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  • Felicia Rogers
  • November 07, 2013 04:21:04 AM
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A Little About Us

Bookworm is the reading hippy who uses books to escape reality and take far out trips. In the afterglow of her trips, Bookworm is always struck with enlightenment from what she just read. She sees how modern literature is influencing cultures, society and even future histories. If you dig it, stay tuned as Bookworm shares her thoughts and ponderings related to the books she's reading.

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Finding Reading Material During Coronavirus Quarantine

With so many avenues available to us, there’s always some way of getting more books for less money.

It’s been weeks since our state Governor put out a shelter-in-place order due to rising cases of Coronavirus. But my mother, who lives in a different state, has been home even longer. On a recent call she told me that she was on her last book with no more unread reading material left in the house. And while I do think this is definitely a “first-world problem,” it’s one that can be fixed easily.

So how do you find more and more and more reading material when the bookstores and thrift stores are all closed until further notice?

Exchange books with family and friends.

One thing my mother also told me is that her and my sister often mail books and back and forth because they have such similar likes and dislikes when it comes to reading.

I took a look at my own bookshelf (I tend to read books my father would appreciate more) and found a handful I could send to my parents via mail.

In fact, a lot of my books came from my boyfriend’s mother who was looking to make extra space on her shelves.

Join Kindle First

Kindle First is free from Amazon. You can borrow ebooks and audio books similar to a library and they often offer free Kindle books for download about once a month.

I have written about this service before. I get a lot of my ebook reading materials from Amazon’s Kindle First program.

Link your Prime Accounts.

My friend and I have linked our Prime accounts which means that she has access to the ebooks and audio books that I buy and I have access to ebooks and audio books that she buys (mostly as there are a few exceptions).

Subscribe to Audible

Audible (a branch of Amazon) has a subscription service that allows for one audio book purchase per month without additional charge. This isn’t really a free book as I pay $14.99/month for the access, so I often try to find books that are 15 hours or longer to use my credit on.

Audible often has deals on the audio versions of Kindle books you already own and there is shorter Audible Original material that is provided free of charge no matter how many selections you make.

Final Thoughts

With so many avenues available to us, there’s always some way of getting more books for less money.

I hope this post finds you healthy and safe and I wish all my readers from around the world the best as we work together to find a new normal.

Here are my recommendations for this month:

Please note that clicking on any product links and making a purchase may result in a commission being paid to the blog author.

Where do you typically find your new reading material?


Out-of-the-box Love Stories

With Valentine’s Day approaching and butting up against President’s Day Weekend, there will be lots of couples heading out of town for romantic getaways. As my boyfriend and I start...

With Valentine’s Day approaching and butting up against President’s Day Weekend, there will be lots of couples heading out of town for romantic getaways. As my boyfriend and I start to plan our own getaway, I can’t help but think of all those out-of-the box love stories I’ve read over the past year. Here are some of my favorites.

The Classic Cinderella Story

crazy-rich-asians-by-kevin-kwan

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan won’t be losing its charm anytime soon thanks to its classic Cinderella story magic.

Nicholas Young has been living in New York City, teaching at NYU and dating fellow prof, American-born Chinese, Rachel Chu. When his best friend invites Nick to his exclusive wedding in high-society, Singapore, Nick uses the opportunity to introduce Rachel to the world he grew up in. What he didn’t anticipate was that his long absence from Singapore hasn’t discouraged the most eligible bachelorettes from coveting his attention and his money. Not only that, but Rachel’s seemingly mysterious family background has his family questioning her motives as Nick’s girlfriend. Will Rachel and Nick’s relationship be able to survive the drama of their Singapore trip?

Not only did Kevin Kwan’s debut novel turn into a hit Hollywood movie, but the drama continues. This story is actually a trilogy. If you haven’t already, check out China Rich Problems and Rich People Problems for the conclusion.

Mixing Things Up

The Swing of Things by Linda Keir

The Swing of Things by Linda Keir looks through the eyes of a couple who’s lost their groove and shows what they will sacrifice to spice things up again.

