Month: May 2013

May 31

I Choose "Business Ethics!"

Blogging 25

Howdy Bookworms!

Today will be my last entry for the DELIGHTFUL Armchair BEA, and I must say I’ve had so much fun participating! All the Armchair BEA-ers who have been hopping around and commenting have been so welcoming and fabulous. I want to give the whole darn internet a hug right now!

Today’s topic is a sticky one… ETHICS! I can’t help it. I hear the word “ethics” and my brain immediately recalls Adam Sandler in Billy Madison attacking his opponent with the “business ethics” category in the academic decathlon.

Seriously though. Blogging and the internet in general can be such an untamed jungle roars and posturing. Where are the lines drawn? I’ve heard a lot of stories from other book bloggers about plagiarism. Like, there are people trolling the internet just waiting to steal your awesomeness. What the what? Isn’t the point of blogging to put your OWN voice out there? Let your freak flag fly? Tell the world, “I like big books, and I cannot l lie!” See that right there? That’s a take off of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s CLASSIC tune, “Baby Got Back.” And see THIS? This is me, crediting Sir Mix-a-Lot. Alright. To be fair, “Baby Got Back” has reached ubiquitous pop culture status. It’s so obvious where the joke is coming from that it really doesn’t need crediting. Most book bloggers? Not so ubiquitous. If you borrow someone’s ideas, credit them. If they inspire you, let them know.

To my knowledge, nobody’s ever ripped off my writing to pass as their own. I’m happy about that, because DUDE. All the essence of Katie comes out up in this piece. Someone stealing my words would be like stealing my SOUL. Bad form y’all. There is a tiny piece of me that hopes some lazy high school student will try to plagiarize one of my blogs to use as a book report, only to have their teacher read my nonsense and chastise them. Serves you right, lazy school child! Read the book! Read it!

Listen to the angel penguin, Katie!

Listen to the angel penguin, Katie!

Image copyright laws confuse the heck out of me. I’m no saint when it comes to ye old google image search, but recently I’ve been making an effort to list sources of my images where possible. I like to find images on Wikimedia Commons because they’re posted specifically for the borrowing. A little courtesy goes a long way. If you see something cool on someone else’s blog, ask them if you can use it. Andi of Estella’s Revenge was incredibly gracious when I asked to borrow her image of a red alligator for my Swamplandia! review. Most people are only an email away, and EVERYONE appreciates being credited. Plus, you know. A little effort put toward good manners could save you from being sued down the line… And being sued? Ain’t nobody got time for that! (Sweet Brown said that. Her clip went viral, so probably no need to cite. I’m just making a point. POINT POINT POINT!)

Let’s see… More ethics. Oh! It’s super shady to say that you loved a book if you didn’t. I mean, you don’t have to be a complete jerk face about it, but tell the truth. Honesty- it’s a thing. Most book bloggers I know give the stink eye to the concept of being paid for reviews. Accepting a free copy of a book for review purposes? That’s standard practice. Being paid by a third party to provide an unbiased review? No problem. But being paid by an author or publisher to review their book? That crosses a line. Shoot, it’s not like any of us are going to become millionaires by book blogging. No sense in selling your integrity so cheaply.

Anybody else out there got any hot button ethical dilemmas? What’s your take on things? Where are the lines in the sand? And WHY haven’t you entered my contest to NAME THAT BOOK CLUB yet?! Go do that right now. Then come back here and talk about ethics.

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May 30

It's Time To Play Name That Book Club!

Blogging, Book Club 59

Hola, Bookworms!

We have come to day three of Armchair BEA and I am SO EXCITED! Today’s topic is… FREE STUFF! Actually, today is the day that Armchair BEA suggested that we hold giveaways on our blogs to thank everyone for being awesome and hanging with us. Yay!

Design Credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Design Credit: Nina of Nina Reads

About a month ago, I asked the delightful Bookworms on the Words for Worms Facebook page (which, by the way, if you do not already “like” you can do so HERE) if they’d be interested in participating in a book club hosted by MOI. The response was OVERWHELMING. Y’all want a book club! I live to serve, so I’m pleased to announce the formation of…

Yeah. I couldn’t think of a NAME. So. I’m going to hold a CONTEST! It’s easy to enter. Just leave a comment with suggestions of names for our book club. You can enter as many times as you want- leave anything you pretty little head can come up with. Tell your friends, perhaps they’ll have ideas. I’m partial to terrible puns, cheeky literary references, and pandering to my ego.

