A Literal Farewell to Arms (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

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!

idiosyncraticlitlist

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.*

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

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.

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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.*

My Life According to Books 2013

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 popculturenerd.com 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!) 

 

 

 

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

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!

diabeteswithowls

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?

Celebrating World Penguin Day With a Letter From Alfred

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:

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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.

Cheerio,

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?

Someday, Someday, Maybe, I’ll Be As Cool As Lauren Graham

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

I just finished reading Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lorelai Gilmore Lauren Graham. Why yes, this is a novel written by an actress. A novel. Not a memoir, not a cookbook, not a lifestyle tome. A novel. And you know something? It’s pretty good!

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I am a ginormous Gilmore Girls fan. Like, I own all 7 seasons on DVD, and I sincerely hope that Luke & Lorelai ended up having twins just like Lorelai dreamed that once time before she and Luke were ever an item… Lauren Graham is the actress behind Lorelai Gilmore. I adored the characters on the show, obviously, but I once saw a little behind-the-scenes feature where Amy Sherman Palladino (head writer) mentioned that Lauren Graham got the majority of the pop culture/literary references that were written into the script. You guys, this was a SMART show. Fast paced witty banter referencing Norman Mailer and Pushkin and the Nag Hammadi documents? You’ve got to have some brains to appreciate the brilliance of it all. Which is exactly what Lauren Graham has. Did you know she has a degree in English Literature from Barnard? Barnard is a seven sisters school, which were the Ivy League equivalents for women before women were allowed to attend Ivy League schools… AND she got into college BEFORE she was famous (not that you aren’t brilliant, Natalie Portman, but I’m sure your acting chops didn’t hurt your application to Harvard…)

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I know what you’re thinking. “Yes, Katie. We know. You’re a Lauren Graham fan girl. But tell me about the damn book already!” The most cliche advice writers get is to “write what you know.” It seems that Lauren Graham did just that. Someday, Someday, Maybe is about a struggling actress named Franny Banks in New York City. Franny pays her bills by waiting tables in a comedy club, but she dreams of being a working actress. She shares an apartment in Brooklyn with her BFF Jane and their roommate Dan, attends acting classes, and battles both her her curly hair and her intense desire to consume mass quantities of cheese puffs. (I love me some cheese puffs, and I love Franny for her weakness.)

Franny gave herself an arbitrary 3 year timeline to succeed as an actress, and when we meet her, she is a mere 6 months away from her success deadline. Her backup plan is to move to Chicago and get back together with her college boyfriend who is about to graduate from law school. Franny LOVES to act, but she faces an uphill battle. Franny, despite her penchant for cheese puffs, is a healthy woman. She runs regularly and wears a size 8. Unfortunately, a size 8 in a world of size 2′s isn’t ideal. And her unruly curls? (This part feels VERY authentic- I think Ms. Graham did battle with her curls on auditions too.) The best part about Franny, though, is that her awkward antics tend to be her most charming feature. Falling out of her chair and potentially flashing the audience? Callbacks. Screws up a scene? Ends up making out with a hottie. Gets flustered and comes out with a bizarre laugh? She gets a part.

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I pictured Franny looking like Lauren Graham circa 1995. Plus a scrunchie.

This was a great way to shake off the shadow on my psyche left by Amity & Sorrow. This book takes chick lit to a fun, witty place, and it does this without relying on email or text message humor (because it’s 1995!) Occasionally I crack up when she talks about banks of pay phones, because PAY PHONES. And scrunchies. And FAX machines. The nostalgia is a tasty sauce on top of this delicious bite of chick lit. If you’re looking for something light and fluffy without being vapid and shallow? Someday, Someday, Maybe is the book for you!

Full Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I’m really bad at lying, so you shouldn’t be worried about me compromising my integrity or anything. 

Let’s be ridiculous and squealy shall we? How happy are you when you find out your favorite celebs really ARE smart and interesting and probably aren’t rude to their assistants?!

Confession Friday: I Brag About Outwitting my 13 Year Old Cousin

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

It’s been a while, but it’s time to ready the confessional: I take an inordinate amount of pride in having beaten my 13 year old cousin in a battle of wits. You like personal stories, right? No? TOO BAD.

