Category: Friendship

Oct 10

Raise a Glass to Blog Friends

BEA 2016, Blogging, Friendship, Personal 11

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

I trust you all had excellent weekends. I know I did. ADVENTURE was in the air. I drove up to the Chicago Suburbs to attend a little BEA buddies reunion with three of my favorite ladies- Julie, Marisa, and Stacey. Since I live in the middle of Illinois (more or less) this shindig necessitated a bit of a road trip, which necessitated an audio book, which is easily the biggest perk of the solo road trip. Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in on the audio book when I finish it. But let’s talk about the main event, shall we?


Photo Credit: Hubs of Julie AKA Shortman, AKA “Mr. Internet Anonymous”. Thank you so very much for being an excellent sport as we invaded your home.

FIRST: Julie’s house is impossibly bookish. She’s got a room dedicated to non fiction that makes me want to sip scotch and binge read F. Scott Fitzgerald. But she’s also got AN ACTUAL FREAKING LIBRARY. And her guest room is dedicated to Alice in Wonderland which is the epitome of whimsy. Of course, should I ever stay the night, I’ve already called dibs on sleeping in the bathtub in the Harry Potter bathroom. THAT IS A THING AND IT IS GLORIOUS! (If you click on those links you can creep on pics of Julie’s house via her blog posts. You won’t be sorry.)

SECOND: Julie makes delicious cocktails that do not taste alcoholic. It was fine because, you know, it was mid afternoon and I am a responsible adult, but I could have drained that punch bowl. Which ALSO would have been fine, probably, seeing as I already plan to sleep in the bathroom should I stay the night. Next time, perhaps.

THIRD: Stacey recently took a trip to Iceland. ICELAND! And she came back raving about how great skyr is, which caused me to demand that she read Burial Rites immediately, and then read an old post of mine in which I connected books based on yogurt. It was a weird and glorious time.

FOURTH: During BEA, Marisa had been talking about wanting to get back into teaching, and SHE DID! She’s now changing lives and molding minds. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. She’s a good egg, that one.

FIFTH: There is a limit to how often one should mention Lin-Manuel Miranda in casual conversation, and I exceeded it. Also, I shouldn’t rap. Ever.

SIXTH: Apparently I’ve been remiss in not yet having tackled Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow.

SEVENTH: I almost cried laughing when we discussed David Bowie’s costume in Labyrinth. It’s entirely Julie’s fault, though, because she is a TERRIBLE INFLUENCE. In the best way, of course.

As you can tell from the highlight reel, I had a blast hanging out with these ladies. I mean, I have people in my day to day life with whom I can discuss books and things, but there’s something magical about hanging out with book bloggers. There’s just this warm fuzzy feeling of knowing THESE ARE MY PEOPLE. Sigh. What a wonderful day. Huge thanks to Julie for hosting. Let’s do it again soon! 

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




Feb 11

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

Friendship, Historical Fiction 6

Hello My Darling Bookworms,

I have a nasty habit of reading books about writers whose books I have not read. I mean, if you can say that two books constitute a habit… I recently finished The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin which is about Truman Capote and his gang of high class New York socialite gal pals. Having read nothing by Truman Capote, everything about this book was new territory for me (much like The Dream Lover (review) was all new to me because I knew jack about George Sand). *I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affects the honesty of the following review, as I am ungrateful and tacky.*

swansoffifthavenueTruman Capote, renowned author, was an odd, though charming fellow transplanted from small town Alabama to high glamour New York City. Diminutive and charismatic, he managed to collect a bevy of beautiful and impossibly wealthy Manhattan socialites as his inner circle in the 50s and 60s. Chief among them was the seemingly flawless Babe Paley, wife of CBS mogul Bill Paley. Babe and Truman had an intense friendship based on a mutual appreciation of beauty, fashion, glamour, and gossip. In a tale full of intrigue, scandal, immense wealth, and ultimate betrayal, Truman and Babe’s story will go down in infamy.

