Tag: Idiosyncratic Lit List

Feb 02

Groundhog Day…Again? (Re-reads to Celebrate!)

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Okay Bookworms, rise and shine and don’t forget your booties because it’s coooooold out there!

It’s Groundhog Day, you guys can’t honestly expect me NOT to run around quoting Bill Murray movies. In the spirit of the immortal 1993 cinematic classic Groundhog Day, I’m going to list some books that I could read again and again and again and again… This really means something coming from me, because there are precious few books I’ve visited more than once. (I have no idea if the groundhog saw his or her shadow or not, but if we have another 6 weeks of hard winter? That rodent better watch it’s back!) Let’s get idiosyncratic up in this piece!

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  1. Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling. As if you didn’t already know this, given my dozen #PotterBinge posts. In all seriousness, though, I think I’ve gone through the series maybe 5 times now, and for a dedicated Potterhead, that’s definitely on the low end. I like to leave a couple of years between re-reads so they feel fresh again, and I never fail to notice something new. They are truly magical.
  2. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. Okay, full disclosure, I’ve only made it through the entire series twice, but these books are huuuuge. I went through my first full re-read last year (actually it was a re-listen. That Davina Porter, whew. She is something special) and I picked up on so many additional details. I used Audible credits to purchase the audio books so I have no doubt I’ll be re-visiting them again. I’ll probably space re-reads the same way I do with HP, so they stay fresh. Although, the sheer volume of pages is such that you could go through all 8 books and start right over having forgot stuff. They’re so deliciously detailed.
  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I was about 10 when I read this book the first time, and even though I probably didn’t understand it as well as I did later in life, it wriggled its way into my soul. Then again, the fact that my BFF and I watched the Winona Ryder movie version approximately 8 zillion times throughout middle school probably assisted in my abiding love for it. It’s hard not to love something you’ll always associate with your BFF, you know? Also, interestingly, we had THE SAME copy of Little Women which was nuts because it was a huge hardcover version and there must be dozens upon dozens of editions of that book in print. Coincidence? 20 plus years of friendship thinks not.
  4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It’s easy to want to re-read a feel good holiday story year after year, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of Ebenezer Scrooge’s adventures and redemption. It’s not just the whole holiday nostalgia thing that makes me love this book. I don’t really have a Pollyanna-esque view of human nature, but I do tend to believe that nobody is born rotten, you know? Delving into Scrooge’s past and seeing how and why he became the surly miser he was makes me more sympathetic to the guy. Shoot, meeting with those three spirits is like a whole lot of cognitive behavioral therapy squashed into a single night. (review)

Talk to me, Bookworms! What are some of your favorite books to re-read?

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Feb 03

Burn, Baby, Burn: Idiosyncratic Lit List

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Howdy Bookworms!

Y’all know I live in the Midwest, so snow in winter is pretty much a given. That said, after I’ve been out braving the elements, pretty much the only thing I want to do is curl up next to a toasty fire and read a book. This (of course) got me to thinking about a list and books with flaming titles. Shall we?!

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1. Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates: The book is subtitled “Confessions of a Girl Gang.” I’m not sure more description is completely necessary.

2. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon: It is my mission in life to include an Outlander book in every list I make. Okay, so that’s kind of a lie, but it seems to happen often enough for me to claim it.

3. Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier: Because SOMEBODY needed to write a historical fiction novel with William Blake as a central character. Tyger, tyger indeed.

4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (review): It’s everyone’s favorite cyborg Cinderella, y’all! Speaking of which, I think there’s a new installment of The Lunar Chronicles floating around out there. I need to check it out.

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5. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris: I love David Sedaris. There is nobody as bizarre and delightful and dark and hilarious.

6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Of course I went there. The temperature at which books burn? I mean, who hasn’t read this one with the “firemen” and the HORRORS?

7. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire by JK Rowling: You know you wanted to put your name in the Goblet of Fire. Even if it meant battling a dragon and/or certain death. You’re reckless that way.