I will choose a name from among the reader suggestions. The person who comes up with the winning name will win FABULOUS PRIZES! Should the winner be a US resident, they will receive a box of assorted goodness so glorious that I cannot list it all here (partly because I’ve yet to assemble it.) It will definitely contain a $25 gift card to Amazon, which will be supplemented by do dads and fun things (possibly even… a dingelhopper!) Should the winner be a non US resident they will receive a $25 gift card to Amazon. And that’s it. Because, you guys. SHIPPING. Seriously. Alright. I’ll also throw in a personalized limerick for any potential international winners. (My limericks are legendary. Here’s PROOF.)

I will announce the winner a week from today along with our inaugural book club selection. I hope you’re all as excited as I am! Now, pretty please? Name! That! Book Club!!!!!!

***In the event that I get multiple entries for the same name, I’ll count the earliest time stamped suggestion. I know that it’s 100% plausible that multiple people come up with the same idea independently, but I’ve got to have some rules in place, you know?

On a completely unrelated note, today is the 30th and GOLDEN birthday of my butter churning best friend from a past life, Chrissy of Quirky Chrissy. Stop by her blog today to wish her a happy birthday. I can’t tease her for being old because I already turned 30, but if you’re younger and want to give her crap? I fully support your shenanigans. Happy Birthday, Jelly Bean! XOXO!

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May 29

Let's See What Develops: Armchair BEA Day 2!

Blogging 52

Good Day My Bookworms,

I must admit, it feels like a Tuesday. The whole holiday weekend thing always throws me for a loop. At least it means that the weekend will come faster. That’s always a bonus, no? If you joined me yesterday, you’ll know that this week I’m participating in Armchair BEA (an online blogger convention, and all that jazz. Click HERE if you missed it.) First things first. I would like to show you my ARMCHAIR. I am very literal, and I actually have an armchair in a designated reading nook in my basement.

I'm Katie's chair, and I'm quite cozy.

I’m Katie’s chair, and I’m quite cozy.

Today’s ABEA topic is all about blogger development. I don’t know if I’ve managed to fool any of you in the past nine months, but I have NO IDEA what I’m doing. I’m flying on a wing and a prayer here, hoping to amuse people and talk about books. That’s not to say I don’t have goals. I totally have goals. The loftiest among them is to assemble an unholy army of penguins and Katies to take over the universe! Muahahahahahaha!

Unfortunately, most Katies are uninterested in joining forces, and most penguins are uninterested in anything but fish, so it’s a work in progress. Blog wise, I would like to eventually get brave and go self hosted (but I am a chicken and technologically stunted so I have ALL THE FEARS!) Really, what I would like is to generate a little bit of income from this venture. I’m not looking for lottery style riches, but I’d like to be able to, say, fund a trip to the real BEA at some point using the revenues from this here bloggity blog. A girl can dream, right? The thing is that WordPress.com, lovely platform though it is, does not allow the sale of advertising on their free blogs (I can’t blame them, I mean, HELLO they’re a free platform.) I’m stuck in a bit of a catch 22, seeing as how self hosting costs money, but I can’t really make money until I self host. Psha. Stupid WORLD.

Since I already sound like the greediest Gus, I may as well mention that I started up a Zazzle store recently. Zazzle is cool because you can plaster whatever the heck you want on t-shirts and onesies and tote bags without having to order 8 zillion. My store has all of 5 items for sale. (I’m SUCH an entrepreneur…)Every one of them is emblazoned with my mascot, Le Kattoo (the adorable penguin holding a book has a name, you guys.) If you buy stuff from my Zazzle store, I’ll get a teeny tiny royalty fee. Seriously tiny, like, I might be able to buy a gumball with the proceeds. BUT. The stuff is really fun. I mostly started the store because I wanted to get my nephew a “future bookworm” onesie and I couldn’t find one I liked that was available to order. Thus, I made my own. Swag. I’ve got it. Click HERE for a really weird shopping experience!