High society always boggles my mind. I am Midwestern and tacky in the extreme, I simply cannot fathom the amount of money Truman and his swans were running around with. I found the lifestyle these folks were living impossibly glamorous, and I must admit the gossip and scandal tickled the bit of me intrigued by such things. I also totally cracked up when Slim kept going on and on and on about the time she spent with Hemingway. Everyone was all “OMG Slim, shut up already.” And I was all “Haaaaaaaaa! I don’t much care for Hemingway’s writing so this is extra funny to me!” (Please, let’s not roast Katie alive for the Hemingway confession, okay?) Truman Capote was a larger than life persona, like whoa. Do I love him and empathize with him? Do I want to punch him in his smug face? Is it possible to feel all these things at the same time?! And how do I feel about Babe Paley? It’s all so complicated!

If you’d like to revisit a bygone era, Mad Men style, definitely give this book a go. If you like Truman Capote, you should totally read this. If you find yourself having difficulty rustling up sympathy for the rich and famous, maybe don’t read this. Or. No. Read this anyway. Even you cynics will find it satisfying, methinks.

Talk to me, Bookworms! Do any of you follow celebrity gossip? Do you ever wonder just what goes on behind the fancy parties?

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


Oct 09

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Contemporary Fiction, Friendship 20

Hi ho, Bookworms!

If you’re anything like me, you accumulate books faster than you can read them. I don’t suppose it helps that I enter giveaways on other blogs, but I have a severe weakness for free books. A few months ago I won a copy of Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen from Bookalicious Mama and it taunted me from my bedside table with its pretty cover mercilessly. I finally got around to reading it, and I’m SO GLAD I did!

lost lakeOur heroine Kate recently “woke up” from mourning the loss of her husband. She’s been going through the motions for a solid year and has only just managed to muster the will to participate in life again. While clearing out some detritus to prepare for a move, Kate and her daughter Devin (a budding fashionista, with an eccentric sense of style) find an old post card reminding Kate of the summer she spent at her great aunt’s cabin resort, Lost Lake.

Kate’s re-awakening came with a healthy dose of “carpe diem” so she loads Devin into the car and sets off for rural Georgia to seek out some R&R in the serene environment. Kate’s Aunt Eby is thrilled to see her long lost niece, but Lost Lake is on the verge of closing up shop. Eby, Kate, and a few regular guests set out to make Lost Lake’s final summer one to remember. A little romance, a little magic, and a healthy dash of Southern fried fun make Lost Lake a wonderful escape.

This book is utterly charming and heartwarming. Sarah Addison Allen puts together a cast of quirky characters that can’t be beat (and you know how much I LOVE quirky characters, especially when some of them are cranky old women. It makes my inner Mildred positively gleeful.) I read this tasty morsel in a single day. If you need a little escape from reality, Lost Lake is as refreshing as a cold glass of sweet tea.

Tell me, dear Bookworms. Do you enjoy books that offer an escape?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will use it to take a flipping vacation!*


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?



Feb 20

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

Coming of Age, Fairy Tales, Friendship 12

Dearest Bookworms,

Once upon a time, a publisher emailed me with an offer to review a fractured fairy tale. While Beauty Slept
by Elizabeth Blackwell tells a less Disney-fied version of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was threatened with zero poisoned spinning wheels.*

while beauty slept

The story begins with a very old Elise telling the story of her life to her great-granddaughter. Elise started her life being raised on a farm in an unspecified medieval-ish time. Her upbringing is poverty stricken- she’s no stranger to hunger… Or to sharing her bed with younger siblings. One day, THE POX attacks. Blackwell doesn’t specify what type of pox it is, so I googled… I think it’s supposed to be smallpox, but I’m not entirely sure if smallpox can theoretically spread from cows to pigs to humans… (Mira Grant and her scientific explanations have RUINED me for other authors’ fictional plagues… Vague poxes will no longer suffice!)

Anyway. The plague wipes out most of Elise’s family and at 14, she takes a position as a servant in the local castle. That’s what you do, if you’re lucky. At least you get fed at regular intervals. If you’re unlucky, you get stuck hanging out with poxy pigs, and nobody’s got time for that! While at court, Elise rises quickly. She’s soon attending to the queen and later the princess, all under the shadow of some seriously bad blood between the royal family and the king’s wicked, wicked aunt, Millicent.

