Posts Tagged: humor

Jun 15

Self Inflicted Wounds and Why Aisha Tyler is My New BFF

Audio Books, Humor, Memoirs 21

Greetings Bookworms,

I love a good celebrity memoir. It can be a tricky business, though. Sometimes you’ll pick up a celebrity memoir and the celeb will be unfunny, self important, and/or preachy. All that is GREAT if you’re hate-reading, but it can be a huge disappointment when it’s a celebrity you think is awesome. Kind of bursts the bubble, you know? Luckily, the opposite can happen. For example. Aisha Tyler. I know who she is and I’ve enjoyed her work, but I’ve never been ready to join her fan club or anything. At least, not until I listened to her narration of her book Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation. Now I want her to attend all my imaginary slumber parties! (That is a phrase that probably shouldn’t be uttered by a 32 year old woman, but whatever. This is the internet. I don’t even register on the creepy scale here.)

selfinflictedwoundsIn case you needed more evidence to show that the world is an unfair place, Aisha Tyler is not only statuesque and beautiful, she’s also smart, witty, and charming. Luckily, she’s also a GINORMOUS NERD, so she is my people. I don’t trust anybody who didn’t go through an awkward phase growing up. I mean, how can you develop as a person if you don’t have weird hair or terrible fashion sense or at least one horrifying experience with a maxi pad?!

Aisha Tyler spent tons of time reading books, being awkward, and embarrassing herself. It takes a special kind of person to puke on their crush and live to tell about it. You know the recurring nightmare you have about missing a test? Aisha Tyler slept through her SATs! And she still got into an ivy league school! (The unconscious SAT was her second go at it, but still damn impressive.) Aisha Tyler’s misadventures are tremendously entertaining, but she owns her part in all of them. I find it endlessly frustrating when people act like they’ve played no part in their own misfortune. (I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this sort of thing myself on occasion, but we’re not talking about me here.) Aisha Tyler is all “Yep, I made some really stupid choices. That was a terrible idea. You probably shouldn’t stay out all night getting wasted when your SATs are in the morning. Don’t steal your mom’s favorite shirt and try to deep fry things because you’ll start a fire. Ballerina outfits should only be worn by ballerinas.”

Should you read this book? Well. If you like things that do not suck, I would say, “yes, read this book.” I laughed, I cringed, and in the end, I wanted Aisha Tyler to be my BFF. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliationokay?

Talk to me, Bookworms! Has a celebrity memoir ever changed your opinion of said celebrity? Was it in a good way or a bad way? 

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




Jan 15

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Book Club, Contemporary Fiction, Family, Humor 23

Hi Ho, Bookworms!

Everyone’s family has a little bit of drama and/or weirdness going on. I mean, it wouldn’t be family if there weren’t some sort of dysfunction going on somewhere. I think that’s why I tend to be drawn to family dramas with a twisted sense of humor. This month, my IRL book club (affectionately dubbed “My Neighbors Are Better Than Your Neighbors” because, well, they are) chose This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper to discuss. Holy bagels and lox, Batman, this book was something else!

thisiswhereileaveyouThe Foxman family put the “fun” in “dysfunctional.” After their father passes away (because cancer is a jerk) the four Foxman children convene in their childhood home to sit shiva for their father. For anybody unfamiliar with Jewish custom, sitting shiva is kind of like a week long wake. The mourning family is visited throughout the week and inundated with sympathy food and awkward conversation. (There’s some sort of universal law that says one must feed the grieving. It’s one I subscribe to myself.) Most families would be on the verge of coming to blows after an entire week in close quarters, mourning not withstanding.

Judd Foxman is our narrator, one of the Foxman siblings. In addition to having recently lost his father, he is also in the midst of a messy divorce. Divorces tend to get messy when you catch your spouse in flagrante delicto with your boss. Even more so when you find out said spouse is expecting a child.

Reading about the Foxmans made me feel so normal. I had a great time reading this book and it ran quite the gamut emotionally. One of my favorite things about the book, though, was that almost every time I got the urge to jump through the pages and punch a fictional character, another fictional character took care of that for me. This one isn’t for the faint of heart or the easily offended, but if irreverent humor and quirky familial drama are your thing, you need to give This Is Where I Leave You a read!

Alright Bookworms, let’s talk. Are there any TV shows or books you like to indulge in simply because they make you feel like less of a screw up? I can’t be the only one… Dish!

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


Nov 17

The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J Maarten Troost

Audio Books, Humor, Memoirs 7

Ahoy, Bookworms!