When my dad was about 15, he was attending high school at a seminary because he thought he wanted to be a Catholic priest when he grew up. (Obviously, given my existence, that isn’t the path he chose, but I digress.) My dad was MORTIFIED to learn that he would soon be getting a new sibling. Even 15 year old boys who think they want to be priests know good and well where babies come from, you know? My dad’s only other sibling had arrived before he was old enough to understand the birds and the bees. This is a long way of explaining why I, age 29 (still, but just barely), have a pair of cute as a button full on genetically bona fide first cousins that are 13 and 11 (it’s because my uncle is waaaay younger than my dad, see?)

Adam (the elder of the baby cousins) was born when I was 16. I took a day off of my first real job (working concessions at a movie theater) so I could attend his baptism. The whole time my aunt was pregnant, I insisted on referring to the baby as “Bunny.” When we found out he was going to be a boy, I was undeterred, then calling him “my Bunny Boy.” My extended family lives out of state, so I don’t see them often. About a year ago, my cousin Adam got himself a Facebook page. (Don’t turn him in- I KNOW the youngest age for Facebook is 14 or something- don’t be a bloghole.)

Anyway. Since Adam has gotten a Facebook page I’ve gotten to know him, digitally. This kid is such a smart ass- it’s fantastic. I take ALL THE CREDIT for his snarky eyebrows. He likes to send me messages containing puns and then we battle to out-pun each other. He usually wins, he’s far more practiced (also, I imagine, more adept at internet CHEATING.) A few weeks back, however, I won and it was GLORIOUS.

We have a similar "question mark" face...

We have a similar “question mark” face…

This painful exchange occurred. Be warned, this reads like consecutive Laffy Taffy jokes:

Adam: Animal Puns! You ready?! Alpaca your things so we can leave!

Katie: I don’t think I have the necessary koala-fications to compete with you.

Adam: You’re frogging right you don’t!

Katie: That’s irr-elephant!

Adam: You’re giraffing me crazy.

Katie: This is getting hawk-ward.

Adam: Let minnow when you’re read to forfeit.

Katie: You’re lion to yourself if you think I’ll give up!

Adam: I’m not going to worm out if that’s what you think.

Katie: That’s not so much a pun as an expression… (Says the girl who is running out of ideas…) WAIT! I-DEERS! “I’m running out of I-DEERS!” I WIN! HA!

I then went on to shout my victory from the mountaintops of Facebook. Adam has contested my supremacy, claiming that I was undeserving… Considering this win was isolated and I’ll probably lose the next five battles, I’m still counting it! (Is anybody else glad they didn’t have a Facebook page at 13? I mean, I didn’t have any significantly older and irrefutably delightful cousins to pun with, but my 13 year old self was a nightmare. Pretty glad Adam didn’t inherit THAT.)

Adam, buddy. Be careful what you put out there, mmmkay? You can’t take back anything you say in a hormonal rage the heat of the moment once it’s out on the internet. Trust me on this one, Bunny Boy. Also. Don’t do drugs. Sorry to go all “after school special” on you, but I feel like i need to impart WISDOM and that’s all I’ve got. Please tell your little sister that I will happily pun with her once she’s old enough for Facebook. I’m an equal opportunity AWESOME cousin.

XOXO,

Katie

Valentine’s Day Makes McFools of Us All: A Sonnet

Hello my Bookworms,

Today is Valentine’s Day. We’ve never been big on the hearts and cupids hoopla, but we celebrate in our own way. I’ve written a sonnet (Shakespeare, I am all kinds of sorry for using your rhyme scheme for such a piece of nonsense.) I dedicate this poem to my husband, Jim. He’s been putting up with my antics for nearly 10 years, so he deserves some (terrible) poetry.

Valentine’s Day Makes McFools of Us All.

The first Valentine’s we did celebrate…

It was not quite what we had intended.

‘Twas the first year we’d each had a date!

We’d expected a dinner, so splendid.

So out on the town we endeavored,

Too naive to have a reservation.

Oh, the wait times they could not be measured!

