Month: July 2015

Jul 31

Fellowship of the Worms Announcement: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Book Club 10

Howdy Bookworms!

It’s been far too long since we read a book together, I think. Who’s up for another installment of The Fellowship of the Worms?! This time around, I’ve decided on A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

ataleforthetimebeingIn Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future. 

Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

It sounds pretty intense, but I cannot wait. I’ve heard all sorts of rave reviews so I’m really excited to check this one out. For anyone out there interested in joining me, I’ll be posting discussion questions on Friday, September 4, 2015. Despite me interviewing myself earlier this week, I much prefer to internet with friends.

*If you purchase a copy of A Tale for the Time Being through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Seriously small. Right now my Amazon affiliate account has all of twelve cents in it.*


Jul 30

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Contemporary Fiction, Family 11

Greetings Bookworms!

I typically have no idea what’s going on in publishing. I don’t know who gets big advances or whose cover art is the coolest or why they change the cover art when they go from hardcover to paperback or from North America to Europe. Luckily, from time to time, someone throws me a bone. I remember hearing all about how amazing Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng was so I was really excited when the publisher contacted me about the paperback release and offered me a copy. A real live book and not a digital copy. Who’d have thunk it? *I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. The following review will express my honest opinion even though I got something for free. My integrity costs more than a paperback, swearsies.*

everythinginevertoldyouLydia Lee is the teenage daughter of a Chinese American History professor and a caucasian homemaker in 1970s small town Ohio. She’s also dead, which you find out in the first sentence, so that’s not a spoiler at all. Lydia was the favorite child of James and Marilyn, each attempting to live out their dreams vicariously through their daughter. When Lydia’s body is discovered at the bottom of a lake, the Lee family is shattered. Their delicate dynamics are toppled and they are left reeling.

I know, I know. When you start off with a dead teenager it sounds like the book is going to be a total downer. Go beyond the first few pages, however, and you will be drawn into a beautifully rendered complex family. Marilyn and James along with their two other children Nath and Hannah each have their own experiences with Lydia that allow the reader a multifaceted view of the enigmatic central character. I know, I know. This review starting to sound like a lame school assigned book review. The book is really fabulous, though, and I can’t find Katie-ish words to describe it. Readers who enjoyed The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold will dig Everything I Never Told YouTrust me on this, okay?

Talk to me Bookworms! Lydia Lee is the type of character that everyone in her family thinks they understand, but nobody truly does. Have you ever felt that people just didn’t get you? I mean, beyond your teen angst years. Because let’s face it. You didn’t know you yet either and that’s a terribly unfair double standard.

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


Jul 28

Questioning Katie: What’s Your Patronus?

Personal, Questioning Katie 11

Greetings Bookworms!

I’ve been feeling uninspired and unconnected lately. I don’t have good reasons as to why, I just do. It makes me think that I ought to change things up a little blog-wise, so I thought I’d take a page out of Reddit’s book. Only not really, because Reddit is easily the meanest corner of the internet. But! They do feature AMAs (Ask Me Anything!) and those are the most fun. I thought I’d try an AMA on for size, only I’m not famous so nobody probably cares. Therefore, I’m going to interview myself, at least for today. I’d LOVE for y’all to submit questions for me in the comments or in email or wherever. You are welcome to ask ANYTHING. Bookish stuff, personal stuff, hypothetical stuff (I especially love hypothetical questions). I also reserve the right NOT to answer a question… Because I’m making up the rules and it’s important to me that there are loopholes so I can cheat the system. Sooooo…. Let’s do this, shall we?


QUESTION OF THE DAY: What is your Patronus? (Submitted by ME.)

I have given this question waaaaaaaaaay too much thought, which is precisely why I asked it of myself. If you’ve never read Harry Potter, don’t tell me because I’ll probably cry. But on the off chance some of you exist, a Patronus charm is an animal manifestation of your joy that can fight off soul sucking dementors and occasionally carry messages. A very useful charm, the Patronus. A spirit animal, if you will. OBVIOUSLY, penguins are extremely important to me, but I was concerned that your standard Adelie or Magellanic or even Emperor penguin wouldn’t be fierce enough to fight off a dementor. I knooooooooow Hermione’s patronus is an otter, so obviously extreme cuteness is among a dementor’s weaknesses, but a cutesy penguin still didn’t feel quite right. That’s when I read an article about these big-ass prehistoric penguins. This mamma jamma was 5 feet tall and FIERCE. Meet my Patronus, Penguinsaurus Regina (she’s a lady.) Cower in fear, all ye dementors! You have no power here!

