Tag: love

Aug 26

Audio Books: A Love Letter

Audio Books 37

Greetings Bookworms,

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been talking about audio books more than usual. I decided it was time to get it over with and just profess my undying affection for the audio book. My girl Esther from Macmillan Audio has hooked me up with some sample chapters for your listening pleasure. Now, without further ado. Audio books, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

audio books

1. I can download audio books for free from my library. Because they aren’t as popular as the traditional e-books, I have a wide selection at my finger tips whenever I feel the need for new material. Here’s a little sample of The Fortune Hunter (review).

2. I can listen to audio books on my commute! Ordinarily I listen to NPR in the mornings, but I like to switch it up every once in a while. Audio books may not be as theraputic as belting out “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the car, but one verse of Queen is enough to scratchify my voice anyway. Here’s a tasty morsel of Landline (review).

3. I can listen when I work out. Most of the time when I exercise, I take group fitness classes, because I can’t be trusted to push myself when left to my own devices. However, occasionally, I like to spend some quality time with the treadmill, and audio books are a nice alternative to trashy television. Try this snippet of How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky on for size:

Talk to me Bookworms! Is anybody else out there in love with audio books? Anybody dislike them? I want to hear all the things!

*Special thanks to Esther from Macmillan Audio for providing the sampler of audio books! Oh yes, and if you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

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Apr 18

All You Need Is Love… And Warm Bodies (by Isaac Marion)

Coming of Age, Frightening, Humor, Romance, Supernatural, Zombies 26

Braaaaaaaaains… I mean, Bookworms.

Sorry about that, guys. I just finished reading Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion and I’m still recovering. It’s an uplifting zombie novel with heart (beating and otherwise…) It’s not often I get to use the word “uplifting” in conjunction with “zombie,” but Warm Bodies is a rare novel.

warm bodies

We start off in an airport that is no longer functioning. It’s home to “R” and countless other zombies. R is a bit of an enigma. He cannot remember his former life, and all he can recall about his name is that it began with an R.  Oh yes, he also lusts after human brains. BUT. He can hold conversations. As long as they’re in sentences of 4 syllables or less. His best friend “M” retains an echo of his former life, and something approaching a sense of humor. R amuses himself by riding the escalators up and down when the generators periodically kick on. One day he grunts to a lady zombie. They make a pilgrimage to another portion of the airport and are married, zombie style.

WHAT?! I know, right? Not only is this book written from the perspective of a zombie, the zombies in question are ORGANIZED. They have something approaching a religion, which is manned by skeleton priests. They bring food back from hunting trips for the child zombies. They hold “school” during which they teach the zombie children how to go for the jugular. Big departure from traditional zombie lore! However, they fact that THEY WANT TO EAT YOU ALIVE remains. They TOTALLY want to eat you alive. Your brain especially, because they can relive bits an pieces of your life by digesting your brain… Like a little movie montage…

brain

I love how the clip art brain has “thinking” lines. Zombies are particularly fond of the little zaps.

One day, R and his compadres go on a hunting trip. They set upon a group of unsuspecting teenagers on a salvage expedition. While R is devouring a particularly tasty brain, he starts to FEEL his victims feelings more intensely than he ever has before. R notices a girl he recognizes as “Julie” (thanks to his delicious snack) and has an uncontrollable urge to protect her. He smears her with stinky dead blood and hauls her back to his home sweet home- his own personal 747. How’s THAT for creepy? Kidnapped by a zombie?!

Julie has a peculiar effect on R. He is suddenly capable of speaking in longer sentences. He resists the urge to gnaw human flesh. He begins to feel and care and be more aware than he can ever recall being. Julie does a remarkable job of not freaking the frick out. I guess that comes from living in a cramped stadium with what’s left of humanity while fighting off things that want to eat you. Julie and R bond over music, of all things. Julie loves the Beatles (and while “All You Need Is Love” isn’t specifically referenced in the book, it’s clear to ME that’s our theme song here) while R prefers the soothing sounds of vintage Frank Sinatra on vinyl.

John, Paul, George, and Ringo may just have saved the world.

John, Paul, George, and Ringo may just have saved the world.

R’s zombiness thaws the more time he spends with Julie. Needless to say, much like the Capulets and Montagues, neither the zombies or the humans are too keen on this little romance. I won’t be the queen of spoilers… Who are we kidding? Yes I will. Let’s just say this has a much happier ending than Romeo & Juliet. HA!!!!! I just got that! “R” as in Romeo and Julie, like Juliet! You are one clever fellow, Isaac Marion. Ahhh good times. It’s a refreshing departure from the doom and gloom of the zombie genre. The message of hope is one we could use more of these days.