Got any more fiery titles burning a hole in your brain, Bookworms?

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

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Dec 04

Winter Wonderland: An Idiosyncratic Lit List

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Well, Bookworms, it seems the Starks were right.

Winter is no longer just coming. Winter is HERE. Now that it’s cold and crappy out, I may as well make a list of books with a wintry theme. Why the heck not, right? Now, put on “Winter” by Tori Amos, and let’s do this thing!

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1. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon- Oh hey. You didn’t honestly think I was going to make a list and NOT include an Outlander tome, did you? It gets cold up on Fraser’s Ridge, y’all. It snows. Best get your woolen cloaks out before you freeze.

2. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman (review)- Raise your hands if you like Norse mythology! (I’m imagining that everyone has their hands raised, because it is fun stuff!) This book provides a little mythology for kids (and grownups who like to pretend they’re still kids.) Also, FROST GIANTS. Brrrr!

3. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah- Ooooh this book. It’ll do a little bit of tearing your heart out, but you’ll be happy it did. It will also make you happy you’re warm and well fed, and being grateful is good for everyone!

4. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley- Got an Outlander hangover? Check this one out! It might just cure what ails you… Plus there’s snow and wintry stuff… And handsome Scottish men to keep you warm.

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5. Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio- This book is about a girl with Tourette’s syndrome, but her name is Icy so she gets to be on my list. Funny things happen when I make up my own rules. Muahahahaha!

6. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin- Winter is HERE, Ned Stark. I love me some Starks, but I’m really hoping they catch a break in the next book. I just can’t take any more!

7. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (review)– Okay, so it doesn’t have a ton to do with winter, but the girl’s name is Snow Flower, for heaven’s sake.

8. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis- This is the book that pops into my head when I think of Winter Wonderlands. The White Witch did Frozen before Frozen was cool. Only, she was actually evil, so Elsa definitely wins on that score. (Side Note: I’ve had Turkish Delight and it’s totally gross. Edmund was a complete jerk face to betray his family for such a lame sweet.)

9. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton- Who wants to go sledding?! Hahahahaha, just kidding. But really. This book is supremely wintry, and you may never look at sledding the same way again.

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Well, Bookworms, as you can see I’ll be spending an awful lot of time in the near future curled up in blankets with hot beverages and books. Any recommendations for wintry reads?

PS: If you’d like to receive REAL MAIL from me this holiday season, be sure to sign up!

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

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Oct 21

Animal Crackers in my Books: An Idiosyncratic Lit List

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What does the fox say, Bookworms?

I know, I just went there. You’re welcome to chastise me in the comments. It’s occurred to me recently that a lot of the books I’ve read have animals in their titles. They may or may not have anything at all to do with the animals mentioned, but you know how much I like listing. I didn’t want to trouble myself with content when I could play with titles. I’m sure you understand. Without further ado let’s get to it!

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1. Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood: This is one of my favorite Atwood novels. Truly, of her non-dystopian work, this probably tops my list. And it just so happens to have an animal in the title, though it’s really not about cats. Who could ask for anything more?

2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: There actually IS an elephant in this novel who plays a very prominent role. Actually, there are quite a few animals in this novel, seeing as it focuses on an almost-veterinarian working in a circus. Still. An elephant who likes to drink is a winner in my book. Rosie’s a bit of a tippler.

3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (review): There’s a dog in this book! He’s dead though, so don’t get too excited. A good book with a fascinating protagonist.

4. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (review): This book, you guys! I know, I know, I rave about it ALL THE TIME. But it’s still super fantastic. And really not about wolves, except maybe metaphorically. Who cares, though? There’s a really awesome teapot!

5. Frog Music by Emma Donogue (review): It’s a rare book indeed that can combine historical fiction, cross dressing, prostitution, and hunting frogs. Just another reason Emma Donoghue is the coolest.

