Tag Archives: The Bear

Book Club Reflection: The Bear by Andrew Krivak

22 Feb

My book club met recently to read a book I was not a fan of, The Bear by Andrew Krivak. Krivak was a National Book Award finalist for another book, The Sojourn, and is working on another book. One of our readers did a book club for his other book and Krivak joined the discussion! She said he was very nice and spoke about his time as a Jesuit. He’s published a memoir about his eight years in the Jesuit order called The Long Retreat. We could see some contemplative reflections in this book that many felt were in line with a monk’s life. Krivak has said he made up a story for his children about a talking bear and that inspired the bear in this novel. He also said he was inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s The Road which another reader had guessed before our leader volunteered this information.

Our group had divided opinions on this book. Some loved it, a few (like me) hated it, and many were in the middle. Those of us who didn’t know it was going to be a fable were more on the ‘dislike’ side. A few readers had found the audiobook version and opinions there were split between love and hate as well.

The setting was never made very clear. Some felt it was Colorado while others thought Appalachia was more likely. Readers not knowing a lot about what was happening was reflective of the characters not knowing a lot, either. They had such minimal contact with other humans that there was a lot unspoken and unknown in their world. This book was described as a ‘quiet survivalist’ story. It was harrowing because of the girl’s personal struggle, but there wasn’t a community or society that was falling apart.

We thought the book would have been different if the child had been a boy and not a girl. We couldn’t exactly articulate what, but the ways the girl seemed to want to understand her late mother seemed to call on gender lines and wanting to be more like another woman. However, it the world started with Adam, maybe it was fitting that it should end with Eve. We found it odd that the father was so careful in everything he did and all the preparations that he made. Yet he was so reckless when exploring the old house. It was the only time he was impulsive and it spelled his ending. The bear was like her father once he showed up. In one of the girl’s dreams, she thinks she sees her dad but it ends up being the bear. We wondered if the bear was part of her grieving process for her dad’s death.

The book focused on re-establishing a connection with nature. Man is an animal, like all others in nature. However, many of us felt that paying attention to the trees and nature doesn’t have to mean talking to them, and this went a bit far. It was more about learning from nature and how to survive from the animals that do it already.

I was glad to meet up with this group, even if I didn’t like the book very much. It’s always great to talk to other book lovers. Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, 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.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

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.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Book Review: The Bear by Andrew Krivak (3/5)

26 Jan

This is yet another book club selection that I successfully avoided descriptions of before starting. Based on the cover, I’d assumed it would have to do with stars and Ursa Major or Ursa Minor. While it came up briefly, I was totally off base. I’m not sure if I would have preferred that, though.

Cover image via Amazon

The Bear by Andrew Krivak

Summary from Amazon:

In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. But when the girl finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen.

I was kind of excited about the Endenic setting and the survival aspect of the book. There are things that the girl and her father have inherited from our era like books and windows. However, most of what they have is made or found and they are very reliant on themselves and their skills. Knowledge has been passed down and that’s critical for their survival. Without bows and hunting skills or the ability to smoke and preserve meat, there’s no way they’d live. I was fascinated by the knowledge that the girl inherited. I think this is part of what I enjoyed in the first half of the book. Once the title Bear came into the story, I really lost my interest and the entire second half of the book was a bit of a chore for me.

The girl and her father felt very real to me. I could understand the love he demonstrated for her and I could understand her actions and instincts to survive and return home to a degree. It was when the bear showed up that I thought things got a little wonky and I stopped believing this was realistic fiction. I wanted something more concrete that I could sink my teeth into and it ended up feeling like a fable.

The father was my favorite character. I thought he was a great teacher and he showed his love for his daughter well. He taught her what she needed to know as soon as she was old enough to learn it because he knew she might have to survive alone. I thought he was kind and wise.

I related best to the girl. She was always eager to learn and try new things and I relate to that. When she learned to do something, she put it into practice quickly and was eager to show she was a good student. The way she made her own shoes and bow after her father had taught her proved that she absorbed the information well.

Andrew Krivak
Image via Simon & Schuster

The journey the girl and her father took too the ocean was my favorite part. I liked how he taught her about the world before and showed her how to do new things as they traveled. I thought he prepared her well to be able to make the trip again if she needed to.

I’m going to talk about the bear and the twist that happens at half way so please skip this paragraph if you want to avoid that. I was so angry when a sentient bear showed up half way through the book. The book went from a survival book to a fable about preserving the environment and communing with nature. I felt like it was a bait-and-switch and I wanted it to end. I slogged through the second half of the book.

The girl learned to work with nature instead of against it to live. She took what she needed but started giving something back as well. It felt like the author had a strong message about environmentalism and I think it was a bit heavy-handed. When civilization ends, nature will take over, much as it did in this book. It seems like we’re being told not to fight it because we will succumb in time.

Writer’s Takeaway: Krivak’s writing was really beautiful and lyrical and it helped me fall in love with the story early on. He had a great way of writing the love the father had for his daughter into his actions. I liked the flow of time in the book and how the author skipped to important events without feeling like we were missing things in between.

A novel that started off great but took a turn I couldn’t take seriously. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the Future time period of 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: 
The Bear by Andrew Krivak | North of Oxford 
Book Review: The Bear by Andrew Krivak | Hamlets & Hyperspace 

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

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.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

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.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

WWW Wednesday, 6-January-2021

6 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: Again, nothing new with Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. This will be here a while and I’m really okay with that, no big rush.
I’ve just started Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and am liking it a lot so far! My book club meets next week to talk about it so I don’t think I’ll finish in time, but I’ll get as far as I can and still plan to attend the discussion.
I’ve just begun A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro as well. This is a shorter book so I’m hoping to get through it pretty quickly. I’ve loved and hated Ishiguro books before so I don’t know how this one will go.

Recently finished: I finished A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger at 7:30PM on New Year’s Eve to finish my 2020 When Are You Reading? Challenge! It was a close one to be sure. I’m telling myself it won’t be as close in 2021. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars and posted my review yesterday if you want to check it out.
I started trying to re-normalize my sleep schedule before going back to work and would wake up and lie in bed reading Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais until my husband woke up. It helped me finish it pretty quickly! I plan to post a review soon. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I should be better about my book club selections so I’m sure I’ll start one of those next. My next read is The Bear by Andrew Krivak. I read just the first sentence of the summary and this one sounds great. I’m excited to get into it soon.


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.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.