I enjoyed the grittier version of Sleeping Beauty. I love a good plague, and I like when fairy tale re-tellings don’t rely exclusively on a Prince Charming. Elise, Queen Lenore, and Millicent are no shrinking violets. Strong female characters rock. What didn’t rock quite so much for me was the abundance of insta-love. I know it’s a fairy tale, but sheesh. Love at first sight right and left. sleepingbeauty

I also could have done without the really heavy handed foreshadowing. It’s hard to be surprised by a turn of events or a personality change in a critical character when you’re continuously smacked over the head with phrases like, “if only I’d known what she would become” or “it was the last time they would be happy,” etc. I wanted to shake old lady Elise and tell her to get on with the story already! I think you have to be a broody Victorian to make that sort of thing work.

Overall, this book was alright for me. Nothing to prick my finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel over, but a pleasant enough way to pass the time. If fairy tales are your thing, I recommend taking a trip down fairy tale lane with While Beauty Slept

Tell me, Bookworms. What’s your favorite fairy tale?

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


Dec 03

Holiday Shopping Words for Worms Style

Art, Friendship 29

Hey Bookworms!

I’m skipping another Top Ten Tuesday. Today’s topic is books that I can’t wait for in 2014, and there is BUT ONE: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon. (Heeeey Diana! Big fan! Jamie and Claire! Ahhhhhhhhh! I can’t wait!)

I’ve still got a list for y’all though, never you fear. I have some incredibly talented friends. Several of them now have their own little shops online where you can purchase their custom wares. Sometimes you’ve got someone on your list that the regular commercial goods just won’t work for. I’ve got your solution. *Full Disclosure: Nobody is paying me a doggone cent for featuring them. They are my ACTUAL friends and I want to share them with you. No ulterior motives up in here.*

1. Crafty Bananas Crochet: I’ve known Jackie since… I don’t know, birth probably? We did girl scouts together and she totally remembers me in giant baggy grunge pants from high school. You know all those amazing little crochet projects on Pinterest? Jackie can make those! She does the cutest hats and scarves and blankets. I mean, MINIONS:

How freaking cute are these?!

How freaking cute are these?!

2. Dome Life Studios: Lillian was one of my first blogging friends, and she is SO amazingly talented. She paints and creates such cool things. You can commission a portrait (COMMISSION A PORTRAIT, GUYS!) for a super reasonable rate, or you can shop her new handmade fun and funky jewelry. She’s got an Etsy store and a Zazzle shop for all your holiday needs. Of course, you can always visit her blog too and check out the latest antics of Tiny-Small, her 3 year old fashionista. I had her paint a portrait of my Gingerbread House and I absolutely ADORE it:

Love it so so so much!

It hangs on the wall in our living room. We’re pretty sure the inside of the Gingerbread House is pleased to know how pretty it is outside.

3. September Soap: I met September in high school, which means she ALSO remembers my grunge phase… High School. Sigh. Anyway, she’s very into the whole natural, organic, no artificial nonsense scene. She’s started a business making soap with all sorts of naturalness and essential oils and such. It’s super super good for your skin, particularly if you’re sensitive to things with a lot of dyes and perfumes. This would be a great gift for the person on your list who’s allergic to all the fun cosmetics in the land. It’s all moisturize-y too. Be gone, winter scale-y skin!

september soap4. Words for Worms Zazzle Shop: Alright, I lied about the ulterior motives.  A little. I’ve got a Zazzle store where you can purchase Words for Worms merch! I know what you’re thinking. “Why would I want a weird blogger’s logo on my stuff?” To which I shall answer: BAM! (The commission on this stuff is tiny, but I know that if I needed a baby shower gift for a fellow bookworm, I’d have jumped at this, so I thought I’d help the world. I’m altruistic and such.)

All the kiddos on my list are getting "future bookworm" onesies.

All the kiddos on my list are getting “Future Bookworm” onesies or “Bookworm in Training” t-shirts. My site isn’t on there, so they aren’t billboards, just cute as heck.

