Tag: Idiosyncratic Lit List

Apr 17

Just Around The Riverbend: An Idiosyncratic Lit List

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Ahoy Bookworms!

I’m feeling listy and rather nautical. Being the landlocked lady that I am, I have no access to an ocean. I do, however, get to drive to and fro over the Illinois River on the daily. Remember how much fun we had talking about books linked by wind? Let’s play that again, only this time, we’re using “river” as our linking word. On your mark, get set, ROW! (Ah, I kid. A little river pun for you.)

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1. The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway: Time travel romance is totally my jam, so I loved the crap out of this book. You can travel through time (if you’re the right sort of person) on the river of human emotion. Hello, awesome concept, nice to see you! (my review)

2. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton: A glittery society party in the 1920s at a swanky English country estate lead to tragedy. The key to unlocking the mystery behind the debacle may lie in the memories of an elderly house maid. Part mystery, part love story, part servant life, this book has a little bit of everything. (my review)

just around the riverbend

3. Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi: I don’t know how often I can rave about this book, but let’s do it once more for good measure, shall we? Trudi Montag is a dwarf living in Nazi Germany. Trudi’s insider view of Nazi Germany on the home front combined with her outsider’s view of society as someone inherently different offer a stunning portrait of society, war, and love. Basically? This book kicks butt. Read it now.

What say you, Bookworms? Any fabulous “river” titles I’m missing out on? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission… Which will probably be spent on more books.*

 

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Apr 10

Bookish Boombox (Part 2) An Idiosyncratic Lit List

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Howdy Bookworms!

It’s been a while since I put together a Mix Tape Masterpiece for y’all, so I think it’s about time. If you’re interested in how this went last time, you can check it out here. Are you ready?

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1. Real Happy Family by Caeli Wolfson Widger = “Celebrity Skin” by Hole. Could this song BE any more perfect for this book? It’s the quintessential Hollywood wannabe anthem! It’s also proof that I’m sort of stuck in the 90s. (my review)

2. The Remedy by Thomas Goetz = “The Remedy” by Jason Mraz. In fairness, the only thing the book and the song have in common is a title. However. I can’t see the title without getting this song stuck in my head, so for me, they’re a pair.

3. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty = “Once in a Lifetime” by The Talking Heads. Because amnesia. No really. Alice loses a good chunk of her memory and wanders around being pretty confused. It just goes with the song, you know? (my review)

What about you, Bookworms? Do you have any songs that just BELONG with certain books?

 

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

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Mar 27

Any Way the Wind Blows: An Idiosyncratic Lit LIst

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Howdy Bookworms,

I like word games. Sometimes I’ll sit and gaze at my “read” list on Goodreads and think of how books with similar titles can be so incredibly different. I thought it might be fun to come up with a list around a word, so I went and picked one. Let’s talk about WIND!

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1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Mmmm historical fiction. Yeah, so I kind of wanted to smack Scarlett most of the time, but I loved this book anyway.

2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This is a super cool murky mystery set in Spain. It was a Fellowship of the Worms selection (you can see the discussion here) so you know it had to be good. Adding to its cool factor? It was a book about books. How can you not love that?

3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I like some fantasy from time to time, and this is JUST my kind of fantasy adventure. Magic plus medieval-ish times plus friggin lutes? Um, yes. Yes, I will read that.

4. A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon. This is a tasty little novella that fits into the Outlander universe. It’s Roger’s parents’ story. When I read it, it didn’t QUITE satisfy my Outlander craving, but really, nothing short of Jamie and Claire can do that.

Wind took us from a Spanish book mystery to Civil War era Georgia to a fantasy adventure romp to a time travel romance extravaganza. So yeah. Wind, y’all! Do you have a favorite for the Wind Collection? 

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

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Feb 28

Idiosyncratic Lit List: Shifting Perspectives

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Happy Friday, Bookworms!