Jayne Larson is a successful attorney. Her stay-at-home husband is a great father to their little girl and spends his free time teaching guitar lessons and playing in a cover band. As great as this couple seems, things have gotten a bit stale with their love life. Introduce, Mia and Theo Winters, fellow playground parents and apparent swingers. As Mia and Theo, a seemingly perfect couple, bring Jayne and Eric into their swingers’ group, the newest couple discover that there’s a much more dangerous game going on behind the curtain.

In the Midst of Tragedy

Lisa Jewell gives us hope in the midst of tragedy with her unexpectedly sad, yet cozy novel Then She Was Gone.

Ten years ago, Laurel’s youngest daughter disappeared on her way to the library to study for her exams. She was 15 years old and Laurel’s life and relationships slowly imploded as she was consumed with finding her daughter – or her daughter’s body. The book picks up as Laurel is in a state of existence but not joy. She holds tightly to her two grown children who try to distance themselves from her. Her ex-husband has moved on and started another family of his own.

Then Floyd walks into the café that Laurel frequents and sweeps her off her feet. He’s charming, handsome and even has a young girl, Poppy, who strikingly resembles, and even acts like, her missing daughter. As Floyd and Laurel’s relationship progresses, Poppy is introduced to Laurel’s family. But Floyd has a secret he’s been keeping from both the girls in his life and when it comes to light, we’re left with answers that will rock our world and bring fulfillment and peace to Laurel’s life.

Spoiler Alert: Did you know that Lisa Jewell wrote this book with another ending in mind? If you’ve read this book already, check out her 2017 post in which she gives her alternative ending and how writing the final epilogue to the book we know as Then She Was Gone brought her to tears.

A Second Chance at Love

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

While Jojo Moyes’ book The Giver of Stars was created to tell the story of The Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky, there are a few love stories packed deep into the pages.

Alice Van Cleve, is the very posh, very British bride of Kentucky coal mine owner, Bennett Van Cleve. She thought she was leaving her boring, predictable English existence for the glitz and glamour of American big cities like New York City and Lexington, Kentucky. What she found instead was the impoverished town of Baileyville sitting next to the massive coal mine he father-in-law and husband owns.

After she becomes disenchanted by her husband’s lack of affection, she joins the WPA movement to bring library books to the most rural parts of eastern Kentucky. In her travels she meets Catherine, a woman devoted to her dying husband and trying to ease his suffering in his last days by reading the books Alice brings her aloud. Fellow Librarian Marjorie lives in the shadows her of moonshining father’s notoriety, but still manages to catch the eye of mine safety inspector Sven. And while Alice receives the cold shoulder at home, her new-found friendship with Fred, the man who houses their library books in his barn, speaks to possibilities around the corner.

The Anti-Valentine Story

In his debut novel, The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides makes us lose all hope finding the perfect partner.

Dr. Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, has finally gotten his opportunity to work with the mysterious Alicia Berenson. She murdered her husband in what appears to be a psychotic break and then was sent to a mental institution after she stopped speaking and was unable to assist in her own defense. As Theo works with Alicia to coax her back to the surface of her consciousness, she reveals the events that lead up to her decision to murder her husband. Theo uses interviews with friends and family, revelations about her relationship with other doctors at the hospital and her journal to piece together a story that will open a door into Theo’s own dark side.

Rumor has it that this book will soon become a movie to be released sometime between 2021 and 2023. As Michaelides’ is a very successful screenwriter, I’m sure he’s putting these skills to good use in adapting the novel.

Whether you like the feel-good love story or like to watch love get wrecked by chaos and misfortune, there’s a novel out there for you this February. I’ve decided to read Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid this month and am already fascinated by how a love triangle will play out in the end. And you know I’ll be doing it with a glass of wine in my hand.

pouring wine into glass

See more on how to set the perfect mood for the book you’re reading.

Read Now

What out-of-the box love stories would you recommend to readers this February? Leave your recommendations in the comments below.


A Review: The Hate u Give by Angie Thomas

Amazon and Audible have been after me for months to read the book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It was top of my recommended reads list every time...