I have NOT seen the movie version of this, but I’ve heard great things. I don’t think I’d be too disappointed by major plot changes- the girl-meets-zombie-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks premise is enough to keep me entertained! What do you think, Bookworms? Anybody read this? Seen the movie? What do you think?

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Mar 15

Beware the Ides of March: A Letter to My "Nephew" on his Fifth Birthday

Children's Fiction, Family, Personal 10

Dear Jack,

The first letter I ever wrote to you, I addressed to “Fetus.” You see, you were just a little ball of cells multiplying in your mommy’s tummy. Like most of the very best presents, you came as a surprise, but it didn’t take long for the excitement to set in. I started buying you penguin pajamas before you were even born!

See those books? You won't be able to escape them. Muahahahaha!

See those books? You won’t be able to escape them. Muahahahaha!

I talked to your mom a few hours after you were born. The first sound I ever heard you make was a hiccup! It was the most adorable hiccup I’ve ever heard in my life. When you were a few weeks old, I drove to Cincinnati to meet you.

"Hello, sir. I'm your Aunt Katie. I love you already!"

“Hello, sir. I’m your Aunt Katie. I love you already!”

I wouldn’t have minded if you stayed that small forever. You were so tiny and perfect. But, as you know, the thing kids do best is GROW.

And so you grew…

And grew...

You don’t typically find me this dull…

AND GREW….

Your mommy probably doesn't want you to know this, but she TOTALLY cried when she lit the candle on your cake.

Your mommy probably doesn’t want you to know this, but she TOTALLY cried when she lit the candle on your cake.

AND GREW…

You walked down the aisle in my wedding like such a grown up little man.

You walked down the aisle in my wedding like such a grown up little man.

BUT YOU JUST KEPT GROWING!

I wish I could say that I taught you how to bowl, but Carter beat me that day...

I wish I could say that I taught you how to bowl, but Carter (who was three) beat me that day…

AND GROWING…

And now you're GIGANTIC!

And now you’re GIGANTIC!

When your mommy was waiting around for you to be born, I remember telling her that it would be fabulous if you were born on March 15th because every year I’d get to make a Julius Caesar joke on your birthday. You must have known how much I love literary jokes, because sure enough, you made your appearance on March 15th. Beware the Ides of March, indeed. The world will never be the same. Love you, Bubby.

XOXO,

Aunt Katie

P.S. I’ll be there soon! With presents!

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Feb 14

Valentine's Day Makes McFools of Us All: A Sonnet

Humor, Personal, Poetry 22

Hello my Bookworms,

Today is Valentine’s Day. We’ve never been big on the hearts and cupids hoopla, but we celebrate in our own way. I’ve written a sonnet (Shakespeare, I am all kinds of sorry for using your rhyme scheme for such a piece of nonsense.) I dedicate this poem to my husband, Jim. He’s been putting up with my antics for nearly 10 years, so he deserves some (terrible) poetry.

Valentine’s Day Makes McFools of Us All.

The first Valentine’s we did celebrate…

It was not quite what we had intended.

‘Twas the first year we’d each had a date!

We’d expected a dinner, so splendid.

So out on the town we endeavored,

Too naive to have a reservation.

Oh, the wait times they could not be measured!

Waitstaff laughed at our sad situation.

Turned away by the finest of venues,

And exhausted by our fruitless pursuit,

We gave up, and thus sought out a drive-thru:

Inexpensive, and convenient to boot!

Many years from our failed expedition,

McDonald’s is our own sweet tradition.

This was taken a month or two into dating. Giddy young love was a good look for us.

This was taken a month or two into dating. Giddy young love was a good look for us. (I just noticed this, but if you look in the background, you can see my childhood dog Benny, photo-bombing. That dog was so far ahead of his time…)

That story is 100% true, even if the iambic pentameter doesn’t completely work. We seriously drove around for hours getting laughed out of restaurants. Young, silly couples who are awkward at dating don’t understand the importance of reservations on Valentine’s Day. We got annoyed, got McDonald’s, and ate it on the floor of my bedroom. (Oh, this isn’t our ONLY holiday story involving fast food. If you ask REALLY nicely, someday I’ll tell you about New Year’s Eve at Long John Silver’s…) Happy Valentine’s Day, Jim! I look forward to spending the evening with you, the television, and Mickey D’s.

