Jun 05

Conversations With My Husband: White Walkers

Personal, Zombies 8

Salutations Bookworms!

I never can predict when Hubs is going to say something blog-worthy, but, well, this happened while we were watching Game of Thrones this week. You’re welcome.

conversations

Jim: You know, I wouldn’t mind working for those White Walkers.

Katie: You mean the ice monsters that control an army of the undead?

Jim: Yeah. I mean, I wouldn’t be a mindless zombie or whatever, but maybe they need an accountant.

Katie: Huh?

Jim: Well, I see 5000 zombies over there and 5000 zombies over there. I can tell them how many wights they’ve got on hand at any given time.

Katie: And when they find out you’re terrible at math?

Jim: Oh that’s fine. They’ll just transfer me to research and development. Those glowing blue eyes didn’t just happen, you know.

Katie: You are seriously so screwed when the dragons show up.

Apparently my husband identifies with evil. Welp. At least I knew what I was getting into when I married him. Weirdo.

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Jun 04

Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith

Family, Psychological 9

G’Day Bookworms!

I know there are a number of book bloggers out there who have struck up virtual friendships with authors, but I’m not really one of them. Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule, isn’t there? Annabel Smith runs a super fun blogging meme called Six Degrees of Separation (with fellow author Emma Chapman) and she’s always been such a peach. A few months back, I purchased (with my very own money) a copy of her novel Whiskey and Charlie. (Technically, I bought a copy of the Australian release of her novel which was known down under as Whisky Charlie Foxtrot because it hadn’t been released in the US yet. Hence, I got to enjoy my novel with Australian spelling. Why DID we add an “e” to whiskey?) I put off reading it for way too long, as I am wont to do. Recently, my Mother in Law and I were chatting about books and she brought up Whiskey and Charlie. I was all “OMG, that’s Annabel’s book! I know her! She’s my internet friend!” And my MIL was all impressed that I knew an author and I was like, “Self, it is time. Read this book!”

whiskeyandcharlieWhiskey and Charlie are twins. They’ve had a complicated relationship to say the least, but it all comes to a head when Whiskey is in an accident and lands in a prolonged coma. Charlie is forced to address the difficulties in their relationship and his own identity. All that juicy family stuff, you know?

I was kind of nervous to read this book because I think Annabel is awesome and I wanted so badly to love it that I was worried I wouldn’t. These are the things I worry about. Luckily, this book was fabulous. I mean, whoa. The relationship between Whiskey and Charlie will ring true to anybody who has ever had a rocky moment with a sibling. It’s got complex emotional layers that tackle not only familial strife, but also the way people react when a family member is in a life or death situation. You’ve got siblings, you’ve got lovers, you’ve got parents, you’ve got doctors, and (thank heaven) you’ve got therapists. If you’re in the mood for a well developed family drama, Whiskey and Charlie can’t be beat.

There were times while reading this novel where the character I was really rooting for acted like a complete and utter douchebag, but I still liked the guy. Have y’all run into that? Characters behaving badly but you still hope they’ll get themselves sorted out?

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

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Jun 02

When Books Collide

My Reading Life 9

Hi Ho, Bookworms,

There’s an bit in Sarah Addison Allen’s The Sugar Queen (review) where one of the characters is presented with books by some supernatural force. They just sort of appear to her when she needs them. I can’t claim to have ever had anything THAT cool happen, but lately I’ve been a little weirded out by how serendipitously connected my reading has been.

Not long ago, I was reading The Walking Dead: Compendium Two, which is awesome of course, and about zombies. At the same time I was listening to The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (review) which was about PTSD. Shortly afterward, I started reading Zone One by Colson Whitehead (review) which was about both zombies AND PTSD. WHOA, right?!

when books collide

Just this week I finished up the brilliant Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation by Aisha Tyler (more on this fabulous book later, I promise) which was set largely in the San Francisco area. Imagine my surprise when the very next book I plucked from the listening pile was ALSO set in San Francisco (You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore.) What the what? These kind of things happen to me ALL THE TIME and it boggles my mind. I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something through books, but I have absolutely no idea what that is.

