Month: May 2014

May 30

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: The Fellowship of the Worms goes Classic

Book Club, Classics 30

Cheerio, Bookworms! smarty-mcwordypants-199x300

It’s that time again. The Fellowship of the Worms is now in session! This month’s selection was Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. 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 Northanger Abbey 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. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, on your own blog. A linky list will be provided at the end of this post for anybody who has reviewed Northanger Abbey on their own blog, even if it has nothing to do with the following discussion questions. Don’t be shy, please link up!

1. When tackling a classic, there’s always a bit of difficulty (at least for me) adapting to the language. Did any of you struggle with Ms. Austen’s flowery and polite prose?  I didn’t actually READ this novel, I listened to an audio version on a road trip. I think that was a wise choice, because the narrator was fantastic. There were a few points where I thought to myself, “Dang. The inflection helps a ton. I probably would have fallen asleep trying to read that sentence.” (I should mention I do most of my reading before bed… Though I will admit that classics tend to conk me out much faster than contemporary works.) I especially enjoyed the narrator’s inflection and found myself laughing aloud more than I would have expected… And yelling, actually. Because JOHN THORPE.

 2. And since it wouldn’t be the Fellowship of the Worms if I didn’t insight violence, how much did you want to northangerabbeypunch John Thorpe? I was so thoroughly irritated with John Thorpe I can’t even tell you. I wanted to punch him SO SO SO much! Acting like he owned Catherine, cancelling plans on her behalf, being a money-grubbing jerk weasel. Ugh. Horrible. And always hating on novels and talking about his stupid horses. Because, you know. His horses are better than your horses. His carriage is better too. Oh, and did he mention his horses?

3. The prevailing opinion of the time by the presumed literary elite was that novels were silly and not worth reading. Does this attitude surprise you at all? It really does surprise me that novels used to be considered inferior reading. I mean, I know a few non-fiction snobs who refuse to read fiction, but they’re few and far between. Most people I meet who prefer non-fiction aren’t jerks about it. Of course, book snobbery is TOTALLY still a thing. There are the highbrow literary fiction folks who turn a stink eye toward YA and Romance (and I have to admit I occasionally fall into the snobby category. I’m working on it, though.) so I suppose things haven’t really changed all THAT much, except that now SOME novels are considered worthy.

4. Money, money, money. Was anybody else appalled by the fact that these people were SOOOO fixated on money? I saw Isabella’s true colors a mile away. I mean, her brother was obviously a gold digger  from the first, but General Tilney surprised me. I mean, he CAST CATHERINE OUT. How unimaginably rude! And all because her fortune wasn’t what the wicked Thorpe had initially rumored and THEN denied? Seriously. Catherine was a catch. A bit of a ninny, maybe, but I suppose that was rather prized at the time. I know class snobbery certainly hasn’t disappeared, but I’d like to think people are better about it now… Maybe I should meet some rich people and test the theory. Wait! Is this why I don’t know rich people?! Now I’m giving myself a complex…

5. Ah Catherine and her runaway imagination. In what ways did you find Northanger Abbey parodied gothic novels? Anybody have an inclination to check out the The Mysteries of Udolpho? Catherine’s expectations upon arriving at Northanger Abbey cracked me up. She was like “Where are the secret passageways? We need more ghosts here!” It was like she expected foreboding musical accompaniment in her explorations. DUN DUN DUN! I was terribly amused by her assessment of General Tilney. Though it was proven false that he murdered his wife, he clearly was a bit of a turd. Just not a murderous turd. Part of me wants to read The Mysteries of Udolpho just so I can say that I did, but who am I kidding? The odds are incredibly slim.

Alright Bookworms, it’s your turn! What did you think of Northanger AbbeyPlease link up below if you’ve written a review of Northanger Abbey somewhere on the interwebz or if you’ve chosen to answer The Fellowship questions! Don’t be shy, y’all!

[inlinkz_linkup id=407325]


May 29

It’s GIVEAWAY DAY for Armchair BEA!

Giveaways 118

Howdy Bookworms!

Today is my FAVORITE day in the Armchair BEA schedule because it’s the day of FREE STUFF! Wahoo! To join in the celebration, I’m offering a $25 in books from Book Depository to one lucky entrant! Book Depository is pretty sweet because they ship internationally (really, any place that Book Depository serves. Which basically excludes Antarctica, but the penguins are cool with it, we’ve talked.) I wanted to leave it open for the winner to choose his or her own books, because choice is fun. Rafflecopter entry is below, go forth and be lucky!