In all seriousness, Bookworms. Check out my artsy/crafty/fabulous friends. I’ll love you forever. I mean, I would have done that anyway, but still. Is it just me, or is anybody else already completely overwhelmed with holiday shopping this year? I shopped for a few hours on Sunday and wanted to weep with the enormity of it all!


Oct 18

Feed Me, Seymour! (Feed by Mira Grant)

Friendship, Zombies 43

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

feedI’ve been having an absolute blast reading all these scary books lately. I kept hearing great things about the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant- I simply couldn’t stop myself from picking up a copy of Feed.  The Zombie Apocalypse? Been there, done that. This book takes place 30 years post outbreak. Apparently the virus that causes people to rise from the dead was caused by an interaction between two genetically engineered viruses: one that cured cancer, and one that cured the common cold. Everybody has the virus in their system, but it only goes into amplification (read: zombification) when you’re bitten by a zombie… Or die of something else.

Georgia and her brother Shaun run a news blogging site. They spend their days chasing stories, exposing the truth, and poking dead things with sticks. Georgia and Shaun, along with their tech guru Buffy, manage to land a spot on the presidential campaign of a popular Wisconsin senator and are thus rocketed into the big leagues of media. Politics and conspiracies and ZOMBIES, oh my! There was SO MUCH I loved about this book that I’m going to have to get my list on…

1. The Pop Culture References: George is the new Jennifer. I was positively tickled when it was revealed that an entire generation of children were named in honor of George Romero, undisputed king of the zombie film. Apparently Night of the Living Dead became an incredibly useful field guide. I can only assume the spelling of “Shaun” was in reference to Simon Pegg’s hilarious zombie masterpiece, Shaun of the DeadAnd Buffy? She downright OWNS that her nickname is after the iconic and only Vampire Slayer. Also, the thrill seeking dangerous reporter types are referred to as “Irwins.” I can only assume this is a nod at the late great Crocodile Hunter.

Halloween Katoo

What? Le Kattoo likes Halloween as much as the next penguin.

2. Science: I loved the explanation of how the zombie virus came into being, The cures for two of humanity’s main nemeses combine to create the great its great downfall? Ah hubris. I don’t know just how accurate the virology stuff in the book was, but it sounded pretty plausible to this uneducated plebeian. The way it could lie dormant in the bloodstream, the desire to spread, the infection of other mammals… (As I was watching The Walking Dead on Sunday night, I thought for sure the ailing pig was turning zombie. My current theory on that is good old swine flu, but I digress.)

3. Realism: I happen to think that any mass contagion (influenza, smallpox, zombie-virus) would certainly pose a big problem to humanity. HOWEVER. I find it harder to believe that in an age of kevlar, body armor, and advanced weaponry, that the entire world’s infrastructure would crumble. I think the isolation, extensive blood testing, and attempts to prevent the spread of contagion are a more likely scenario… Though perhaps that’s just wishful thinking. In this world I could just stay in my house, order in groceries and mood stabilizers, and avoid anything that might eat me.

I’ve already started the second book in this series- I cannot get enough. I highly recommend this book, and I want to give a shout out to everyone who recommended this to me (including, but not limited to, Charleen from Cheap Thrills. She also wrote a companion post on The Passage for The Fellowship of the Worms this month, and you should go read it.)

Let’s talk about GERMS! Anybody out there gotten their flu shot yet? Anybody already been sick this season? Anybody want to give out their recipe for the world’s best hot toddie so we can all be prepared when the inevitable sniffles hit this winter? Talk to me, Worms!


Aug 05

Rainbow Rowell, I'm Your Fangirl!

Blogging, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, Family, Friendship 44

Hiya Bookworms!

It’s Monday, but today we’re going to talk about Rainbow Rowell’s new release, so it officially sucks MUCH LESS! Remember last week when I told you all about my BlogHer experience and how the awesome folks at St. Martin’s Press were doling out free books? I saw Fangirlsitting there and tried to appear professional and interesting, while my innards were all a-squiggle. Rainbow Rowell’s new book!!! I basically received this book as swag from the publisher. They were handing out books to tons of people who were never going to write about them on their blogs. I’m going to put it out there as a full disclosure anyway, because I’m SUPER ethical. (So dang ethical I deserve a cape and a headband, y’all.)