Talk to me Bookworms! Do any of you run into this weird synergy thing in your reading, or do you think the universe is trying to reveal its secrets to me through books? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Maybe the universe is telling me to take a vacation. You could help the universe in its quest!*

 

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Jun 01

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber

Historical Fiction, Women's Studies 13

Greetings Bookworms,

If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I have a penchant for what I lovingly refer to as “hooker books.” That’s right, kids, I love a good book about prostitution. Not in a pornographic way, but a historical fiction way. I find them absolutely fascinating to the point where I made a list of them while discussing the brilliant Emma Donoghue’s book, Astray. To my astonishment, EMMA FRIGGIN DONOGHUE read my post. Then she left a comment in which she recommended I read Michael Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White. Of course, it took me almost 3 years to get around to reading it, but I finally did, and wahooooooo hooker books!

crimsonpetalandthewhiteSugar is a 19 year old prostitute in Victorian England. She was forced into the world’s oldest profession by her mother (of all people) and spends her free time penning revenge fantasy novels. Her life takes an interesting turn one night when she meets up and coming perfume magnate William Rackham. Rackham soon becomes obsessed with Sugar and pays to keep her at his personal disposal. Sugar’s rise in fortune lands her in a new world- one very different yet nearly as dangerous as the one she’s just left.

The Crimson Petal and the White was a big, fat chunkster. It was quite good, if you like hooker books, but it wasn’t the speediest of reads. It had other perks for me, of course. On Facebook, I saw a friend discussing how multi-layered sheets and waterproof pads on crib mattresses are a life saver for late night blowouts. Whipping off the top sheet once a child spews vile secretions is apparently much less trouble than remaking a crib in the middle of the night. Obviously, I had to chime in that I’d heard great things about the method… In a book about a Victorian era prostitute. Because you KNOW Sugar totes used that method in her back alley days. I’m pretty lucky in that my friends aren’t easily offended when I inadvertently compare their children to prostitutes, but I wouldn’t recommend the habit, as a general rule.

Talk to me, Bookworms! What’s your most recent incident of spurting out an inappropriate book factoid?

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

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May 29

Character Chatter? More Like Character BATTLE!

Character Battle 15

Hello Again Bookworms!

We are still in the throes of Armchair BEA and one of today’s discussion topics is Character Chatter. I love, love, love fictional characters. I love them so much that I set them up on imaginary dates where they have imaginary conversations and are generally ridiculous. Today, though, I’m feeling combative. I’m going to pair up a few fictional characters to do battle. Because why not?

Battle of the Horrible Spoiled Children: Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vs. Dudley Dursley of Harry Potter. I’m going to give this one to Veruca. It’s a tough call, but since the whole tail incident (reason number 857 Hagrid rules) I think Dudley would be extremely suspicious of anyone discussing golden eggs.

veruca vs dudley

Battle of the One Handed Men: Jaime Lannister from A Game of Thrones vs. Fergus Fraser from Outlander. What a match-up! This one is going to come down to the usefulness of the prosthetic, I’m afraid. What is it with the Lannisters and their gold?! A gold hand is SUPER impractical. A hook, on the other hand (pun intended), is extremely helpful. Plus, Fergus is scrappy as all heck. He’d totally take down the Kingslayer.

hand vs hook

There really is no contest.

Battle of the YA Action Heroines: Tris from Divergent vs. Katniss from The Hunger Games. Tris post Dauntless training was pretty badass, but let’s think what would happen for a minute of each character were in the other’s trilogy. If Katniss were in Divergent, she’d totally have become Dauntless and been badass the whole way through, and not just because her brain resisted fear serum. If Tris had been selected for The Hunger Games, she’d have been slaughtered in the initial melee. That, and Katniss is pretty psychologically effed up. Tris’s conscience would get in the way of her doing any real damage.

See that right there? Katniss takes aim, Tris looks pensive. KO, round 1.

See that right there? Katniss takes aim, Tris looks pensive. KO, round 1.

What are your thoughts, Bookworms? Who would win in these fights?!

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

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May 28

My Dysfunctional Relationship With Social Media

Blogging 52

Good Day, Bookworms!

It’s still Armchair BEA time and today we’re talking about social media. I have FEELINGS on the subject. Firstly, I am BEYOND grateful that I grew up before Facebook because having a record of every stupid thing I did or said while I was busy being a tween/teen would be highly upsetting. I’ve made enough faux pas in the social media world as a grown-ass woman. Sheesh. From a blogging perspective, I am pretty awful at social media. I thought I’d give you a glimpse of my social media profiles in case you have no desire to ever look at them. Behold!

dysfunctional

Twitter: It’s complicated. Like, if Twitter and I were dating, I’d be the mixed signal sending ex. Twitter and I will have a mind-blowing weekend of 140 character glory and then I won’t call. For weeks. Poor Twitter subsists on auto tweeted fluff until I get bored and decide to take it out for a spin again. I’m such a jerk, Twitter. I’m sorry. Not sorry enough to change my behavior, but sorry. Ish.

