Month: August 2013

Aug 30

Confession Friday: I Had to Google "Twerking"

Humor 50

Hey there Bookworms!

Happy Friday! It’s been a while since I’ve hit the confessional, so I thought I’d clue y’all in to how utterly out of touch and uncool I truly am. All week everyone has been talking about the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs, for anyone that’s even more out of touch than I am.) I did not watch the VMAs. I was folding laundry, reading books about nuclear war, and going to bed at a reasonable hour. It was only thanks to the internet I knew anything about Miley Cyrus’s antics. A starlet acting out for attention is not interesting to me… But… What in the sam heck is this “twerking” all the kids are talking about?

I shall now don the dunce cap of the culturally ignorant. (Image Source)

I shall now don the dunce cap of the culturally ignorant. (Image Source)

I HAD TO GOOGLE TWERKING. I figured it was a dance move, but I was expecting it to look… different. I thought the term “twerk” was born of the combination of “tweak” and “jerk.” Thanks to having read Under the Dome by Stephen King, I feel like I know a little something about the effects of Meth on the human body… And since taking a hit of Meth is sometimes called “tweaking” and people who are super stoned do weird things, like, say, have muscle spasms, it made sense to me. What I couldn’t figure out was how this move was supposed to be attractive since I was picturing something more akin to an involuntary twitch of the head and shoulders… Turns out? “Twerk” just another name for pelvic thrusting/booty shaking. I was a little disappointed to learn I was wrong and that popular dance wasn’t moving in a completely bizarre direction. Like that scene from Can’t Buy Me Love when Patrick Dempsey is a nerd and gets his moves from a PBS documentary instead of Soul Train? (The fact that I just referenced a movie made in 1987 only proves that I am as “hip” and “with it” as your average 90 year old.)

In other news, I wrote a guest post today for the lovely Lauren over at Books, Tea, and Me. It’s about books that make me laugh, and there’s totally a Mary Poppins reference, so you obviously should go and read it. CLICKETY CLICK HERE

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Aug 29

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

Classics, Dystopian, Frightening 30

Howdy Bookworms,

There’s a good chance I’ve been watching too much Doomsday Preppersbut you know I love a good post apocalyptic novel. It had been a while since I’d read one, so when Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank came up as a sale item on Amazon this month I jumped on it. Alas, Babylon was published in 1959, which for all of you scholars out there was at the height of the Cold War. The threat of the US and the USSR blowing each other to smithereens with nuclear bombs was palpable.

Alas, BabylonAlas, Babylon takes the leap into the “what if.” What if the USSR had nuked many of the major cities in the US? What if a small pocket of Florida remained untouched while the rest of the state was saturated in radiation? What if the power went out… Forever? I love a good apocalypse story, and this is one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s funny that something written 54 years ago could still be so relevant, but it absolutely is. Those of us living today in the digital age would be facing the exact same predicament as the folks in the 50s… Except a little worse, because OMG what would we do without the INTERNET?!

One of my favorite shows in the last ten years was JerichoIt was a tragically short lived drama (2006-2008, RIP) about a small town in Kansas in the aftermath of nuclear devastation in the US. The hit sites were very similar to those in Alas, Babylon, but instead of Russia being behind the bombs, it was a mysterious conspiracy. Obviously, since this book came out decades before that show, it’s almost impossible that the creators of the show were not influenced by this book. I LOVE THEM BOTH!

It had everything! People’s reactions to disasters always fascinate me. First there’s the disbelief that anything of this magnitude could happen. The shock. The panic. The looting of the stores. The lawlessness that inevitably arises when food and supplies run low. You’ve got the ingenuity of people re-learning how to do things the “old fashioned” way and the rise of the highwaymen. I picked up this book and I could not put it down. It was that awesome. Of course, I’m now slightly paranoid about nuclear war and kind of want to get a Geiger counter to keep in my basement, but what else is new? I’m highly susceptible to suggestion. This is why I don’t watch infomercials, because HOT DAMN that Forever Lazy looks like a good idea.

What about you, bookworms? Do you like post apocalyptic novels? A good dystopia? Do they make you want to stockpile things and build a bunker? No? That’s just me? I should probably stop watching Doomsday Preppers, shouldn’t I?

