Category: Uncategorized

May 22

Flattered and Flummoxed: How I Became a Resource

Blogging, Personal, Uncategorized 20

Hidey Ho, Bookworms.

By some internet witchery, it seems I have become an expert resource on all essay questions regarding Lois Lowry’s The Giver Quartet as well as an opponent of book banning worthy of quotation. My search terms recently have included an awful lot of “what is the symbolism of XYZ in The Giver/Gathering Blue/Messenger/Son” and “why was XYZ book banned?” I can only assume these searches are being performed by students, because I’ve yet to meet another casual reader who is overly concerned with the underlying themes of middle-grade novels, though, in fairness, I’ve been known to google the reasons for book banning. Sometimes they’re hilarious. People are weird.

I’m both flattered and flummoxed. I’m stoked to think that my blog has managed to gain so much traction as to come up in searches like this, but I have some concerns. First, it seems to me that kids who are googling essay questions are kids who haven’t read the book. I’m having serious guilt over the idea that I might be helping some kid out there skate out of doing their reading. It’s the stuff of nightmares, I assure you. Kids, if you’re reading this, READ THE BOOK. Especially if it’s anything written by Lois Lowry. She’s awesome. (If it’s Moby Dick, you have my permission to use Cliff’s Notes. Shhhh, don’t tell you mom. Or your teacher.)


A few months ago, I got an email from a student asking my permission to quote my blog in a research paper regarding banned books. I suppose an opinion piece is simply that, opinion, so it’s not entirely necessary to have credentials to be quoted, but it all seems so weird to me! When I was a wee one writing research papers (particularly in middle school and high school) the internet wasn’t typically an accepted resource. I was expected to sift through encyclopedias and scholarly journals. Made of paper! You know, stuff written by PHD’s, not random weirdos. I have zero credentials that qualify me to write literary criticism. None! I’ve only got a Bachelor’s degree, and it sure as heck isn’t in English Literature. I’m literate and enthusiastic. That’s it. And yet. I’m now a source! This is some Twilight Zone level weirdness, y’all. I can’t even.

What do you think, Bookworms? Has my blog turned into a cheat sheet helping kids ditch their reading, or am I just THAT awesome? (Don’t answer that honestly. I probably can’t handle the truth.)

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Since I’m an expert and all, I’ll use the proceeds to buy more books. Because that’s not what I already do with all my proceeds or anything. Wait…*



Apr 20

20 Questions (Because I am Ill-Prepared to Discuss Books Today)

Q&A, Uncategorized 19

Howdy Bookworms!
I’m running behind blog wise so I thought I’d tackle the super fun 20 questions game I saw Jen at The Relentless Reader complete a while back. Everybody loves 20 questions, right?!
20 Questions About Me:
5’3 and a half. The half inch is very important to me. I typically round up and tell people I’m 5’4 because it’s weird to claim the half inch when you’re over the age of 9.
Hmmmm. I’m actually really good at hula hooping. Not like, circus caliber hula hooping, but I’m pretty confident I could win a contest at a company picnic.
Like that I do or that other people do? I’ve been so awful about reading other blogs recently that I can’t even think of complaints. How about this? I spent my evening working on a post that I didn’t realize I couldn’t post until next week anyway? That’s kind of annoying. But really, I think we’re all winning, because me interviewing myself is highly entertaining. To me.
Personal space. Lately this has been bugging me at the gym. Like, I am going to sweat and be repulsive and I really just want a three foot radius so I don’t have to worry about bumping into people. Invasion of my space (even though I KNOW I’m not entitled to it, especially when a class is full) just bugs me. Or, like, during the running track of BodyAttack there are always a couple of middle aged dudes who feel the need to run super fast and like try to win. There just isn’t any “winning” in running laps during an aerobics class, okay? Nobody is impressed!
I don’t know that I can claim a favorite song. Is that bad? How about “our song?” My husband and I claim “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot as “our song” because it’s the least appropriate and least romantic song ever. Of course, I secretly think that “our songs” are “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits (because it’s pretty), “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson (because it’s adorable), and “True Companion” by Mark Cohn (because I’m a sap and attended far too many weddings.)
Oh that’s easy! My pal Lily (who also writes a blog, It’s A Dome Life) has a FAB Etsy store full of hand painted jewelry and art. It’s amazing.
Reading, obviously. I also like to soft-shoe dance in my kitchen.
Nacho Cheese Doritos are my dietary kryptonite. I can’t keep the darn things in my house because I can’t just eat a few chips, I eat like half the bag. It’s highly detrimental to my quest to keep my pants fitting.
Nope. Unless you count my husband. But he’s like a super clean pet who is really fond of windex, so…
Ha! No. That I cannot tell you. All time favorites are super impossible. I can give you two that I love though. Will that do?