Yeah. Go ahead and pretend that's not the cutest thing you've ever seen.

Baby not included.

I wish I had cool things to tell you on how I’ve developed my writing as a blogger, but my style can be summed up thusly: Bad puns. Run-ons and fragments abound. I show little regard for rules relating to the proper usage of parenthesis or their punctuation. I like to discuss books on my blog the way I would in person. If that includes me referring to characters as “dudes” and “douchebags” so be it. I am authentic. Like a really good burrito.

That’s not to say I’ve LEARNED nothing. When I first started blogging, I was so excited to tell everyone about what I’d read that I did a lot of mini reviews and smashed oodles of books into single posts. Nowadays, I like to talk about one book at a time, unless I’m compiling a list of some sort. I glossed over a lot of really excellent and meaty discussions trying to jam everything into a few paragraphs, which sucks, because some of those reviews could have been a lot better. C’est la vie. I’m like a Polaroid picture, just now beginning to come into focus. (This analogy depresses me because it’s terrible, but also because Polaroids are no longer a thing. I am OLD.)

I suppose it’s time to open up the floor to my dearest Bookworms and fellow Armchair BEA warriors. Have you any advice for my blog development? Is there a direction you’d like to see Words for Worms take? More of a particular genre, fewer lists, less discussion of my FILTHY GREED? I’m open to suggestion (just, you know. Be nice. Ugly crier, you know how it is.)

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May 28

From My Armchair to Yours: Armchair BEA 2013

Blogging 48

Aloha, Bookworms!

Today I’m taking a little break from Top Ten Tuesday to participate in a little something known as Armchair BEA. Here’s the deal. Book Expo America is this ginormous conference that brings together publishers and librarians and authors and most recently, book bloggers. Unfortunately this conference takes place in NYC, and I try to limit the amount of money I spend on a hobby that currently nets me zero dollars. The way I see it, I can only justify one conference a year, and this year I’m heading to BlogHer in July (it’s in Chicago!) Sooooo, I’m pleased that some fabulous book bloggers organized a way for those of us celebrating from afar to participate in BEA.

Design Credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Design Credit: Nina of Nina Reads

To kick off this little celebration, the Armchair BEA committee issued some questions to participating bloggers. Ready?

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? How sweet of you to ask, Armchair BEA! I’m Katie! I started Words for Worms last August, so about 9 months? (OMG, my blog could be a full term baby!) I had blogged privately in the past, but I thought it might be fun to start talking to the whole wide web. (I may or may not have been spurred into action by Quirky Chrissy and Lauren Filing Jointly, but I don’t want to go inflating their egos or anything…) Even on my (now deleted so don’t go looking) once upon a time blogs, I would occasionally write an update on what I had been reading. The concept of talking about books the way I like to talk about books was endlessly appealing. I’m so happy that I’ve found a little tribe of weirdos to join me!

2. Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures. I am blogging from ILLINOIS! Specifically, Peoria, Illinois. Literary fun fact! Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique is from Peoria. Also! Peoria is the oldest European settlement in Illinois, founded in 1691, which is cool, because I dig history. Now, Peoria proper is fairly developed, but you needn’t go far beyond city limits to hit some serious farmland. Corn and soybeans, people. I am where it’s at!

3. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013? I just started reading Stephen King’s Under The Dome for the summer DomeAlong! I have an incredibly difficult time choosing favorites. I hate it when I’m asked what my favorite book is- I feel there needs to be a qualifier, and perhaps a top ten list. (LOVE me some Top Ten Tuesday!) I have read 41 books so far this year, and a bunch of them have been pretty amazing. However. I think I’m going to have to give the title of my favorite so far to Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. If you missed my review, you can find it HERE. If you haven’t read it yet, you should do so. RIGHT NOW. GO!

4. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. This will not come as news to anybody who has been reading my blog for longer than a minute or two, but I feel it bears mentioning. I LOVE penguins. If you question my devotion, please allow me to direct you HERE (where you can read an overview) or HERE (where you can meet my penguin butler) or HERE (where you can read about the time I MET A PENGUIN IN REAL LIFE!)