UPDATE: Originally I had this set up as a gift card to Amazon, then when the whole Hachette hullabaloo happened, I switched it to a Book Depository giveaway because a lot of people were upset and I didn’t think anybody would WANT an Amazon card. Of course, I forgot to change my auto tweet. For shame! So, for the record, whoever wins can pick to have their $25 from Amazon OR The Book Depository. My conscience is ambivalent, so let yours be your guide. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


May 27

Author Interactions: Top Five (Armchair BEA)

Blogging 57

How Goes It, Bookworms?

It’s Day 2 of Armchair BEA, and today we’re talking about author interactions! Before I started blogging, I felt extremely far removed from authors. I wasn’t nearly as into social media as I am now, so to me, authors were like movie stars- totally unaccessible. I’ve been extremely lucky in that all of my author interactions thus far have been positive. Given that I live too far from a major city to make a trip there and back on a weeknight, I haven’t been to an author signing. But! There have been a few occasions where authors have dropped by to check out my reviews and I’ve SQUEALED with delight. Some of my favorite moments:

1. Emma Donoghue commented on my review of Astray and recommended more books (about prostitutes), because that’s a thing that happens here. Check out the evidence:

emmadonoghue2. And then there was that time that I told Rainbow Rowell that I wanted to have her cloned, and she favorited my tweet! (Also, as far as I know, she has not reported me to the authorities, so that’s always good!)


3. Then there was that time Jamie Ford stopped by to take a peek at my review of Songs of Willow Frost:

jamieford4. This one time, my very cool friend Quirky Chrissy went to see The Bloggess and had a book signed for me. It counts as the author interacting with me, because she totally saw my pathetic “wish I was there” selfie, wrote in my book that I was cute, AND posed for a picture with me… Sort of. You’d fangirl too, don’t lie!


5. Recently, the lovely and talented Beth Hoffman stopped by to say hello and check out my review of Looking for Me:


BONUS: TECHNICALLY, this isn’t author interaction, but since this post is reading like a brag-fest anyway, I may as well mention the time my review got BLURBED in the paperback version of Humboldt: Or, the Power of Positive Thinking!


Seriously, book blogging is so much fun. The community is a blast and the fact that authors actually pay attention to me on occasion is completely insane. It’s nice, because if I met any of these people in person I’d probably just embarrass myself. Digital interactions, FTW!

Have any of you Bookworms been to an author meet and greet or book signing?

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


May 26

Armchair BEA 2014 Introductions!!!

Blogging 56

Hello my lovely Bookworms,

It’s everybody’s favorite time of year! Well, everybody who’s a crazy bibliophile, at least. The fabulous Book Expo America is going on in NYC this week. For those of us who aren’t able to attend the big show, the amazing crew at Armchair BEA puts on a digital event so we can celebrate ANYWAY! Yaaaay!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?

Hey y’all! I’m Katie! I’ve been blogging about a year and a half now. I started it up because… Well. I read a lot and I was bored one day. I feel like I should have a better reason than that, but it’s the truth! I’m in Central Illnois, ye olde Land of Lincoln. You know, the part of Illinois that isn’t Chicago? Yes, there is a state south of I-80. Swearsies.

Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online.

In one sentence, eh? Words for Worms is an irreverent book blog for the masses. That was my tagline when I had a tagline, and it’s apt, I think. A little something for everyone and moderately inappropriate. It’s good times. But I’m not just here, I’m EVERYWHERE! I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, G+, and I occasionally hang out with a partridge in a pear tree. So yeah, connect with me! It’s good fun.

Well. My "newphew" thinks I'm good fun. And he likes penguins. So yeah.

Well. My “newphew” thinks I’m good fun. And he likes penguins. So yeah.

Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers (doesn’t necessarily have to be book blogs/bloggers). 

Ooooh this is tough! There’s so darn many! Ready??? Non book bloggers I love include Filing Jointly…Finally, Pocketful of Joules, Quirky Chrissy, It’s a Dome Life, That Ash Girl, and Psychobabble… You know, the cool kids. Book nerds I dig include but are not limited to The Relentless Reader, Sarah Says Read, The Well-Read Redhead, Love at First Book, River City Reading, Fourth Street Review, Estella’s Revenge, Capricious Reader, Life Between Books, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall, The Steadfast Reader. A whole lot of amazing in the book blogosphere, believe you me!

Share your favorite book or reading related quote. 

Yay! I actually have one! I even made it PRETTY for you. I’m endlessly amused by Picmonkey.


If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 books would you bring? Why? What 3 non-book items would you bring? Why? 

