Jan 09

Fellowship of the Worms Announcement: All the Light We Cannot See

Book Club 19

Howdy Bookworms!

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Mark Zuckerburg decided to start a book club in 2015. I think it’s awesome, I’m ALWAYS in favor of encouraging people to read. But really. Move over, Zuck, you’ve got nothing on The Fellowship of the Worms, yo! Let’s kick off the new year in style and tackle one of last year’s most celebrated works of fiction, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. Check out the Goodreads Synopsis:

allthelightwecannotseeMarie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.

I know, right? It sounds pretty awesome to me. I’m going to be listening to this one as I won an audio copy during Armchair BEA this spring, but I’m really excited. I love me some historical fiction, and it’s been a while since I visited WWII. I’ll post discussion questions on Monday, February 9, 2015. Who’s with me?!

*If you purchase your copy of All the Light We Cannot See through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 08

Bookish Fun: Memory Challenge

Q&A 18

Howdy Howdy, Bookworms!

Sarah Says Read is always doing the fun stuff, at which point I jump on the bandwagon. I’m basically Sarah’s groupie. She did this memory challenge a while back and I stored it away for a day when I needed something to write about. The rules to this challenge are simple. I’m supposed to answer the questions in the graphic below WITHOUT CHEATING. That means, of course, no internet searching and no bookshelf glancing. It’s all about what’s floating around on my noggin.

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1. Name a book by an author called Michael: The Map Thief by Michael Blanding (I really hope I’m spelling that name right. I reviewed it here.)

2. Name a book with a dragon on the cover: Uuuuh… Does Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire have a dragon on the cover? If it doesn’t, it should.

It's the UK version, but I'm still counting it!

It’s the UK version, but I’m still counting it!

3. Name a book about a character called George: He and his brother never got their own book, per se, but Fred and GEORGE Weasley are the best.

4. Name a book by an author with the surname Smith: The Ark by Annabel Smith! (Annabel is lovely, BTW.)

5. Name a book set in Australia: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (The Ark, too, but I feel like I shouldn’t keep double dipping.)

6. Name a book with a month in the title: A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve.

7. Name a book with a knife on the cover: I am so bad with cover art. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (review) or The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman, maybe? There are knives in the titles, there should be knives on the covers!

2 for 2, even though I had to pull ANOTHER UK cover.

2 for 2, even though I had to pull ANOTHER UK cover.

8. Name a book with the word “one” in the title: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (review)

9. Name a book with an eponymous title: Eponymous? That means named for a person, yes? Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (review).

10. Name a book turned into a movie: Ha! Name a book that HASN’T been turned into a movie, more like. Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg is my favorite book-to-movie adaptation, I think, despite it taking oodles of liberties.

Well, that was fun. How good are YOUR memories, Bookworms? Are you as hopeless with cover art as I am?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 06

New Year’s Reso-LATE-ions

Personal, Top Ten Tuesday 28

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

Normally I like to jump in and join The Broke and the Bookish and join with a good Top Ten Tuesday post. This week, however, they’re listing debut novels. I have absolutely no idea how to get excited about a book from an author I’ve never read, let alone where I’d track down a list of 10. Soooo, since I’ve been so behind I thought I’d take this opportunity to catch up and do some New Year’s Resolutions, or, Reso-LATE-ions. Keeping it real, y’all.

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1. Whine Less: Yeah so I started off 2015 with a bout of the stomach flu and a severe case of the mopeys. I feel like I’ve done nothing this year so far except whine about not feeling well and things not going to plan. I need to pull an Elsa and LET IT GO. Oye.

2. Be better at commenting on other blogs: I have been absolutely THE WORST at commenting on other blogs the past few months. I need to get better at sharing the love. I get so much of it, I need to spread some!

3. Be better about responding to comments here: Let’s add to the list of ways I’ve been a sucky blogger lately. I’ve been beyond crappy about responding to comments here. And I so love all your comments. All of you beautiful, witty, weirdos. I love your faces.

4. More Literary Love Connections: If you missed Snaponine and Scarcliff, you should check them out. This was my absolute favorite brain child of 2014 and I hope to continue the ridiculousness.

5. Less Pressure: I suppose this flies in the face of making resolutions in the first place, but between committing to ARCs, challenges, and trying to read ALL THE THINGS, I’m in serious danger of burning out. I’m going to try to be more zen. Participate when it’s fun, not feel guilty when I’m not in the mood.

In the interest of keeping the pressure low, I’m only going with 5 resolutions. 2015, man. Here’s hoping it doesn’t suck! Have any of y’all got resolutions for the new year? I’d love to hear about them!

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Jan 05

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion!!!

Humor, Romance, Science 14

Oh Hey Bookworms!