5. What literary location would you most like to visit? Why? This might sound a little cliche, but I don’t care at all. I have a list of literary locales I’d like to visit, but tippy top on my list is visiting Oxford. I want to see the hall that Hogwarts’ Great Hall was based on. I can’t help myself. I adore Harry Potter. Evidence:

Katie. In London. Circa 2004.

Katie. In London. Circa 2004.

What do you think, Bookworms? What literary locations would you like to visit? Where are you joining us from? What’s the best book you’ve read this year? Tell us all about it! Armchair BEA for EVERYONE! WooHoo!

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May 27

Dome Along: Katie Joins The Party

Blogging, Book Club, Contemporary Fiction, Frightening 23

Happy Memorial Day, Bookworms!

I hope all the Bookworms out there in the USA enjoy Memorial Day with all due reverence to our lost veterans. The only appropriate way to honor them is by enjoying a barbecue, so, you know. Be patriotic. Eat too much. Get the goosebumps when you hear “I’m Proud to be an American” on the radio. For everyone outside of the states, sorry you have to work today. That sucks.

Since I’m off today, I thought I’d talk a little bit about peer pressure. You know you watched cheesy after school specials and/or Lifetime Original Movies warning teenagers of the dangers of peer pressure. Just say no! Hugs not drugs! Drinking will cause you to knock your two front teeth out! What they never tell you is that peer pressure isn’t always bad. Take for instance, Jennifer at The Relentless Reader. She may have mentioned to me that all the cool kids were joining a read-a-long this summer and that it might be a good idea for me to join them. I lasted about 5 minutes before deciding that she was right and I needed to read more Stephen King. Enter:

Under the Dome lengthwise

This bad boy is hosted by Natalie at Coffee and a Book Chick (which is another book blog and downright delightful.) The format is pretty unstructured, which is sweet, because things with too many rules annoy me. Basically? I’m going to read Stephen King’s Under The Dome with moral support. Then I’m going to talk about it. Pretty cool right? Since the mini series is coming out soon, it’s perfect timing.

I’m normally pretty leery of Stephen King, because of how I’m a giant chicken. Seriously. I read Bag of Bones as a teenager, and it creeped me out so badly, I couldn’t look at refrigerator magnets for weeks! It took me a good 10 years to get up the courage to try reading The Stand, and I ended up LOVING it. I decided that I could read King, I just needed to steer clear of the especially ghostly and/or demonic titles. A few months back I read 11/22/63 and while I didn’t love it as much as The Stand, it was pretty great. I’m a sucker for time travel. I read the synopsis for Under The Dome, and it sounded like it was more in the vein of “society has been dealt a really weird blow” rather than “DEMONS ARE COMING TO EAT YOUR SOUL, KATIE!!!!!” I may have a false sense of security here. Only time will tell.

I’m looking forward to trying out this whole read-a-long concept. I’m typically a one book at a time kind of gal, but there’s such a HUGE volume of things I want to read that I have a hard time committing to a behemoth of a book like this. I’m hoping I can tackle this bad boy in bite sized pieces while keeping up with the rest of my TBR list. I’ll keep you all apprised of my progress.

Anybody interested in joining?! Check out the details HERE. Already been Under the Dome? Send me words of comfort and/or warning!

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May 24

Perfectly Imperfect: The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Contemporary Fiction, Family, Friendship 39

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

Let’s do some math, shall we? Assuming that you sleep 8 hours a night (which you should, if at all possible, because sleep is awesome) you spend a third of your life in bed. Let’s say you work full time… An 8 hour shift. That’s another third (approximately, because weekends, but whatever I swear a have a point) of your life at work. A third of your life! You spend just as much of your time with your co-workers as you do with your family, and with Mr. Sandman. Now, now. Don’t go getting all depressed about how mean math is. A lot of life happens in the workplace. Imagine what the walls of your place of employment would say if they could talk (I happen to know what my walls are thinking because I converse with them regularly. I’m obviously NOT talking to myself all day. THAT would be ridiculous.)

the-imperfectionist

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman takes a look a the lives of a newspaper staff over the course of the paper’s lifespan. The newspaper was started to provide an English language news source to expatriates living abroad. While the central office is based in Rome, foreign correspondents are stationed strategically around the globe to offer the inside scoop from the ground level. The newspaper is full of idealistic journalists, fancying themselves muckraking newsmen in the golden age of print journalism. Even though the bulk of this story takes place during the dramatic decline of the industry, you get the feeling that each staff member is trying in their own way to recapture that magic. It calls to mind images of men in suits with press passes tucked into their hatbands and the sounds of typewriters clacking and clanging.