Amazon and Audible have been after me for months to read the book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It was top of my recommended reads list every time I logged in and I would scroll past it to select something else. I did not think I would want to read this book.

There were a couple of reasons for this. The first is that for the past 6 months I’ve been on this binge for all things fiction related to adoption. I’m in the process of adopting now and I was looking for inspiration, warm fuzzies and something to give me a sense of peace about my choice to start my family in this way.

But the second reason I didn’t want to read this book is a little more difficult to explain. I’m a lower-middle class, white woman with a brother in the Sheriff’s department. I was afraid I would be reading something that is anti-police, preachy and would make me feel like a loser or less than because of my demographic make up.

So what did I find? Yes, it’s a #BlackLivesMatter-inspired story. Angie Thomas herself said the original idea for the story was inspired by the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant and that later, she decided to expand it into a novel after the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and Sandra Bland increased the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Yes, some of the police officers in the book made me want to close the book and put it down. And yes, there were pages and conversations between characters that were dedicated to pointing out differences between growing up white and growing up black and made me squirm a little.

But I also found something else – perspective. This book was able to open my eyes to something that I knew I was missing and could not find on my own.

I do not know what it is like to be inherently afraid of the police. To be taught to fear the police by my elders. When I was afraid of the police it was because I was doing something that would make anyone afraid to draw their attention. But I never thought they would treat me as less than human.

I do not know what it’s like to grow up in a neighbor that is ruled by gang violence. I grew up outside the big city in an area where metro parks and farm fields separate neighbors. I wasn’t naive to gang violence and my middle school and high school experienced their share of issues. But I could easily stay away from all that activity if I chose.

And I do not know what it’s like to grow up in society that is so polarized all the time. I was born in 1981, so I came of age in the 1990’s in Columbus, Ohio. The biggest ongoing contention I can remember in my life is people who were OSU Buckeye fans and those who were Michigan Wolverine fans – never do we mix. There were moments where we were divided with the deaths of Tupac and Biggie Smalls, the Monica Lewinski Scandal and the OJ Simpson trial. But after each event subsided, so would the tension.

This being said, could I find any common ground with the protagonist in the book? Yes, I could.

I know what it’s like to feel “other.” To feel like you have to hide part of yourself away to become more acceptable to the people around you. When I was 21 years old I went to Costa Rica for a semester. My schooling took place at a Missionary School that was associated with my Christian college.

The family I lived with was very religious as were all the people I was associating with at my school. But I was 21 years old, questioning my faith after a failed relationship with a pastor and all I wanted to do was drink, smoke and party. I felt like a fish out of water.

So, I joined a church, volunteered in my new community and prayed before every meal. And every weekend I got the chance, I would gather a few friends and head to La Playa Jaco to drink in the clubs, smoke with the locals and party with the University students.

I have experience with gang violence. While I was living in San Jose the gang violence escalated. Americans were targeted to be robbed by young boys pledging in. I walked around with extra cash on me just for those occasions. And then one night some gang members attempted to steel my friend’s truck with his little girl inside. My friend was forced to shoot one of the gang members and then we watched as the others got into another car and ran over their wounded friend killing him. It was one of the first times I saw people treating others as disposable or as just another casualty in a life that sees too many.

I have lost people ahead of their time for what seems like senseless reasons. Suicide, overdose, reckless driving, cancer and disease – they all had a lifetime ahead of them before it happened. In some instances, we knew it was inevitable but in other instances the death was sudden and jarring.

What did I think of the book?

I loved the book. The storytelling is amazing, the conflict is relatable and current and Angie put a lot of her own truth into the novel which I appreciated. I highly recommend this read to anyone over the age of 12 years old and especially to those young women out there who feel is if they have to become someone else to be accepted by their peers.

Would I see the movie?

I’m still debating. Part of me wants to see how they handled the delicate issues of race, gang violence and cultural polarization. Part of me is afraid they may have clumsily muddled through with an unapologetic one-sided viewpoint. I have loved Russell Hornsby since I discovered him on Grimm and he played an amazing character opposite Regina King in Netflix’s Seven Seconds. I might see the movie just because I want to see how he tackles the role of Star’s father – a ex-con, ex-gang member who keeps his family in the old neighborhood on principle to show you don’t have to subscribe to “the life” to be a successful citizen.