Waitstaff laughed at our sad situation.

Turned away by the finest of venues,

And exhausted by our fruitless pursuit,

We gave up, and thus sought out a drive-thru:

Inexpensive, and convenient to boot!

Many years from our failed expedition,

McDonald’s is our own sweet tradition.

This was taken a month or two into dating. Giddy young love was a good look for us.

This was taken a month or two into dating. Giddy young love was a good look for us. (I just noticed this, but if you look in the background, you can see my childhood dog Benny, photo-bombing. That dog was so far ahead of his time…)

That story is 100% true, even if the iambic pentameter doesn’t completely work. We seriously drove around for hours getting laughed out of restaurants. Young, silly couples who are awkward at dating don’t understand the importance of reservations on Valentine’s Day. We got annoyed, got McDonald’s, and ate it on the floor of my bedroom. (Oh, this isn’t our ONLY holiday story involving fast food. If you ask REALLY nicely, someday I’ll tell you about New Year’s Eve at Long John Silver’s…) Happy Valentine’s Day, Jim! I look forward to spending the evening with you, the television, and Mickey D’s.

So, Bookworms… Will, um, all of you be my Valentine? (Jim promises he’s cool with it. I told him T-Swift could be his this year.)

Books & Boozing: Classic Book, Classic Cocktail

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, Bookworms!

Yesterday as I was making my rounds about the blogosphere, I was inspired by this post at Bitches with Books. Quirky taste tested a cocktail designed in honor of a book. That got me to thinking… Which libations belong with which books? Without further ado, I give you my top ten classic book and beverage pairings!

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: White Russian.

A White Russian is vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream. The origin of the drink is not, in fact, Russian, but vodka is. It was either a White Russian or room temperature vodka (for authenticity’s sake.) I went for tasty. Sue me.

Okay. I'll be honest. I didn't have the ingredients for a White Russian, but I still wanted a photo. That's skim milk over ice. It's a work night!

Okay. I’ll be honest. I didn’t have the ingredients for a White Russian, but I still wanted a photo. That’s skim milk over ice. It’s a work night!

2. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery: Currant Wine. 

Who DOESN’T crack up when Anne gets Diana drunk by accident on what she thinks is raspberry cordial? It’s all kinds of fantastic. I have no idea where one can procure currant wine, so… Boone’s Farm in a pinch, yes? (I am so trashy.)

3. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens: Martini optional. Garnishes necessary.

C’mon Dickens! You made it too easy. For heaven’s sake his name sounds like a bartender asking a question! “Olive or Twist?” Sigh. Puns are so much FUN!

4.  Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell: Southern Comfort Old Fashioned

Is there a single character in this book who doesn’t long for the comfort of old times in the South?! Hello, perfect name. Nice to see you again.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Tea. Just tea.

It’s unseemly for a lady to imbibe.

The Misses Bennett were nothing if not ladies. Well. Except Lydia.

The Misses Bennett were nothing if not ladies. Well. Except Lydia.

6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: Shirley Temple

Yes, I went there. The reason every kid likes weddings. The classic 7 up, grenadine, and maraschino cherries, also known as a “kiddie cocktail” is the perfect accompaniment to this perverse tale.

7. Moby Dick by Herman MelvilleDark & Stormy

A Dark & Stormy is essentially ginger ale and rum. It’s super appropriate for the book, because ginger ale is soothing to a seasick stomach. Also, sailors. Rum. It’s a thing. Queequeg would be down with this drink.

8.  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll: Absinthe. In a tea cup.

Absinthe is a highly alcoholic anise flavored green beverage. It’s psycho-addictive properties are highly exaggerated, but a few sips and you’re sure to be as Mad as the Hatter.

Curiouser and curiouser...

Curiouser and curiouser…

9. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Long Island Iced Tea.

The book is set on Long Island. During Prohibition. Which made people want to be very very drunk all the time. I’ve always thought that this drink must have been invented by adventurous drunks pouring everything in their cabinets into one glass and hoping for the best…

10. Silas Marner by George Eliot: Goldschlager.

Silas loved his gold. Goldschlager has gold in it. A little obvious, but amusing nonetheless.