Any of you Bookworms have anything else you’d like to ask me? If you don’t contribute questions I’m going to continue to interview myself, and I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Fire away, y’all. I’m listening.

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


Jul 27

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

Chick Lit 13

Bon Appetit, Bookworms!

The fact that I basically want to eat everything I read about is well documented, but it’s rare that I decide to read a book based solely on its delicious-sounding title. I had a case of the mid-afternoon snack attack when I was browsing NetGalley one day when I ran across The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert. The title reminded me of this really tasty dessert my MIL made a couple of months ago, so it seemed like a solid decision. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for review consideration. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in this blog. If they’d actually sent me coconut cake, though, this disclaimer might read differently. Seriously, publishers. I can be bribed with baked goods.*

thecoincidenceofcoconutcakeIf You’ve Got Mail (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan rom-com- you know you saw it) and Delicious! by Ruth Reichl (review) had a baby and moved to Wisconsin to raise it, the result would be The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. This utterly sweet confection of a novel is set in downtown Milwuakee, where a plucky young chef named Lou runs a little French restaurant. Things seem to be going fairly well, if a bit chaotic, when she walks in on her douchebag of a fiance in a compromising position with an intern. Al is Milwaukee’s newest and most cantankerous food critic. He’s British and takes the whole Simon Cowell thing to a new level in his reviews. OF COURSE he lands at Lou’s restaurant on the day her life falls apart and completely eviscerates her in the newspaper.

I think you can guess what happens next. A series of nearly impossible events lead Al and Lou to strike up a friendship without realizing with whom they are fraternizing. As their relationship blossoms over Milwaukee’s charm and delicacies, reality threatens to burst their cheese laden bubble.

Awww, you guys. This book is stinking adorable. Foodies will rejoice. It’s a sweet little rom-com wrapped in a love letter to Milwaukee. Actually, it made me want to visit Milwaukee. I only live a few hours from Milwaukee… Now I’m questioning the life choices that put me anywhere but in Milwaukee and eating fried cheese curds. Books set in the Midwest thrill me in the nerdiest way. You have no idea how many times I shouted “Hey! I’ve been there!” while reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman (review). Amy E Reichert included the recipe for Lou’s famous coconut cake and I really want to taste it. Of course, I’m far too lazy to make it (the fact that I suck at cooking doesn’t help either.) If you need some light, sweet foodie fun, you cannot go wrong with The Coincidence of Coconut CakeAnd if you want to bake Lou’s cake for me, I will gladly eat the whole ding dang thing.

Alright Bookworms, time to sound off. I feel like coconut is a very polarizing flavor, you either love it or hate it. Which camp are you in? Pro-Conut or Heck-No-Conut?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will use said commission to buy things that taste like coconut and/or cake. Because obviously.*


Jul 23

Words for Worms Rewind: I Just Don’t Get It. Keep it Copasetic.

Humor, Idiosyncratic Lit List, Pretentious 15

Hi Ho Bookworms!

Today I’m turning back the clock again, because I’ve still got some posts that were devoured by the internet’s gaping maw during my blog transfer to self-hosting many moons ago. I’ve been peppering them in here and there so my genius isn’t lost. That, and I’ve been extremely lazy lately and these posts are ALREADY WRITTEN and basically nobody ever read them. So. Welcome to my brain of three years ago. You’re welcome, and I’m sorry.

I try to be well rounded in my reading. I like to sample different genres and authors. I like to mix in some literary broccoli with my steady diet of word nachos. I’ll watch smart movies or TV shows and when witty characters reference a book, I’ll often make it a point to check it out. (Most recently I sampled The Phantom Tollbooth because they were talking about it on New Girl, but Gilmore Girls holds the record for most book recommendations. Rory Gilmore was SO GOOD for teen literacy!)