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Aug 27

Hiya! Top Ten Sidekicks!

Classics, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, Top Ten Tuesday 46

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

It’s a beautiful day for a list, don’t you think?! The fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish have come up with a fantastic concept for today’s list. We’re talking about our favorite secondary characters in books. I’ve always believed that if I were in a movie or a book, I’d be the quirky best friend and not the romantic lead, so sidekicks have a special place in my heart. Let’s count down some of the best, shall we?!

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1. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by JK Rowling. It is super hard to choose a favorite “secondary” character from Harry Potter, because there are so many that I love. You might even be able to argue that Hermione isn’t a “secondary” character because she’s a big deal. Whatever. The books don’t have her name on the cover, she’s awesome, and it’s my blog. Yay Hermione!

2. Young Ian from The Outlander Novels by Diana GabaldonThe youngest son of Ian and Jenny Murray is just a firecracker. Whatever shenanigans he gets himself into (and Ian is big on the shenanigans) you can’t help but love him.

3. Fermin from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. Who doesn’t love Fermin? The outrageous homeless man turned bookseller had an endless supply of amusing stories as well as an endless supply of mysterious skills. Also, though he’s a slender fellow, he has a seemingly endless stomach capacity. Who doesn’t love a ham sandwich?

the-shadow-of-the-wind-by-carlos-ruiz-zafon4. Horace from Empire Falls by Richard Russo. I don’t know what it is, but a dude with a big growth on his face makes my underdog radar go off. He also kicked butt at cards and took that banty rooster Walt down a few pegs every time they played gin rummy.

5. Chiron (the Centaur) from Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. What’s not to love about a freaking centaur?! He tutors Achilles and Patroclus in the arts of war and medicine… Plus he doesn’t make a big deal about their man love blossoming on his mountain. Pretty cool guy-horse, that Chiron.

6. Toby from Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I absolutely adored Toby, Finn’s “secret” lover. Oh Toby. It made me SO SAD that Finn’s family didn’t accept his life with Toby. The reasons were complicated, but it broke my heart. When he lost Finn, Toby had nobody left. I LOVED the relationship he forged with June. Gah. The whole thing is making me tear up again!

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7. Cinna from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Katniss’s stylist in the Capitol proved that not everyone in the Capitol was heartless. I was really excited to see Lennie Kravitz cast in the movie, because he was pretty darn fantastic. I kind of wish Cinna would make me a dress with pyrotechnic capabilities…

8. Gavroche from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I flipping love this feisty little street urchin. He is well versed in the Parisian underworld and he freaking LIVES in an ELEPHANT statue. Swagger.

9. The Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Speaking of street urchins, The Artful Dodger was London’s answer to Gavroche. A plucky young pickpocket, ‘The Artful’ was  one of the few in Fagin’s gang who had a good heart.

10. M from Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Ah yes, the Mercutio to R’s Romeo. He’s one of the few zombies that can articulate… after a fashion. They’re brain eating, grunting, bachelor zombie buddies. I found him amusing.

What about you, Bookworms? Who are some of your favorite secondary characters? Do you prefer underdogs and weirdos or are you more a fan of the logical sidekicks?

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Aug 26

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

Blogging, Contemporary Fiction, Flowers 28

Holy Moly. Bookworms!

Do you remember that reading slump I was whining about last week? It is so freaking BUSTED. I finished reading The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway all of 10 minutes ago and I am positively agog. Like… If this book were a dude, my husband might have something to worry about. All these things I love were wrapped up in this dainty little package and WHERE is my fainting couch?! I do believe I have the vapors!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It’s a good thing I’ve written more balanced reviews of books from publishers in the past, or you’d never believe I hadn’t been bribed. Apologies for the forthcoming unbridled enthusiasm. 

IMG_2911Gal is a 36 year old biology teacher. She has spent her life battling kidney disease and undergone two transplants. Her current bout of dialysis has been going on 8 years. When she isn’t having her blood filtered by machines or desperately trying to get her students to study, she breeds roses. Ordinary gardening just won’t do for this budding horticulturalist. She creates her own breeds of roses by cross pollinating and making hideously stinky batches of specialty fertilizer. She lives alone, as she’s never dated, and enjoys her life of solitude. One day, out of the blue, her 15 year old niece Riley is unceremoniously dropped into Gal’s life. What follows is a story of emotional restructuring, growing together, and, um, the de-thorning of souls. Or something. I’m waxing poetic because it’s just too much!

