The Bookworms Poll: Best Summer Read

Alright people, your nominations are in.  Two weeks ago, I asked you for what you consider to be the best book for reading during the summer.  I have compiled the most popular responses into a poll.  Below the poll, I have included a blurb about each book so check them out before you vote so you know about all of your options.  Which of these would you be most likely to pick up as you face the sweltering days of summer?

Blurbs ( The links take you to Amazon to check out reviews and any other info.  The descriptions are from Good Reads)

Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender:  When Alexis’s little sister Kasey becomes obsessed with an antique doll, Alexis thinks nothing of it. Kasey is a weird kid. Period. Alexis is considered weird, too, by the kids in her high school, by her parents, even by her own Goth friends. Things get weirder, though, when the old house they live in starts changing. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in. Kasey is changing, too. Her blue eyes go green and she speaks in old-fashioned language, then forgets chunks of time.

Most disturbing of all is the dangerous new chip on Kasey’s shoulder. The formerly gentle, doll-loving child is gone, and the new Kasey is angry. Alexis is the only one who can stop her sister — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

The First Xanth book by Piers Anthony: Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled–where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn’t find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humpfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn’t find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave….

Harlan Coben Thrillers like this one: Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can’t trust her own instincts about this story—or the motives of the people around her.

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:The mysterious Jay Gatsby embodies the American notion that it is possible to redefine oneself and persuade the world to accept that definition. Gatsby’s youthful neighbor, Nick Carraway, fascinated with the display of enormous wealth in which Gatsby revels, finds himself swept up in the lavish lifestyle of Long Island society during the Jazz Age. Considered Fitzgerald’s best work, The Great Gatsby is a mystical, timeless story of integrity and cruelty, vision and despair.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan: The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again.

But one truth yet remains, and what mortal men forget, the Aes Sedai do not…

What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo: A modern look at a legendary fashion icon with practical life lessons for women of all ages…

Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella: Beck has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamourous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it–not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank–letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy her something…just a little something…

Finally a story aries that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life–and the lives of those around her–forever.

One Day by David Nicholls:Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice:In this engrossing and hypnotic tale of witchcraft and the occult spanning four centuries, we meet a great dynasty of witches–a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is haunted by a powerful, dangerous and seductive being.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett: Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town…

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg: Cotton candy at the state fair. S’mores around the campfire. Hot dogs at a baseball game. Some foods are inextricably linked to events or places. Wizenberg has noted similar associations between food and her own life, and she shares them in this delightful treat of a book. Part recipe book, part memoir, Wizenberg takes us through the moments of her life and the memorable foods that helped mark those occasions. Time-tested and good tasting, her recipes range from the simple to the complex, the healthful to the decadent. Some are original and some are borrowed, but each one marks an event — important or mundane — with equal significance.

Jeeves and Wooster by P.G. Wodehouse: From the introduction by Hugh Laurie: “The first thing you should know and probably the last too is that PG Wodehouse is still the funniest writer ever to put words on paper. This much is uncontested by all but the most irretrievably insane. Fact number two: with the Jeeves stories, Wodehouse created the best of the best. The world of Jeeves is complete and integral; every bit as structured, layered, ordered, complex and self-contained as King Lear and considerably funnier.”

I have not read all of these, by many of them have just been added to The List.  If you were at a book store looking for your ideal summer read, which one would you pick up, based on your knowledge of them and the blurbs?  Leave me a lovely comment explaining why!  Happy weekend.

The Bookworms: Best Summer Read

To check out how the Bookworms work, click on The Bookworms page tab at the top of the page. 

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So for those of you who noticed, The Bookworms didn’t happen for a while.  Somehow, the idea of having to post every Friday seemed like too much for a while.  A lot was going on in the life of this Bookworm and now I am back to being a normal person again!  Or, at least as one friend put it, not a normal person but a normaler one 🙂

Anyway, the category of this round of bookworms is Best Summer Read.  Considering it is summer, now is a good time to pick up those books that are enjoyable and fun like this one that I reviewed this past week.

Instead of going to all of those top ten lists out on the interwebs, I would LOVE it if you sent me in your personal favorites.  Comment.  Write me an email (theveryhungrybookworm@gmail.com).  Smoke signals.  Whatever works.  Next week, I will put of your nominations into a poll so that we can vote.

Let the nominating begin!!

The Bookworms: The Academy has spoken and our literary president is…

To check out how the Bookworms work, click on The Bookworms page tab at the top of the page. ___________________________________________________________________________

Albus Dumbledore!

While a number of opponents tied for second place (Mr. Darcy, Arthur Weasley, and Matilda), President Dumbledore managed to secure 49% of the vote at the time of this post.