Sometimes though, when I’m reading something specifically so I can get pop culture references, I end up really confused, a little annoyed, and certain I missed something. The following outlines some of these gems that I Just. Don’t. Get. (If you have “Bound for the Floor” by Local H stuck in your head right now, thanks to the title of this post, you are awesome.)

aconfederacyofduncesA Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole tops my list. I just finished reading this, and it was a trial. At first, I was amused. Ignatius’s dialogue sounded JUST LIKE Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons in my head. Ignatius was over-the-top-ridiculous, but all the characters kept doing stupid crap. That SHOULD be really funny, but I just wasn’t that into it. I kept falling asleep (which reminds me of a post I intend to do one day on the greatest sleep aids ever disguised as books *UPDATE: that post can be found here*). I was so sure I missed something that I hit up Wikipedia. The internet was remarkably unhelpful here- all it did was offer me an AWESOME cast list of people who were slated to be in the movie version of this book that was never made. I don’t understand it. Why would everyone flock to this project? Why is this book famous? What am I missing? Maybe I’m just not smart enough to get it. (Unfortunately, Toole doesn’t get a second chance to win my favor. He committed suicide and A Confederacy of Dunces was published posthumously, which is really sad and I feel like a jerk for hating his book. Hopefully his ghost doesn’t show up to haunt me, or pelt me with Paradise hot dogs…)

Let’s talk about Kurt Vonnegut. I read Slaughterhouse-Five because Hubs was obsessed with Lost and was constantly reading spoilers online. He said that Slaughterhouse-Five contained clues to the mystery behind the island. The book was based on a guy who time traveled and was abducted by aliens and was kept in a zoo with a movie star. (I hope you’re all making the “question mark face” right now.) I suppose this relates to Lost because Desmond did some back and forth time travel and then half the cast ended up in the 70s… But considering Lost didn’t answer a lot of other questions, I’m probably expecting too much out of literary parallels. Overall though, Slaughterhouse-Five really wasn’t my cup of tea.

I never intended to read more Vonnegut, but then Amazon (that saucy minx) had a sale on breakfastofchampionsBreakfast of Champions. A Kindle book at a discount? How could I be expected to resist? I am easily swayed by marketing tactics! I was treated to yet another bizarre romp through weird people doing weird things. Some guy snaps and starts shooting up a hotel convention. Now, I appreciate quirky, but murderous rampages don’t really fry my bacon.Please excuse me while I go on a tangent, BUT- does anyone remember that 80s flick where Rodney Dangerfield goes to college? Vonnegut does a cameo in which he’s hired to write Dangerfield’s English paper about his own book and it only gets a ‘B.’ I seriously think people ascribe meaning to things authors never intended. I mean, how could anyone write ANYTHING while consciously thinking “yeeeeees I’ll make the flower on this bush RED to symbolize Hester Prynne’s punishment…” the whole time? Moving on…

Hunter S. Thompson. Holy crap on a cracker, was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas insane. I suppose it should have been, since I don’t know that Thompson was ever sober. I live a pretty clean lifestyle, I’m not like a saint or anything, but the only recreational drugs I indulge in usually come to the table with an umbrella garnish (ie, fruity cocktails.) I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of drugs they were doing. I don’t even know what mescaline is! (For reals, y’all, I had to google it.) As if acid and weed and cocaine weren’t enough, there was nitrous oxide in the trunk of the car. You know, laughing gas from the dentist’s office? This book was predictably random, full of hallucinations and close encounters with the cops. Now I get to feel like a terrible human being for disliking not one, but TWO suicidal authors.

Hi, I’m Katie, the worst person EVER. Don’t come too close or I’ll pinch you and kick your dog! (That’s an exaggeration showing how awful I feel. I do not, in fact, kick dogs. I do, however, eat bacon. Don’t call PETA on me, please.)

I swear, 2012 me was so pithy, wasn’t she? I still feel the same about all these books. I seriously don’t get them at all, but hey. Not every book is for every reader, yadda yadda yadda. Now it’s your turn to dish, Bookworms. What’s a book that you felt like you ought to read that you just didn’t quite get?

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


Jul 21

Top Ten Tuesday: Diverse Characters

Diversiverse, Top Ten Tuesday 31

Greetings Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday and I haven’t made you a list in forever! This week, the folks at The Broke and the Bookish have challenged us to come up with a list of diverse characters. Honestly, I feel a little squidgy discussing diversity, because it feels like it’s so easy to do it wrong. But. It’s still an important thing to be aware of. I’ve always thought that reading about people who are different than you is a good way to work on developing compassion, soooooo let’s list some characters who are diverse, and we’re talking all kinds of diversity here. Ready?!