I’ve always romanticized the idea of a deserted island. I mean, beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, palm trees… Heavenly, no? Perhaps, if your deserted island isn’t a South Pacific atoll. I was positively stoked to discover my library had an audio copy of The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J Maarten Troost available to dispel all my deserted island fantasies. I mean, after how much I adored Headhunters on My Doorstep (review)?! I downloaded that sucker faster than you can say Robinson Crusoe.

sexlivesofcannibalsOkay, I’m just going to come out and say it. I freaking love J Maarten Troost! He is hysterical. Nothing could destroy my island dreams quite the way Troost’s colorful descriptions of life on an atoll did… And he made me laugh while doing it!

At the age of 26, Troost followed his then girlfriend to the island of Tarawa (part of Kiribati), an atoll in the equatorial Pacific. Youthful wanderlust gives way to the crushing realities of life on an extremely remote island and hilarity ensues. Intestinal parasites, folks using the ocean to defecate, marauding packs of wild dogs, and the incessant droning of “La Macarena”? Between the oddball expatriates making Tarawa their homes and the unfamiliar customs of the native population, Troost has QUITE the adventure.

After listening to The Sex Lives of Cannibals, I’ve begun to threaten my long-suffering husband with biting the nose off his face. Apparently, nose biting is totally an acceptable reaction to jealousy in romantic relationships in Kiribati. My threats are more often in reaction to bantering sessions I’m losing than jealousy, but I think the custom is under-appreciated. (Hubs used to threaten to purchase me a gold engagement nose instead of a ring after watching a documentary on the life of Tycho Brahe. He lost his nose in a duel and had a prosthetic made of gold. True story.) Gold noses might be JUST THE THING for the folks in Kiribati with mangled noses.

Y’all, if you like funny books, J Maarten Troost is a MUST READ author. Take my word (and maybe my nose) for it!

Talk to me, Bookworms! Have you ever had a fantasy completely destroyed by harsh realities? Anybody moved to a romantic or exotic locale only to have it fall short of your expectations?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will be investing in the Tycho Brahe Memorial Nose Fund… Which is something I’ve completely made up that will funnel money back into my book buying habit.*




Aug 18

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Audio Books, Humor, Memoirs 24

Hey there Bookworms,

I really love humorous memoirs, the more neurotic, the better. When I ran across I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley on my library’s list of immediately available digital audio books, I couldn’t help myself. The only think I love more than this book genre is cake! (I really like cake, damnit!)

IWasToldThere'dBeCakeIf you’re not sure audio books are for you, I encourage you to try a memoir that is narrated by the author. Crosley’s voice was a treat! Though her voice would have come across as wry and hilarious in print, hearing her tell her own stories was absolutely fantastic.

I was DYING at the Oregon Trail references. I don’t know how many times I (intentionally or otherwise) killed off my entire travelling party. Dysentery is a bitch. When Crosley related the tale of her creating a cookie shaped in the likeness of her boss’s head, I very nearly shot coffee out my nose. (Be careful with beverages if you’re reading and/or listening to this book. High snarfle risk.)

If you have any fondness for the humorous-literary-memoir-essay genre (say that three times fast) I Was Told There’d Be Cake is not to be missed. I’m very happy I took the neurotic journey into Sloane Crosley’s head.

Talk to me, Bookworms. Who likes cake? Anybody else get really disappointed when a wedding serves desserts OTHER than a ginormous cake full of frosting? Just me?

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


Jun 26

Headhunters on my Doorstep by J Maarten Troost

Humor, Memoirs, Travel 16

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

It probably won’t come as a huge surprise to any of you, but I’m a bit of a homebody. I like the idea of travel, but I seem to have been born with zero wanderlust. That said, I really like to travel vicariously though books. All the glamour, none of the bedbugs. When I was offered J Maarten Troost’s latest offering, Headhunters on My Doorstep, I figured I’d give it a try. With a title like that, how could I not? I received a  complimentary copy of this book for review consideration from the publisher. The fact that I did not purchase this book in no way influences my opinion on the subject. I feel the need to make that clear, because after reading this, I have a strange urge to become J Maarten Troost’s groupie. Do authors have groupies? Is that even a thing?

headhuntersTravel memoirs are a completely new genre for me, and I’m really glad this book was my introduction. After a stint in rehab to treat his alcoholism, Troost sets out on a journey to find himself. He intends to find himself by getting as off the grid as it’s possible to get in the modern world and retrace the travels of Robert Louis Stevenson (you know, the Treasure Island guy) in the South Pacific.

One part travelogue, one part meditation on addiction, and all parts hilarious, Headhunters on My Doorstep took me on a journey I wasn’t expecting. I typically go into nonfiction expecting that it will be more of a challenge for me than a novel. I chewed through this book in two days. I simply couldn’t put it down!