It’s been FOREVER, hasn’t it? I know, I was off merry making and being lazy but I’m BACK and I’m pretty stoked to discuss today’s book. Remember last year when we read The Rosie Project (review) as a crew through The Fellowship of the Worms? There’s a sequel! And I read it! Eeeep! If you haven’t read The Rosie Project, stop reading right here because the whole premise of the sequel is a big fat spoiler for the first. So. SPOILER ALERT, Y’ALL! Now, let’s talk about The Rosie Effect! *OH yes, I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration from the publisher through NetGalley. I still have integrity, swearsies.*

rosieeffectWhen we last left them, Don and Rosie were fast tracking it to happily ever after in NYC. Rosie is double fisting it in academia working on her Psychology PHD AND Medical school, while Don is doing his genetics thing at a prestigious university. They also mix cocktails a few nights a week, for old time’s sake.

Happily Ever After seems attainable until some complications come into play… Namely? Rosie has some “something to celebrate” with Don. If you can’t guess the big news, it’s got a lot to do with zygotes and cell division… If you recall any of Don and Rosie’s adventures in dating, you’ll know that any big news probably won’t run the most smoothly.

Alright folks, let’s get down to the dirt. A lot of people are probably going to think The Rosie Effect is inferior to The Rosie ProjectFor me, as is the case with all sequels, once I’m attached to the characters I cannot wait to see what sorts of shenanigans they’ll get up to next. I love Rosie, I love Don, I love Gene and all the assorted weirdos that find their way into the story line. I thought The Rosie Effect was a fun read. If you’re not too cynical about sequels, I recommend you give this a shot.

Talk to me Bookworms, what makes you pick up a sequel? Do you have high expectations for them?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Dec 23

Hip Hip Hooray for Christmas Vacation

Holidays 12

Season’s Greetings, Bookworms!

I’m going to be busy the next few days getting my Griswold on, so I probably won’t be around a whole lot. I want to wish each and every one of you Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy (belated) Solstice, Happy Festivus, or just have a super fantastic couple of regular old days. If you need more holiday cheer, check out last year’s video greeting. I’ll be back next week with an overly ambitious list of New Year’s resolutions, and you know you don’t want miss that. Thanks for being the greatest readers in all the blogosphere!

Christmas Katoo

 

 

 

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Dec 22

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

Dystopian, Science, Young Adult Fiction 19

Greetings Bookworms!

I love y’all. Have I mentioned that? I love the book blogosphere, too. It’s where I get most of my book recommendations. Sometimes it takes me a while to get around to reading something, but there are some bloggers (and generally awesome human beings) who never steer me wrong. My girl Heather at The Capricious Reader thought the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness was amazing and, as usual, she was right. I’m going to talk about the books The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men as a unit (a spoiler-free unit) because it’s making me think all the thoughts. This one’s for you, Ethel!

chaoswalkingWhat would you do if all your thoughts were suddenly audible? Every secret, every desire, every flash of anger and inappropriate thought broadcast for the world to hear. THAT is the world Todd Hewitt lives in. Todd is coming of age in a place called Prentisstown, a place full of angry men and their angrier Noise. All animals have Noise, too (and lemme tell you, dogs in Prentisstown think EXACTLY the way I believe actual dogs think.) One day Todd and his dog Manchee stumble across a shockingly quiet area in the swamp. With men and animals constantly broadcasting their thoughts, there’s no escape from the relentless Noise. Until now. Of course, mysterious silence comes with secrets, revelations, and the need to run for their lives.

The books themselves provide a good adventure story, great world building, and funky science fiction elements. My heart was SHATTERED several times, but I could not stop reading. I just couldn’t. There were all sorts of moral dilemmas and discussions of war, empathy, forgiveness, and the inner workings of animal minds that provide plenty for any brain to chew on. But what really blew my mind? The idea of a world where thoughts are audible. It has my mental wheels spinning and they will not stop.

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I have uncharitable thoughts ALL THE TIME, usually in the grocery store. I don’t know what it is about shopping carts and aisles and checkout lines, but they turn my inner monologue into an aggressive, nasty place. After reading books featuring telepaths (this is the fault of Sookie Stackhouse, obviously) I’ve occasionally been extremely grateful that nobody actually can read my thoughts. The idea that EVERYONE could hear them (including Office Beagle!) was seriously disturbing.

Talk to me Bookworms. How would you feel if everyone around you knew exactly what you were thinking? How would you feel if you could hear everyone else’s thoughts? Am I the only person who turns into a raging lunatic at the grocery store?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Dec 18

I’m a Three Decker Sauerkraut and Toadstool Sandwich… With Arsenic Sauce

Holidays, Personal 53

Merry Grinchmas, Bookworms!