I looooove EOS lip balm and ELF eyelid primer. Because APPARENTLY I only like beauty products by companies with three letter acronym names beginning with “E.”
Oh heavens. It happens all the time. Actually, I tripped rather spectacularly last night on a stroll through my neighborhood. Thanks to my cat-like reflexes I was not injured, but it wasn’t my most graceful moment.
Water. I’m so freaking boring. I just really like being hydrated, okay? And this is the rest of my life we’re talking about!
Mary Poppins. I usually turn it off before they get to the bank, though, because it used to scare me. Besides, all the best parts are at the beginning. The chalk painting? The floating laughter tea party? The dancing penguins?! Awwww yeah.
Hmmm… I was pretty nerdy, pretty broody, and I took ballet lessons. An enigma wrapped in a mystery swathed in very large pants was high school Katie.
I am SUCH a chicken. I get sweaty palms when I think about uprooting from my current surroundings. It’s not because I’m just THAT in love with Central Illinois, but I don’t do change particularly well.
17. PC OR MAC?
I always had Macs growing up. Hubs still uses a Mac for most things (esp video things) but I do most of my blogging and whatnot on a PC.
This isn’t the most recent romantic gesture, but it’s come up a couple of times recently and it bears mentioning again. For my 30th birthday Hubs took me to meet a penguin in real life AND bought out the whole penguin encounter so it was just the two of us and the penguin. It was pretty great.
Amy Poehler. She’s my spirit animal. (I am keeping Jen’s answer because it is perfection.)
Oh man. This is a tough question. Mostly because I actually met and became friends with some of the bloggers I admire most (Filing Jointly and Pocketful of Joules, I’m looking at you!). That, or I was friends with them before the whole blogging thing even happened (Quirky Chrissy.) There are a ton of book bloggers I’d love to pal around with whom I’ve yet to meet, but I feel like putting that level of creepiness out on the internet would be weird. They’re not famous per se, they’re just awesome.
Talk to me, Bookworms. Anybody else feel like over sharing? I’d love to know more about you! I also want to know if anybody wants to secretly be Best Friends with me. I’m open to the idea. You really can’t have too many friends. 
*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Oct 14

I Want to Go To There: Top Ten Tuesday

Uncategorized 36

G’day Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday again and today I’ve got an especially fun list to treat you with. The ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have challenged us to list places we’d like to visit (fictional or otherwise) because books got us utterly hooked on the locales. Pack your bags, Bookworms, we’re going on an adventure! (My photoshop skills suuuuuuuck. But you’re welcome.)

TTT travel

1. Hogwarts from The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling- located somewhere in Scotland (more on this later), the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry is where I feel I belong. I’d be a Ravenclaw and spend my time solving riddles and chatting up the Grey Lady. Pass the pumpkin juice, would you?


I’ve got an owl, y’all!

2. Elmwood Springs, MO from Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven (and others) by Fannie Flagg- Ooooh Fannie Flagg! She created the sweetest small town in the history of EVER in Elmwood Springs, Missouri. It’s practically Stars Hollow, only, you know, south.

3. Neverland from Peter and Wendy by JM Barrie (review)- Oh I’d go to Neverland alright. And I’d join the dang pirates because Peter Pan is actually a complete jerk. Wendy stays home and does housekeeping and goes on approximately ZERO adventures. Ugh.



4. Mary Poppins’ chalk painting from Mary Poppins by PL Travers (review)- The movie version of this scene is significantly more whimsical, but I’d accept the book version gladly as well. A jolly holiday indeed!


Four guesses as to why this is my favorite scene in the movie.

5. Wonderland from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll- I have but one goal in mind. I want to attend a tea party with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. I have every intention of avoiding any and all royalty.


A very merry un-birthday to me!