So there you have it, Bookworms. My list of classic books with their classic cocktail pairings. Anybody have anything they’d care to add to the list?

Complaints and Compliments on An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

A few weeks back I wrote about how much I loved The Fault in Our Stars so I decided to pick up another John Green novel. I settled on An Abundance of Katherines for a couple of reasons. First, it was the only John Green book available from the library for my kindle. Second, I’m very self involved. Fun fact! Did you know “Katie” is short for “Kathryn?” I know you’re shocked. Kathryn with a “y” and Katie with an “ie”?! I know. Sadly, I had no part in naming myself, so I couldn’t prevent this travesty. However. Since the main character in this book had a fixation with “Katherines” I thought I’d get a little ego boost for my awesomeness of name. Sadly, this was not to be…

AbundanceKatherines

Complaint #1: Early in the book our “hero” Colin explains that he only likes K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E-S. No Katies, Kates, Kathryns, Catherines, Kathys, Kats, or Katrinas will do. This revelation started Colin and I off on the wrong foot, and I’m afraid we never got quite onto the right one. Colin is a “prodigy.” He’s got a super sharp brain and he is fluent in 11 languages. Now, I really like nerds. I like awkward folks. I root for the underdog. But…

Complaint #2: Colin is not likable AT ALL. He’s a smug little jerk. He’s whiny and his teen angst lacks the charm of, say, a Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower type character. Maybe I’m just jealous. I’m sure that plays a part in my distaste. I would love to be brilliant, but I know deep down that at best I’m an A minus student. I knew kids who memorized digits of pi for fun, but I liked them better than I liked Colin. I suppose they were more humble because they weren’t brought up as prodigies? Who knows. And why isn’t Colin seeing a therapist? I mean, really? The kid is obsessed with girls named Katherine. That isn’t healthy. Which brings me to…

Complaint #3: How did Colin get 17 (yeah, he dated one Katherine twice) girls to agree to go out with him? I was a much more likable child/adolescent/teen! He got more dates than I did in high school, and THAT IS NOT FAIR! Ugh.

Complaint #4: Colin and his buddy said “fug” all the time. Now, I’m not one to go around dropping F-bombs like they’re hot, but it annoyed me. I know, I KNOW it was in homage to Norman Mailer, but still. If you want to say the F-word, just say it. If you want to avoid saying it, come up with a more amusing alternative. I enjoy “frick” or “flim-flamming” myself. “Fizzing Whizbees” anyone?

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Colin is obsessed with his “Eureka” moment in which he can move from being a prodigy to being a genius. Not everyone can be a genius, Colin, but everyone needs a doctor. That’s a noble profession. GO SAVE LIVES!

I know, I’m being hard on this book. It’s just tough to appreciate something when you spend most of your time wanting to shake some sense into the main character. I hate to be totally negative on a Friday, so I’ll discuss a few of the things I liked.

Compliment #1: Colin’s BFF Hassaan was pretty cool. What’s not to like about a Muslim kid who embraces his chubby physique and has an unhealthy obsession with Judge Judy?! 

Compliment #2: Even though the premise of Colin and Hassaan ending up in Gutshot, Tennessee was ludicrous, I liked the idea of a small town kept afloat by a tampon string factory. And the lengths the factory would go to in order to keep supporting their retirees.

Compliment #3: Lindsey hangs out with old people. I like that John Green makes it seem cool to chill with the old folks. Everyone, go call a grandparent right now! (If you’re lacking in the grandparent department, send a greeting card to Great Aunt Shirley or something. It’s good karma.)

Compliment #4: The title of this book gets “27 Jennifers” by Mike Doughty stuck in my head, and you just don’t hear that song enough these days.

judge judy

She’s got to self promote. Syndication deals aren’t what they used to be.

Have any of you bookworms read much John Green? Do you think I should give him another shot or cut my losses? If you have no opinions on John Green, you certainly have an opinion on the color green. Tell me about that. (The correct opinion on the color green is that it is the AWESOMEST COLOR IN THE RAINBOW. I’m open to your varying levels of incorrectness, however.)