As a result, he has taken the oath as literary president, ending it with his words of wisdom, among which are “One can never have enough socks,” and, my personal favorite, “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”

Of course, his playful side may endear him to us, but his candidacy was supported for reasons more important than charisma.

Over the course of the Harry Potter series, Dumbledore shows himself to be a strong leader who cares for the fate of his people and his world. In his opening address to muggles and wizards everywhere, Dumbledorapplies this vision to his new role as president and the problems that he must deal with during his term.

He discusses these problems with the literary nation, saying that “Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”

Continue reading

The Bookworms: Which Literary Figure Would You Vote For For President?

To check out how the Bookworms work, click on The Bookworms page tab at the top of the page. ___________________________________________________________________________

This week’s category for The Bookworms Award:  Literary figure that you would elect to public office.

The nominations put together an interesting series of people.  Each has shortcomings, but also, perhaps, the makings of a national leader.

If you would like to include a nomination, it is not too late!  Put it in the comments and I will add to the poll. 

Take this poll to have input into who our next literary president should  be!

And the Most Overrated Classic Award Goes to….**drumroll please**

To check out how the Bookworms work, click on The Bookworms page tab at the top of the page. Check below for the next category!

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Ernest Hemingway!

As I put the poll out last week, I held my breath, waiting for someone to click on the option for The Tale of Two Cities, only one of my favorite books in existence.

Fortunately for me, no one did, and I can live another week.

Instead The Old Man and the Sea took home the Bookworm Award for Most Overrated Classic.  Is this right?  Is this fair?

Apparently.

You see, I have never read this book.

Perhaps my teachers in school recognized that there are other books of greater value.  Or, maybe, deep down, I subconsciously veered away from it, aiming myself toward classics that were hyped up for the correct reason.

The only interest I ever took in this book was when I was creating a mock unit when I was in teacher school.  I thought that Hemingway would be a good author to teach the concept of “voice” to students and this happened to be a novel on the list of possible books.  My professor pulled me aside and quietly explained that while she completely loved the rest of my unit, this book would “bore the students to tears.”

That’s a hint to change something if I ever heard one so out it went and I inserted something else in there.  Perhaps if I had read the book, I would have stuck by it, claiming that classics are tough to read, but good for the heart, or something like that.  I didn’t though, so the old man, his sea, and Hemingway went out the window.

Because I haven’t yet read this book, I am adding it to the list.  I like Hemingway’s short stories; thus, I am giving the dude a break and waiting until I read it myself before I cast my vote against it.  It must have done something right to earn Classic status, even if it isn’t as profound as **coughcough** The Tale of Two Cities.

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Now that these nominations are in, here is the category for the next Bookworm award!

The Character You Would Vote For For President/Ruler/Dictator/etc. 

Nominate characters in the comments so that they can become a part of next week’s poll.

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PS.  Some of you may be wondering where I am.  Apparently,I am certainly not sitting at my computer screen posting!  In a few days, you will find out where and what I have been doing and I will be rewarding you with your incredible patience with some pretty exciting posts.

Here is a hint of where I disappeared to.  Any guesses?

The Bookworms Week 2: Most Overrated Classic

To check out how the Bookworms work, click on The Bookworms page tab at the top of the page. 

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A few weeks ago, I asked you to think about which book you would nominate for the category “Most Overrated Classic.”  I received only a smathering of responses, perhaps because you think that that all classics are amazing, or because there were so many overrated classics, you didn’t know where to begin.  From the responses, here are the nominees for “Most Overrated Classic.”  Take this poll so your vote can count when I determine the winner. 

Of course, if you have another nominee, put it in the comments!  I can always add to my poll. 

The Bookworms: Character You Would Least Like to Come to Life

Welcome to the first-ever presentation of the Bookworm award!  If you missed last week’s post, check it out to find out the guidelines to participating in the Academy for these prestigious awards.  Scroll down to the bottom of this post to find out the category for this next week!

After seeing your nominations for The Character You Would Least Like to Come to Life, I have come to a few conclusions.

1)  We are more fearful of men than of women. 

The award might as well have been for “Male Character…”  because all of our nominations are for characters of the male persuasion. 

Personally, and I say this as a card-carrying female, I think women can be much more psychologically destructive than men.  However, men have the tendancy of bypassing psychology entirely and going straight for physical damage. 

This leads to Conclusion #2.

2) We are more afraid of physical distress than emotional or psychological problems. 

Physical damage may hurt for the moment, but, with the characters, you have nominated, you will not live long enough to feel much pain.

Psychological problems, however, can cause pain for a lifetime and even lead to bodily pain.  hmmmm.  Perhaps we are more afraid of our lives ending quickly than of enduring long lives of torment. 

Anyway, enough on my random observations.  Without further ado, here are the nominations and the winner of the first ever Bookworm! Continue reading