I’ve explained my love of flowers to you before. In case you somehow missed it, check out my review of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh or my excitement for this year’s planting season. When I was a senior in high school I got a job in a flower shop. I’d always liked flowers well enough. I mean, who doesn’t? But over the course of two summers and some holiday seasons (college breaks and the like) I fell HARD for horticulture. I am fairly useless at the artistry of arranging, but nothing thrills me more than fresh blooms. Combining my love of flowers with my love of reading is a heady mixture, but the best part about this book for me was learning so much about rose breeding.

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All art eludes me, floral arranging to photography. Still. You must admit the orange roses are stunning in the hands of my bridesmaids.

I suppose that won’t strike YOU as terribly funny, because you don’t, in fact, live in my head. My middle name is Rose, but roses themselves have never been my favorite. I think the biggest reason is that I like to root for the underdog. Roses are just so… Done. Even my unartistic self could put together a vased arrangement of red roses. Yawn. They’re beautiful, but I’ve always felt they get too much of the spotlight. In fact, my bridal bouquet had not a single rose in it. My bridesmaids’ bouquets had roses in them, because OMG those Chelsea orange roses were just impossibly gorgeous, but still. I was stingy with them. Perhaps if I’d realized all that goes into cross breeding these suckers, I’d have been a little more open to the awesomeness of the rose!

It’s not just the flowers, though. Margaret Dilloway crafted a gorgeous narrative. Flaky family members, chronic illnesses, and Gal’s unyielding academic integrity enveloped my from the first pages. I was already completely hooked and loving this story. Then? Then she went and threw a penguin into the mix! I very nearly threw down the book and shrieked with utter delight. Ms. Dilloway, your rose vines have grown all up around my snarky little heart. Please excuse me now as I start thrusting copies of this book into the hands of unsuspecting strangers.

Bookworms, have you ever encountered a book that felt like it was written just for you? How do you feel about roses? What book would you use to accost random pedestrians? Talk to me, wormy worms! (But stay off my roses. Because you will RUIN them with your worm juices! Don’t act like you weren’t planning on inviting the aphids to your feast. I know you…)

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Aug 23

Damn the Man! Save the Empire… Falls! (Empire Falls by Richard Russo)

Blogging, Contemporary Fiction 31

What’s Shaking, Bookworms?

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear that I get a lot of book recommendations from my awesome readers, other bloggers, and folks I know in real life. It might, however, surprise you to know that SOMETIMES I actually listen! Why, just last week I was reading the newly certified awesome blog, Fourth Street Review, when Rory more or less told me that I absolutely had to read Empire Falls by Richard Russo. (Okay, she may just have listed it in a Top Ten Tuesday post. Whatever. I took it to heart.)

Richard Russo is one of those big name authors that for whatever reason I’d never read. I blame the fact that there are 80 bazillion books in existence. Anywho, after I read Rory’s post, I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to see if it was available on my local library’s digital site. Lo and behold, it was there, and there was NO WAIT LIST (which in itself is a miraculous occurrence.) I took it as a sign and dove in that very evening.

Empirefallsbookcover Empire Falls tells the tale of a small industrial town in Maine. Though it once flourished with textile mills and manufacturing, the town has fallen on hard times. The wealthy family that owned the mills, the Whitings, are still around and pulling the strings of the town’s dwindling population. Miles Roby, our protagonist, runs Empire Falls’s premiere (and only) diner, the Empire Grill. A whole cast of quirky small town characters fills the pages of this book (as well as the tables of the Empire Grill) with their foibles and antics.

I’m quite certain that I’m only making this association because there aren’t a whole lot of books set in Maine, but Empire Falls put me in mind of Stephen King’s Under the Dome in some ways. It was set in Maine, for starters. Then there was the unassuming fry cook main character (Miles in Empire Falls, Barbie in Under the Dome.) Plus, we even had a nasty father son bad apple team going on in Empire Falls in the form of crooked cop Jimmy Minty and his punk of a son Zach, which mirrored Big Jim and Junior… Only in a more realistic and less super villain context. (Mad props to Russo for crafting so many well rounded characters!)

