Month: March 2015

Mar 13

It’s An Honor Just to be Nominated…

Blogging 39

Greetings Bookworms,

I’m bursting with excitement, y’all. While I was away on vacation, I was notified that I am a FINALIST in this year’s Annual Weblog Awards. That’s right, kids, Words for Worms is up for Best Book Weblog! I am completely honored (and a little flabbergasted) by the nomination. I’m in a category with some really fantastic blogs (Book Riot, The Novel Life, My Little Book Blog, and Coffee and a Book Chick) but I sure would appreciate your vote if you happen to enjoy my corner of the internet.

bloggienomineeIf you click riiiiight HERE you can go to cast your ballot. And while you’re there, I’ve got some pals who are nominated as well who’d be tickled pink if you’d check out their offerings! Pocketful of Joules is nominated for Best Kept Secret Weblog, That Ash Girl is up for Best Canadian Weblog, It’s a Dome Life is nominated for Best Art, Craft, or Design Weblog,  and Quirky Chrissy is up for Best-Designed Weblog. It is an honor just to be nominated, but as Amy Poehler says, I WANT THE PUDDING!

Thank you my darling Bookworms! You make this crazy blog journey worthwhile. I love each and every one of your brilliantly nerdy brains! 

 

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Mar 12

How to Be an American Housewife (And Other Upsetting Historical Things.)

Audio Books, Historical Fiction, Women's Studies 21

Konnichiwa Bookworms!

Today you get a Japanese greeting because the main character in today’s book hails from Japan. I’m terribly appropriate, I know. A couple of years ago I read a book called The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns (review) that knocked the socks right off my feet and halfway around the room. I made a mental note to check out ALL THE BOOKS by Margaret Dilloway, and in typical Katie fashion, it took me forever to do it. But do it I did! When I saw that How to Be an American Housewife was available from my library’s audio book section, I decided to give it a shot.

howtobeanamericanhousewifeHow to Be an American Housewife tells the story of Shoko, a Japanese woman who marries an American serviceman. The novel features a (fictional, thank heaven) instructional document that attempts to educate Japanese women emigrating to the US in their new country’s cultural expectations and domestic duties. It is, as you would expect, astonishingly offensive, but very telling of the time period’s social mores. Shoko is encouraged to cut ties with Japan and focus on assimilation. As is the case with most novels focusing on Asian immigrant mothers and their American born daughters, Shoko and her daughter Sue have a rather rocky relationship. As Shoko ages and her health fails, she desperately wants to make a trip back to Japan to mend fences with her brother. Because she is too frail to do so, she enlists Sue’s help to make the trip in her stead. Family secrets and heartbreak dovetail with hope and warmth making How to Be an American Housewife an enjoyable read.

I think that listening to this book was a good move, as Shoko’s English is very fragmented. I often struggle with reading heavily accented language, but listening to it is always a treat. In listening to the acknowledgements, I learned that Dilloway’s mother was, like Shoko, a Japanese immigrant married to an American GI. It’s clear that Shoko’s story was heavily influenced by her mother’s experience, which struck me as a beautiful tribute. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the mushy stuff. If you’re in the mood for a mother-daughter story with that Asian immigration twist, How to Be an American Housewife is not to be missed. Fans of Lisa See and Amy Tan, take note!

Talk to me, Bookworms! Have any of you lived in a country other than the one you were born and raised in? Did you experience culture shock? 

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

 

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Mar 10

Books to Read if You Like Shameless

Top Ten Tuesday 31

Greetings Bookworms!

I have a confession to make. We pay too much for cable. That said, part of the reason we do so is because I’m addicted to a show called Shameless. It’s a reboot of a British show I’ve never seen, but it worked for The Office and it’s working for Shameless, yo. William H Macy plays the world’s most dedicated alcoholic/worst father. His eldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) has taken the helm of the impoverished Gallagher family who live on the South Side of Chicago. The show has approximately zero boundaries and I mean that in the best possible way. Since the folks at The Broke and the Bookish proposed this week’s topic “books for people who love …” I figured I’d get my Shameless on.

shameless ttt

1. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (review)- This little beauty winds up on so many of my lists, but there’s a reason for it. The parents in this book give Frank and Monica a run for their money. The poverty? The substance abuse? The generalized crazy? Yes, yes, yes.

2. Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend by Erika T Wurth (review)- Dysfucntional families all up in this piece. Actually, the main character in this book takes care of her younger twin siblings a lot, so she reminds me of Fiona Gallagher. Plus, she makes some terrible life decisions, so she’s got a double Fiona going on.

3. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (review)- This book is lacking the poverty and outrageously bad parenting, but the Foxmans have a whole lot of their own problems and PLENTY of shenanigans.

4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson- If you ever wanted to get inside Frank Gallagher’s head while he’s on a bender, this is the book you need to read. Holy crazy drug trip, you guys.

5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (review)- Francie Nolan, my heart! Poor girl has the complicated alcoholic parent and urban poverty thing down.

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6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (review)- Eleanor’s home life is on par with Shameless, that’s for sure! Actually, she could BE a Gallagher, what with the red hair and all…

7. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (review)- One of the undercurrents of Shameless is the way mental illness often dovetails with substance abuse, but it’s still got heart when things are super sad, much like The Silver Linings Playbook

8. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison- Oh man, I wanted to call social services about every 10 pages when reading this novel. Rural poor devastatingly abusive household. It’ll break your heart.