I’ve had a post percolating for a while now and I’m afraid it’s about to boil over. Before I start, I should mention that this post is meant to be lighthearted and silly. If you’re overly attached to “pop” Christmas songs, you may want to skip this, because I’m putting on my heckling pants. (You should probably mentally play “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” whilst reading this as it is appropriate mood music.) And now, I shall eviscerate a selection of holiday songs that get on my last nerve…

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Holiday Music Complaint The First: Why is “My Favorite Things” considered a Christmas song?! It is not at all about Christmas. It’s about distracting children from a thunderstorm. Sure it mentions a few winter-related things, but The Sound of Music takes place in the Austrian mountains, they have snow like 10 months a year probably (I am terrible at knowing the weather conditions of places I don’t live.) Raindrops on roses? That’s springtime, y’all. Whiskers on kittens? That’s always. Cream colored ponies? Everybody loves a pony regardless of season. I’m calling shenanigans on whomever put this into heavy rotation on Christmas radio stations. Hmph.

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Holiday Music Complaint The Second: Do They Know It’s Christmas” was originally produced in 1984 to raise money for an African famine. I get that, and YES, FEED THE WORLD. But. The song is, at best, melodramatic, and at worst, imperialistic. “There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time.” Well there won’t be snow in Florida either, but I don’t hear anybody griping about THAT. “Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?” Well, you’ve got a 50/50 shot on that. According to my very scientific Wikipedia research, only about 45% of Africa is Christian. There’s a fair chance that the remaining 55% of the population DOESN’T know it’s Christmas time and really doesn’t give a figgy pudding. Why would they need to know it’s Christmas if they don’t celebrate the holiday? Also, “the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom”? We’ve turned the corner into teenage dramatics there. “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.”That’s kind of a dickhead way to tell someone to count their blessings… Thumbs down, Band Aid.

hecklers

Holiday Music Complaint The Third: This one gives me pause, because it’s catchy and I kind of dig it. That is, I DID kind of dig it until I really paid attention to the words. It’s time to face the facts, people. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is the holiday jingle of sexual assault! Dude relentlessly tries to persuade date to stay in his home using such classic creepster phrasing such as, “What’s the sense in hurting my pride?” and “Think of my lifelong sorrow if you got pneumonia and died.” Really, dude? You’re trying to scare your lady into staying by threatening deadly infection? When that fails, though, ply her with alcohol. “Say, what’s in this drink?” Roofies, probably. Get out of there, girl! “The answer is no.” NO MEANS NO, DEAN MARTIN! Maybe just a cigarette more…” Nooooo! Now we’re promoting date rape AND tobacco usage?!

Now that I’ve proven that my heart is indeed two sizes too small, I could use some company (aside from Office Beagle, who has been eyeing me dubiously since I mentioned the idea of strapping antlers to his noggin.) Are there any holiday songs that annoy the sugarplums out of you, Bookworms?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Dec 16

Top Ten Tuesday: My Faves of 2014

Top Ten Tuesday 48

Howdy Bookworms!

‘Tis another Tuesday, so I shall supply you with another list, inspired, as usual, by The Broke and the Bookish. Today we’ve been challenged to list the favorite books we’ve read in 2014. I’m afraid a lot of this will be a repeat of last week’s list but I don’t care. If I love it, I’m singing it from the mountaintops (but it’s a metaphorical singing, because I cannot carry a tune.)

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1. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue (review): For the love of Pete, it’s a hooker book. With a cross-dresser. And an unsolved murder. Explain to me how this is in any way NOT awesome. You can’t. It’s impossible.

2. The Green Mile by Stephen King (review): Yay! Another Stephen King that didn’t give me nightmares! Excellent and touching. You probably want tissues once you get close to the end.

3. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: I’m going to be discussing this awesomeness later this week but holy cow, you guys. Holy cow.

4. I Am Livia by Phyllis T Smith (review): Historical fiction makes me unreasonably happy. I’ve kind of OD’d on the Tudors, but Roman historical fiction? Sign me up for more!

5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (review)- This is the nerdiest book ever written and I loved every minute of it. I say “minute” rather than “page” because I listened to it. Wil Wheaton, you guys!

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6. Landline by Rainbow Rowell (review)- I found this book charming. I know a lot of people had problems with it because of the, well, magic f*cking phone, but I’m always up for a little bit of magic.

7. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon (review-ish)- I am so stupidly involved with the lives of these characters that my critical eye goes as blind a Jocasta Cameron’s whenever I read one. This series is up there with Harry Potter for me. Leave the criticism to the professionals. I’m gonna hang out in my happy place for a while, k?

8. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (review)- I want to hug this book.

9. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (review)- I want to hug Cheryl Strayed.

10. Headhunters on My Doorstep by J Maarten Troost (review)- I want to put J Maarten Troost and David Sedaris on an island together and watch what happens.

