did an amazing amount of research for this and it showed. Most of the major players in the story are now dead and his stories of and about them come from news articles and interviews that he poured over for years. Dolours and Brendan Hughes seemed more well rounded in the book than Dolours’s sister Marian or Gerry Adams. I wasn’t surprised to hear that the later are still alive.

I had a love/hate relationship with Price through the book. She had ideals I could never sympathize with and she went to lengths I would never consider. But I had to admire her determination. I think, directed in a different direction, she could have been famous for very different reasons. It’s a result of location that she turned into a bomber and criminal. I think she could have done great things if she’d directed her attentions and focus in other directions.

I think I was so intrigued by the people in this book because their lives were so different from mine. I’ve not had to deal with religious oppression, the driving force behind the IRA, or another form of surpression or opression that would have driven me to take a path similar to the IRA members highlighted in this book. I’ve never suffered political violence like the McConville family. It’s hard for me to fathom what it would have been like to be in their shoes. I think this is part of why I wish I knew this story better before visiting Belfast. I would have wanted to learn more about it and get a different feeling for a place that could give birth to the IRA.

Patrick Radden Keefe
Image via the author’s website

There were two parts of the story I found most interesting. The first was the 1970s, the hight of Dolours’s involvement in the IRA and a large part of the book. The activities undertaken and efforts of the group to gain political power were fascinating. The second was the Belfast Project. It’s amazing that the Boston College historians were able to get the interviews they did. I’m fascinated by the lack of legal protections the project provided and I’m a bit disappointed that the noble goal of the project fell apart so quickly. I’m interested to see who else did interviews and hope that as time passes, more information can come out of the project to provide peace of mind and closure to remaining victims.

For a long time, it didn’t seem like the stories in the book would come together. There was a long stretch in the middle when McConville wasn’t mentioned at all. It seemed like almost an afterthought to have added her kidnapping at the beginning and I wondered repeatedly how it would ever come together in the end. I was frustrated in the middle, waiting and waiting for things to be relevant again. While they eventually were, this was my only frustration with the book.

The audiobook was narrated by Matthew Blaney and the voice in my head took on his accent for hours after listening. I’m glad they got an Irish narrator for this book. It seemed a little out of place at the very end when Keefe mentions that he’s American born, but I think the book woul have lost a lot of it’s impact if the narrator had been American as well. Keefe’s Irish roots were what drew him to this story so it seems appropriate to have an Irish narrator.

It’s the memory of the IRA and what it did that stays with this book throughout. Dolours is warned once against speaking about what happened to McConville because she has children. It’s the McConville children who eventually identify their mother. The things that happened in the 70s still have strong impacts today. This is worth remembering for all major decisions made by a generation.

Writer’s Takeaway: Nonfiction is a fight I’m not sure I could win. The amount of research that’s evident in Keefe’s writing is amazing. It’s clear he poured over many primary sources, articles, and secondary histories that helped him weave this story. His ability to jump from person to person to tell a full story made this a joy to read and gave the reader a great perspective of the IRA as a whole and how it changed and eveolved. My hat is off to Keefe. I don’t think I would ever try to duplicate his amazing efforts.

This book was fascinating and a joy to read. A full Five out of Five Stars.

I’ve decided to give this book the 1980-1999 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge. It’s debatable, but it feels appropriate.

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: 
Patrick Radden Keefe, “Say Nothing” | Don’t Need a Diagram 
Book Review: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe | Karissa Reads Books 
Book Review: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe | What Kaitlyn Thinks 
Say Nothing: The True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe | Disco Demolition Night 

Challenge Update, February 2021

1 Mar

This month was a bit rough, but we’re coming through it with flying colors. And it’s even warm outside today! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in February:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

Two long audiobooks this time around. I’ve been slow in my physical reading. And I should be caught up with reviews by tomorrow!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

6/12
I’m on a roll here! Every book I’ve read this year has fulfilled a different time period. I know this luck can’t hold forever but I’m going to love it while I’m at it. The time periods I have left are a bit harder to land so I know this will slow down a bit but I’m in a good place to deal with it.

Goodreads Challenge

6/45
I’m a little bit behind here but I’m OK with this. I had some long audiobooks recently and a lot of non-fiction which tend to be slower reads for me. I’m about to get into some fiction that I think will flow a lot faster and it will be fun to see how soon I can catch up.

Book of the Month

Even with only two books, there was a clear winner. Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in ages. I can’t wait to talk to my book club about it and see what they thought. I think this will be a good discussion piece.

Added to my TBR

I’m down overall to 39, but I did add a book this month.

  • The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett. This is my next book with my reading buddy and I should be starting it soon. So many people have had good things to say that I’m stoked to get started and see if I agree.

How are your challenges going? I hope your year is starting off well. If you’re interested in the When Are You Reading? Challenge for 2021, I’m hosting again so you can click here to learn more and let me know if you want in.

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.

WWW Wednesday, 24-February-2021

24 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: I read about a chapter of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono while waiting at the pool. I think this is pretty steady progress so I’m happy with how this is going, even though it’s very slow.
On hold with Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green. Stand by.
I might not finish Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe before my hold is due. I’m trying my hardest, but time is working against me. I put a physical copy on reserve at my library in case I don’t finish in hopes I can wrap up the last few chapters in print before my book club meets.
I’m racing the clock on Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson as well. I hope I can finish this one before it’s due because I don’t think I can renew it.

Recently finished: I’m disappointed that there’s nothing here for a second week in a row. I’m just hoping I can break this trend next week.

Reading next: My reading buddy and I finally decided on our next book which will be The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett. We went back and forth with some lists and finally settled on this one. I know almost nothing about it except that it’s gotten amazing reviews and I’m excited to discover why.

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, 17-February-2021

17 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: I got into the pool quickly this week so almost no progress on Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. Maybe I’ll have some ‘better luck’ in this next week.
Still nothing with Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green since I have it on hold. I’m sure I’ll get back to it soon.
I’m loving Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. I find every excuse to put it on and listen because I find it fascinating hearing about the political force of the IRA. I’d always been told it was a terrorist group but it’s clear the soldiers for the IRA would be infuriated to hear this.
I’m eager to get through Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson before it’s due to the library. I hope I can find enough time to get through it!

Recently finished: Nothing new finished this week. I was at the beginning of a lot of books last week so no real surprise.

Reading next: I’ll have to make some decisions next week about what to put here, but I’m going to hold off one more week. I think book club selections may come up soon so I may have to adjust.

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, 10-February-2021

10 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: Waiting for a lane at the pool is a thing again. So I’ve made decent progress with Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono this week. I’m starting to swim a little more so I hope I can keep this up. I’m about 1/4 done.
I’m paused with Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green while I work through some library holds, but I’ll be coming back to it soon!
I started Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe on audio and I’m loving it! I wish I’d read this before I visited Belfast in 2019 because I think it would have given me a lot more insight into the city (my focus was the Titanic museum and we didn’t have time for a Black Cab tour). This is for book club and I’ve got my fingers crossed that I finish it in time.
I got my hold of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson and I’m optimistic I’ll finish it before I have to return it in early March. The Dummies books tend to be pretty fast reads for me. I’m hoping this can help me get writing again, too. Or at least submitting.

Recently finished: I finished up Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie late last week and was able to post my review yesterday. I’ll have a delayed book club reflection up tomorrow. Please go check out my review and let me know what you think! I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading next: Nothing right now. I’m so early in all my books that it seems a bit to early to think ahead. I just hope I can finish them all in a timely manner. I do need a new Buddy Read if anyone has suggestions for that.

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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