The inner workings of a newspaper can be pretty stressful. Deadlines loom, tempers flare, egos inflate. Inside this pressure cooker, each employee has their own set of issues, traumas, tragedies, and baggage to handle. The Imperfectionists is a novel, but it reads almost like a collection of short stories, each employee getting their own tale. The stories are woven together with vignettes on the history of the newspaper itself and its evolution over the decades. The overly passionate copy editor and the unassuming reporter and the douchebag war correspondent all contribute to this odd little microcosm.

Generate your own nonsense HERE

Generate your own nonsense HERE

The characters all were flawed, but were ultimately pretty likeable in spite of themselves. Rachman performed a delicate balancing act when describing romantic entanglements… He managed to portray all the excitement, passion, and heartbreak the characters experienced without crossing the line into melodrama. I found this book to be a quick read, and I enjoyed the slice of life aspect of each character’s short story. I am solidly in “like” with this book. It didn’t grab my soul and make mincemeat of it, but if it were a person? I’d give it a hearty handshake and buy it a drink. Like an old school news reporter might do.

Bookworms, my dears. I hesitate to ask you this question, but… One of the most entertaining characters in The Imperfectionists is a copy editor who is the ULTIMATE grammar and style Nazi. I shudder to think that I may have committed one of your personal grammatical pet peeves, but what are they? Do abbreviations drive you batty? Do you notice when people use homonyms incorrectly? Do you ever want to reach through your computer screen and edit someone’s Facebook status? Tell me about it!

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May 23

Good Omens, Dogma, and Nostalgia

Coming of Age, Fantasy, Humor, Mythology, Personal, Religion 43

Salutations Bookworms!

I recently finished reading Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It’s been on my radar for a while, but I only now got around to giving it a go. Gaiman and Pratchett are both well known authors of the quirky variety, so it seems natural that they teamed up, especially given the cheeky and irreverent nature of the subject matter…

Things only a nerd who took Spanish would notice: why is there a tilde over an S?

Things only a nerd who took Spanish would notice: why is there a tilde over an S?

So, Heaven and Hell are operating as usual, what with the demons trying to make human life difficult and the angels trying to influence things the other direction. One day, Satan gets all antsy and decides to pull a Rosemary’s Baby by sending the fruit of his loins onto the earth to bring about Armageddon. Thanks to an order of Satanist nuns (who attempt to be as loud as possible to differentiate themselves from other nuns who take vows of silence… Very contrary, Satanists), there’s a bit of a mix up in the hospital. Satan’s spawn is sent home to grow up with an unsuspecting set of parents while a mortal baby is raised in pretty bizarre circumstances. Satanist nannies do their best to influence “Warlock” to embrace his evil, while the angels keep sticking their noses in to try and make him overcome his nature. Obviously their efforts are in vain, as baby Warlock is in possession of no supernatural capabilities.

While the forces of good and evil play a celestial chess game with a frustratingly mortal child, Adam, the ACTUAL demon spawn, is left to grow up like any other human. The only angels and devils perched on his shoulders are purely metaphorical. One angel and one demon in particular (Aziraphale and Crowley, respectively) play an especially important role in bringing about the end of the world, but they’ve become rather disenchanted with the idea of a celestial battle. While Aziraphale and Crowley have been growing weary, War, Famine, Pollution, and Death (the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, of course, Pestilence having retired following the discovery of penicillin) have been gearing up for the end of days. Despite the best intentions of both Heaven and Hell, neither side is particularly well prepared for Armageddon thanks to humanity fouling things up. You try plotting world destruction when your minions are unreliable!

Conflicted!

The Devil and Angel on my shoulders!