One of the reasons for my fascination has to do with Survivor. Yep. The reality show. When I was in college, I took a class on Small Group Communication. My professor was really fun, and he realized that Survivor was an excellent way to illustrate small group dynamics. We were required to watch the show as part of our homework, and the season I watched? Season 4: Survivor Marquesas. The only season of Survivor I have ever watched dovetailed PERFECTLY with Troost’s travels. Serendipitous, no?

The other reason I’m so gaga over this book is that Troost is hilarious! Snarky, witty, self depricating- everything I adore in a humorist. I’ve noticed that this book has not gotten as many rave reviews as some of Troost’s earlier books, which honestly has me excited. If this book isn’t considered his best work, what sort of joy do I have in store as I check out his back catalog?! Two super enthusiastic thumbs up for this one, Bookworms. Check it out!

Since this book was set on (very nearly) deserted islands, let’s play a game. What books could you not live without if you were stranded on a desert island? 

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


Jan 17

A Literal Farewell to Arms (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

Idiosyncratic Lit List 52

Greetings Bookworms,

You know how much I love a good list. I participate in Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) regularly. Sometimes, though, I find myself stifled by their topics. In order to keep the meme going, they have to issue very broad topics as prompts so that all sorts of book bloggers can participate. A lot of the lists that percolate in my head don’t fit into such broad topics, nor are they anything anybody else would be interested in writing about… So, I’ve decided to put together my own little feature here at Words for Worms. Idiosyncratic Lit Lists will now pop up whenever I’m feeling listy and/or weird. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy compiling them!


I was having a conversation with a friend recently that devolved into a discussion of books, as often happens. While in the midst of said discussion, it occurred to me that I’d read an awful lot of books wherein major characters have lost all or part of their arms. The idea demanded attention, and so I give you a literal farewell to arms:

armheadstone1. Buddy Junior from Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Buddy Junior was begin raised by his mother Ruth and her BFF Idgie in Depression-era Alabama, happy as could be… Until the day he had an unfortunate run-in with the train. Buddy’s arm was the only one in this list to have a proper funeral, and he would go on to be known as “Stump.”

2. Mattie Ross in True Grit by Charles Portis. I should probably issue a spoiler alert here, but Mattie’s arm loss happens at the bitter end of the novel, so it doesn’t wreck any critical surprises. Rattlesnakes are jerks y’all. (My Review)

3. Dana in Kindred by Octavia Butler. At the very beginning of the book, we meet Dana in her hospital room, missing an arm. Apparently it’s a really bad idea to have someone holding on to your arm while you hurtle through the vortex of time and space. It might just get stuck there. (My Review)

4. Fergus in Voyager (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon. I know, I know. Fergus only lost a HAND, not an entire arm, but I’m counting it anyway. Everybody’s favorite former French brothel dweller takes one for the team to protect Jamie from a roving band of English dragoons. On the up side, the hook he gets in place of the hand has a very debonair rakish sort of appeal to it.

5. Orry Main in North and South by John Jakes. All Orry ever wanted to do was be a professional soldier. He makes it through West Point and goes on to face his first real battle in the Mexican-American War… At which point he promptly has his arm blown off. As it’s awfully hard to fire a musket one-handed, Orry is honorably discharged from the military. Sadly, it turns out medals of honor are poor substitutes for appendages.

 Alright Bookworms. You are a well-read bunch. Are there cool fictional characters out there running around without arms that I’ve missed? 

*Any purchases made through links on this site will net me a small commission. Your support is appreciated.*


Dec 11

Review & GIVEAWAY!!! Washing Cars & Wasting Time by John Oliva

Coming of Age, Humor, Memoirs 19

Greetings Bookworms!

I know, I know. I was MIA yesterday. I have a really good reason for going missing that has nothing at all to do with spending my evening having my hair dyed to camouflage my prematurely graying hair… Wait… I mean… Books!

I was recently contacted by John Oliva and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing his book Washing Cars and Wasting TimeI don’t often accept review requests from authors who contact me directly, but the premise of this book piqued my interest. Washing Cars and Wasting Time is the recounting of Oliva’s time working for his family’s business, a self serve car was on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


I was pleasantly surprised by this memoir! It’s a slim volume, but chock full of slice-of-life tidbits that make a car wash an oddly compelling place to work. Oliva’s eccentric father’s antics had me giggling, and the family’s elaborate system for counting and transporting quarters? Oh man. I’ll never look at a coffee can, a cookie sheet, or a closet the same way again… In fact, I’m a little disappointed that all the coffee cans, cookie sheets, and closets in my house are used purely for their mundane intended purposes.