As you may recall, my love of Eleanor & Park (review) was intense. I’ve been waiting to read Rowell’s earlier book Attachmentspartially because I was afraid it wouldn’t be able to live up to Eleanor & Park. Luckily, by putting a free copy of Fangirl straight into my crazy hands I was able to overcome the fear and read more Rowell.

FangirlFangirl is about a girl named Cath and her first year away at college. She’s a twin, but her sister Wren has decided that she wants to try striking out on her own a bit. Cath is left to fend for herself, and she drowns her sorrows in fanfiction. In Rowell’s world, there’s a Harry Potter-esque series of books about a boy wizard named Simon Snow. Cath and her sister Wren spent their childhoods obsessing over the characters and became very active in the fandom. In fact, Cath’s fanfiction pieces? They get thousands upon thousands of hits daily. She’s got some serious talent, but can’t seem to break free of the imaginary world someone else created. There’s a lot of love and growing up and universal college experiences in this book. I just freaking LOVED IT.

A couple of things I loved. First. Cath and Wren are identical twins. Their mother was unaware she was having twins, and had only chosen one name, Catherine. Instead of coming up with another name, she just split the one she had in half. Cather and Wren. My Mother-in-Law has been threatening for years that the family is due for a set of twins. While I find twins wonderful and adorable, the idea of dealing with two newborns simultaneously is more than a little daunting. I told my MIL that if I had twins, I’d name them both Seamus, you know, as punishment for making me birth two at once. (That is a true story, but I was obviously joking. Now that I’ve got Rowell’s inspiration, I’d name them Sea and Mus.)

Second. Levi! This character comes into the picture as Cath’s roommate’s ex? boyfriend. He hangs around a LOT, which annoys the snot out of Cath… At first. Levi is a farm boy. He hails from a tiny town in rural Nebraska and majors in Ranch Management (Yes. That IS a thing.) Cath is from Omaha, and while it doesn’t sound very metropolitan to most of the world, it’s as urban as Nebraska gets. I SO had this experience in college! (I was from the Chicago suburbs and went to school in the middle of the state. There were kids who thought that our campus of like 80% white kids was diverse. It was weird.) Anyway. While I was in college, I totally met my very own Levi (minus any romantic undertones.He’s a good friend of my husband and is now married to a really fabulous woman. They have a 2 year old boy who is just about the cutest thing in the world. He loves books!)

The thing about Levi and “Steve” (spontaneous pseudonym) is that they are the kind of guys who would go out of their way to walk you home from the library after dark. The guy you could call to change your tire if you were living alone and didn’t know how to do it yourself (or did know how to do it yourself in theory but would rather have someone who actually knew how to fix cars do it in practice.) Needless to say, I mentally pictured Levi looking exactly like my friend, even if he was a little more rodeo where my friend is more muscle car.

I don’t know if it’s my adoration of Harry Potter that made me relate to the fangirl in Cath… Maybe it was her slightly awkward college experience that got me. Sure, her experience was significantly weirder and worse than mine, but the same way Eleanor & Park captured that high school feeling, Fangirl captured college. The whole learning to detach from your parents thing? The character that reminded me of my pal Steve? The EVERYTHING of it all? So much YES. Rainbow Rowell, I am now your fangirl. If I ever meet you, I’ll be the girl who breaks her leg tripping over her shoelace on the way up to the table where you’re signing books. If you could sign my cast instead of my book, that’d be cool too.

So Bookworms! Obviously, one of the biggest things that stuck out for me in this book was that Levi reminded me of my buddy Steve. Have you ever read a book that had a character that was SO TOTALLY someone you know? Tell me about it!

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


Jun 20

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Book Club, Contemporary Fiction, Family, Friendship, Psychological, Romance, Tear Jerkers, Travel 42

Good Day Bookworms!