1. Cal from Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: Cal is born with a genetic condition and is intersex. Outwardly appearing female at birth, Cal is raised a girl, but the onset of puberty causes quite a lot of emotional and physical tumult. Puberty is pretty awful for everyone, but Cal’s got a whole lot of extra complications to deal with. It’s a fabulous book, I recommend it to anyone interested in gender identity.

2. Christopher from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (review): Christopher is a fascinating character. I’m not sure exactly how well he’s portrayed in relation to people who are actually on the autism spectrum, but wow. His brain is just wired differently and it makes it difficult to function in the neurotypical world. He faces a lot of unique challenges.

3. Dana from Kindred by Octavia Butler (review): I love Dana for a million different reasons. She’s an African American woman living in the 1970s and married to a caucasian man. Some weird loophole in the space time continuum causes her to be drawn back through time and deposited into a pre-Civil War southern plantation. Racism is still a complicated and ugly legacy in the modern world, but going from freedom to slavery is just beyond comprehension. Great perspective with a cool sci-fi twist. Octavia Butler basically rules.

crazyhorsesgirlfriend4. Margaritte from Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend by Erika T. Wurth (review): Margaritte is a Native American teenage girl struggling with the limited opportunities of her life in a small poverty stricken town. This book offers a glimpse into the sad legacy of once vibrant Native American cultures. Powerful read, y’all.

5. Patroclus from The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (review): I feel like Achilles and Patroclus would have been pretty stoked to hear that same sex marriage is now legal in the US. Or maybe they wouldn’t care, I mean, they were Greek, and Achilles’s mom was pretty intolerant and unlikely to care about the laws of mere mortals. Sea Nymphs, am I right?! Seriously though, this is such a beautiful love story.

6. Max from The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak (review): This book is all kinds of emotionally intense. No matter how many books I read set in Nazi Germany or specifically about the Holocaust I still cannot wrap my brain around the idea that people would want to destroy other people because of their religious beliefs. Max’s Judaism is a death sentence in the time and place he lived. How much does that suck?!

7. Keiko from Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford: World War II was seriously the worst. The Holocaust was unimaginably awful, and here in the US, people of Japanese decent were being rounded up and shoved into internment camps. SUPER not cool. Keiko is a young Japanese student whose family is a casualty of this particular brand of awfulness.

8. Jenny from Frog Music by Emma Donoghue (review): I loved everything about Frog Music, but frogmusicespecially Jenny. The fact that she defied gender norms by repeatedly (and illegally) dressing in men’s clothing was pretty badass. It’s hard to go around applying labels but it’s pretty clear that she prefers women to men in a romantic fashion. I’m not sure if the dressing in men’s clothes was an indication that she was also transgender, or if it’s just an indication that it’s really hard to ride a penny-farthing bike in an ankle length skirt. Maybe a little of both?

9. Celie from The Color Purple by Alice Walker (review): If you haven’t read The Color Purple by now, you definitely should. Celie is an African American woman who has suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of her family but her spirit can’t be killed. Another lady who may or may not prefer the ladies (again, you know, it’s not about labels) she busts out with the pants-wearing as well. Ladies in pants, we should thank our pioneering pants-wearing sisters. Even if they’re fictional.

10. Oscar from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz: Oye, Oscar. This guy has it rough. Not only is he marginalized for being Latino, he’s relegated to the outskirts of the local Dominican culture. Being overweight and obsessed with fantasy novels doesn’t mesh well with a macho ideal. In case you hadn’t guessed from the title of the novel, things don’t turn out too well for this guy.

There we have it! A very diverse list of characters, if I do say so myself. Talk to me, Bookworms. Do you ever intentionally try to diversify your reading list? 

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


Jul 20

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Coming of Age, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction 12

Happy Monday Bookworms!