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6. Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan: Among the things I learned from this book? What a C-Pap mask is, and the side effects of an enlarged prostate. Neither of these have anything to do with the story, of course, though that was plenty interesting too. If I can get a good story and trivia out of a book, it’s a big win.

7. Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls: So you think you want to be a cowboy/cowgirl? Read this real-life novel and you might re-think that. They NEVER wash their jeans. Ever.

8. Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson (review): Not a monkey to be found on Monkey Beach. Canada is too cold for that sort of thing. Lots of interesting discussion of fish grease though.

9. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris: There are all sorts of animals in this book! Animals that talk and do offensive things using offensive language. It is, in a word, glorious.

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Alright Bookworms, I’m SURE I’ve missed BUNCHES of animal titles. Help me fill in the blanks, here!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I’ll use it to buy animal crackers because they sound delicious right about now.*

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Oct 10

The Bird Is the Word (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

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Tweet tweet, Bookworms!

It feels like there’s something missing in my life, and that something is a nonsensical book list. In the spirit of doing things just for the heck of it, I’ve compiled a list of books for y’all today that include birds in the title. Because why the heck not?

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 1. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (review 1, review 2)- Fake Spoiler Alert: It’s not about a bird. Well, not a literal bird anyway. It’s about Jesuits in space. And aliens. It’s awesome.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee- Fake Spoiler Alert: It’s not about killing mockingbirds, much to the chagrin of every cat meme on the internet. It’s actually about civil rights and non scummy lawyers and neighborhood weirdos.

3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (review)- Okay, you guys, this book ACTUALLY has a bird in it. Ha! I’m lying again. It does have a portrait of a bird, though, and the greatest ne’er-do-well to grace the pages of modern literature. BORIS, I love you.

4. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (review)- Man, I am good at picking books with birds in the title that have very little to do with birds, aren’t I? The only owl to appear in this book is taxidermy, but you guys, it’s a DAVID SEDARIS book and therefore hilarious and wonderful.

5. A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin- Dark wings, dark words, kids. Ravens are the cool birds in Westeros, what with their message carrying and all, but crows like to hang out and pick at carrion, too. And, let’s face it, there’s a lot of carrion to be picking at in Westeros by book 4, you know what I’m saying?

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6. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater (review)- You didn’t really think I was going to make a list dedicated to birds and not list a book about penguins did you? Silly, silly bookworms! This is among my all time favorite whimsical children’s books. I sent my “nephew” a copy. When he was 3. And unable to read. I just get REALLY EXCITED about books.

7. A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg (review)- I love Fannie Flagg, some books more than others. This wasn’t my favorite of hers, but you know. I like Christmas. I like books with birds in the title.

8. Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex- I love me some hist-ART-ical fiction, and this book went back to the Italian Renaissance to get inside the lives of some of DaVinci’s subjects.

9. Wild Swans by Jung Chang- Swans again? Heck yes! This book is AMAZING and it’s about the lives and journeys of three women in China. It’s intense and true and you should read it and learn things. It’s non-fiction and worth all the brain power.

10. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood- A crake is a bird, y’all. A dude who calls himself “Crake” after an extinct bird in the future and goes on to mastermind a new race of sentient beings while bringing about the destruction of humanity is a mad scientist. Subtle distinction.

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I’m sure I’ve missed many a bird. What are your favorite books with birds in the title, Bookworms? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I’ll use it to feed the birds. Tuppence a bag, you say?*

Sorry, I had to.

Sorry, I had to.

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Aug 29

Double Vision (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

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Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

It’s been a while since I put together an Idiosyncratic Lit List, and after reading Two Lovely Berries last week, I’m inspired to talk about twins in literature. I’m seeing double here, kids. Let’s get twinny with it.

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1. Nora and Aubrey Daley from Two Lovely Berries by AM Blair (review): Oh these girls! They knew they’d never be the dress-alike-and-live-together-forever kind of twins, but they didn’t see all the crazy that was coming their way. Sharing identical genetic codes doesn’t guarantee a strife-free existence!