Have you ever paid attention to the stuff you do every day? I’m not talking about the chores or the errands or the work. I’m talking physical stuff. Walking. Climbing stairs. Getting dressed. Bathing. Eating. Driving. Typing. What would you do if you couldn’t do ANY of that for yourself anymore? The thought probably makes you uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me sad. It makes me feel guilty for being able bodied when others may not be, but extremely grateful for my independence.

I don’t typically give this line of thinking much attention, because it bums me out. However, several people recommended this book about a quadriplegic to me and I figured I’d give it a shot.  Somehow Jojo Moyes managed to make Me Before You devastating, uplifting, heart-wrenching, and heart-warming all at the same time. Don’t ask me how she pulled it off. The talents of authors are beyond me, but this one, THIS ONE got to me.


Louisa Clark is a 28 year old girl living in an English tourist town that features a castle. She has spent several years working in a local cafe and is caught completely off guard one day when she’s told the cafe is going to close. Suddenly, Louisa finds herself out of work in a terrible economy. She has no college education (or, uh, University, as the British would say) and is qualified to do little more than work in a chicken processing plant, which is just exactly as gross as it sounds.

Louisa’s qualifications will allow her to be a “caregiver,” and it is one of the few positions available through the unemployment agency (which is called something different in England but it sounds like roughly the same thing.) She’s sent on an interview with no real idea of what’s in store for her. To her shock (in spite of an embarrassing skirt splitting incident during the interview) she lands a job helping to care for Will Traynor. Will was hit by a motorcycle while crossing a street. A serious mover and shaker in his previous life, Will has been without the use of any of his limbs for over 2 years. As you can imagine, he’s not too happy about it.

Louisa and Will don’t start off especially well, what with his intentionally trying to make her uncomfortable and all, but over time they grow rather fond of each other. Everything seems to be going pretty smoothly (or, at least, as smoothly as possible when catheters, muscle spasms, and infection are par for the course) when Louisa is hit with some dizzying news. I AM NOT GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT IT IS! But. The rest of the book is about Louisa trying to get Will to get out of his grumpy funk and have some adventures. Will is from a very wealthy family and was very successful before his accident, so the fact that he is practically a sommelier and has a penchant for evenings at the symphony come as no surprise. Apparently rich people are very fancy and predictable that way. No mention of cheeses. Pity.

Read this and your next long trek through the parking lot in the rain won't seem so inconvenient.

Read this and your next long trek through the parking lot in the rain won’t seem so inconvenient. (SOURCE)

I was not expecting to like this book. I thought it was going to be a complete downer, but, while there are some seriously sad elements, there are also some uplifting bits, and occasionally, it’s downright funny. Me Before You also raises some ethical conundrums that will leave you reeling. I’ve got so many FEELINGS, you guys! I want you to feel them too.

Bookworms, have any of you read Me Before You? What did you think? We can’t really discuss the elephant in the room because of SPOILERS, but we can talk about how much it sucks when people who don’t need it steal the disabled parking spots. That is some nasty karma y’all. I have many, many faults, but I never park in a handicapped space. I also return my shopping cart to the cart corral. Perhaps this will keep me from being reincarnated as a turd. How about you?


Jun 11

Hot Temps and Hot Tempers: Top Ten Tuesday Beach Reads

Book Club, Chick Lit, Classics, Friendship, Top Ten Tuesday 44

Howdy Bookworms!

I hope life has been treating you well. Today is Tuesday which means it’s time to make lists! Yaaaaaay! This week’s topic via The Broke and The Bookish is Top Ten Beach reads! It sounds like an easy topic, but I’m kind of at a loss. The thing about Illinois is that it’s landlocked. I can’t just go to the beach. And lakes, even the Great Lakes, are stinky. We also have rivers, which are probably stinkier than lakes. I don’t like swimming in water with fish as a general rule, but I will break my rule when it comes to wading in the OCEAN. WADING, not swimming, mind you. I tried snorkeling when I was like 13 and had a panic attack, so I’m sticking to dry land and chlorinated pools thankyouverymuch. Occasions when I’m near an actual ocean are few and far between, so I’m breaking my “beach” reads into two pieces. Books set on beaches, and books about summertime (when the living’s easy.)