I know Mondays are a total bummer, but they’re only 24 hours. Every day is, in fact, a gloriously predictable 24 hours. Unless, of course, you live in the world of my latest read, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Ever wished there were more hours in a day? Better be careful what you wish for, Bookworms, because in this book, the Earth, for reasons unknown, decides to slow down. An extra hour in the day, then more and more until the days stretch out so long that everyone’s sleep schedule is completely wacky, animals start going extinct, and food ceases to grow reliably. If you ever run across a Monkey’s Paw, you now know exactly what will happen if you wish for more hours in the day. DON’T DO IT!

theageofmiraclesJulia is eleven years old when the Earth’s rotation begins to slow. She tells the story of worldwide catastrophe through the eyes of a middle school girl. Because sixth grade isn’t hard enough, let’s throw an apocalypse in there, right?! I really dug this book, you guys. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve come across while scoping out this book is the fact that despite global calamity, Julia spent lot of time and energy worrying about middle school drama. To the critics, I say, FIE! (I’ve always wanted to say “fie.” I’m going to do it again. FIE!)

Julia is ELEVEN. And her middle school experience, though in the midst of extraordinary circumstances, is spot on. It hit me in the feels, you guys. The friendships and cliques and crushes and pressures and awkwardness took me back in a big way. Sure, I didn’t spend my sixth grade year watching the world slowly deconstruct, but kids are kids. Eleven is awfully young to grasp the hugeness of a worldwide event. How can you concentrate on the end of the world when that cute boy on the skateboard wants to hold your hand? Your eleven year old self knows it’s true.

Other than the fact that I now have an irrational fear of the Earth spontaneously slowing its rotation, The Age of Miracles was full of win for me. If apocalypse novels are your jam and you’ve ever been through middle school, this book is for you.

Let’s chat, Bookworms. I’m kind of fixated on this Monkey’s Paw thing now, which if you’re not familiar with it, is a short story involving wish granting that always turns out hideously. Have you ever wished there were more hours in the day? Do you now feel like you’re tempting fate because of it? 

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


Jul 16

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Classics, Coming of Age 13

Howdy Bookworms!

You know those lists? The ones that float around on the internet that tell you which books you ought to have read already and how you suck at life for not meeting an arbitrary milestone? Perhaps you just kind of ignore the smug implications of such lists. I wish I could. List bullies. Anyway. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith is one of the books that often pops up on said lists, and I finally got around to reading it. Finally. It sat on my Kindle unread for like 2 years. Oops.

icapturethecastleI Capture the Castle is written from the perspective of a 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain. In 1934, she and her family have fallen on hard times. Her father, once a respected novelist, has the world’s worst writer’s block and as a result, the family is destitute. Ironically, they reside in an actual castle in the English countryside. It’s a dilapidated, leaky affair, but it’s got a moat! Broke, but not without eccentricities, the Mortmain clan’s adventures are recorded in Cassandra’s journals.

I fully expected to love this book. I mean, come on. A ruined castle with a moat full of quirky Brits and a dog named Heloise? You can understand where I’d be under that impression. Unfortunately, I had some issues with it. More specifically, I had some issues with the female characters. Just… Hear me out. (This is probably kind of spoilery, so read at your own risk.)

First, Topaz. She’s married to Cassandra’s father and models for artists. She’s a pretty great character, all artsy and glamorous even while half-starving in those crumbling walls. The problem? She has bounced from starving artist to starving artist seeing herself as a muse of sorts… And she FULLY EXPECTS TO BE ABUSED. Physically, emotionally, whatever. She just assumes it’s part of the deal. Because artsy types can’t help it?! Mortmain isn’t a monster or anything, but she’s almost disappointed by his lack of vitriolic mood swings. Unhealthy, yo.

Second on the list is Cassandra’s beautiful sister, Rose. Girl’s a gold digger, hardcore. Unfortunately, she’d expected by society and her family to marry for love and nothing more. Love is all well and good when you’re not literally starving in a moldering castle. It’s not like she had a whole heck of a lot of options. Frivilous and flighty, I didn’t much care for Rose, but I couldn’t fault her for making a cash grab. Homegirl’s gotta eat.

Finally. Cassandra. I know you’re 17. But come on. Let’s talk about poor romantic decisions, shall we? Who should one get hung up on? The fellow who is completely unavailable for very good reasons, OR the extraordinarily handsome fellow whose kind generosity in the face of poverty is equaled only by his adoration of you? WTF, Cassandra? Get a grip girl. And make it a grip on Stephen. Swoon.

