Tag Archives: The Bookseller

WWW Wednesday, 13-May-2020

13 May

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’m getting really close to finishing White Oleander by Janet Fitch! This book is taking me much longer than I would like so I’m really excited to finish it off. It’s a very sad story but very intriguing at the same time so I’m engrossed.
I made an effort to make more progress with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel. I like this one, but the mystery is still a bit too shrouded for me to be completely engaged. I’m hoping to get more into it soon, though.
I’m loving some fun YA right now so I decided to keep it going and picked up Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell on audio. It’s been a while since I read the first in this series (Carry On) so it might take me a minute to pick up on the plot and characters again. However, the parallels to Harry Potter make it a bit easier to pick up on.

Recently finished: I sped through The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. It wasn’t what I expected and it came across as a disappointment because of that. I wanted more about books and bookselling but that wasn’t the focus. It felt like a bait and switch so I ended up frustrated. I posted my review yesterday if you want to check that out. I gave it Three out of Five Stars, though I contemplated Two.
I got through Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani much faster than I expected to. It was a fun YA read and I enjoyed it well enough. It didn’t have much for me that was really a standout, though. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and I’ll have a review up tomorrow.
I had way too much fun listening to the short novella The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee. This is installment 1.5 in the Montegue Siblings series and I wanted to read it before I picked up the second which I’m sure I’ll do this summer.

I posted my review of The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David LagercrantzThanks for those who have commented about their opinion of Lagercrantz taking over the series. I’m still unsure if I think it was the best move but I’m glad I’m not the only one who has marked the difference.  I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I posted my review of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern on Monday and my final meeting with my reading buddy is tonight! I’m excited to see what she thought of the ending of the book. I finished it over a week ago so I hope my memory is sharp enough and my notes detailed enough to have a good discussion.

Reading Next: I’ll pick up Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich as a physical book very soon. I hope this can give me a little inspiration to read.
I’ll need another audiobook soon and I requested Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray but I’m not sure how quickly it will come in. Fingers crossed.
If that fails, I’ll likely start my next book club selection, Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. I don’t know anything about this one but I see that it’s pretty long so it will be a nice one to settle in with during my long training hours.


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!

Book Review: The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson (3/5)

12 May

This book got a lot of hype when it first came out. I thought it was going to be a book about books, bookstores, and booksellers so I was happy to add it to my TBR. Thanks to triathlon training, this is the time of year when I fly through audiobooks and it finally had found its way to the top of the list.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Summary from Goodreads:

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

I had two major problems with this book. The first is not a spoiler. With a book titled The Bookseller, I thought Kitty’s job would be more integral to the plot than it was. Honestly, Kitty could have owned any business and the story wouldn’t have been affected at all. This wasn’t a ‘book about books’ like I’d hoped. It was a book about a woman who happened to sell books for a living. That left me pretty disappointed. The second issue is a spoiler so skip the rest of this paragraph to avoid that. I didn’t feel like there was a strong enough event to make Kitty realize her life with Lars was her real life. I’m not sure I even believe it. It seemed like she had one dream and suddenly believed something she had been opposed to for months. It didn’t make sense to me and made me angry with the book right at the end. It was really frustrating.

Kitty and Katharyn were believable in the ways they were alike and in how they were different. The lives they had both built made sense based on when their lives differed. I liked Kitty and I related to her more. As a woman without children, it was hard to relate to Katharyn’s mother role. However, Katharyn’s sadness made her more relatable once you learned about it and I started to like her more and more as she moved out of the ‘perfect housewife’ role and became more real.

Freida is my favorite character. I like how direct she is and how businesslike. She would make a great entrepreneur and I’m glad she ends up doing that in both lives. I like how she pushes Kitty to be brave when things are rough. I like how she’s a real friend and doesn’t get mad when Kitty misses work. I also liked her in Katharyn’s world and how she was strong and stood up for herself. I can see why Kitty wanted to keep her close as a friend.