That is a horribly unfair question, but I think I’m going to have to go for length on this one. Let’s go with Les Misérables, The Stand, and War and Peace (because that’s probably the only way I’d ever read War and Peace .) Non book items on a desert island… I’d need something sharp, like a big bowie knife… Also, a bunch of fresh water, because hydration is important. Finally, I’d bring a genie. Because y’all know I don’t want to hang out on that damn island longer than I have to.

Anything else you want to know? Ask me ANYTHING. I might answer. I probably will. I have so little shame…


May 23

1,000 Feelings For Which There Are No Names

Humor 21

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

I like to keep it light on a Friday, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about one of the quirkier books that’s fallen into my hands recently, 1,000 Feelings for Which There Are No Names by Mario GiordanoWhen I was approached by the publisher about this book, I wasn’t sure it would be a great fit for me, but after having read a few of the “feelings” represented therein, I decided to give it a shot. *I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have no desire to feel the shame of having lied to my readers so I could wrangle a free copy of a paperback.*

1000 feelings

This book is a bit of a departure for me, as it really has no narrative. It is a collection of feelings, presumably from people in all walks of life. Some of the entries caused me to giggle and nod my head in understanding. Others I found rather repellent, but refreshingly honest. The “feelings” are all represented as short statements making liberal use of funky fonts and charming illustrations. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you. I assume you have no objections, right?


It’s with profound relief that I learned that as least one other person on the planet has had this fear. Thank you, Feeling #44.

feeling130You don’t know that it won’t! Science is tricky! Feeler of Feeling #130, I feel you. We should probably both see someone about that, though, I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy.

feelingdelightThis one is my personal favorite feeling. The very best part of being in a relationship, if you ask me, are the inside jokes that are either too bawdy, too convoluted, or too ridiculous to ever try explaining to anyone else. I’ve been lucky enough to have this sort of silly intimacy in both my marriage and a few of my super close friendships. It rocks.

1,000 Feelings for Which There Are No Names was a lot of fun, but is more a conversation piece than hardcore reading. If snippets of cheeky wisdom and/or confessions are something you enjoy, I’d encourage you to check this out!

Alright Bookworms, let’s FEEL ALL THE FEELS. What’s your personal favorite feeling? 


May 22

The Map Thief by Michael Blanding

Non Fiction 21

Howdy Bookworms!

Have I ever told you how directionally challenged I am? It’s true. I’m quite pathetic at navigation, and frequently blame demonic possession of my GPS, lighting, and confusing road signs for my endless missteps. That’s part of the reason that when I was offered a copy of The Map Thief by Michael Blanding, I took the publisher up on the offer. Learning a little more about maps could only help me, right? *I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*

themapthiefThe Map Thief was about SO much more than simple navigation, though. The full title is The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless MapsA mouthful, but an extremely helpful description. A HEIST is afoot, people!

So, this dude named Forbes Smiley (his real name, not a moniker adopted to better serve his dastardly doings) got into rare maps. He’s a gregarious eccentric oddball who frequently bounces checks, but he’s so super knowledgeable about maps and their history that he’s forgiven a multitude of sins… Until it comes to light that he’s stealing his inventory of rare maps from libraries and selling them to maintain a super lavish lifestyle. The book follows the life of the mysterious Forbes Smiley through his rise and fall.

It also gives all kinds of cool background information on maps. I never really considered the historical significance of maps, other than to marvel at their inaccuracy, but there’s so much more to them. You can trace the history of a particular region based on maps throughout the years. You can peek into disputed territories, get a feel for Colonialism, and explore the political implications of the time. The names of places change. If I may quote They Might Be Giants, “Even old New York was once New Amsterdam. Why they changed it I can’t say, people just liked it better that way.” Except that if you study maps, you CAN say, because the English seized it from the Dutch (who no doubt, uh, borrowed it from the indigenous population.)

This book offered a very cool glimpse into the world of rare maps as well as into the mind of a fascinatingly sketchy character. If you have any interest in maps, heists, or potential super villains, I recommend reading The Map Thief!

Tell me, Bookworms. Are any of you directionally challenged? Am I the only person who is hopeless in finding my way? 

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


May 20

‘Cause You Gotta Have Friends: Top Ten Tuesday

Friendship, Top Ten Tuesday 40

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

It’s time for our weekly list fix with the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish! This week the book blogosphere has been challenged to come up with our top ten books about friendship. D’awwwwww. Shall we?


1. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Was there ever such a pair as Ruth and Idgy? One of the greatest friendships in all of literature, truly.

2. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. Because Anne and Diana and accidental drunkenness are the stuff best friends are made of.