Good news and bad news, I guess. I can now check another box off on my next judgmental internet quiz, but I didn’t love it. Ah well. Not every book works for everyone. Talk to me Bookworms. How many of you have read I Capture the CastleDid you love it? Hate it? Or are you with me in Ambivalent-ville?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I’m considering installing a moat in my yard, so, you could help me live the dream.*


Jul 14

MOAR Audio Book Mini Reviews

Audio Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fairy Tales, Fantasy 16

Howdy Howdy Bookworms!

I’ve been reading with both my eyes and my ears this summer. Reading with your ears is totally a thing that counts. I REFUSE to accept that audio books don’t count as reading. Poppycock! Of course, not every book I read (with eyes or ears) is something I feel like writing a whole review about, so today we’re taking audio books in bite sized pieces. Om nom nom!



1. I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg- I normally adore Fannie Flagg, but I’ve got mixed feelings about this book. The main character spends a good portion of the novel plotting out her suicide only to continually put it off to tie up loose ends in the land of the living. The story was cute, I guess, but I worry that it was a little too flippant with some really heavy issues.

2. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman- Well thank heaven they finally explored the niffin situation! That has been bothering me since The Magicians (review). I thought this final installment of the series tied things up rather nicely, without being too neat about it. I’m still worried about Lev Grossman’s fox fixation, though. Dude. For real.

3. Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire- You know how when you read original fairy tales they’re way creepier than you remember the Disney-fied versions being? Multiply that factor by 5 when Gregory Maguire gets his mits on Snow White, and you’ll have Mirror Mirror. In Maguire’s version of events, historical figure Lucrezia Borgia is cast in the role of the wicked queen with some gratuitous sexualization thrown in for good measure. I can’t help but think poor Lucrezia’s legacy has been getting the Cleopatra treatment for far too long. Stacy Schiff, will you rectify this for me please? (Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff was most enlightening! Anybody have a recommendation for a good Lucrezia Borgia biography?)

Talk to me, Bookworms! What have y’all been reading lately? Eye reading and ear reading both count here!

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


Jul 13

Shirley Jackson Reading Week: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Crime, Frightening, Mystery 18

Greetings Bookworms!

I’m highly susceptible to suggestion. Why, last week I was reading a book where the characters were devouring a ham, and I really wanted to eat some ham. A legit ham, too, none of this cold cut nonsense. The very next day someone posted a photo of their fried fish that happened to be shaped like Illinois on Facebook, and doggone it, I wanted to eat all the fried fish (I later got that fried fish, and it was delicious. I still haven’t had any ham.) It’s not just food, though, folks. It works with books too! For example… I saw that several delightful bloggers were planning a Shirley Jackson Reading Week July 13-18 and I was all, “oooh I should do that. Get me some Shirley Jackson, stat!” (Thanks to fabulous hosts Stuck in a Book, Reading the End, and Things Mean a Lot!)


I’d read The Lottery, which is a creeptastic short story in school at some point, but that was it. I decided to tackle We Have Always Lived in the Castle for two reasons. First, I’d heard it was awesome. Second, the cover is haunting, yo. I knew chills were just around the corner. I hauled up a copy on Scribd to read with my ears and let me tell you, that Bernadette Dunne? What a narrator. Whew. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Blackwood house has a sinister past. Once one of the town’s most respected and stately homes, it is now the macabre scene of a mass poisoning. The suspected murderess is dwelling in the massive house again, along with her elderly uncle (and arsenic poisoning survivor) Julian and younger sister Merricat. To say that the crew is odd is an understatement, but just how many secrets they harbor start to be revealed when a distant relation comes to call.

So creepy, right?!

So creepy, right?!

I’ve always heard that I should check out Shirley Jackson because she’s the queen of the dark and twisty. Turns out everyone was right. Because for real. What in the actual fiddlesticks? This book, man. Constance, Merricat, what in heaven’s name went on during your formative years?! And holy macaroni, the townsfolk. I can’t even! If you haven’t read any Shirley Jackson yet, I highly recommend We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It’s deliciously devious and enough to make you fear children, townsfolk, and sugar bowls. Dun dun dun!

Talk to me Bookworms! Anybody have a recommendation as to which Shirley Jackson I should read next?

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