Word To Your Mother: Top Ten Tuesday Collaborates and Listens

April 30, 2013 Children's Fiction, Classics, Coming of Age, Dystopian, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Humor, Time Travel, Top Ten Tuesday, Young Adult Fiction, Zombies 45

Salutations, Bookworms!

I know you stayed up all night trying to guess the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and The Bookish, didn’t you?! This week we’ve been asked to list off the top ten words or phrases that make us want to pick up a book. I’m a refined consumer of literature, see? JUST because a book says something saucy on the book jacket doesn’t mean I’ll buy it, but there are some terms that don’t hurt a book’s chances. I may be a snob, but I’m highly susceptible to marketing tactics.


1. Time Travel- Awww yeah, I love me some time travel. I typically prefer accidental time travel, so if there’s a deliberate machine involved? Probably not going to be my cup of tea. However. Outlander, The River of No Return, and The Time Traveler’s Wife? Yes, yes, and yes. Break me off a piece of that time space continuum.

2. Penguins- Hi, I’m Katie. Have we met? If we have met in the past, oh, 22 years or so, you know that PENGUINS are my spirit animal. Sadly, they don’t make a ton of appearances in books for grown ups, but hey, kids books are a thing. Remember If You Were a PenguinMr. Popper’s PenguinsOr how about when penguins DO show up in adult books, like the awesomeness that was the trip to Antarctica in Where’d You Go BernadettePenguins can ONLY help you, I say! Penguins forever! (Seriously. Just ask Alfred. Or Josie.)



3. Plague- This probably makes me horrible, but plagues are fascinating! Reading up on the bubonic plague in Ken Follett’s World Without End was the shiz-nit. And the letumosis outbreak in Cinder? That’s where it’s at! And my heavens, THE STANDThe mother-loving Stand, people!!!

4. Flowers- I LOVE flowers. Darn near as much as I love penguins. It can be pretty intense. So, when flowers feature heavily in a story I do some serious geeking out. Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s Language of Flowers was amazing. More of this, please, author types. (Gardens are good, too, but I don’t grow vegetables. Has anyone else noticed that Alice Hoffman is maybe a little obsessed with growing tomatoes? No? Just me? Moving on then…)

5. Zombie- “What’s in your heeeeeeeeeeeeeeead, in your heeeeeeead, zombie, zombie, zo-omb-a-yuh-a-yuh-a-yuh!” Don’t pretend that you don’t rock out to The Cranberries. And if you legitimately don’t rock out to The Cranberries, don’t tell me, because, yodel-y Irish rock from the 90s kicks arse. But really. I like for real Zombies, too. World War Z and Warm Bodies are my JAM

6. History- I am a sucker for historical fiction. Chilling in ancient Greece like in The Song of Achilles or dabbling in the Underground Railroad and rocking a bonnet like in The Last Runaway or experiencing the scandalous world of the Tudor court in, well, basically anything by Philippa Gregory… It’s the only way I can time travel, and really the only way I WANT to time travel. Indoor plumbing is my favorite.

7. Dystopia- It’s almost ridiculous the amount I adore screwy fractured future scenarios. The Giver and The Hunger Games and Brave New World and 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale just make me feel warm and fuzzy about our effed up present. Let’s face it y’all. It could be a whole lot worse. Gratitude, brought to you by oppressive governments, lack of color, religious persecution, and kids fighting to the death for sport! 

8. Saga- Sweeping epics are right up my alley. The word “saga” implies length and drama and change and grand scale. Les Miserables and Gone With The Wind and The Pillars of The Earth are some of my favorites. If it couldn’t be made into a mini-series or a very long movie, I want nothing to do with it. (That isn’t really true. See this? Terrible liar. I tell you IMMEDIATELY when I lie. I also like books that couldn’t be long movies and mini series, but it didn’t WORK with my POINT there. Ugh. I’m a walking vial of sodium pentothal.)

9. Whimsy- I’ve mentioned how fervently I adore Amy Sherman-Palladino, head writer of Gilmore Girls and Bunheads haven’t I? Yes. I know. I obviously have. One of my all time favorite quotes came out of Kirk, Stars Hollow’s resident weirdo when he was describing his new Condoleeza Rice decorative mailbox: “Whimsy goes with everything.” Whimsy DOES go with everything, books in particular. Alice in Wonderland probably gets to wear the tiara for most whimsical title of all time, but Harry Potter, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and The Night Circus aren’t in short supply on the whimsy front.

Curiouser and curiouser...

Curiouser and curiouser…

10. Awkward- I spent the weekend with some of the world’s most excellent friends, and we were discussing high school. They both said that they had enjoyed themselves. I said, “I was too busy being morose and wearing really baggy pants.” Both of those things are true, and both are reasons I have a serious soft spot for the awkward characters. Bridget Jones? Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower? Eleanor & Park? To paraphrase a song I heard far too often at wedding receptions, “These are my people. This is where I come from.” Teen angst is CHARACTER BUILDING, dangit!

Oh Bookworms, my Bookworms, what are some of the words and phrases that make YOU think you’ll like a book?