3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Friendship can be complicated, particularly when one of the besties is a spy during WWII. Sad. Poignant. Lovely. Read it. (review)


4. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. Because sometimes burlesque dancing hookers and cross-dressing highwheel bicycle enthusiasts are meant to be together. (review)

5. Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall. Friendship sprouts up in unexpected places. Being nice to people you hire to help around your house isn’t just good karma. It might just introduce you to your new best friend. (review)

6. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. When you go through foot binding together, there’s not much that can tear you apart. (review)

7. The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. Nothing brings a group of friends together like a psychopath with her sights set on destroying everyone else’s happiness. Common enemies, FTW!


8. Harry Potter by JK Rowling. I can’t think of a trio of pals more endearing than Harry, Ron, and Hermione. THEY are the three best friends that anybody could have.

9. Looking for Alaska by John Green. Pudge, the Colonel, Alaska, and their crew make for an odd bunch, but there’s a lot of love there. (review)

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This stone cold pack of weirdos reminds me of my high school pals. I can’t help it. It’s the quintessential book of my teenage years. (review)

friendship3What say you, bookworms? What are some of your favorite literary friendships?



May 19

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Memoirs 36

Hello my darling Bookworms!

I know I’ve been a bit out of touch, and I do apologize, but I had a lot of good quality Aunt-ing to get done over the past week. It’s been wonderful, but I’m hopping back in the saddle. I suppose now would be an appropriate time to make a joke about being a prisoner to my book habit, because we’re going to PRISON, y’all! You know that super mega popular Netflix show everyone is talking about, Orange Is the New Black? Well. It was a book first and I’m gonna talk about it.

orangeisthenewblackYou know how when you’re in your early 20s you do crazy things? I mean, I know I spent the ages of 22-24 knee deep in a pile of very saucy novels…  (I’m basically the squarest square that ever was. Why I’m the very root of square. See what I did there? I made a math joke to prove what a nerd I am. But I digress.) When Piper Kerman was in her early 20s, she spent her time following her lady love around the globe as she conducted a drug smuggling ring. As one does when exploring her sexuality and indulging her sense of adventure.

After a while, the big smuggling bosses aren’t content to simply have Piper along for the free drinks and vacation spots. She’s asked to smuggle a suitcase of money through an airport. Everything goes according to plan, but Piper takes her stint with smuggling as a one-time-only thing and moves on with her life.

Several years later, however, her past catches up to her. Piper is convicted of a drug charge and sentenced to 15 months in a federal minimum security prison. An intriguing fish-out-of-water story, Orange Is the New Black is Kerman’s memoir of how those 15 months were spent. With the benefit of her Ivy League education and unshakable support system, Kerman is able to use her experiences to examine the unique predicament of non-violent offenders in the US Prison system.

Interspersing her narrative with statistical evidence, Kerman questions mandatory minimum sentences, the treatment of female prisoners, and the concept of prison as rehabilitation. As thought provoking as it is amusing, Orange Is the New Black is a fabulous read.

I had not seen an episode of the TV version of the show prior to reading this book, but after I mentioned it to my BFF, she insisted I watch a couple of episodes with her… While snuggling a 2 week old baby who has no concept of profanity or appropriateness, naturally. Despite the fact that I wouldn’t shut up about the inconsistencies, the show was super entertaining in its own rite. I think I’m going to have to get a subscription to Netflix.

All right, Bookworms. It’s time to own up. How many of you when watching a film or television version of a book rather loudly point out the inconsistencies? (This question is framed assuming you’re at home, of course.  It’s just RUDE to be loud in a theater.) 


May 15

The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini: A TLC Book Tour

Civil War, Historical Fiction 29

Greetings Bookworms!

I don’t know what is is about the American Civil War, but I cannot get enough historical fiction based on the time period. From Gone with the Wind to North and South, I am compelled to read about this fascinating era. When the lovely crew at TLC Book Tours sent me a synopsis of  The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini, I couldn’t resist. *I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I’m from Illinois and this is Honest Abe’s regime we’re talking about: it would be extremely bad form for me to lie. *

TLC SpymistressElizabeth Van Lew was born into a prominent slave-holding family in Richmond, Virginia. Having been raised by a socially progressive mother and educated in the North, Lizzie held some unusual sentiments for a woman of her stature in Richmond at the time. Specifically, Elizabeth Van Lew was of the opinion that slavery was a big steaming pile o’ horse manure. After her father’s death, Lizzie and her mother freed as many of their slaves as they could, and when prevented from doing so by her father’s will, they unofficially freed their slaves by allowing them to live wherever they liked in the city and paid them for their labor.