6. Oz from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum- So there’s a lot of upheaval and chaos and craziness, but I wouldn’t mind a jaunty trip down the Yellow Brick Road.


There’s no place like home.

7. Scotland- I want to go to Scotland and it’s all Diana Gabaldon’s fault! It’s the only non-fictional locale on my list, but ooooh I want to visit so badly! On a short study abroad to London in college, I tasted Irn Bru and didn’t hate it. AND, because I’m a nutcase I’ve been re-listening to the Outlander books on audio, so my inner monologue currently sports a Scottish brogue. I would like to see all the things and frolic through the heather. Frolicking rules. (Alright so maybe it’s not ALL Diana Gabaldon’s fault… I was in a production of Brigadoon in high school, too. My travel dreams are swathed in tartan plaid.)


It’s cool. Hubs and I have an arrangement. If I fall back in time and meet a super hot Scotsman, he’s free to pursue the Hollywood starlet of his choosing.

Talk to me, Bookworms! Where have you wanted to travel, thanks to a book? 

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


Aug 12

It’s My Blogiversary, and I’ve GoneReading!

Uncategorized 36

Salutations Bookworms!

Today makes TWO YEARS since I set up shop on this here blog. I KNOW, I’m shocked too! Clearly, we have to celebrate this milestone, and as luck would have it, the good folks at GoneReading are here to help! I was at a loss for what to use as a giveaway prize. I mean, the two year anniversary according to the internet is the cotton anniversary. As entertaining as it would be for me, I wasn’t sure raffling off a bag of cotton balls conveyed the appropriate sense of gratitude toward my faithful readers. While I was pondering cotton balls and nonsense, I was contacted by GoneReading to offer a giveaway to you folks. How perfect, right?! GoneReading sells all sorts of bookish accessories and accoutrements. If that weren’t cool enough, they donate 100% of their after-tax profits to reading related charities, which eliminates any and all guilt one might have after a shopping bender on their site. It’s for a good cause, yo! They even sent me this GLORIOUS confection (in 100% cotton, no less!)


I’ve got a $40 gift card to GoneReading to give away to one of you gorgeous bookworms. This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY as GoneReading ships to a ton of places (check HERE to see if your country is on the list.) Enter to win, and THANK YOU for making the last two years so much fun! Read on, my friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Feb 24

Fellowship of the Worms Announcement: The House Girl by Tara Conklin

Uncategorized 4

Happy Monday Bookworms!

I know last week I was bemoaning the difficulty of choosing a book for book club, but I’ve gone and confronted my fears! The next installment of The Fellowship of the Worms will take place on Monday, March 31st. We will be discussing (drumroll please…) The House Girl by Tara Conklin!

thehousegirlAbstract from Goodreads:

Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: she must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.

It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine’s would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit—if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl’s faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina’s mother die? And why will he never speak about her?

Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice.

As always, I will post discussion questions on Monday, March 31st. You’re welcome to answer the discussion questions in the comments section, or on your own blog. If you have written a review of The House Girl in the past, there will be a link up opportunity. I hope you’ll consider joining us!

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


Feb 07

Literary Blog Hop: FREEEEEE STUFF!!!

Uncategorized 97

Howdy Bookworms!

I’m excited to announce that I’m participating in the Literary Blog Hop again! It’s hosted by the super impressively organized Judith of Leeswammes’ Blog. (Can we get a little applause for Judith? Bravo, madame!) I’ve decided to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! As much as I love telling y’all what to read, I think having a choice in the matter makes things more fun for the winner. Alright. I might ALSO be a little indecisive and lazy. (Shhh keep that on the down low.) The best part about this event is that there are a whole bunch of other bloggers giving away books and bookish items as well. Who’s excited?!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don’t forget to check out all the other blogs and their bookish prizes! 