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What are some of the best books YOU read this year, Bookworms?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Dec 15

Tiny Beautiful Things: A Fellowship of the Worms Event

Book Club, Memoirs 26

Greetings Bookworms!

It’s time, it’s time! I’ve been really excited to talk about Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things with you and it’s finally time! Yaaaaaaaaaay! WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. This isn’t a novel, so I’m not sure how you can really spoil it, but I feel like I should warn you anyway. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of Tiny Beautiful Things and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, leave a comment linking to your review of Tiny Beautiful Things on your own blog! I fully encourage shameless self promotion, so if you’ve reviewed this don’t hesitate to get your link on.

smarty-mcwordypants-199x3001. Did you ever read the “Dear Sugar” column on The Rumpus or frequent any other advice columns? I’ve mentioned before that I think I’m part bear, right? I mean, the minute it starts getting cold, I get the uncontrollable urge to eat everything in sight and hibernate for the winter. Apparently I also live in a CAVE because I didn’t know Dear Sugar was a thing before this book. Pitiful. But, more evidence of my bear-dom, so I’ve got that going for me.

2. Sugar uses a lot of terms of endearment in her responses. Do you like them? Does it bother you when you’re addressed with a term of endearment in real life? There’s something about being called “honey bun” and “sweet pea” that makes hearing difficult advice more bearable, in my opinion. Strayed’s use of the terms just made me want to hug her. In real life, it’s a whole lot more complicated. If a woman addresses me as “honey” in a genuine tone of voice, I kind of like it. It feels sweet and sisterly. If a dude calls me “sweetheart” condescendingly, my blood gets to boiling. That feels creepy and/or douchey. If a dude of any age has a English/Irish/Scottish/Australian accent and calls me “love” in virtually any tone of voice, I’ll squeal with delight. I have a wildly varying and unfair set of standards, don’t I? Maybe I should just stick with encouraging people to call me “Katie” and leave it at that.

3. Did any of the advice/questions make you uncomfortable? I wasn’t necessarily made uncomfortable by any of tinybeautifulthingsthese stories, but some made me desperately sad. I mean, the girls she mentored? The ones who’d “make it” if they grew up to hold a job at Taco Bell? My heart, my heart, MY HEART!

4. Did any of Sugar’s advice resonate with you? There were a number of essays I found touching (some hit closer to home than I’m willing to admit publicly), but “The Ghost Ship that Didn’t Carry Us” really hit me in the feels. It’s not so much that I’m torn about wanting kids, it’s more the idea that major life decisions lead you down a certain path that completely eliminates certain other possibilities. If you’d gone to a different college, what would have happened? If you’d taken a different job, where would you have ended up? If you chose to take a big risk or chose the path of least resistance, what would have happened IF? Sugar just GETS it, and MY WORD I want to hug the woman!

5. Strayed infused the “Dear Sugar” column with a heaping helping of memoir. Did her personal anecdotes add or detract from the advice she was trying to give to her readers? For me, Strayed’s personal asides only added to the book.What made Tiny Beautiful Things so powerful for me was that it felt like Sugar had been there. I don’t want to take advice from someone who’s always made the right decisions. I want to hear from someone who has royally effed things up and managed to come out wiser on the other side. We’re all broken, but we’re all going to be okay. Even when we’re not. It’s complicated, but you know what I’m saying, right?

Sound off, Bookworms! I want to know your thoughts. Tackle some of the questions in the comments, or if you’ve written a post on your own blog (discussion or review, anything goes!) LINK IT UP! 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Dec 12

Santa Baby: Bookworms Be Shopping

Bookish Accoutrements 15

Ho ho ho, Bookworms!

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping! If your loved ones are stumped on what to give your glorious bookish self, I’ve made them a handy dandy guide including some fun things on my own personal wish list. Ready?!

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1. Awesome Alice in Wonderland necklace from ModCloth. It’s the perfect addition to your bookish accessory stash. (I know I’m not the only one with a bookish accessory stash, so y’all just own up to it!)

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2. Long Sleeve Jane Eyre T-Shirt from Out of Print Clothing- It comes in short sleeves, too, but it’s cold outside! It’s a great way to represent my girl Jane and the best of the Brontës!

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3. Ravenclaw T-Shirt from Harry Potter Shop- You’ve got to represent your Hogwarts house, you know what I’m saying?!

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4. Outlander Christmas Ornaments from The Author’s Attic- Remember that time I wrote about my obsession with Christmas ornaments? I lurve them. And these would be a brilliant addition to my collection. I see a bookish tree in my future…

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5. Austen is Elemental T-Shirt from Zazzle. For the love of Jane Austen. And SCIENCE!!!

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 I hope this helps ease the stress of your holiday shopping! Tell me, Bookworms. Is there anything special on your wish list this holiday season?

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