In fact, Empire Falls began as such a slice of New England life tale, I was waiting for the dome to come down… Or really, for anything to happen. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the extended exposition. It was very well done, the characters had dimension, motivation, and feeling. Even Max Roby, Miles’s alcoholic layabout father had a certain charm about him. I found myself trying to figure out where to focus… The mysterious teen boy? The priest with dementia who kept trying to hear confessions? (The Father Tom and Max Roby dynamic duo cracked me up!) Or should I have been paying attention to the goings on of the Whiting family? The potential paternity scandal? How Horace kept kicking Walt’s butt at Gin Rummy?

Source: pixiv.net

Source: pixiv.net

For about 80 percent of the book, I felt like I was waiting and waiting for something to happen. And then? HULK SMASH! Everything kind of blew up and went nuts in Empire Falls. I mean, nobody turned GREEN or anything (though it would have been an amusing touch) but there’d been a long buildup of anger and frustration and whatnot that just had to get out.

I really enjoyed Empire Falls, but it has my emotions all a-twitter. I adored the characterization, and Russo really captured the essence of a once bustling town abandoned by its factories. I do think the ending might have been a touch over-the-top, but in my opinion, it had enough whimsy to counterbalance to the melodrama. All in all? I’d say you should give this one a read.

Have any of you Bookworms read Empire Falls? What did you think? The internet tells me there was also a movie made- anybody seen it? How does it hold up? Does anybody turn green, perchance? No? Well. Probably for the best. Just look at what happened to poor Elphaba. No one mourns the wicked.

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Aug 22

So, I Might Be Famous…

Blogging 19

Hey Bookworms!

Today I’m being featured over at Book Bloggers International, which is a super cool blog that helps book bloggers connect. I’ve answered a little survey of sorts, and it was tons of fun. I’m excited and honored and screechy at the thought. Go check it out HERE!

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If you wouldn’t mind dropping by and leaving a message there, I’d appreciate it. Y’all are awesomesauce. XOXO!

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Aug 20

Top Ten Tuesday: Tools For Easy Reading

Audio Books, Blogging, E-Readers 54

Howdy Bookworms,

It’s Tuesday! This week the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have taken a new tack, I shall be listing the top ten things that make my life easier as a reader and blogger. Cool right? Here goes…

TTT3W

1. Kindle Paperwhite. I know that there’s still a lot of debate concerning “real” books vs. e-books. I think you should read whatever you happen to like. I will tell you that for me, the Kindle is delightful. My house is not huge so physical book storage can be a problem. I love that my Kindle easily fits in my purse (even if I don’t want to carry a gigantic bag.) It stores all the books I can handle and I love it! Plus, the e-ink they figured out looks a lot more like a book page than a computer screen. They’re magical.

2. Capital One Rewards Card. Why? I use the card for day to day expenses (yes, I pay it off every month. Geeze, Suze Orman, get off my back!) The points I accrue I cash in for Amazon gift cards. It’s how I fund my reading habit.

3. Digital Library Books. I was SO STOKED when Amazon began allowing Kindle books to be used as library books. There are some drawbacks, of course. Kindle library books are treated as though they’re physical books- if they’ve only got one copy of it, you’re going to have to wait. However. I can still take books out from my local library without worrying about picking them up or returning them on time. No late fees when the title simply expires on the expiration date. Plus, it’s one less errand I need to run. Ain’t nobody got time to run errands.

I love you, my Kindle!

I love you, my Kindle!

4. NetGalley– I’m sure you’ve noticed in many a post that I mention I’ve received a copy of a book via NetGalley. NetGalley is a service that provides “professional readers” (I know right?! I’m a professional reader?!?! Can I put that on my resume?) with advanced copies of books in exchange for reviews. I love this system because it’s very low pressure. I actually like the relative anonymity of the system. I want to be honest about books (though I do try not to be mean.) I find it harder to be honest if I’ve got a rapport going with an author and then the book falls flat for me. With NetGalley, you’re working with the publisher, and not directly with the author which is awesome, because I don’t like conflict. Eeep!