It’s been a while since I made a list (like, a week or two? Too long, certainly.) I ran across this fantastic post on Book Riot recently. Then I came across this one on The Huffington Post. They are both about how cool it would be to read a book from another character’s perspective, and it’s got my listy juices flowing. Here are some of the books I’d like to read from another character’s perspective (and yeah, I made up titles for them. Because why not?)

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1. The Cleverest Witch of Her Age- You guessed right. I’m talking about the Harry Potter  series from Hermione Granger’s perspective. The HP books are so great and iconic that they could be amazing from any number of characters’ points of view, but Hermione holds a special place in my heart. Maybe if JK Rowling gets tired of being Robert Galbraith, she’ll consider it? A girl can dream.

2. Raising O’Hara- There was a point in The Help where one of the characters mentions that nobody asked how Mammy felt about things in Gone with the Wind. I think that would be a fascinating twist! Mammy, the O’Hara’s house slave getting a turn to talk about Scarlett’s doings? How DID she feel about sewing the curtains into a man-catching dress? It could be phenomenal.

3. Toby + Finn: A Love Story: I’d loooove to read Tell the Wolves I’m Home from Toby’s perspective. Finn and Toby’s journey together, his feelings of being kept away from Finn’s family, his heartbreak over losing Finn… TOBY. Oh man. I’d love that.

Somebody write these? Please? (Source)

Somebody write these? Please? (Source)

4. Lowood- Helen Burns was one of my favorite characters in Jane Eyre. I’d like to get an outsider’s perspective on Jane, and who better than her BFF to tell the tale? Of course, she’d only be able to tell a portion of the story, but I think it would rock pretty hard. Plus, who’s to rule out narration from another realm of existence? It’s been done.

5. Serena’s Gildead: The Handmaid’s Tale is one of THE BEST BOOKS EVER. Offred is stuck in this theocratic society where she’s used as breeding stock to produce children for worthy men’s families. Fred, her, uh, husband guy? Had a REAL wife named Serena Joy,  a former televangelist who was none too thrilled with the whole handmaid situation. I want to get an idea of what this society was like from a “priviliged” woman’s point of view. I want to know how her views on religion changed (or didn’t) with the rise of the theocracy. I don’t think Serena Joy got to read either.

What about you, Bookworms? Is there a secondary character’s perspective you’d love to get out of a favorite book? 

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Feb 14

Lovey Dovey Book Quotes (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Bookworms!

Last year, to celebrate Cupid’s arrow, I wrote Jim a sonnet about McDonald’s. There’s just no way to top that. This year I’m copping out and sharing some of my favorite quotes about love… And no, none of them would be appropriate to put on a wedding program. 

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1. “I want to ask you something …Would you marry me? I’m in love with you, so I thought I’d ask.” The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (My Review)

This is my favorite marriage proposal in literature. Maybe it’s not as swoony as Mr. Darcy’s, but I love it. It’s spontaneous, quirky, and a lady asks a dude. Not every marriage needs an elaborate proposal story. There’s something to be said for the heartfelt and odd.

Oh for heaven's sake, don't look so shocked, Mr. Darcy! (Source)

Oh for heaven’s sake, don’t look so shocked, Mr. Darcy! We can’t all be you. (Source)

2. “He knew why he wanted to kiss her. Because she was beautiful. And before that, because she was kind. And before that, because she was smart and funny. Because she was exactly the right kind of smart and funny. Because he could imagine taking a long trip with her without ever getting bored. Because whenever he saw something new and interesting, or new and ridiculous, he always wondered what she’d have to say about it–how many stars she’d give it and why.”– Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (my review)

I don’t buy into love at first sight, but I fell hard for the idea of love before first sight, thanks to Rainbow Rowell. (I could have filled an entire list with her quotes, but I feel the need to back off since I announced I wanted to have her cloned…) This quote makes me happy because it’s everything you want your mate to think about you; that you’re smart and funny and worthy of long road trips.