Interested in learning more about the films and books mentioned in this book? Click below to get your own copy.

What were your thoughts? Have you read the book or seen the movie? Let me know if the comments below.


Book Review: Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman

I recently joined a book club at my local church. We read what you would expect, inspirational works by that of Joyce Meyer or Lisa Bevere – anything we believe...

I recently joined a book club at my local church. We read what you would expect, inspirational works by that of Joyce Meyer or Lisa Bevere – anything we believe will help us to improve ourselves or our relationships with others. But the one thing that I love about our group is that we are in all walks of life – one woman is just starting her family, while another is soon to be an empty nester. We’re all so different from one another except that we love to read Christian books – both fiction and non-fiction.

In Crimes Against a Book Club, best friends Annie and Sarah are desperate for money. Annie wants to pay for expensive therapy for her autistic son while Sarah has drained her bank accounts seeking a number of fertility treatments. The friends lament to one another over the phone of their woes and try to encourage each other….

Until one day, Annie is invited to a snooty book club that meets in a La Jolla, CA mansion and comes up with an idea. With Sarah as the front, the two friends concoct a beauty product sales scheme that contains nothing special except a little white powder.

If you’re a fan of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, you’ll LOVE Crimes Against a Book Club. This book is both fun and witty. The characters are so extreme in their self-loathing, alcoholism, ditziness and vanity that they lend a comical feel to the story. And wait until you meet Annie’s mother – the gem of the story.

While I probably won’t be recommending this book to my church book club any time soon, I would recommend this easy and intelligent read to almost any female book club.

A special note: I feel I must say this after I heard about all those women who threw out their Crockpots after watching the mid-season 2 finale of This is Us. Cocaine is not only an illegal substance, but a dangerous one. You never know how it may interact with individual biology and prescription medications. Although I can laugh at this fictional version of events, I would be appalled to learn that it had happened in real life. Drug abuse is no laughing matter and if you suffer from addiction, please seek help.

If you like books like these, check out my review of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth Laban (https://thehippiebookworm.com/?p=1533)

What other books would you recommend to readers who enjoyed Crimes Against a Book Club?


5 Books That Spotlight Mental Illness

There has been a huge emphasis recently in bringing awareness and understanding of mental illness. It seems like everyone I meet has struggled with or knows someone who has struggled...

There has been a huge emphasis recently in bringing awareness and understanding of mental illness. It seems like everyone I meet has struggled with or knows someone who has struggled with or is currently struggling with depression, autism, anxiety, addiction and more.

Below are 5 books that have main characters dealing with some sort of mental illness or developmental disorder.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (2-Feb-2009) Paperback by Stephen Chbosky is told in a series of letters written by high school student Charlie to an unknown recipient. Charlie goes into excruciating detail of his awkward, anxiety-driven encounters with peers and friends. At his best Charlie suffers from acute anxiety and at worst he might be autistic. This book has also been turned into a movie starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman.

 

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green follows the story of Aza Holmes, who suffers from anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as she teams up with best friend Daisy and neighbor Davis to discover the whereabouts of Davis’ father, a fugitive from the law. Davis would rather not know what happened to his father, but the ever-tightening spiral of thoughts that plague Aza every day won’t allow her to drop the case.

 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins tells the story of Rachel Watson, an alcoholic who has hit rock bottom when her husband leaves her for another woman and starts a family, she loses her job and her best friends and reluctant roommate doesn’t want Rachel to stay with her anymore. When a woman Rachel views from her commuter train window every day disappears without a trace, Rachel stumbles into the middle of the investigation and finds that she may have more to contribute than her fantasy about the woman’s life. Rachel’s character must cope with the reality of her broken life while she goes untreated for addiction and depression.