At times this book reads a bit like a blog, though I say that in the most admiring way possible. (Well done blogs are a whole lot of awesome, dagnabit!) Oliva’s stories were entertaining, but it was his side commentary that really appealed to me. What can I say? I’ve BEEN to a Midwestern car wash in the winter… People are bizarre, and nobody wants road salt stains on their sweet rides, even when their “sweet rides” are held together with duct tape and chewing gum.

You know what the very best part about reviewing this book is for me, though? Getting to share it with you! John Oliva sent me a spare, autographed copy of his book to hand out to a lucky winner. Now get in there, and win yourself a fun, free book, y’all! This giveaway is limited to the US only. (International shipping is a beast, sorry guys!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I received a copy of this book for review and giveaway from the author in exchange for an honest review. If you choose to purchase a copy of this book through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I almost never wash my car, even when it’s covered with road salt and grime. I also need a refill of washer fluid.*


Nov 14

My Life According to Books 2013

Blogging 34

Greetings Bookworms,

It’s been a slow reading week, my friends. I’ve been working on Rebecca for The Fellowship of the Worms next week and I’m a little behind schedule. What else is new? Anyway, Rory (from Fourth Street Review) turned me onto this post from and I’m enamored. Using the books I’ve read so far this year as a guide, I’m going to complete the following sentences. It’s like a cross between Mad Libs and a list and chaos and I LOVE IT. Ready?!?!

mylifeinbooksMy to do list looks like: Someday, Someday, MaybeAs in, Someday, Someday, Maybe I will accomplish something?

If a peeping Tom peeked into my bedroom, s/he’d: Tell The Wolves I’m Home. I mean, someone needs to tell them. The wolves, they worry.

If Martians met me they’d think: Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens? Sorry guys, Ilana Garon really set me up for that one.

My doctor is always telling me: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. That’s actually kind of a lie, because my doctor is typically more concerned about exploring my nostrils with the light up thingie, but we’re going to roll with it.

The weirdest thing that happened to me this week was: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. It turned out to be just a regular incident of a dog barking at a raccoon. Not everything turns out to be a mystery.

I often daydream about: The Walking Dead: Rise of the GovernorSeriously, I do. I spend way too much time thinking about the natural decomposition rate of the human brain and how long it would take a zombie to die a natural death. I have issues.

If I won the lottery, I’d: Blackout. Seriously, I’m remarkably unlucky. I think a little swoonage might happen if I did win a big jackpot. And then I’d buy a big house with a designated library and sliding ladders!

My superpower is: Between You and Me. I don’t want to blow my secret identity, yo!

I knew I was a book lover when: I fell head first into The River of No ReturnBooks are addictive that way.

Any of you Bookworms want to play along with a statement of your own? How is your life according to books this year? (And BTW, don’t forget to email me your address if you’d like a holiday card and Words for Worms bookmark. International addresses welcome!) 





May 02

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls (David Sedaris is a Master Conversation Starter)

Humor, Memoirs 50

Bonjour Bookworms,

Today we’re going to explore diabetes with owls. I know that sounds like a kicky conversation starter for a cocktail party, but really. David Sedaris wrote a new book of personal essays (and other fabulous weirdness) called Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. I’ve been a Sedaris fan since my friend Dr. Erin gave me a copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day for my birthday many moons ago. I own just about everything he’s ever published, because, well, I’m a fan. (Side note: I have known Dr. Erin since her birth, essentially, and she just graduated from vet school and I’m extremely proud!)

Funny thing about Sedaris, though. He’s kind of polarizing. I’ve always enjoyed his humor and bizarre anecdotes, which is why I’m always surprised to hear when people don’t care for him. Some friends have told me they just couldn’t get into his work, or that they were annoyed with the casual drug references, or that he’s just kind of mean sometimes. Those are all perfectly valid objections. I’ve been on the other side of the coin, you know? Chelsea Handler and I did not get along very well. That doesn’t make her any less funny to people who like her style, it just means she isn’t my cup of tea (or bottle of vodka. This is Chelsea we’re talking about.) Before I get too far into this, I’ll just go ahead and tell you. If you don’t like Sedaris, this isn’t going to be the book to change your mind. I’ll like you anyway. We can have differing opinions. The world is magical that way. If you’ve never read any of his work, I encourage you to give it a shot! Find out where you fall and if you are so inclined, join me in my fandom!