5. Book Lights- This is less of an issue for me now that I’ve got that glorious Kindle Paperwhite (which has a built in glow feature) but book lights are the best. I do the majority of my reading in bed and Hubs typically falls asleep before I’m ready to turn in. Having a light that doesn’t illuminate the whole room is the key to a successful marriage. Or something like that.

6. Goodreads Are you on Goodreads? It’s a social media site dedicated to book lovers. You can track the books you’ve read for the year, keep tabs on ratings, and chat with other users. Admittedly, I don’t do much on the social side of Goodreads. I mostly use it to keep track of what I’ve read, but I love that if I get off my duff, it’s got a ton of other options. (Want to be Goodreads friends? Search for Katie Kelly. Profile pic is Wormy McSmartypants!)

smarty mcwordypants

7. Feedly This is what I use for my RSS feed. It allows me to keep tabs on ALL THE BLOGS! It doesn’t matter the platform you’re blogging on, I see it all on Feedly. Sweet right?

8. My iPhone. I’ve got a WordPress app on my phone that allows me to do a lot of this blogging business on the go. Plus? It’s got an Alice in Wonderland cover on it.

9. Audio Books- It’s wonderful to be able to listen to a book while on a long drive. Radio stations can be unreliable when you’re driving a long distance. It feels like the ultimate multitasking. Yay audio books!

10. Penguins. Not really, I just needed a number 10. But seriously, how awesome are penguins?!?!

What about you, Bookworms? Are there any accessories, programs, or websites that make your reading life go more smoothly? Tell me about it!

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Aug 19

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Classics, Historical Fiction, Women's Studies 53

Hey Bookworms,

It’s Monday, and that’s appropriate, because I feel that I’m in a bit of a slump. I haven’t been connecting with what I’ve been reading lately, which just makes me want to stare off into space. That said, I’m concerned that the following review is going to reflect my humdrum mood as opposed to the quality of the writing. I suppose it’s possible that I soaked up the melancholy tone of the writing more than I realized and THAT is what’s making me all gray…

theireyeswerewatchinggodI just finished reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. It detailed the plight of an African American woman named Janie during the 1920s. Janie was raised by her grandmother in a white family’s outbuilding. Her grandmother lives long enough to see Janie married off to what she deems is a safe match. Unfortunately, Janie has other ideas.

Janie is not content to live in a loveless marriage. She is full of vitality and has her own ideas about the life she wants to lead. This energy leads her on a journey that she could never have expected. We follow Janie through several marriages, emotional turmoil, community unrest, high standards, seasonal labor, and Mother Nature’s wrath. There’s even a seriously intense Old Yeller moment that’ll break your heart into 10,000 pieces.

Janie’s trials are heartbreaking. Hurston’s empathy for the impoverished population she writes about is palpable. She points out all their foibles, but also the beauty in their lifestyles as well. The state of African American society in Florida barely a generation removed from slavery was fascinating. However…

I had a hard time connecting with this book. Maybe it was the overabundance of sorrow that put me off. Perhaps it was that even when things were going well for Janie she was still in pretty dire situations. Like… She’s in love with Tea Cake, but he’s occasionally physically abusive and a compulsive gambler… I mean, c’mon Janie! I think my biggest stumbling block was the dialect. Hurston wrote large portions of this book in the thick Southern drawl and colloquial language authentic to the people of the period. Unfortunately, that’s now how I speak. I very nearly had to read the words aloud in order to understand what was being said. I can understand why this book is considered a classic and I can appreciate its inherent beauty. However, Their Eyes Were Watching God is never going to be one of my favorite books.

You’ve got to help me out here, Bookworms. What do you do when you’re in a reading slump? Do you revisit an old favorite? Read something you know will be light? Take a break? All suggestions are welcome!

I should also mention that we have a WINNER in the Blogiversary Giveaway! Leah from Books Speak Volumes (which is a sweet little book blog you should check out) came up the lucky number. Congratulations, Leah! (Send me an email with your address to wordsforworms@gmail.com and I’ll get your package in the mail!)