So, Bookworms… Will, um, all of you be my Valentine? (Jim promises he’s cool with it. I told him T-Swift could be his this year.)

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Feb 12

Top Ten Tuesday: The Language of Romance

Classics, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tear Jerkers, Time Travel, Top Ten Tuesday 37

Hola, Gusanos de Libros!

I just spoke SPANISH. Badly probably. Whatever. Today is Tuesday which means… TOP TEN TUESDAY with The Broke and The Bookish!

TTT3W

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, today’s theme is, appropriately, Top Ten Romances (ooh la la!) <— See that?! FRENCH! Without further ado, I shall list for you the Top Ten Greatest Romances in the History of Literature… And Time Eternal. (I have a flair for the dramatic.)

1. Jamie and Claire of Diana Gabaldon’s impossibly wonderful Outlander series. If this were a contest, they’d have out romanced everyone else on this list because no time warp, monarchy, bodily attack, war, illness, or kidnapping can conquer them! (They are remarkably difficult to kill off, I must admit.)

2. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that this is one of the greatest love stories ever written. It’s like the loose premise for 90% of romantic comedies for a REASON, people!

3. Gus and Hazel of John Green’s The Fault in Our StarsGo ahead. Try to read this story about teen love and cancer and not cry. I dare you!

fault in our stars

4. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger from (obviously) JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. You know you were transported back to your high school days when Ron didn’t ask Hermione to the Yule Ball. You know you loved their breakup and reunion in The Deathly Hallows. You know you completely dug every millisecond of their happily ever after. Hermione, the idol of every bookish girl. Ron, the ultimate underdog. It’s a thing of beauty.

5. Jane Eyre & Mr. Rochester in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane EyreYes. I KNOW Mr. Rochester kept his crazy wife in the attic. I KNOW he was an attempted bigamist. But I also KNOW that he loved Jane, and she had a big enough heart to forgive him… Eventually. Talk about overcoming obstacles y’all. I bet you never had to deal with a crazy wife in the attic!

6. Achilles and Patroclus of Madeline Miller’s Song of AchillesThere was so much beauty in the love story of Achilles and Patroclus! Achilles’ mean ass sea nymph mother didn’t approve of his loving another dude, but that didn’t stop them. My heart shattered into millions of pieces at the end of this book (that’s so not a spoiler, it’s Greek mythology y’all.) Great romance. Seriously.

song of achilles

7. Jacob and Marlena of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. Marlena was married to the violent and mentally ill August, so for a time, she and Jacob admired each other at arm’s length. August’s violent behavior drives Marlena out of his arms and into Jacob’s. The only thing that could make this romance better would be a murder mystery where the perpetrator was an elephant. Oh, wait…

8. Henry and Claire of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. Be still my heart! How can you compete with love that transcends time?!?! How? You can only beat it if your love ALSO transcends time, plus a bunch of other crazy circumstances (cough cough Outlander.) So basically? This is awesome.

9. Bridget and Mark of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary. A (very) thinly veiled homage to Pride and Prejudice, Bridget’s awkwardness is impossibly endearing. Every girl who has ever been single and/or done something embarrassing can relate. Every man who has ever worn bumblebee socks at the behest of his overbearing mother can also relate. I’m not sure that last part happens that often, but still.

10. Celia and Marco from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night CircusMarco and Celia aren’t just star-crossed lovers, they’re MAGICALLY star crossed lovers. They’re locked into a battle neither of them chose. Little do they know, as their love progresses, that the only end to their “feud” is that one of them must perish. Ah! It is so sad! And yet, it is so magical. It conjures up all the lovey feelings one can feel!

night circus

So, Ratas de Biblioteca (PORTUGUESE!), what are some of your favorite romances? Hearts and candies and flowers and sappiness! Tell me all about it!

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Dec 06

Remembering Grandma

Personal 52

Hi Bookworms. You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t posted a whole lot this week. I got some pretty rotten news on Sunday. My Grandma passed away. She was pushing 90 and not in great health, but knowing that doesn’t make it suck any less. It’s made me think a lot about what’s worth remembering . I lived a few hours drive from my grandparents my whole life, so our visits weren’t frequent, but there are certain things I want to remember about the way Grandma was. What follows is not profound discussion of my Grandma’s character- I think very few grandchildren ever really understand who their grandparents are as humans. What I understand about my Grandma are the things that made her special to me, and I’m going to write them down so I never forget them.

1. My Grandma was super short. It was a rite of passage to outgrow her. This feat was typically accomplished by the grandchildren around the age of 8 or 9. Small things are always cuter than big things. My pocket sized Grandma was the CUTEST.