3. “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (My Review)

Stop. Go back. Read it again. Let the glory sink in. I don’t really buy into love at first sight. Sure, lust, attraction, what-have-you, but love? This is the best analogy I’ve ever read for my (limited) experience with falling in love. Feelings start and they grow and then BOOM. You’re a goner.

tfios

4. “You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.”My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

This quote isn’t even about romantic love, but I don’t care. Expecting perfection out of anyone (including yourself) is a recipe for disaster. Loving someone means loving them with all their rough edges.

5. “I will find you,” he whispered in my ear. “I promise. If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory, two hundred years without you – then that is my punishment, which I have earned for my crimes… But there is the one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest… Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Because I’m a sappy sapperson and I can’t get enough time-traipsing-sexy-sentimental-Scottish-man-isms. Jamie + Claire = Lurve!

Well, that’s that. Since we’re playing with quotes here, do any of you have a favorite lovey dovey literary quote? A favorite love song? 

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Feb 07

I’d Like to Thank the Little People (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

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Happy Friday, Bookworms!

It’s award show season, and those acceptance speeches have got me to thinking about the “little people.” Of course, celebrity types mean their entourages of non famous people, but the way my stream of consciousness rolls, I start thinking about actual little people. Once my brain train leaves the station, it usually ends up in lit-land. It’s not until you meet a character as amazing as, say, Tyrion Lannister, that you realize just how under-represented little people are in literature. (I’m talking about real medically recognized dwarfism, of course, not fantasy-type dwarfs. There are plenty of those.) I could only come up with a few characters for this list, but since they are so full of awesome, I’m going for it!

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1. Trudi Montag from Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi: This book! It’s set in Germany during WWII. Trudi is a dwarf, and as such, she has always been set apart in society. It’s disturbing to watch through Trudi’s eyes the changes in society that take place as a result of the rise of the Nazi party. Luckily, there are also moments of tenderness and human redemption. Trudi may be small in stature, but not in spirit.

2. Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin: Oh Tyrion. The brain, the bookworm, the dwarf. If he doesn’t end up reigning on the iron throne, I might throw a tantrum. Tyrion has the best lines. His dwarfism won him the disdain of his father, but this guy. He’s too awesome to let his family drama bring him down. There are wars and whores and chaos and icicle zombies, but Tyrion takes it all in stride. He is, quite simply, the baddest of asses.

Peter Dinklage won a Golden Globe for his role as Tyrion. Meta, no? (source)

Peter Dinklage won a Golden Globe for his role as Tyrion. And we’ve come full circle. (source)

3. Henri-Christian Fraser from An Echo in the Bone (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon: Yes. I KNOW that at this point in the series, Henri-Christian is still a kid. But he’s a feisty kid! Heck, he’s already survived plenty. His parents, Fergus of the rakish hook hand and Marsali do their best to protect their little one, but it’s not easy. Fergus has a major meltdown/breakthrough moment in coming to terms with his son’s dwarfism. If you’ve watched anything on TLC in the past 10 years, you’ll know that it can be tough enough to be small in the here and now. Imagine trying to get around and do all the things back in the day. I’m rooting for this kid!

 What say you, Bookworms? Is there a group of people you find under represented in the books you read?

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

 

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Jan 31

Idiosyncratic Lit List: What is up With all the Trilogies?

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Hey Bookworms,

This being my third Idiosyncratic Lit List, it seems only appropriate to talk about the excessive tripling that’s been going on lately… Can anybody explain to me WHY dystopian novels so rarely stand alone anymore? I mean, the cheese does it, why can’t a dystopian novel? That’s not to say I dislike trilogies, but they make me nervous. Having a killer first novel puts a ton of pressure on the next two books… Sometimes I think writers are only doing the trilogy thing because THAT’S WHAT YOU DO, not because the story really needs or deserves three whole books… OBVIOUSLY this calls for a list or two, don’t you think?