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Aug 15

The Shadow of the Wind: A Fellowship of the Worms Experience

Book Club, Mystery, Psychological 29

smarty mcwordypantsGreetings, Bookworms! The Fellowship of the Worms is back in session. Our book club choice this month was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Shadow of the Wind and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. :)

1. When Daniel describes Carax’s novel within the novel (of the same name… because that’s not even a tiny bit confusing) The Shadow of the Wind, he says, “As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable ever-smaller dolls within” (p. 7).This book contained the threads of narratives for several different stories. Did you find yourself intrigued by following the pieces of the puzzle or confused by the similarities in the tales?

Brutal honesty here: I had a hard time getting into this book. I don’t know if it was just that I kept reading while I was really tired, but I got a little frustrated keeping the characters straight. Because Julian and Daniel’s tales in particular were so similar, I found myself thinking things like “Wait… Was this Julian? Was this Daniel? Gah! Go back three pages!” That said, once I did get sucked in, I was hooked. There was a certain beauty in the similarities of the characters’ stories. I think Daniel’s description of the Russian dolls is most appropriate.

Things you shouldn't be surprised that I own... Russian nesting dolls: penguin style.

Things you shouldn’t be surprised that I own… Russian nesting dolls: penguin style.

2. Were you able to guess Lain Coubert’s identity before it was revealed?

I didn’t immediately realize that Coubert was indeed Carax, but I definitely had it figured out before it was laid out in plain language. Once it was revealed that Fermin (who didn’t LOVE Fermin?!) was tormented with a blowtorch by Fumero, I was CONVINCED that Fumero had somehow tracked down Julian and tortured him in a similar fashion resulting in his burns. I was wrong… Though I still think that would have been an interesting twist. 

3. What is with all the incest? Seriously. We are now 2 for 2 on the incest in our Fellowship choices. This time it was purely accidental, thanks to the elder Aldaya being a man whore AND being vain enough to want his illegitimate offspring within his grasp. Were you shocked by the revelation?

I wasn’t. Why? I’d seen very similar storylines play out on both House, MD and Law & Order: SVU. In each of those cases, a philandering father had messed around outside his marriage and tried desperately to keep his star-crossed offspring away from each other. Come on, guys. If you’re going to screw around and you see your kids falling in love, or even hanging out? You come clean. The worst part was that it was all Aldaya’s own fault that Julian and Penelope even MET because he was disappointed in Jorge, his legitimate heir. HUBRIS. UGH.

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4. Dreams and premonitions come up quite a bit in this book. Jacinta and Carax in particular had their dreams come to fruition. Since Miquel was so obsessed with Freud, let’s take a psychological approach. How do you interpret the various characters’ dream-induced premonitions?

I am not great with dream interpretations, since I only ever have anxiety dreams. I suppose the manifestation of the devil in Jacinta’s dreams could have been a sigh of her future heartbreak… Julian and Penelope dreamed of eachother, but that wasn’t really a good thing since they were siblings! Mostly though? The dreams were just sort of creepily psychic.

5. Since we’re playing psychologist here, how’s about a nature vs. nurture discussion? Julian Carax was the bastard son of his musically inclined mother and Aldaya, the unscrupulous business man, though he’s raised by the cuckhold hatter, Fortuny. Fumero is the son of an honest groundskeeper and a status seeking attention starved mother. How are the sins of the parents meted out on their offspring? Given their similarly screwed up childhoods, what do you think was the largest factor divergence of Carax and Fumero’s paths?

Sins of the parents? Whooo boy. Julian is raised by a “father” who is well aware that Julian is not his biological son. Fortuny is emotionally and physically abusive of both Julian and his mother, so that sucked pretty hard. As if that weren’t punishment enough for his mother’s misdeeds, poor Julian unwittingly knocks up his half sister, thanks to his biological father’s douchbaggery. That’s pretty grim punishment for the sins of one’s parents, wouldn’t you say?

And Fumero. That kid’s mom did a number on his psyche, what with the implied sexual abuse and her parading around in her underpants… Not to MENTION that god awful sailor suit. Personally, I think Fumero’s mom had a whole lot of mental illness going on and that she passed some of that to her son on a genetic level. He was displaying serial killer tendencies as a child, and the older he got the crazier and more violent he got. Things that are not the hobbies of mentally stable people: torturing other people with blow torches. Just. No. (I may have done a little cheer when that son of a gun got his comeuppance!)

