18 April 2018

The Return of the Bookwyrm

I'm back! And this time it's personal. I've spent some time working on other projects, and now I've decided that it's time for me to get back to my first love, reading.

I've always had trouble picking new books to read. There's so much new stuff to choose from, and I'm always behind on the latest and greatest. Honestly, it's exhausting to even try keeping up with the new, hot novels. So, here's my solution. It's J Reads the Classics. I'll be working my way through my library, both personal and local, and  I'll be choosing nothing younger than twenty years old. Preferably older, but hey, Jurassic Park counts as a classic right? I need to make my time frame fit that one.

One thing will be different from the old system. I won't be recommending all of these books, but it will be my honest take on what I've read. I'll do two posts on each book. First will be a fresh-off-the-read response. Then I'll post a book club discussion starter, with my thoughts in it. If you want to get involved in the comments, I'd love to hear from you. Let's see where this adventure takes us!

Stay tuned next week for my take on Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux.

25 October 2014



So, I've been really negligent lately, and not posting very much (or at all). But, fear not Mom, I have been reading. Even though I don't necessarily post, I do keep a list of what I've read and what I've enjoyed. So here's a few of the best of 2014 so far (in my ever-so-humble opinion).

  • Hyperbole and a half - by: Allie Brosch - It's hilarious, and heartfelt.
  • The Throne of Glass Series 1-3 - by: Sarah J. Maas - A fantastic young adult series
  • You can date boys when you're 40 - by: Dave Barry - Super immature and awesome
  • Dragon Princess - by: S. Andrew Swann - It's a silly, fun new fantasy book.
  • Popular - by: Maya Van Wagener - Such a great teen nonfiction book!
  • Dear Committee Members -  by: Julie Schumacher - Just read it.
  • What if? - by: Randall Munroe - The subtitle says it all "Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd   Hypothetical Questions", it's glorious.
But, in other news, National Novel Writing Month is coming up again, and I'll be giving it a second try! If anyone wants to join to fun/insanity get yourself over to their website for the details.


28 January 2014

OLDIE BUT GOODIE: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – By: Agatha Christie (Mystery)

I’m new to the awesomeness that is Agatha Christie, so you’ll have to forgive me if she ends up on here a lot. This one really blew me away though. It doesn’t matter if you’re casually interested, or honestly trying to solve the puzzle, this is a great mystery.

This follows a fairly standard Agatha Christie format. There’s a death in a small town, and wouldn't you just know it, there’s an adorable (if slightly pompous) detective on hand who will figure it all out. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is a suspect. Everyone has a motive. The clues are all there, but you have to sort them out before Poirot reveals the perfectly obvious solution.

Agatha (yes, we’re on a first name basis now), is fabulous. She uses your expectations against you, yet she gives you everything she gives her protagonist, so it’s all fair play. It's a game, can you catch up to Agatha before she wants you to?
Bookwyrm Rating: Meat and Potatoes

15 January 2014

The Unlikely Pilgramage of Harold Fry – By: Rachel Joyce (Fiction)

It’s impossible to say what little things will change the way you live, or the way you think. For Harold Fry that thing is a letter. It is a small letter, a short letter. Someone seemingly inconsequential from his distant past is dying. Suddenly, everything he does seems insufficient, and so, Harold takes a walk.

I loved this book. The characters and their stories unfold similarly to real life. We know little bits about who they are at the moment, but their stories are revealed in bits and pieces along the way and they build into complex and relatable people.

I have a feeling that this book and I will become great friends. I know I’ll be back to visit it again.

Bookwyrm Rating: Meat & Potatoes

18 November 2013

OLDIE BUT GOODIE: The Count of Monte Cristo – By: Alexandre Dumas

I’ve always suspected that Dumas was a bit of a feminist, because his novels have some of the best women in classic literature. In “The Count of Monte Cristo” we have Mercedes. She’s the only person who sees past Edmund’s little charade, and she forces Mr. Angry Eyes to lay off her son. In 19th century novels, that makes her one badass Mama. Not only that, but in the end she takes care of herself, better than anyone else took care of her.

Besides all that, we have: betrayal, the world’s most thorough revenge, and true love. I do realize that it’s a big book, but this classic is jam-packed with awesomeness. I think it’s time you read it.

Bookwyrm Rating: Meat & Potatoes

03 November 2013

M is for Magic – By: Neil Gaiman (Short Stories)

If you’re looking to add just a hint of oddity to your day, this is the book for you. It’s an eerie collection of short stories from one of my favorite authors. Each story is vaguely unsettling. Even in small doses, they're strong enough to put you in a new mindset. They’re clever and sad, perfectly satisfying, and startlingly frustrating. Neil Gaiman’s writing is hypnotic, and breaking free from one of his short stories makes reality just a little too crisp.

Bookwyrm Rating - Dessert

31 October 2013


November is upon us ladies and gentlemen. And, in a fit of commute inspired boredom and probably some kind of genetic defect, (thanks Dad), I have signed myself up for NaNoWriMo.

That's right, National Novel Writing Month. I will be attempting to write 50, 000 words all strung together so that they actually make sense at the end. I've never been short of words...but this might be pushing it just a bit. Wish me luck.

If you'd like to join my insanity, check out their handy-dandy website.


08 September 2013

OLDIE BUT GOODIE: Les Miserables – By: Victor Hugo

I love a good tragedy, and Hugo sure knows how to deliver. This is a great novel, but it’s one of the few where I will recommend reading the abridgment. For a first time through, you won’t miss that much. Yea, you’ll miss the nuances, and maybe a general understanding of the human condition. But, you’ll also miss a 200 page description of the lives of good nuns. Ok, maybe it just feels that long. Just save the real deal for when you’re already in love with the story. Oh, you’ll fall in love with the story.

Here there are no saints, nor characters that you can totally hate. Each character’s complexity makes them deserving of genuine attachment on the part of the reader. When you read something at this level of writing, re-reading is like visiting old friends.

Bookwyrm Rating: Meat & Potatoes

02 September 2013

The Humans – By: Matt Haig (Fiction)

As it turns out, there is an odd species in a far-off corner of the galaxy causing trouble; humans. Our no-name narrator is a member of an alien species, sent to earth to erase all evidence,either human or physical, of a mathematical breakthrough. This breakthrough, regarding the prime numbers, would give humans more power than they’re capable of handling responsibly. After his initial horror of the species wears off, the narrator begins to find quaint things about humanity that are worth giving a chance.

I haven’t read anything so funny in a long time. Sometimes it’s nice to see how weird everything really is by exploring it from a fresh perspective.

Bookwyrm Rating: Appetizer 

13 August 2013

The Hero’s Guide to Saving your Kingdom – By: Christopher Healy (Children's Fiction)

Prince Charming is a bit persnickety, Prince Charming doesn't have great impulse control, Prince Charming intensely dislikes his fiancee, and Prince Charming is well…a few bricks short of a wall. Also, Prince Charming is a title that applies to four, count them, four Princes. After these guys made their way into the storybooks, they had a lot to live up to. Other than that, they don’t have a whole lot in common. But, they’re pulled together by chance, and a few feisty Princesses, and they do their best to be the heroes they’re supposed to be.

It’s hilarious and heartwarming, and I can hardly wait to read the sequel.

Bookwyrm Rating: Dessert

P.S. The illustrations cracked me up