To be completely honest (and I’m embarrassed to admit this) Good Omens left me feeling lukewarm. I can’t discuss this book without bringing up Dogma. In 1999, Kevin Smith and his merry band of misfits put together a movie that was heavily influenced by Good Omens, though not a movie version of the book. Gaiman was instrumental in helping Smith craft his tale, and is thanked in the credits. I knew Good Omens and Dogma were in cahoots, but I was disappointed to find out that the story was completely different. I mean, sure. Heaven, Hell, Armageddon, creatures from another realm of existence doing battle- that was all there. But some of the elements that really drew me to the movie like heckling organized religion and giving a little spin on the family history of Jesus were absent in this book. My connection to Dogma is polluted by nostalgia. That movie came out when I was in high school, and Kevin Smith offered just the right combination of humor, intelligence, and bad language to make watching his movies as a teen a safe way to rebel while not getting into any ACTUAL trouble. (Appreciating humor at the expense of established cultural norms does not represent my feelings on religion in any way, so please don’t think that I’m being disrespectful. I simply enjoy revisionist takes on history- biblical and otherwise.)

I recently read somewhere that people who don’t read The Catcher in The Rye as a teenager will never appreciate it properly, and I think this might be the case with me and Good Omens. What about you, Bookworms? Have you ever (gasp) liked a movie better than a book? Were you ashamed to admit it?

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May 21

Let's Judge Books By Their Covers!

Art, Blogging, Chick Lit, Coming of Age 38

Hey Bookworms!

I’m sorry about being out of pocket yesterday, but I had a very taxing weekend… Well. That’s a relative term I suppose. My sister’s weekend was certainly MORE taxing than mine, as she spent most of it laboring to make me an aunt for the first time, at least the first time BIOLOGICALLY. I’m an honorary aunt several times over (and I love each and every one of those pumpkins just as much as my new little guy) but THIS one can’t disown me. Good luck, Nathan! Muahahahaha.  I also had an extended conversation with a toad I found in my garden and relocated to the neighbor’s yard so I wouldn’t get startled by a hop and squish him. Then I spent time with friends, saw a movie, drank a martini called “lizard on a mattress,” planted MORE beautiful flowers, and got my crafty on helping a friend with wedding planning. I’m back now. Just in time for TOP TEN TUESDAY!

toptentuesday

This week the ladies of The Broke and The Bookish have asked the bookish blogosphere to list out their top ten favorite book covers. I do the vast majority of my reading on my kindle, so I don’t connect with book covers the way that I used to. Also, there are so many different things I like about different book covers that I decided to rebel. REBEL, I tell you! In my tenure as a blogger, I’ve been lucky enough to be taken into the bosom of some incredibly talented and generous blogger/artists. Some of their work is so incredible it deserves to be on book covers. So. MY list this week will feature art that is NOT on book covers, but should be. Ready?!

hummingbirdpoppies

Courtesy of Lillian Connelly

1. This watercolor was done by the fabulously talented Lillian Connelly. You may know her from her blog, It’s A Dome Life. I absolutely adore the colors and the hummingbirds and the poppies. Couldn’t you just see it as the cover art for an Alice Hoffman or Kate Morton title? I love this piece so much, I bought a necklace of it. Oh yeah, she’s got a zazzle store. Click HERE to get all swagged up!

Courtesy Sandra at BuLaMamaNi

Courtesy Sandra at BuLaMamaNi

2. Sandra at BuLaMamaNi does some amazing collage work, like the piece above. I love that the little girl seems to be crying flower petals. Can’t you imagine it as the cover of a tragic tale of innocence lost? Forgotten childhood? Beautiful.

3. How cool is this?! It’s wacky wonky paper dolls and it’s trippy and fabulous. I imagine it going with a quirky coming of age tale. Some teen angst, perhaps? So cool!

4. Sandra provides another awesome image. See the horses with the super long legs in the background? They remind me of the imaginary creatures at the end of His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman, or some of the fantastical Harry Potter animals.

Lillian Connelly

Lillian Connelly

5. Lily, my dearest dear. Please forgive me this terrible pun, but I cannot resist. This piece would be the perfect cover for some Chick Lit!!! (Wah wah wah…)

BuLaMamaNi

BuLaMamaNi

6. Another piece from Sandra. I adore this one. It feels like childhood and playing in the rain and chasing butterflies. It belongs on a book that embodies these feelings!