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Dystopian Trilogies Doing it Right

1. The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood: It’s almost unfair to compare dystopian trilogies to Margaret Atwood because so many of them are YA novels. That’s not to say there’s no merit in YA novels, but the hardcore literary headiness of Atwood puts her in a different class. She’s already proven to me that she can kick butt in a stand-alone dystopia (The Handmaid’s Tale is ah-mazing), so I’m not about to throw shade on her trilogy vibe. Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam were awesome.

2. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: To be completely honest here, I think the first book in this trilogy is far and away the strongest. However, I thought there was enough going on story-wise to merit all three books. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay had me hooked from the very beginning and didn’t loosen their grip until… Wait. They still haven’t. Stop strangling my soul, books!

3. The Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant: A zombie apocalypse is totally dystopian, right? Whatever, I just want to talk about how much I loved these books again. FeedDeadline, Blackout . Read them, read them now.

Dystopian Trilogies That Should Have Quit While They Were Ahead

1. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth- Divergent and Insurgent were strong books, but O to the M to the G, what HAPPENED with Allegiant? That was just a rushed mess. I don’t need “happy” endings, but I do need endings that are well drawn. The ping ponging of points of view mingled with the bipolar pace of action was just not okay.

2. The Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie- I’m not entirely sure why I read this entire series. I didn’t much care for it from the get-go, and the third book was my favorite of the bunch. Matched was kind of blah, Crossed was kind of awful, and Reached was too little too late. (Gotta give you props for the FLOWERS saving the world, though, Ms. Condie!) This may have worked out better as two books, cutting out the middle man. It just didn’t work as a three-for.

3. The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner- Technically this is a trilogy plus a prequel, but I wanted to put it on my list, so pretend with me. I was completely hooked by The Maze Runner, but as the books went on, my interest waned. The Scorch Trials got a bit manic, and The Death Cure pulled a Lost and didn’t answer all my questions. I think this is a case of a book that would have done better as a single story with a nice meaty epilogue.

Talk to me, Bookworms. Any of you have a love/hate relationship with trilogies? 

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

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Jan 24

Dear Aliens, Don’t Exterminate! (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

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Take Me To Your Leader Earthlings Bookworms,

I live in the land of the hypothetical, and I like it here. Have you ever wondered what aliens would think of humanity if viewed from a distance? I’ve read a couple of books in the last few years that tackle just this question. (No, I won’t tell you which books, because that would be mean and spoiler-y, but if you’ve read them, you can probably guess which ones I’m talking about.) In these books, aliens think of us the way we think of insects. Nobody wants a cockroach infestation in their new home, so it seems reasonable for them to fumigate the place before they move in. I mean, humans just icky bugs, right?

Alright... I'm not exactly compassionate about bugs moving into my house, but they've yet to give me a book, so... Yeah. (Source)

Alright… I’m not exactly compassionate about bugs moving into my house, but the ones I’ve met are never this articulate. (Source)

I got to thinking about which books I’d provide aliens with to prove that humans are more than just mindless vermin. I know there are a ton of really amazing intellectual type novels and classics that would show humanity’s artsy prowess, but that’s not really what speaks to me. I’m talking about compassion, people! I like flawed characters, I like redemption, I like tiny acts of kindness in a barren landscape of horrible. Sure, these are all fiction, but I have no doubt that such things go on. Dear Aliens, sometimes humans can be wonderful in spite of themselves. OBSERVE:

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1. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I know, I know, Buddy’s arm made my last list, but this book is so full of good stuff. I’m thinking in particular about Idgy and Grady teaming up to burgle trains and distribute food to starving people in shantytowns during the Great Depression. Grady had some questionable traits, (clubbing with the dudes in white sheets is NOT COOL) but darn it if he didn’t help Idgy figure out the train schedules and get food to people of all colors. I like to think his heart wasn’t in the hate.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (see also Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi.). Nazi Germany during WWII. Can you think of a darker time and place in human history? And yet, even in this hideous landscape, there were small pockets of goodness. People standing up to tyranny in ways large and small. Concealing a Jewish friend at great personal peril. Saving a book from burning. Being decent and not getting sucked into the gaping maw of hatred. That. (My Review)

3. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. I’m reviewing this next week, but it’s so freaking heartwarming. It talks about mental illness with the confusion and compassion of a family member witnessing a loved one’s decline. It talks about picking up the shattered pieces of a broken life. It shows illustrates the power of friendship… I don’t care if anybody thinks it’s too darn sweet, I’ll go down swinging for the merits of CeeCee!

4. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. This book was fabulous, but exceptionally appropriate because May is so kindhearted she won’t even kill bugs. That’s right, no killing of bugs. Don’t kill us, Aliens!!!

5. Plainsong by Kent Haruf. This book gives a fantastic portrait of small town life, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But there are some really fantastic characters. The middle aged McPheron brothers taking in the pregnant and penniless teen Victoria? With ZERO ulterior motives and a whole lot of heart? If that’s not compassionate, I don’t know what is! (My Review)

Hollywood fabrication, Aliens, I promise. You would get to pick out your own hat.

Hollywood fabrication, Aliens, I promise. You would get to pick out your own hat. (Source)

What about you, Bookworms? What books would you offer up to aliens as proof that humanity is worth saving?

*If you choose to make a purchase a purchase through a link on this site I will receive a small commission. I’ll use it to buy more heartwarming books so I can continue to argue on behalf of our planet.*

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Jan 17

A Literal Farewell to Arms (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

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Greetings Bookworms,

You know how much I love a good list. I participate in Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) regularly. Sometimes, though, I find myself stifled by their topics. In order to keep the meme going, they have to issue very broad topics as prompts so that all sorts of book bloggers can participate. A lot of the lists that percolate in my head don’t fit into such broad topics, nor are they anything anybody else would be interested in writing about… So, I’ve decided to put together my own little feature here at Words for Worms. Idiosyncratic Lit Lists will now pop up whenever I’m feeling listy and/or weird. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy compiling them!

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I was having a conversation with a friend recently that devolved into a discussion of books, as often happens. While in the midst of said discussion, it occurred to me that I’d read an awful lot of books wherein major characters have lost all or part of their arms. The idea demanded attention, and so I give you a literal farewell to arms:

armheadstone1. Buddy Junior from Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Buddy Junior was begin raised by his mother Ruth and her BFF Idgie in Depression-era Alabama, happy as could be… Until the day he had an unfortunate run-in with the train. Buddy’s arm was the only one in this list to have a proper funeral, and he would go on to be known as “Stump.”

2. Mattie Ross in True Grit by Charles Portis. I should probably issue a spoiler alert here, but Mattie’s arm loss happens at the bitter end of the novel, so it doesn’t wreck any critical surprises. Rattlesnakes are jerks y’all. (My Review)

3. Dana in Kindred by Octavia Butler. At the very beginning of the book, we meet Dana in her hospital room, missing an arm. Apparently it’s a really bad idea to have someone holding on to your arm while you hurtle through the vortex of time and space. It might just get stuck there. (My Review)

4. Fergus in Voyager (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon. I know, I know. Fergus only lost a HAND, not an entire arm, but I’m counting it anyway. Everybody’s favorite former French brothel dweller takes one for the team to protect Jamie from a roving band of English dragoons. On the up side, the hook he gets in place of the hand has a very debonair rakish sort of appeal to it.

5. Orry Main in North and South by John Jakes. All Orry ever wanted to do was be a professional soldier. He makes it through West Point and goes on to face his first real battle in the Mexican-American War… At which point he promptly has his arm blown off. As it’s awfully hard to fire a musket one-handed, Orry is honorably discharged from the military. Sadly, it turns out medals of honor are poor substitutes for appendages.

 Alright Bookworms. You are a well-read bunch. Are there cool fictional characters out there running around without arms that I’ve missed? 

*Any purchases made through links on this site will net me a small commission. Your support is appreciated.*

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