Top 5 Books Set on the Beach

1. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. I don’t read a whole heck of a lot of books set on beaches. At least, not a whole heck of a lot of books I actually like (cough cough The Best of Us.) I read this a long time ago, but I recall beaches and tributaries and a confused married woman having an affair with a Catholic priest. So. Scandal? Check. Sandals? Check. Beach read. Boom. Nailed it.

2. Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. This is sort of set on a beach. I mean, it’s on a Hawaiian island… That also happens to be a leper colony. It’s a pretty good book if a little depressing. Leprosy sucked, especially if you were a surfer and then had your toes fall off. Not cool, man. Not cool.

3. Fortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve. This is my all time favorite Anita Shreve novel. She’s written an entire series of books revolving around one specific beach house. I’ve read several of them (so far) and it’s a really cool life of a house type scenario. Fortune’s Rocks is begins in 1899. In a society bound by convention and old timey bathing costumes, scandalous affairs are bound to pop up between teenaged daughters of the elite and well to do doctors. I mean, those bathing costumes were HAWT.

Try and resist this. I dare you. (Image Source)

Try and resist this. I dare you. (Image Source)

4. Sea Glass by Anita Shreve. This was my second visit to our woebegone beach house. Set in the 1930s, this tale features a newly married couple, Sexton and Honora Beecher. Honora spends her days collecting sea glass while her husband (who turns out to be a bit of a slime ball) sells typewriters. In the nearby town, textile mills have workers laboring under deplorable conditions. McDermott is a sexy Irish mill worker who catches Honora’s eye as the Beechers are drawn into a massive labor dispute. There’s some scandal and plenty of learning to be had.

5. Body Surfing by Anita Shreve. And we’re baaaaaaaaaaaack at the same beach house! Only now it’s modern-ish times and our protagonist is a 29 year old underemployed divorcee and widow named Sydney. A lot of living went into her 29 years, what can she say? Sydney decides to take a job as a private summer tutor for the 18 year old daughter of the Edwards family who summer at (you guessed it) the mythological beach house of Shreve’s imagination. Julie (the daughter in question) has two older brothers and once they arrive, Sydney is plunged into a set of circumstances bound to make her relationship history even MORE interesting. Families are crazy, especially when you pop into one already in progress.

Top 5 Books About Summertime

1. Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. Fannie Flagg makes me happy with almost everything she writes, but her version of summertime in 1940s Elmwood Springs, Missouri is just a treat. I felt like I was part of the small town and desperately wanted to get a milkshake from the pharmacy soda fountain.

2. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Shush! I can list the same authors over and over again if I want to! Fannie Flagg knows how to do SUMMER, you guys! Ruth and Idgy’s summer before Ruth gets married? Ruth and Idgy at the cafe? The shenanigans of summertime in depression era Alabama?! Makes me want to sit on a porch swing and drink a gallon of lemonade, dang it!

3. Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik. So, this book centers on a neighborhood book club (which is NEARLY as cool as The Fellowship of the Worms, but not quite.) A large part of the story goes on in the summer. Every time I think of this book, it conjures up images of pools and kool-aid stands. Summertime. Charm. These are things I like.


4. Summer by Edith Wharton. Awww yeah, you didn’t see THAT coming did you? I like Edith. I like her sarcastic take on society. I like Charity Royall’s air of self importance in spite of her humble origins. I like that she works at the library. Sure, she may be naive and begin a love affair with a society fellow looking to slum it for the summer… Summer fun times sometimes lead to springtime babies… So… Be careful, kids.

5. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. I know, it’s a little overexposed right now, but I can’t even think about this book without feeling a little sweaty, and I don’t mean that because of the steamy affairs. I mean the blasted temperature. My word, how did anyone survive the summer before air conditioning? Heat rises and people do crazy booze fueled things… Love triangles, feuds, affairs, CHAOS. A good time was had by all… Who didn’t end up dead.

Shakespeare said it best in Romeo & Juliet, “For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.” Benvolio knew what was up. Hot temps lead to hot tempers. Keep cool this summer. Leave the drama to the books! What are YOUR picks for beach reads, Bookworms? Anything awesome that’s set on a beach that I haven’t read but ought to?