2. Josiah and Keziah Beardsley from The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon: I don’t think these two show up until The Fiery Cross, but they were a welcome addition to Fraser’s Ridge, believe you me. I’ve never laughed so hard as when reading about Lizzie Wemyss and her rather scandalous love affair. Jo and Kezzie, FTW!

3. Emmeline and Adeline March from The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (review): Apparently twins are cooler when they’re a bit feral (see the Beardsley twins) but the March girls are firmly planted in crazy town. They’ve got a classic good twin/ evil twin thing going on, and it’s kind of awesome.

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4. Fred and George Weasley from The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling: Were there ever two more mischievous Hogwarts students than the Weasley twins? Those two are simply the best. The provided me with many a laugh and many a tear. Although, I am rather pleased that I was never subjected to being a test subject for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Ton tongue toffee? Puking pastilles? I’ll pass, thank you.

5. Cath and Wren from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (review): These two! Poor Cath was under the impression that she and her twin sister Wren were going to be the dress-alike-and-live-together-forever kind of twins until they got to college and Wren left her high and dry. I mean, they were so inseparable they even had to SHARE A NAME. (That’s actually true, their mom wasn’t expecting twins and split “Catherine” in half.) No wonder Cath had a rough go of it…

Alright Bookworms, I’m SURE I’m forgetting some awesome sets of literary twins. Sound off!

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

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Jun 27

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto: An Idiosyncratic Lit List

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Konnichiwa Bookworms,

The other day Hubs and I were driving somewhere when everyone’s favorite Styx song came on the radio. I share this because it’s important, and I don’t want to be the only one with the song stuck in my head. Behold:

Now that we all have robots on the brain, let’s talk about some of the coolest artificial intelligence in literature, shall we?

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1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Everybody’s favorite cyborg Cinderella story! It’s pretty awesome that catastrophic injuries can be overcome with scientific enhancements, but there are downsides to being a cyborg. You’re treated a lot more like a computer than a person, which suuuucks. Luckily, it’s a fairy tale, and good things can still happen to underdog cyborgs. (review)

2. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke: Sometimes young girls are mentored by androids they accidentally fall in love with. Stranger things have happened, right? To be fair, Finn isn’t just any android. He’s one of a kind and he’s got feelings. Interesting to think about just what makes a human human. (review)

3. Solomon the Peacemaker by Hunter Welles: The world’s problems can be solved… As long as a human is attached by the brain to a super computer. Peace comes at a pretty high cost if you’re the one who’s drawn to be attached to the machine. (review)

Got any more sweet robot stories for me, Bookworms? Sound off!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a commission. I’m saving up to buy myself a robot maid. By the time I have the money saved up, they might exist. You don’t know!*

 

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Jun 24

Reading Rainbow: An Idiosyncratic Lit List

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Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

For a while now, I’ve been on a personal quest. I’ve been trying to complete my very own Reading Rainbow. There are a ton of great books that list colors in their titles, and I wanted to have read one for each of the colors in the rainbow. This is how my brain works. Don’t judge me.

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1. The RED Tent by Anita Diamant (review): You know all about Joseph and his coat of many colors, but did you know he had a sister? Yeah. She’s got her own story now, and it rules.

2. ORANGE Is the New Black by Piper Kerman (review): Life inside a minimum security women’s prison? Don’t pretend you’re not curious!

3. The YELLOW Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: You know, it sucked pretty hard to deal with post partum depression before anybody knew how to effectively treat it. In this haunting short story, a woman imagines being trapped inside the wallpaper in her sick room.

4. The GREEN Mile by Stephen King (review): This is one of those books I think all Stephen King skeptics should read. He CAN do more than horror, and he can do it really, really well. Check this one out!

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5. Gathering BLUE by Lois Lowry (review): This book is a part of The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry and it takes you into a completely different dystopian society. It’s a departure, but if you like allegorical stories for middle graders, it’s worth the read.