6. All in all, how’d you like this one, Bookworms?

I very much enjoyed this book, despite my early reluctance with it. I’m rather attached to Daniel and Bea and want to know what becomes of their son and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books! I’m thinking I may need to read the rest of this series to put my curiosity to rest! I hope everyone had as much fun as I did this month. For next month, I’m excited to announce that our selection will be Attachments by Rainbow Rowell! (Not only is she completely amazing, she also responded to my weird tweet. I LOVE YOU, RAINBOW!!!)

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Aug 13

War (HUH) What Is It Good For? (Literature, Actually… In a Roundabout Way)

Historical Fiction, Mythology, Top Ten Tuesday, World War II 51

Holla At Ya Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday and you know what that means… It’s list time! The ladies at The Broke and The Bookish have a super fun topic for us today. They’ve asked us to list out our top ten books in a particular setting. I’m choosing books set during wars. No, I’m not talking bloody gory combat tomes. I’m talking about the tales of what happens on the homestead during the wars. And there are a bunch of AMAZING titles with this setting. Are you ready?!?!

toptentuesday1. Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi. This book is so, so good. Trudi Montag is a dwarf living in Germany during World War II. She runs a library with her father. It’s a haunting look at what happened to the German people during the war who weren’t necessarily thrilled about the Nazi regime, but couldn’t do a whole heck of a lot about it.

2. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Ah, the American Civil War this time. Who can forget Scarlett’s finest moments while rebuilding Tara with nothing but a ragtag band of survivors and pure gumption? She’d be more likable if she were permanently under such extreme duress… Not that I want her to go hungry again, it’s just she’s a pretty horrible human being in polite society.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak– We’re back to WWII and this book’s themes were very similar to Stones from the River. However, since it focused more on the lives of children, it was poignant in an entirely different way. It’s a whole lot of awesome story that’s served best with a box of tissues.

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4. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes– This time we spend half the book during WWI in German occupied France. In case you were wondering, living in an occupied town sucks pretty hard. It makes for good heart-wrenching fiction, though.

5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo- This was absolutely NOT set during the French Revolution. The warring in question was more of a thwarted uprising than anything. However, where there are muskets, there is war.. At least in my opinion. And this book? Oh this book. So much good. And so many tragic musket wielding fellows…

6. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein– More WWII? Well, yes. It was such a huge and horrible war it affected EVERYTHING, okay? We shouldn’t be surprised to read so much about it, now should we? This was a different take on the war than what I’ve read. Spies and airplanes, you guys! SPIES AND AIRPLANES! LADY SPIES! AND LADY PILOTS! Badass.

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7. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller– This one was set during the Trojan War. How’s that for a change of pace? Jump back in time a few thousand years and visit Achilles and Patroclus and their epic love story. Just… Sigh. Love love love. Plus, you know. Centaurs and Sea Nymphs run amok.

8. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah– Yep. You guessed it. WWII again. Only this time we’re in Russia. That whole laying siege to a city and preventing supplies from going in? Yeah, that’s an effective tactic because you STARVE people. That’s not cool. Having to peel the wallpaper to boil and eat for dinner? SERIOUSLY not cool. However, this book was really good.

9. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon- We could talk about the whole series really, because there are wars all over the place. Claire served as a nurse during WWII, but when she goes back in time (totally by accident, of course) she ends up in the midst of some serious Scottish-English skirmishes. Plus, when we last left our crew? They were on the cusp of the American Revolution. Seriously, these guys cannot catch a break. Oh yeah, there are totally muskets again. (On an unrelated note, the word “musket” reminds me of “muskrat” and thus does not strike fear in my heart. “Fire Breathing Projectile Shooter of Death” would have been a better marketing strategy, Musket Company. I’m just saying.)

10. World War Z by Max Brooks- Yes, the friggin Zombie Apocalypse counts as a war! It totally was a war, you guys. A war for the survival of humanity! The rules have changed- zombies fear nothing. Zombies eat nothing… But YOU. You can’t lay siege to a zombie city and starve them out. You can’t use psychological warfare. You can’t even use standard shooting techniques! I’m really glad it’s fictional because zombies are scary as all get out.

So there you have it! Top Ten Books set during Wars! Do you have a favorite, Bookworms?

PS- Did you enter my contest of pure awesomeness yet?! Check it out!!!

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