This book starts off with a forward by Sedaris mentioning that he included some essays specifically for use in forensics competitions (read: Speech Team. Although I might question a faculty adviser who would allow some of these selections…) They are interspersed between the type of fare I’ve come to expect from my dear David (we can be on a first name basis, right?!) The only problem I had was that he didn’t WARN me when he was playing a character. Without fail, I’d arrive at a forensics chapter and it would take me a few sentences to realize it wasn’t HIS story. I’m a fan, see? I’ve read most of Sedaris’s work, so I KNOW that his mother passed away after a brutal bout with cancer. Therefore, I was terribly confused when in one of these digressions, the narrator of the piece started discussing their mother being in the next room. I’m not always the brightest.

Aside from my minor episodes of confusion, I very much enjoyed this book. Sedaris has spent a big chunk of his adult life living outside the confines of the USA. Me Talk Pretty One Day discussed his time in France at length, but one country was not enough for Sedaris and his life partner Hugh. They’ve traveled extensively and lived in a multitude of places. (Word to the wise- DO NOT get your passport stolen if you have a British “leave to remain” sticker in it.)

Things I learned from this book which are obviously completely scientific and in no way colored by the author’s quirks… The English countryside has a terrible problem with littering. China has a terrible problem with loogie hocking. Japan is extremely clean and full of delightful cuisine. People in the Netherlands think that hanging clear plastic bags of water in front of their doors keep flies away. Kookaburras enjoy eating raw duck meat from the hands of guests at Australian bed and breakfasts (though it leaves the reader to wonder if a bird eating the meat of another bird is cannibalism or if it doesn’t count because they’re a different species… I’m a mammal and I eat mammals… Hmmm…) This book is a whole lot of cultural insensitivity squished in with admiration of global diversity rolled into a nutty coating of taxidermy owls… In short? It’s a rare treat.

Bookworms, if you were to write a collection of essays about your life, what would you focus on? What would you title it? Would it ever include taxidermy and/or kookaburras?


Apr 25

Celebrating World Penguin Day With a Letter From Alfred

Fantasy, Humor, Personal 31

Happy World Penguin Day, Bookworms!

Were you unaware of the occasion? I couldn’t let it slip by without recognition, and I think I’ve come up with an appropriate celebration. I was recently given a belated birthday gift that is, in a word, exceptional. I now have in my service this incredibly dapper gentlebird:


Why yes, that IS a tiny fish tucked into his hat band!

This is my new penguin butler. His name is Alfred, after Batman’s butler, because we want to encourage him to aspire to greatness… And also to learn to dust Jim’s tasteful Batman statues. I cannot think of a better way to mark this momentous occasion or to thank my friends than to turn the blog over to Alfred for the day. Without further ado…

Dear Master and Mistress M,

I am would like to extend to you my sincerest gratitude for installing me in my new position. It is incredibly difficult for a penguin butler to find work these days. The terrible economy no doubt hurts our situation, but the utter lack of television sitcom butlers currently on the airwaves significantly hampers demand. It makes one long for the days of The Nanny, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Benson, and the glorious Mr. Belvedere. The dog butler statue on Modern Family just makes a mockery of our noble profession. Penguin butlers and waiters have a proud tradition dating back to the days of Mary Poppins. It is, frankly, offensive to be lumped in a category with such a nonsensical creature as a talking dog butler. Katie and Jim are not, perhaps, the most dignified couple I’ve worked for, but Katie asks for little more than the occasional glass of wine and Jim is content to tell me terrible jokes. (I swear I offer him no encouragement, it’s as though he’s used to people not following his train of thought…) As I said, I’m quite satisfied with this arrangement and I thought it only proper to send my thanks. Please send your daughter (the tiny dragon princess) my kindest regards.


Alfred P. Waddlesworth

  • P.S. Katie practically demanded that I include a post script. She said “the consummate professional always has something to add.”
  • P.P.S. Katie obviously thinks this because she is NOT a consummate professional and never attended finishing school.
  • P.P.P.S My favorite book is most certainly NOT Mr. Popper’s Penguins, as you were no doubt wondering. As a professional penguin, I’m insulted by the idea of us as sideshow performers. Preposterous.
  • P.P.P.P.S The rumors of my affair with Penguin 413 known by some as “Josie” have been greatly exaggerated. (And by “greatly exaggerated” I mean 100 percent true. Be. Jealous.)

As you can see, Alfred has settled into our home quite nicely, although he DID peck at me a bit when I tried to read aloud to him. I think he’s offended by my affected English accent. I really should stop, but LOOK AT HIM! Do any of you Bookworms have plans to celebrate World Penguin Day? Have some fish for dinner, perhaps? Maybe heckle a leopard seal?