Instagram: Hey look! A selfie! Virtually all I ever post are selfies, and a shocking number of them are of my headless (fully clothed) torso. I don’t have easy access to a full length mirror in a room with good lighting, so any shots of cute outfits or accessories tend to be of, well, my boobs. Eh.

Facebook: I’m not talking about my personal page here, because lord knows I’m all up in that mug, but my blog page? Facebook made it nearly impossible for anybody who likes my blog page to actually see anything. I’ll put something up when I have a new blog post, but I’ve stopped bothering with anything else. Who even cares? Nobody sees it!

Pinterest: I don’t get it. I mean, I get it if you’re super crafty or like to cook or create amazing things, but I am not one of those people. On the rare occasion I do something crafty, I check out what Pinterest has to offer but I do virtually nothing blog-wise with it. Because I don’t get it, I’ve decided that Pinterest is responsible for all the world’s ills. Bento boxes and extravagently themed birthday parties were sent by aliens to destroy the planet. I’m cool with diaper cakes, though, because that is the only craft I can pull off with aplomb.

Goodreads: I literally only use this to track the books I’ve read. Seriously. I do absolutely nothing else on Goodreads. My star ratings are completely arbitrary and mean nothing. I’m the worst.

Talk to me Bookworms. What are your favorite social media platforms? Any bloggers out there using these things successfully? 

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May 27

Getting to Know You: Armchair BEA Intro

Q&A 20

Greetings Bookworms!

It’s time for my favorite virtual book nerd gathering that coincides with an actual convention since ever. Pull up your armchairs folks, it’s time for Armchair BEA. Book Expo America is going on in NYC and those of us stuck at home are going to party like it’s 1999. Crank up the Ricky Martin and live la vida loca with a bunch of book nerds on the internet! I’m going to kick things off by answering five questions off of the official Armchair BEA questionnaire. Shall we?

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

 

1. Tell us a bit about yourself: How long have you been blogging? Where are you from? How did you get into blogging?

Allow myself to introduce…myself. I’m Katie. I’ve been blogging here at Words for Worms for nearly 3 years now (my blog is a threenager! No wonder it’s been so tantrum-y lately…) I live in the part of Illinois that isn’t Chicago. The middle part. With all the corn. I got into blogging after watching some friends having a ball in the blogosphere and realizing that nobody in my real life cared much about what I was reading.

2. What is your theme song?

This is SUCH a good question! Over the years, I’ve had a number of songs I’ve referred to as my theme song. I’ve been known to insert my name “Katie” into any number of songs in place of “Baby,” so I can make pretty much any song about me. If I have to narrow it down to a single song, though, I’m going with “Kate” by Ben Folds Five. I’ve never gone by Kate, always KatIe, but I love the image of seeing daisies in my footsteps.

3. What book are you reading right now?

I’m triple dipping, y’all. I’ve got The Dog Stars by Peter Heller going as an analog book, Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith on my kindle, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn in my earbuds.

4. Share your favorite blog post on your blog.

I’m a huge fan of my Literary Love Connection posts. Snaponine, Scarcliff, Minurtagh, Arigo, and Jeanster Valprynne are the greatest fictional celebrity couples that never happened.

5. Share a photo of your bookshelf. Don’t mind if I do:

Exhibit B

 

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

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May 26

The Girl With All the Gifts by MR Carey

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Psychological, Zombies 12

Holy Macaroni, Bookworms.

I’m not sure how coherent this post is going to be, because I’m still trying to figure out how to get my jaw off the floor. I recently decided to put my Audible subscription on hold because Scribd is a better deal for my voracious audio book appetite at this time. However, before pulling the proverbial plug, I needed to use up one last credit. I checked my “I Want To Read This” list and hunted for something I could get on Audible that I couldn’t get on Scribd and VOILA! The Girl With All the Gifts by MR Carey seemed like a fabulous option.

thegirlwithallthegiftsRemember a while back when I was talking about Zone One (review) and praising the fact that Colson Whitehead took a different approach to the zombie genre? The Girl With All the Gifts did that. Times a zillion.

Melanie is a little girl. She lives in a cell and each day she’s brought to school after being thoroughly strapped into a wheelchair while being held at gunpoint. All the other children in her class are given subject to the same living conditions and restraints. Despite the odd treatment, Melanie is at the top of her class and adores one of her teachers, Miss Justineau. Miss Justineau treats the children kindly, despite the fact that they’re restrained. I don’t know how to discuss this book without getting spoilery, though I don’t suppose it’s much of a leap to guess why the military personnel don’t laugh when Melanie jokes that she “won’t bite.”