45 Responses to “Word To Your Mother: Top Ten Tuesday Collaborates and Listens”

  1. Lily from It's A Dome Life

    You are so funny. I am reading The Time Travelers Wife right this moment, well, I took a break to comment. I am keeping this list for future reference…or time travel, or for the zombies. Ice-Ice Baby. 🙂

  2. PinotNinja

    This list totally explains why Where Did You Go Bernadette was one of my favorite books that I read last year. It has, as you pointed out, penguins, but it also has whimsy, flowers (blackberry bushes flower, right?), and awkward.

    No wonder that book is always “in your head, in your head…”

    • Words for Worms

      Haaaaaaaaa! This comment is awesomesauce! Yes, blackberry bushes can count as flowers, Bernadette was totally whimsical and awkward. And of course, PENGUINS!

  3. therelentlessreader

    I think you have to write a book about penguins. That’s my advice to you. FREE!

  4. Rory

    Whimsy DOES go with everything. It makes the world a better place. I don’t read much time travel, but I would be happy to participate if it brought me to Jamie. I saw your plague on and I was WHAT ABOUT THE STAND, but then I saw it at the end of the paragraph and felt very relieved.

    • Words for Worms

      I know! I started writing about the plague books and I was like… Something very important is missing… And then I was like “OMG KATIE! THE STAND!!!!!!!!!!” Because that is the best plague book EVER. EVER!

  5. Natalie (@NatflixandBooks)

    Great list. Very funny. I love time-travel, too. And everyone loves whimsy. I’ve never really thought about penguins in books…or flowers…but I’ll be on the look out. And Awkward (the show and the topic) yes, please!

  6. Megan M.

    Magic/al, mystery, mysterious old house/castle, secrets from the past, solving a disappearance, secret society, ghosts…. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s my general type.

  7. Leigh Kendall

    Love it! Those categories float my boat, too. Gotta love some zombies – have you read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? It’s awesome. I know what you mean about dystopias – they an help you reflect on how our world isn’t so bad, but the best ones can give hints as to how developments in our world could lead to ad thins in the future. I haven’t heard that Cranberries song for ages – good memories – might not be thanking you later this evening when it’s still going round my head though…

  8. Samantha

    I definitely share history and dystopia with you. All of the dystopian novels you listed I’ve read (except The Handmaid’s Tale yet, must do that after The Book Thief, you see what I did there? :P). I also really like classic books? I guess it’s not really a surprise what you’re getting into when you find them, but I loved Northanger Abbey and Wuthering Heights, for instance. Now I really need to get into those books you mentioned that have whimsy. Whimsy is definitely fun 🙂

    • Words for Worms

      I like a nice classic from time to time, too. Wuthering Heights not so much, but Jane Eyre for sure. And I still have to read Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park. Then I’ll have completed my Austen novels!

      • Samantha

        You are far ahead of me on Austen novels! My TBR list is enormous! The only ones I’ve read are Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice, the latter which I didn’t really enjoy, but it’s been years since I’ve read it, so who knows. I would like to bump Jane Eyre up further in my reading list.

  9. Daddio

    Only truly great literature for me. If it says ‘spy’ it’s likely good. 007 for example. Adventures from the likes of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Clive Custler can keep my attention. Then again so can a good cookbook. So what on the dust jacket catches my eye? Tarzan munching on baguettes I guess. 😉

  10. Allison

    Post-apocolypse. And survival.
    Even better if both of those in one! I’ve realized that I particularly enjoy books and stories that involve a different USA (not sure what that says about me) and world.. which would explain my choices of Revolution and Walking Dead for TV intake.

  11. Laura Lynn

    I like ‘spine chilling’, or ‘hilarious’. Or both on the same book? Has that book been written yet? Should have been.

  12. Lori

    Aaaah the “saga”!! I forgot to mention that when I posted off your post on another blog. Love the stories following generations of a family.
    BTW, your Dad is adorable 🙂

    • Words for Worms

      Following generations is the best! Especially if one of those generations is my weird Dad. LOL. I feel like I should start him a fan club.

  13. The Underground Writer

    Have you read anything by Alison Weir? She is fantastic. Like Phillipa Gregory but even better. I highly recommend “Innocent Traitor” (About Lady Jane Grey) and The Lady Elizabeth.

  14. karen123abc

    I am drawn to many of the topics you list, and share your love of the Outlander series. As a long-time preschool teacher I have to recommend the Tacky the Penguin books by Helen Lester – whimsy and penguins unite! I have not been drawn to Zombies, however, and would add to my list psychological mysteries instead. (Surely not even zombies can be creepier than a historical novel’s description of life in an insane asylum!)

  15. Girl

    There is a song by Natalia Kills called Zombie. Here is the chorus –

    I’m in love with a zombie.
    He can’t keep his hands off me.
    But does he want me for my body,
    Or does he want me for my BRAINS BRAINS BRAINS

    It is very catchy.

    • Words for Worms

      I’m not cool enough to KNOW all these THINGS, Girl. I’m going to have to google now. My musical knowledge shriveled up and died somewhere around 2003.

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