I think we’ve all wondered what single decisions might have changed our lives forever. It’s easy to dream and fantasize about it so it’s fun to step into Kitty’s alternative universe and explore it with her. I’ve wondered what would have happened if I had chosen a different school or stayed at a job that I left. There are a million ways our lives could end up differently than they are right now and this book was a fun way to explore that.

Cynthia Swanson
Image via HarperCollins Publishers

I enjoyed learning the reality of Katharyn’s life. Learning first about Michael and then about her parents and, finally, Freida made her very real to me and seem a lot less like a dream. It made you think about those who you may think have a perfect life and what it is that they are hiding behind smiles and pressed clothes. Most people are hiding something. Even someone whose life seems perfect probably has moments where they wish their life was very different. We might not see it, but it’s there.

The ending was a let down for me. This is a spoiler again, so skip to the next paragraph to avoid it. Katharyn’s realization seemed to come out of nowhere for me. I didn’t feel the dream she had that lead her to her decision was enough to sway her decisions. I understood her uncertainty and confusion until that point, but I lost her then and didn’t get why she felt compelled to settle her mind the way she did. I’d hoped she’d have to make a more conscious decision between her lives and it didn’t end up with that at all. I’m not sure it’s really possible to make a decision between the two, but I think a purposeful decision and evaluation of the two worlds would have been a more satisfying ending. I left thinking she had created Kitty to deal with the trauma of losing her parents and somehow realized that but I still don’t get how.

The audiobook was narrated by Kathe Mazur. I liked her narration. I was a bit annoyed by the way she pronounced Katharyn’s name but I didn’t realize there was an ‘a’ where there’s normally an ‘e’ and that was probably why she said it that way. The voices she gave to Lars and his sister were great; containing the faint traces of their Sweedish accent but accepting that they’d been in America long enough to lose most of it. I liked her portrayal of surprise and confusion that Kittie felt, too.

We all wonder how our lives could have worked out differently. Saying yes to something you turned down or changing the day of a trip or lingering just a second longer. Swanson portrays the effects of these little decisions well. I liked how many times she forced the reader to think about the decisions that change our lives and how there’s no best life or worst life. Everything is beautiful and flawed and we’re lucky to live through it all.

Writer’s Takeaway: It felt to me like a big part of this book hinged on Katharyn making a decision about which life was ‘real’ and which she wanted to live in. It was an interesting concept and I have my own theory about her decision, but it was almost too big of a question. Either way, she made both the right and wrong choice, there was no easy way to end it. And I didn’t follow her thoughts for the decision she made so I ended up frustrated. Maybe there are questions too big for a book to answer.

The book was entertaining but ultimately a letdown for me because of the ending. 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:
Book Review: The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson | Sass Hamiton
Write On, Wednesday: Cynthia Swanson on Identity, Grief, Motherhood, and So Much More From The Bookseller | Leslie A. Lindsay

WWW Wednesday, 6-May-2020

6 May

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’m over halfway through White Oleander by Janet Fitch now that it’s in print next to my bed. Crazy demands from work have kept me from reading quite as much as I’d like but I’m making good progress with it and hope to be finished in a few weeks.
It’s been slower with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel since work picked up. I need to be away from a screen when I’m not working so an ebook isn’t as appealing as print. I’ll keep moving forward with it, I’m sure, but it might slow down to my usual ebook pace.
I started The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson as an audiobook. This isn’t quite the ‘book about books’ I thought it was going to be. Honestly, the titled bookseller could have any other job and it wouldn’t have a huge impact on the plot. I’m a bit up in the air about this one, still. We’ll see.

Recently finished: I wrapped up The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz fairly quickly once it was on my phone. I’m a bit disappointed in this one and I’ll be posting my review tomorrow to detail why. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the series. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I powered through to the end of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern once I met with my Reading Buddy. We’ll meet very soon to discuss it, I’m sure. I’m still thinking this one over and my review will be up next week. I don’t think I would have gotten nearly as much out of it without my Buddy Reader. There were a lot of references to pop culture and to earlier parts of the book that would have gone over my head.