6. INDIGO by Alice Hoffman : I may or may not have purchased this book specifically because I needed something to fulfill my “indigo” requirement. It was harder to dig up than you might think- there are plenty of books with “indigo” in the title, but not many that aren’t part long paranormal series. A friend of mine helped me find this Alice Hoffman title. I have never read any of her young adult books before, but this novella was rather nice, particularly for those who enjoy magical realism and water.

7. The VIOLETs of March by Sarah Jio (review): Another confession here. I like Sarah Jio, but I picked up this one purposefully because it fulfilled one of my rainbow requirements. I’m insatiable.

BONUS: Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg (review): I like Fannie Flagg, and she wrote a book with “rainbow” in the title. How could I NOT include it? And while we’re at it, RAINBOW Rowell rocks my socks. I’m just saying.

Your turn, bookworms! What are some of your favorite books with a color in the title? Have any of you completed a personal Reading Rainbow?! 

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Jun 06

Books about Book Clubs: An Idiosyncratic Lit List

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What’s up, Bookworms?

I have been having so much fun with The Fellowship of the Worms lately. Y’all are a super fantastic crew to have a book club with. I also adore my neighborhood book club (lovingly dubbed “My Neighbors Are Better Than Your Neighbors.”) Frankly, all the book club love has got me thinking about books about book clubs. Naturally. Who’s ready for a list?!

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1. Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik: I read this book while I was still in college, but it’s stuck with me. A group of female neighbors who like to read form a book club. They navigate through their lives, motherhood, and the 1960s while leaning on each other. For as cute as it is, it focuses on some tough stuff. Women’s rights, family drama, the Vietnam War, domestic abuse- it’s got everything. Luckily it’s still optimistic and has a great feeling of sisterhood. Love this book. Actually, I might make my neighborhood book club read this. It seems appropriate, no?

2. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler: A group of ladies and one lone dude team up to read ALL THE AUSTEN. The crew tackles all six of Jane’s masterpieces… And their own lives. Books about book clubs always have such great tidbits about the people reading the books. Since reading this about a thousand years ago, I’ve had a goal to read ALL THE AUSTEN. Mansfield Park is the only one left on my list!

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3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: Meta moment, y’all. We totally discussed this book about a book club in The Fellowship of the Worms, our online book club. It’s turtles all the way down, seriously. I love, love, loved this book! Post WWII tales from occupied Guernsey? Bonding over books? Love in the countryside? So sweet!

4. Xingu by Edith Wharton: The latest addition to my collection, this is a short story by the brilliant Edith Wharton. That Edith Wharton, man. What a pistol. She was constantly lampooning the uppity upper crust and this story is no exception. Lesson: don’t be a snob. You’ll make a fool of yourself. Especially if you mistake a river for a book.

I know there are more books about book clubs out there, I’ve just not read them yet. What are some of your favorites, Bookworms?

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

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May 09

Mister, Mister: An Idiosyncratic Lit List

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G’Day Bookworms,

You know what’s fun? Making lists around words, of course! I hope you were expecting me to bust out with 80s ballad “Broken Wings,” because then I won’t feel weird for titling this post in an ambiguous manner. (Mr. Mister? Anybody? Bueller?) I think it’s time we make a list of some fabulous and quirky bookish misters, don’t you?

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1. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater: Only the BEST CHILDREN’S BOOK EVER! Why hasn’t anybody ever sent me a live penguin just because I’m a fan, huh? Just kidding. But really. So much penguiny whimsical goodness. It’s an absolute joy. (my review)

2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane: A book about books! And fonts! And Google! It’s great fun, kids, trust me on this one! (my review)

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3. Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall: There’s little I enjoy more than a tale of flowery goodness, and this book has it. Plus, it’s got unlikely friendships and conquering stereotypes and all sorts of feel good moments. It’s a really sweet memoir, guys. I promise.

Question for you, Bookworms. Do you like being called by a formal title? Mr.? Mrs.? Miss? Ms.? 

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

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