Linky List:

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Seaside Book Nook
  3. Booklover Book Reviews
  4. Biblionomad
  5. Laurie Here
  6. The Well-Read Redhead (US/CA)
  7. River City Reading
  8. GirlVsBookshelf
  9. Ciska’s Book Chest
  10. The Book Stop
  11. Ragdoll Books Blog
  12. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  13. Lucybird’s Book Blog
  14. Reading World (N-America)
  15. Journey Through Books
  16. Readerbuzz
  17. Always With a Book (US)
  18. 52 Books or Bust (N.Am./UK)
  19. Guiltless Reading (US/CA)
  20. Book-alicious Mama (US)
  21. Wensend
  22. Books Speak Volumes
  23. Words for Worms
  24. The Relentless Reader
  25. A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall (US)
  1. Fourth Street Review
  2. Vailia’s Page Turner
  3. The Little Reader Library
  4. Lost Generation Reader
  5. Heavenali
  6. Roof Beam Reader
  7. Mythical Books
  8. Word by Word
  9. The Misfortune of Knowing
  10. Aymaran Shadow > Behind The Scenes
  11. The Things You Can Read (US)
  12. Bay State Reader’s Advisory
  13. Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
  14. Lizzy’s Literary Life
  15. Books Can Save a Life (N. America)
  16. Words And Peace (US)
  17. The Book Club Blog


Dec 16

The Fellowship of the Worms: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Uncategorized 14

Greetings Fellowship Bookworms,

smarty-mcwordypants-199x300Yes, it’s still the holiday season, and yes, it probably would have been a good idea just to let December ride as far as the Fellowship goes. Unfortunately, I lack vision. At least I had the good sense to pick a tasty morsel of a book this round! Today we will be discussing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. 

WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 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 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on their own blog. Don’t be shy, please link up!

1. Did y’all enjoy the epistolary format of this novel? Being composed entirely of letters offers a different perspective. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like? 

Sigh. Letter writing is such a lost art, isn’t it? The patience involved in such an endeavor boggles my digital age mind. I rather enjoyed the insertion of telegrams when really urgent messages needed to be conveyed. Perhaps that’s why shouty capitals seem so shouty? IMPORTANT TELEGRAM! THEFT OF OSCAR WILDE LETTERS AT THE HAND OF DEVIOUS SECRETARY IMMINENT. I love a good epistolary novel. Well done, I say.

2. Alright kids, ‘fess up. Who didn’t know that there were islands hanging out in the English Channel that fell to Nazi Occupation in WWII? 

Sheepishly raising my hand… So geography isn’t my strong suit, see? And, well, though I’d heard of Guernsey and Jersey (because COWS) I never realized they were islands. Given the fact that I didn’t even channel islands were a thing before picking up this book , I certainly had no clue they fell to German occupation. Everything I’ve ever heard about England during the war was about fortitude and stubbornly hiding in tube tunnels to avoid being blown to bits by constant air raids. I never thought about the poor folks on the islands, because, again, I didn’t know there WERE islands. Sigh. I saw an article a while back where English people tried to name the US states on a map… It makes me feel a little better about my own shortcomings. Check it out HERE.

3. Numerous Guernsey residents share their memories of the occupation with Juliet. Were there any details thatgurnsey surprised you? 

I haven’t really read a whole lot about occupied territories… The last I read about it was in The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, though that was about France during WWI. I liked that some of the Germans were given some depth, particularly the random German soldiers nonchalantly kicking potatoes off a truck for the starving English children. Of course, the horrors were never far behind, what with the mini concentration camp they had on Guernsey. The stories are all tales I’ve heard before from different parts of the world during the war, and yet, they never cease to surprise me: the depths of human depravity, the glimmers of human compassion.

4. That Elizabeth, am I right?! What do her actions throughout the occupation reveal about her character and approach to life? 

Well, Elizabeth was a feisty one, wasn’t she? Grace under pressure, coming up with a literary society as a cover story for a contraband pork dinner. If she hadn’t such a kind heart, she would have made an excellent con artist. She wasn’t about to listen to convention. Her heart told her to take up with the hot, kind, conscientious objecting Nazi, and she went and had his baby. She reached her absolute breaking point by witnessing one cruelty too many. Vibrant, sassy, and willing to help others at great personal risk. She was a good egg, that Elizabeth.

5. Who was your favorite member of the society? 

This is a tough question for me to answer, because I loved so many of them. I liked Dawsey a lot, but I’m taking him out of the running for being the romantic lead. I think my favorite is a tie between Isola and John Booker. Isola and her phrenology, tonics, and pet parrot? John Booker and his posing as his employer, wine theft, and stubborn devotion to Seneca? Yeah. I like the lovable weirdos best.