7. Okay, okay. Chrissy isn’t an artist in the traditional sense of the word, but occasionally she dabbles in magazine collage. It makes me laugh because it’s so… Her. I like to think this should be the cover of her autobiography, entitled Snowing Like A Banshee. She gave her final creative writing project that title in college. I hated it because it made no sense. The phrase is “yelling” or “screaming” like a banshee, because a banshee is a mythological ghost that flits about making endless wailing noises. It has nothing whatsoever to do with weather. But that’s Chrissy. She makes no damn sense, but she’s tough to resist.

Art by ME!

Art by ME!

8. This is what happens when I try to draw stuff. It should never be a book cover, but I thought it would be amusing to remind you of my limitations. That’s an alligator. Saying “rawr.” Fierce.

Alright. So that’s only 8 covers, but since I cheated at the topic I figure I can fudge the number. What do you like to see in a cover, Worms? What pulls you in? It’s speech bubbles on poorly drawn reptiles, isn’t it?!

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May 17

A Rose By Any Other Name (Confession Friday)

Blogging, Confession Friday, Flowers 44

Forgive me Bookworms,

I must confess that I’ve been neglecting you. I am officially the crazy flower lady. I took time off of work to plant my flowers this year. Seriously. Staycationing is totally a thing and flowers are like therapeutic for me. I love them so, so much! However, since I was shopping and planting and all that good stuff, I didn’t get a lot of reading done. The fresh air takes it out of you, thus I kept falling asleep during my ritualistic pre-bedtime reading. Sorry. But! I’m going to make it up to you by listing a bunch of literary characters with flower names. Are you excited yet?!

It will be more impressive in a couple of weeks, but FLOWERS!

It will be more impressive in a couple of weeks when they’ve had a chance to fill in, but FLOWERS!

1. Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling- Floral names are all the rage among the wizard set. From Lily Potter and her muggle sister Petunia Dursley to Narcissa Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson, and Lavender Brown, JK Rowling LOVED her some floral names. Even the French weren’t immune to the foliage as everyone’s favorite Beauxbatons student Fleur (Delacour) Weasley’s name is, well, French for flower.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins– I had to look it up, but Katniss is, in fact, a real plant. It’s not just some made up hybrid thing like a mockingjay or a tracker jacker. Primrose and Rue are floral names, too. (On a side note, I’ve always assumed that Peeta’s name was a play on pita, like the bread, because he’s a baker’s son and all. Anybody else think that or am I nuts?)

3. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald– My word it is just Gatsby mania out there right now! Baz Luhrmann touches something and the world goes bananas! Everywhere I turn there’s more hype and parties and 20s inspired accessories. It just so happens that my list is not immune as everyone’s favorite blonde with money in her voice is named DAISY Buchanan.

You're beginning to forgive me, I can tell!

You’re beginning to forgive me, I can tell!

4. The Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris, in the later books, featured a pair of botanically named sisters who also happened to be part demon. Their names were Diantha and Gladiola. Not sure why the demons got floral names and the fairies were called Claudine and Dermott, but hey. We’ll take what we can get.

5. Atonement by Ian McEwan boasts a main character with a floral name. Briony, our misguided protagonist is named for a flowering plant in the cucumber family. I did not know it was from the cucumber family until I googled. Now I want cucumbers.

6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott– This one’s a bit of a stretch BUT. Laurie from Little Women could be construed as a flower name. Lawrence (which Laurie is short for) means “crowned with laurel,” and laurel, as we know, is a flower!

Flowers, you guys! So many flowers!

Flowers, you guys! So many flowers!

7. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer features resident cranky barren vampress Rosalie. Her name is an obvious take off of Rose. I’m having a horrendous brain fart trying to think of other literary characters named Rose, which is probably because zillions exist but my memory is refusing to let me access them as punishment for maybe sort of wishing I could be a vampire that one time…

8. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold– Susie Salmon has quite the name. Not only is it “Salmon, like the fish” but Susan actually means lily or lotus flower. Betcha didn’t know that one (unless your name is Susan. I mean, I know that Katie/Kathryn/etc. is of Greek origin and means “pure” so all the Susans out there probably knew this already.)

9. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See- Okay, the main character is named Snow Flower, so there’s that. Chinese names are ALL ABOUT the flowers. Lots of Lotus and Peony and such when reading books set in China. Beautiful.

Am I forgiven yet? Am I?

Am I forgiven yet? Am I?

10. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell– I am cheating here, because Margaret Mitchell was the author and not a character, but I’m using her as an excuse to be a know-it-all. Daisy is a nickname for Margaret. For reals. Some varieties of daisy are referred to as Marguerites, which is a version of Margaret. Boom. Nailed it.

I hope you’re not too mad at me for neglecting you and throwing together a random list post. Do any of you Bookworms have favorite literary characters with floral names? Share and share alike, my dears. Who did I forget?

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May 16

Reasons Fannie Flagg is my Homegirl: Standing In the Rainbow

Chick Lit, Coming of Age, Family, Friendship 31

How y’all doing, Bookworms?

I took a trip to my hometown recently to spend a little QT with my mom. We had lunch and got mani-pedis to celebrate Mother’s Day. It felt extra indulgent because I’d taken some vacation time and we were galavanting ON A WEEKDAY! As I’ve discussed with you on several occasions, when driving alone, I hate to waste the hours. I have taken to listening to audio books on all solo road trips and find the car time infinitely more tolerable.

On this particular trip, I purchased a copy of Fannie Flagg’s Standing In the Rainbow via iTunes to play on my fancy little phone through a wire thingie to my car’s speaker system. It’s as high tech as you can get while still using wires. I did not realize it AT THE TIME, but it seems the version I downloaded was ABRIDGED. I KNOW! I’m very disappointed in myself for not doing my due diligence, but as is the case any time I visit Elmwood Springs, Missouri, I was enchanted (even if I inadvertently missed out on some of the story…)

standingintherainbow

Fannie Flagg narrated this audio book herself, which I LOVED because southern accents are adorable when you’re talking about small towns in the American south. A little twang is downright endearing. I’ve been to Elmwood Springs, Missouri a couple of times already when reading Welcome To The World, Baby Girl and Can’t Wait To Get THeaven and I love the way Flagg incorporates her characters into different stories. They might only show up as a side note, or write a song that becomes someone’s favorite, or host a charming radio show, but the minute I run into a character I’ve heard of before, I feel like I already know them. I was SO pleased to hear so much of the famous Neighbor Dorothy’s story in this book.

Neighbor Dorothy started up a little radio show out of her home in the mid 1940s, and shared recipes, homemaking tips, and hosting a wide variety of musical guests. Neighbor Dorothy’s show, and her cakes, appeared in both Welcome To The World, Baby Girl and Can’t Wait To Get To Heaven, so hearing her story was quite a treat. She was a homemaker, but no pushover. She could bake with the best of them, but she and her former suffragette mother-in-law weren’t about to sit back and watch women pushed out of politics or anywhere else. Dorothy’s gentle personality and her typical refusal to discuss hot button issues made her opinion all the more valuable when she occasionally let it out.

Dorothy’s children, Bobby and Anna Lee go on to lead interesting lives, but nobody’s life is quite as interesting as the introverted daughter of a gospel singer the Smiths take in one summer. Betty Raye Oatman starts out as a painfully shy girl. She is so shy that the idea of traveling with her family’s gospel group sickens her. She is anxious and forced to go on stage and be around people constantly. All the poor girl wants is some peace, quiet, and a place to read (bless her heart.) After a short visit with Dorothy and the Smith family, Betty Raye finds it even harder to go back on the road with her family. This is why it comes as such a surprise when little Betty Raye goes on to marry a mover and a shaker in politics, Hamm Sparks.

I could keep on rambling about Tot Whooten and Aunt Elner and Jimmy Head and Macky and Norma and the impossibly fabulous Cecil Figgs, but I’ll spare you the details. I can’t help it, y’all. Fannie Flagg lifts my spirits in a way nobody else can. I love her quirky characters, I love the Southern charm, I love the whole schtick. When I need a pick me up, she’s my go-to gal.

Now that I’m longing for a simpler time when soda fountains were in pharmacies and bubble gum blowing contests were a thing, I’ll pose this question to you. When Bobby Smith hits middle age, he’s struck by an intense nostalgia for his childhood and the town he’d grown up in. I know I personally get really happy when I find ORIGINAL (and not the new fangled animation style) Care Bears and My Little Pony stickers and whatnot. What are some of your favorite childhood toys and memories?

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