 

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter: A Novel by Kim Edwards is the story of a nurse who takes on the care of a newborn child with Down syndrome. As little Phoebe defies the odds and grows into a little girl and then young woman, her caretaker, Caroline, struggles with the decision to introduce Phoebe to her biological family, including her father who chose to give her away and her twin brother, Paul. While Phoebe herself is a beautiful example of how much challenge and fulfillment raising a child with Down syndrome can be, it’s her parents who brings this book to my list. Filled with regret that spans decades, Dr. David Henry and his wife suffer from immeasurable grief at the loss of their daughter – one believing her dead at birth and other filled with uncertainty of her current life.

 

Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught follows the story of Schizophrenic Jason as he finds comradery with two other young adults who suffer with anxiety and psychological disorders similar to his own. When Sunshine, one of the trio, disappears, Jason must sort through the memories and voices to find the truth behind her disappearance. Will he become a suspect? Why can’t he remember what happened?

 

I would recommend any of these books to those who love contemporary fiction and coming of age stories. And who knows, maybe by reading between the lines and getting the point of view of someone suffering from a mental illness, it will allow us to become more compassionate to those who have first-hand knowledge what it’s like to be suffering.

Considering purchasing these books? Check them out here: 

 


Celebrity Autobiographies – from the blessed to the lucky (Part 2)

I got some feedback that I may have been a bit harsh in Part 1 of this compilation of celebrity autobiographies… Specifically to Holly Madison. But in a fairness, I...

I got some feedback that I may have been a bit harsh in Part 1 of this compilation of celebrity autobiographies… Specifically to Holly Madison. But in a fairness, I am a fan of the show The Girls Next Door. Of the Playboy bunnies I’ve been exposed to in my limited way, she’s my favorite because she does come across as very smart. I just think that her book is one big *sigh* about how sidetracked she got at “The Mansion” and how little that part of her life mattered in the end. On we go…

I’m finishing up this mini project by introducing you to these next celebrity autobiographies for when you…

Are counting your blessings…

A-MagnoliaStoryThe Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines is the story of how they went from sweethearts in Texas to a National Super Couple. From living in partially renovated, dilapidated homes to moving to Magnolia Farms, hoping they would be blessed with children to welcoming four “kiddos” into the world over the years, barely getting a pass by HGTV on their new show concept to opening up their very own store visited by people from around the U.S., this couple can’t even keep track of all the blessings they’ve received over the years.

Joanna and Chip also tell about the trials they’ve had along the way – barely scraping together mortgage payments, having to start again on their business and struggling with what they would include in their TV show and what they would keep sacred in the family.

I heard a saying once that went “In a world of Kardashians, be a Joanna Gaines.” I hope you find enlightenment into your own special blessings as you read about how God has been faithful to this couple for years.

 

Are in the mood for a classic Hollywood story…

A-scrappylittlenobodyLiving in a Hollywood apartment and waitressing on the side while attending auditions and cast calls. A girl from an all-American town is in the right movie at the right time and embraces their part in the story. Leaving home at an early age to make it in the big city and keeping the worst of it from your folks as you struggle to make enough to eat regularly. Kinda sounds like that classic Hollywood story that we see depicted on films all the time doesn’t it?

It’s also the story of Anna Kendrick, our all-American scrappy little somebody. If you’re having a hard time placing her, you may be over the age of 35 years old and don’t socialize a  lot with Millennials. Think Jessica from Twilight. Or better yet Beca from Pitch Perfect.

Scrappy Little Nobody is the story of Anna’s upbringing and eventual climb to fame. It’s full of her perpetual insecurities that even the most confident would have if they were being watched by photographers, peers and their entire generation every time they stepped out of the house. Anna tells us her classic tale, but she comes across as human, relatable and spunky.

 

Really Get The Story…

Don’t be afraid of doing a little homework while you read through some of the stories that are told by these incredible people. Watch early episodes of Fixer Upper or dedicate an afternoon to the watching the first two Twilight movies (Twilight and New Moon) – in which Anna’s character Jessica has her biggest supporting roles.
Have you read any celebrity autobiographies lately? What did you think? Leave your comments below and keep the conversation going.


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