What did you think, Bookworms? Does anybody want to try baking a potato peel pie? (Just kidding, that sounded pretty gross. Let’s rejoice in the fact that we have no food shortages or rationing!) Please link up below if you have answered any of these questions on your own blog, or have written a review of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society anywhere, ever basically. Don’t be shy!

[inlinkz_linkup id=351782]


Nov 18

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: The Fellowship of the Worms

Book Club, Mystery, Romance, Uncategorized 33

smarty-mcwordypants-199x300Hello Bookworms,

Before we start here today, I want to let everyone know that I am a-okay. You probably saw on the news the devastation wreaked on Central Illinois from a tornado outbreak. Some of those touchdowns were a few miles from us, but luckily we are safe and sound, as is our home. Thanks to everyone for your concern!

Now, without further ado, let us get our Fellowship on! This month we’re discussing the classic tale of gothic mystery Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. 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 Rebecca 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 Rebecca on their own blog. Don’t be shy, please link up!

1.Talk about your whirlwind courtship! Our heroine agrees to marry Maxim de Winter after knowing him only a few short weeks. Her decision is fueled in no small part by her wish to escape her snobby employer. Anybody think she should have thought the decision over a bit more carefully, or does love, as they say, conquer all? I am of the opinion than if something SOUNDS too good to be true, it ALWAYS is. I’m also of the opinion that if on one of your first “dates,” your suitor gets lost in a creepy fantasy on the edge of a cliff, you should cut and run. Being able to spell an unusual name correctly is NOT a good foundation for marriage. I’m not sure saying “yes” was your best move, No-Name Girl.

2. Could Mrs. Danvers possibly BE any more creepy and evil? That woman had wicked written all over her from day one. Sherebecca1 was a combination of Mean Girl and psychopath. Mrs. Danvers had an unnatural attachment to the late Rebecca de Winter (Maxim’s mysteriously departed first wife) and was none too pleased to have a new lady of the house. She was a bully and dead set on wreaking havoc. The stunt she pulled at the fancy dress ball? That nutjob even tried to coax No-Name Girl into suicide. Not cool, Danny. Not cool.

3. Rebecca’s presence was palpable throughout the novel despite the fact that she was deceased. How does Rebecca’s memory torment No-Name Girl? Poor No-Name Girl is haunted. Everything she hears she interprets as Rebecca’s perfection. Mrs. Danvers doesn’t help matters by discussing how fashionable, well bred, intelligent, and active Rebecca was. No-Name Girl is convinced the Maxim is still grieving Rebecca and that she’s a piss-poor replacement.

4. Were you surprised by Maxim’s revelation about what really happened to Rebecca? I wasn’t surprised, because I think I’d read a spoiler somewhere. More than that though, Maxim’s behavior where she was concerned was pretty sketchy. What I hadn’t anticipated was that Rebecca was a full on sociopath. Gah! That woman! She makes Mrs. Danvers look like a well adjusted and productive member of society! The debauchery, the promiscuity, the intentional meanness to the mentally disabled guy… I can’t say it was too great a loss to the world as a whole, though it sounds like Mother Nature was taking care of that bit of business before Maxim stepped in. Yikes! 

5. Who do you think burned down Manderley? My money is on the collusion of the evil Mrs. Danvers and the drunken incestuous (yeah yeah I know it didn’t USED to be incest to hook up with your first cousin, but EWWW anyway) Jack Favell. Team of crazies, those two. I can’t imagine that the place went up in flames purely by coincidence, especially since old Danny had removed all her personal belongings earlier in the day. Seriously though, it was MAXIM’s house, NOT Rebecca’s. There is just no reasoning with sociopaths.

What did you think, Bookworms? If you would like to share your thoughts in blog form, be sure to link up below! 

[inlinkz_linkup id=341844]

Next month’s selection will be The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I know it’s a book that’s been out for a while, but I haven’t read it yet, okay?


On a side note, I have had several inquiries as to my address recently, as I’m sending out holiday cards and bookmarks this year to any reader who wants one. If you’re interested, I’m mailing internationally- all you need to do is send your address to! There is no need to send me anything, but since I was asked, here you go:

Katie Kelly

PO Box 3078

Peoria, IL 61612-3078

P.S. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Rebecca for your own collection, please use this link. Any purchases made through this site on Book Depository will net me a small commission.