This book was SO GOOD, you guys. I was expecting to enjoy it, but egads it was amazing. Elements of the book reminded me at times of The Passage by Justin Cronin (review) and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (review) but it still maintained a level of originality that blew me away. Just pick up the book, dagnabit, words are failing me.

Talk to me Bookworms! What was the last book you read that left you awestruck? 

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

 

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May 22

Flattered and Flummoxed: How I Became a Resource

Blogging, Personal, Uncategorized 20

Hidey Ho, Bookworms.

By some internet witchery, it seems I have become an expert resource on all essay questions regarding Lois Lowry’s The Giver Quartet as well as an opponent of book banning worthy of quotation. My search terms recently have included an awful lot of “what is the symbolism of XYZ in The Giver/Gathering Blue/Messenger/Son” and “why was XYZ book banned?” I can only assume these searches are being performed by students, because I’ve yet to meet another casual reader who is overly concerned with the underlying themes of middle-grade novels, though, in fairness, I’ve been known to google the reasons for book banning. Sometimes they’re hilarious. People are weird.

I’m both flattered and flummoxed. I’m stoked to think that my blog has managed to gain so much traction as to come up in searches like this, but I have some concerns. First, it seems to me that kids who are googling essay questions are kids who haven’t read the book. I’m having serious guilt over the idea that I might be helping some kid out there skate out of doing their reading. It’s the stuff of nightmares, I assure you. Kids, if you’re reading this, READ THE BOOK. Especially if it’s anything written by Lois Lowry. She’s awesome. (If it’s Moby Dick, you have my permission to use Cliff’s Notes. Shhhh, don’t tell you mom. Or your teacher.)

expert

A few months ago, I got an email from a student asking my permission to quote my blog in a research paper regarding banned books. I suppose an opinion piece is simply that, opinion, so it’s not entirely necessary to have credentials to be quoted, but it all seems so weird to me! When I was a wee one writing research papers (particularly in middle school and high school) the internet wasn’t typically an accepted resource. I was expected to sift through encyclopedias and scholarly journals. Made of paper! You know, stuff written by PHD’s, not random weirdos. I have zero credentials that qualify me to write literary criticism. None! I’ve only got a Bachelor’s degree, and it sure as heck isn’t in English Literature. I’m literate and enthusiastic. That’s it. And yet. I’m now a source! This is some Twilight Zone level weirdness, y’all. I can’t even.

What do you think, Bookworms? Has my blog turned into a cheat sheet helping kids ditch their reading, or am I just THAT awesome? (Don’t answer that honestly. I probably can’t handle the truth.)

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Since I’m an expert and all, I’ll use the proceeds to buy more books. Because that’s not what I already do with all my proceeds or anything. Wait…*

 

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May 21

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Audio Books, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Mythology 15

Dearest Bookworms,

Have you ever heard people claim they’d love to have Morgan Freeman narrate their lives? Morgan Freeman is a whole lot of wonderful, I’ll grant you (March of the Penguins, holla!) However. I’m convinced people find the decision to nominate Morgan Freeman as their life’s narrator such a simple one is because they’ve yet to listen to Neil Gaiman read one of his books aloud. Thanks to Scribd, I’ve been audio-booking more than ever and one of my first selections was Stardust by the man himself. (Neil Gaiman, not Morgan Freeman. I don’t know if Morgan Freeman writes books. He might, he’s probably good at everything and spends his free time teaching poverty stricken children how to play the violin, but I digress…)

stardustStardust is a whimsical fairy tale following a young Tristran Thorne. He lives in the town of Wall, England which lies on the border between this world and Faerie. Tristran spends his time going about his daily life all Victorian style and pining for the town beauty, Victoria Forester. One evening Tristran and Victoria see a shooting star. Victoria tells Tristran she will marry him if he retrieves the star for her, and so he sets out on a quest to find it. Unbeknownst to Tristran, his visit to Faerie will be something of a homecoming, as he’s the product of a tryst between his mortal father and an enslaved faerie princess. His adventures beyond the wall include battling witches, elf lords, curses, magic, and mayhem of the best kind.

I have heard tell that the movie version of Stardust is better than the book (blasphemy? Perhaps, but it’s been known to happen.) Clearly I need to see this movie, because the book was utterly charming with just the right amount of Gaiman-style darkness. Fans of Neil Gaiman, fairy tales, and good old fashioned quests ought to pick this up. And then probably see the movie, because it’s apparently awesome.

Talk to me, Bookworms. Have any of you seen a shooting star? Meteor shower? A plane you pretended was a shooting star just so you could make a wish? (Seriously, I cannot be the only one to have done that plane thing…)

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

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