When the Civil War broke out, the Van Lew family’s stance on slavery was not popular. Even less popular was their suspected sympathy for the Union. Desperate to help the Union cause, Lizzie begins her quest by attempting to offer aid and comfort to the Union prisoners living in deplorable conditions. Her dogged determination serves her well as she moves from bringing food to injured soldiers to smuggling information to the Union from behind enemy lines. Though she takes the utmost care to keep her activities a secret, Lizzie’s activities place her in an extremely dangerous position.

Y’all, this book was great! Elizabeth Van Lew was a REAL woman in Richmond (only the capitol of the Confederacy where she might accidentally run into Jefferson Davis) who led a frigging spy ring for the Union. She was rumored to have Unionist leanings, but without any proof, she was written off as just another eccentric, wealthy spinster. THAT is what you get for underestimating a lady with chutzpah, Confederacy! (Yes, I just smack talked a government that ceased to exist 150 years ago. I’m nothing if not timely.)

I’ve read a bit about the Civil War, and being a lady of the North, I’ve always found the Southern perspective interesting. I think the entire modern-day universe would agree that slavery is/was THE WORST THING EVER, so it fascinates me the way Southern society was able to rationalize it. Judging people outside the context of their time is an easy trap to fall into while reading historical fiction, particularly when it comes to such a horrifying institution. That said, when your way of life is being threatened, it’s natural to get defensive. Before tackling The Spymistress I felt like a had a pretty good grasp the Southern female response to the war. I simply hadn’t considered that there would be an element of Southern society loyal to the Union, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever since I can name half a dozen other major wars and their resistance movements. I think I might be guilty of some Northern snobbery and sore winner’s syndrome…

In any case, I found The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini to be an enlightening and entertaining read. I would recommend it to any historical fiction buff, but especially to those with a fondness for Civil War novels.

Talk to me, Bookworms. Have you ever found yourself judging a historical figure or character’s actions by modern standards? 

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


May 13

Six Degrees of Separation: The Bell Jar

Six Degrees of Separation 10

G’day Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday, but I am forgoing Top Ten Tuesday list making this week in order to make a completely different list! That’s right, I’m talking about the awesome monthly meme, Six Degrees of Separation put on by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. This month’s jumping off point is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I read this in college and found it to be crushingly depressing, but that’s fitting, as the main character struggles with depression and likely other mental illnesses. I’m not a psychiatrist, but the poor girl needs help. In any case, it will serve as a fantastic beginning to my Six Degrees of Separation chain!


Ah, The Bell JarAs I mentioned, it’s been a while since I read this book, but what sticks out to me is the heartbreaking struggle with mental illness the main character goes through. Along that line, the first book in my chain is…

1. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen: While reading Esther’s plight I couldn’t help but be reminded of Susanna Kaysen’s memoir Girl, InterruptedWinona Ryder and Angelina Jolie starred in the movie adaptation, and that was when Ms. Jolie won her Oscar. (She also rather creepily kissed her brother on that occasion, but that was before she started saving the world and all.) This leads me to…

2. Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates: Why do I make this jump? Angelina Jolie also starred in the film version of Foxfire, which is one of the loosest novel adaptations ever. One of the most memorable scenes in the movie involves the girls giving each other tattoos. This scene doesn’t even occur in the book, but I mention it because it reminds me of a scene in the next book on the list…

3. The Pact by Jodi Picoult: I actually kind of hated this book. It’s about a teenage couple who engage in a supposed suicide pact, but the girl is the only one who dies. The boy is then thrown in jail on suspicion that he murdered his girlfriend. While in jail, he gets a prison tattoo from another inmate using an ink pen and a needle (or was it a safety pin? I can’t remember. Something sharp and not a professional tattoo gun.) Because that’s sanitary. But since we’re talking about jail time…


4. Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman: I just finished this book (I promise I’ll review it for you one day soon) but it’s the memoir of a privileged, white, Ivy League graduate’s time spent in prison thanks to some rotten choices and a drug smuggling conviction. Her crime involved sneaking drug money through an airport, which reminds me of another smuggler’s tale…

5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: (review) How’s about the smuggling of an irreplaceable painting? Theo hauls that poor painting hither and yon across the country. One of my favorite characters in The Goldfinch was the scrappy and seedy Ukranian mafioso of his own design. Boris’s plucky thievery reminded me of nobody so much as The Artful Dodger from…

6. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens: The Artful Dodger and Boris both had been dealt rotten hands by fate, but they made the most of things and took on the underworld with aplomb. (review)

There you have it! Six Degrees of Separation: The Bell Jar to Oliver Twist. Crazier things have happened. Probably. I tried asking this question via social media, but I didn’t get a huge response, so here it is again. If Kevin Bacon were a book, what book would he be? (The current leader is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but I’m open to suggestions.)

#6Degrees Rules


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