Reading Next: I still plan to grab Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich as a physical book. I really hope it pushes me to do some writing or editing. That’s one thing this pandemic has stopped that I’d love to get a little motivation to continue.
With the speed I’m going through audiobooks, I have to plan for another one soon. Next up is Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani. This seems like the perfect time for a little YA.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 29-April-2020

29 Apr

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: Forward progress! I’m reading White Oleander by Janet Fitch in print now. I have a copy on my shelves so when I was ready for a new book, I grabbed this. Much easier than trying to renew an ebook every three weeks.
I moved The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz only my phone and I’m speeding through it. I suspect I’ll be done with it next week!
I finished the fourth section of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern and I’m ready for my next Reading Buddy meeting. I hope it’s this week because I can’t wait to finish this one and write up a full review. Then we’ll have to pick another book. Oh boy, haha.
I’m glad to say I’m still moving forward with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel. I’m enjoying the story which encourages me to pull it out and squeeze in a few pages when I can. I’m not sure how far into the book I am (trouble with my reading app) but I’d have to guess getting toward the middle. I’m excited to keep moving forward with this one.

Recently finished: I finished up Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn after posting last week. I really enjoyed this one! I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it or how I’d get through some non-fiction when escapism was really what I needed but it was enjoyable and a quick read. I posted my review on Monday and gave it a full Five out of Five Stars.
I was able to finish up The Alice Network by Kate Quinn with my increased listening time due to training. This one was pretty good but with the large number of WWII stories I’ve read in the past few years, it did seem a bit unoriginal. I’d still recommend it as a good story, but I wouldn’t say it stands out more than others. I posted my review yesterday and gave it Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I think I need to start making plans again! For an audiobook, I’m hoping to start on The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. This one came recommended by another blogger a while back and I do love some books about books!
For a physical book, I think I’m going to grab Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich. This was a gift many moons ago from a writer friend. I’m hoping it inspires me to do some writing and editing. I have a terrible NaNo that needs some love and quarantine should be a good time to do it, but I’ve had no motivation to try.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 1-April-2020

1 Apr

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: Yet again, I’ve barely moved forward with White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I did renew the check-out so I’ll have another three weeks of nothing with it. Oh well, it’s there when I do need it.
I keep finding excuses to drive to get dinner so I can listen to The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz. I know as soon as I get to go to work again I’ll start flying through this but for now, I’m happy to have started the third disk.
I’ll be moving slowly through Cuando era puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago but it feels good to finally have my Spanish language book on the move. It takes me a while to finish one of these, but it always feels great to have finished it.
My reading buddy and I ‘met up’ so I could give her a copy of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. In reality, we met in a park and I put the book down on a hill and backed up before she came forward and picked it up. But anyway, I’ve started reading this in fits and starts. It’s what I pick up when I have a few minutes before something else starts; it lends itself well to that.
I started the audiobook of The Girl in Green by Derek B. Miller. This is very different than the other Miller books I’ve read so I’m still unsure what to make of it, but it’s getting interesting and I’m curious to see where this one goes.

Recently finished: I finished up The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman as quickly as I thought. It was a fun group of short stories and I enjoyed reading them. It was even more fun when I realized that the audiobook and my physical copy had different stories so I got to read and listen. I posted a review yesterday. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.

I also posted a review of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters on Monday. I was a little disappointed by the story in the end after enjoying the beginning so much. It was still a fun ride, but I’m not sure I’m going to be recommending this one to may people. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I haven’t through too far ahead because I feel like I’m just starting so many books. I guess my next need will be an audiobook.  Next up on my TBR is The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. I don’t quite remember how this made it to my list, but books about books are always welcome.


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!