9. The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton- This book was such a surprise for me. I read A Map of the World and HATED it so I was super hesitant to pick this one up. Lucky I overcame my misgivings because this book was SO good. And sad. Poverty, again, but also a super smart brother who tries to get out of the muck (much like Lip!)

10. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs- This book blows my mind. Outrageous lack of parental supervision, neglect, and casual drug usage. Why, it’s just like the Gallagher household.

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Talk to me, Bookworms! Do any of you watch Shameless? Am I alone on this bandwagon? Is it weird that I’m a little obsessed with a show about super upsetting stuff?

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

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Mar 09

Vacation: All I Ever Wanted

Personal 37

Hola Bookworms!

I’m sorry I was so scarce last week. Actually, I’m not. I was on vacation at Disney World. Because that’s how I roll. (No, I did not go to the Harry Potter parks. Another time, I assure you!) I didn’t warn y’all in advance because I saw once of 20/20 that you should never tell the internet when you’re not home. Not that I don’t trust YOU, my lovelies, but the nameless faceless internet? Eeep! I’m nothing if not paranoid. In any case. Pictures!

Here’s what we were eating…

disneyfood

Here I am going selfie crazy…

disneyselfies

It was also Flower and Garden Festival time at Epcot and, well, you know I had to capture the insane beauty of the topiaries, right?!

epcottopiaries

 

So yay! I’m back and I’m refreshed and I got a lot of reading done en route. What happened with y’all last week, Bookworms?

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Mar 05

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

Dystopian, E-Readers, Mystery 9

Good Morrow, Bookworms!

Raise your hand if you use your smart phone more than you’re proud of. My hand is high in the air, y’all. (I blame Trivia Crack.) I remember hearing a whole bunch of folks talking about the awesomeness that is The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon so when it popped up as available from my library’s digital services, I had to download it. Because I’m controlled by machines. They’re becoming sentient. OooOOOOOooooO.

wordexchangeEnter the world of The Word ExchangeIt’s a few years in the future and a smart-phone-like device known as a Meme has become ubiquitous. The Meme ain’t your average iPhone though. This thing pretty much predicts your thoughts and behaviors. It’s more than a little creepy. It kind of makes me wonder why everyone is all kinds of surprised when things go terribly, terribly wrong. (Of course, the characters in the novel didn’t have the advantage of reading about the whole thing at a distance. Omniscience is a gift. Gosh, I love fiction!)

Anana Johnson works for one of the world’s last remaining dictionaries. When her father goes missing, she stumbles upon a conspiracy, a secret society, and contracts a potentially deadly plague. Makes your Friday night seem uneventful, doesn’t it? A “word flu” has begun spreading that’s causing people to speak gibberish along with a nasty case of physical flu-like symptoms. I’ll give you three guesses as to what creeptastic device is behind the spread of the plague, but you’ll only need one! Anana teams up with her colleague (and secret admirer) Bart in order to track down her father and try to save the day.

The Word Exchange is a fun, weird, ride. It’s not an especially lengthy novel, but I found myself taking longer than usual to get through it. I typically get most of my reading in at night before I go to sleep, and I found my brain rebelling when I hit passages where infected folks were speaking gibberish. And by “brain rebelling,” I mean I fell asleep. I wasn’t bored, I’m just really spoiled by standardized spelling. If you’re in the mood for a fast paced, semi-dystopian mystery with a side of word nerd (and who isn’t?) The Word Exchange is your book!

Sound off, Bookworms! Do you think that we as a society have become too reliant on our smart phones? Will it bring about the end of days? (I might be watching Doomsday Preppers. I can’t be held responsible for my alarmist tone.)

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

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Mar 02

Amy Poehler Wrote a Book? Yes, Please!

Audio Books, Humor, Memoirs 12

Bookworms, My Darlings,

We need to talk about Amy Poehler. I know I talk about audio books all the time and I know that a lot of you are hesitant to give them a whirl. If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, I implore you to start with Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.

yespleaseWhen it comes to memoirs, I often feel that I can “hear” the author’s voice in the printed page, and that goes double if I actually know the author’s voice from TV or whatever. ACTUALLY listening to the author read the book is a super fantastic bonus. (Honestly, I feel like I missed the boat by not listening to Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey’s books, but that’s a story for another day, and another couple of Audible credits.) But extra, extra fun? Guest voices. Listening to Amy’s parents read was the cutest friggin thing that has ever happened in the history of ever. Hearing her banter with Seth Meyers? A delicious SNL flashback. Kathleen Turner popping in to narrate salacious bits? Priceless.

This book reminded me of Tiny Beautiful Things (review) only HILARIOUS. Amy (yes, we’re on a first name basis. She’s my FRIEND, damnit!) serves up funny childhood stories, behind the scenes famous person stuff, and a heaping helping of heart. Her take on the Mommy Wars is basically perfect. “Good for you, not for me,” should be everyone’s mantra. Amy managed to discuss a wide range of topics (including her divorce!) without ever coming across as angry or bitter. She acknowledges mistakes she’s made and her less-than-proud moments. (Not her most embarrassing moments, though. She doesn’t have to tell you about those, and you don’t have to tell anyone about yours either! Amy said so!) I didn’t think it was possible for me to love Amy Poehler more than I already did, but she is made of magic and sunshine, so OF COURSE my admiration increased. Read this book, you guys. For reals.

Tell me Bookworms, do any of you have a celebrity you like to pretend is your friend in real life? I can’t be the only one, right?

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

 

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