Pose_104

I’m like 5’3, so I was maybe 5’5 with heels. Grandma was so tiny and adorable!

2. She used to snort when she laughed. It was magical. I remember when Family Matters came out, I was shocked to hear Steve Urkel’s snort. I thought it was a Grandma-exclusive.

3. Grandma always made us waffles for breakfast when we stayed the night. She used to put the syrup in a coffee mug and heat it up in the microwave so we’d have warm syrup. I still do this. Warm syrup is way better than cold. Also, her waffles tasted better than any other waffles ever. I’ve never figured out if she had a secret recipe or if the recipe was Grandma love.

4. Grandma and Grandpa always gave me books. I’ll admit, sometimes it annoyed me that my cousin got sweet pink legos and I got the Great Illustrated Classics, but I was well versed in The Three Musketeers and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde at 10. That’s pretty cool.

5. Grandma used to call me Katrina. I’ve heard several theories as to why. My mom claims that was a name they were thinking of using when she was pregnant with me. A friend of mine thinks it could be that my Dutch Grandma (Who married into a German family) was using a more familiar-to-her form of Kathryn. All I know is that it took me a long time to realize “Katrina” was a name and not a term of endearment. Hurricanes be damned, every time I hear “Katrina” I mentally substitute “sweetheart.”

Losses are hard. Remembering the good stuff helps. Also helpful? Imagining a Heaven where she’s hanging out with my Grandpa and all the friends and family that went before her. I like to picture them feasting on a magnificent meal that has no calories. Everyone is happy and healthy. There are lots of flowers. There are lots of books. There is LOTS of laughter- snorts and all. Someday, that’s where I want to be.

Pose_113

I realize these are photos from my wedding, but we all looked our best that day. I’ll miss you, Grandma.

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Aug 31

Confession Friday: It's About To Get Mushy

Children's Fiction, Personal, Young Adult Fiction 18

Hello, Bookworms! Today I thought we’d branch out a little bit and discuss the man I married. Why? Well, he keeps pointing out clever and odd things that he does, which is a not-so-subtle hint that he wants to be famous on my blog. I tried to tell him that he probably doesn’t want the entire internet to know about his terrible jokes and made up songs, but he refused to listen. Plus, it’s still about reading, so it’s totally appropriate.

Jim is a pretty good sport about the amount I read- most of the time. Every once in a while he’ll claim “husband neglect.” This usually occurs after he’s FINALLY put down his iPad and exhausted his amusement at playing with the security cameras he hooked up. (He’s a part MacGyver, part crazy paranoid guy, and 100% nerd.) It’s at this point I lovingly tell him to “bite me.”

This was our engagement photo. Highly functional relationship!

Jim is NOT a bookworm. He doesn’t understand the allure of spending hours reading literature when one can go to Wikipedia and almost immediately know the major characters and the ending. I know, it’s tragic. However, he’s not entirely opposed to having ME read things that he would theoretically LIKE to read and having me explain them to him. Case in point, Slaughterhouse Five. He seriously tried to get me to read every book that Sawyer was reading during LOST because it might provide him with clues. I refused any more of his suggestions after the Vonnegut incident. (Click here for more on THAT debacle.)

Books have always been a weird sort of background character in our relationship. I met Jim in college. He was my audio lab monitor, and I was (still am, really) technologically challenged. After a few months of putting up with me stalking him (most CHARMINGLY, I assure you), he asked me out on a date. After a few months of dating, he graduated and moved back to his hometown- 70 miles from where I was. I know, I know, that’s hardly a “long distance” relationship, but if you can’t see one another daily, it’s a long enough a distance to completely suck.

He hates having his picture taken. He either makes weird faces or tries to attack a camera with a camera of his own. It matters not, because I make these antlers look awesome.

Luckily, by this point in time we both had cell phones (It was 2003, okay? They weren’t completely ubiquitous yet!) and had free night and weekend minutes. But, let’s face it. There’s only so much you can tell someone you talk to every day. So… (This is where it gets schmoopy, fair warning.)

Ladies, in case you were wondering, THIS is how you know a guy is butt-crazy in love with you:

1. He agrees to listen to you read Harry Potter aloud. (The whole series available at the time, 5 books.)

2. Over the phone.

3. Using weird voices for different characters and a terrible British accent. (My Umbridge is LEGENDARY.)

4. Just so you can spend more time “together.”

And they lived happily ever after. Once they got over the shock of having married such weirdos.

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