Literary Ladies or the Women of the Written Word Who Continually Inspire

Though oftentimes there are complaints about the dearth of complex, empowering women in film, literature has long been the champion of heroines. This week’s Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday post celebrates the heroines that have inspired us as readers. There was also an option to choose women of film and television, but books are where it all started for me so that’s what I’m focusing on.

*As usual, all following links lead to Goodreads*

1. Alanna of Trebond from The Song of the Lioness series: Alanna a.k.a The Lioness a.k.a The Woman Who Rides Like a Man a.k.a. The Lady Knight was and still is my hero. I found this series when I was a pre-teen and it was a really empowering series to read as a young girl. I still go back and re-read these books from time to time because I still connect with them.

2. Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter series: What can I say? Hermione showed a generation of young girls that is was OK to be brainy–better than OK, she made it noble and necessary. But she didn’t stop at book-learning either, Hermione followed her friends into the proverbial fire and often saved them from it too.

3. Anita Blake from the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series: She raises zombies, she executes vampires, and she wields sarcasm like a gun. Better yet, Anita is a character that struggles with her sense of morality and faith in the midst of temptation and fear. I have always appreciated her flaws as a character as much as her strengths, which is the hallmark of a powerful heroine.

4. Skye O’Malley from The O’Malley Saga: Bertrice Small was one of the first romance writers that I gravitated towards, and Skye O’Malley is arguably one of her finest characters. Skye creates an empire and revels in her independence, plus she has some serious seductive powers. Long before hashtags were a thing, Skye O’Malley was winning.

5. Mary Boleyn from The Other Boleyn Girl: The Other Boleyn Girl is one of my favorite historical novels. I’ve always been fascinated by the Tudor era, so I knew about Mary in passing, but Phillipa Gregory brought Mary to life in a vibrant and vulnerable way.

6. Diana Bishop from the All Souls Trilogy: I immediately connected with Diana in The Discovery of Witches because of her passion for archival research, which I was also doing at the time. Diana becomes quite a bit more than an academic throughout the series, but that will always be one of the principle reasons I love her.

7. Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium series: Lisbeth is one of the most bad-ass literary characters I’ve encountered, female or male. She’s troubled yet competent, secretive yet sexually open: the Millennium series is really her story.

8. Claire Randall from the Outlander series: One of Claire’s biggest strengths is her compassion and capacity to love. The time traveling thing is also great, but so many of her actions are defined by her kindness that cannot be mistaken for weakness.

9. Diana Mayo from The Sheik: E.L. James would be nothing without E.M. Hull. The original romance novel, Hull’s book created a whole market (don’t get me wrong it has some serious flaws a la Fifty Shades but is a much better read). Diana Mayo is headstrong and fiercely independent, which makes her an infinitely more interesting character.

10. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice: Lizzie Bennet has been a role-model for generations in large part because of her flaws–her biting wit, her stubbornness, and her, well, pride. Her flaws are precisely why Elizabeth Bennet is compelling and lovable, which makes for one hell of a heroine.

There you have it! My top ten notable heroines. With the exception of Stieg Larsson, all of these characters were written by women as well. I’m not sure if that says more about female writers or about my personal preferences, but it’s an interesting coincidence nevertheless.

Who were your favorite femmes?

Thanks for popping in!

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Bookish People Problems

Ever feel your eye twitch when someone interrupts you while reading? Or does your gag reflex engage when someone tells you that they’ve seen the movie and that’s the same as reading the book? Then this post is for you!

This week’s Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday post is all about the book related problems I wrestle with. Maybe you struggle with the same bookish people problems that I do. If so, fear not. This is a safe space. And we can commiserate in the comments.

1. Shelf Space

Every reader out there probably has this problem. So many books to covet but such limited room. Making the tough purchasing decisions can be kind of painful. Choosing a book at a bookstore can be its own poignant agony, and then deciding whether or not to keep said book after reading it is a whole other kind of anxiety for me. I try to only keep the books that I would re-read and am a big believer in used bookstores for the books that I cannot justify keeping. I assuage my guilt of getting rid of a book with a “pay it forward” mentality.

2. Incapable of Finishing a TBR List

Seriously though. TBR posts are very common on Top Ten Tuesday and I have never fully completed one. My to-read list on my Goodreads account is currently stocked at 139 and it continues to grow. I get too sidetracked by other books, or, you know, life events to truly finish all the books I say I’m going to read. Which leads to…

3. Never Enough Time

Closely related to item number two, I sometimes find myself stricken by anxiety at the idea that I will never get to read all the books I’d like to read. Sometimes the idea gives me chest pains. I’m not kidding. I have given myself panic attacks about my inability to read everything I want to read in a lifetime. Priorities have never been so painful!

4. Resisting the Hype

I refused to read Harry Potter for two years after its initial release. The Harry Potter series are some of my all-time favorite books and I resisted them for TWO YEARS because I was annoyed by the hype. I think there is a glitch in my brain that stubbornly denies the appeal of popular opinion until said opinion has moved on. I do this with movies and TV shows as well. It’s a genuine problem.

5. Keeping Up With Trends

Closely tied in with problem number four is a burgeoning curiosity about trends. I want to know what’s going on in the book-world, so that I can resist it, and then scramble to keep up with it. I realize this is nuts. But it’s how I roll.

6. Wandering in Bookstores

I’m a methodical bookstore wanderer. I have to make a circle of the whole dang store. HAVE TO. Lord, help me if there are multiple floors. It’s not that I look at every book or every shelf precisely, but I don’t want to miss anything I might want to read. This isn’t a problem for me when I have leisure time but if I’m with people and I can’t complete the circuit I feel let down. Not to the point that I need to tell my friends that I need to look at the whole store, but close.

7. Airport Bookstores are my Drug of Choice

In the last five years I can count on one hand the times I have walked out of an airport without at least one book. It has become compulsory for me to look at the books in airport bookstores–the little kiosks with touristy junk, Cheetos, and three narrow shelves of books. It’s a drug and I’m all about it.

8. Movie ≠ Book

If you tell me you’re just not a reader, I have to accept that because people are different and differences are great. But if you try to tell me that watching the movie is the same as reading the book, I am trying really hard not to shake you. Movies and books are different creatures: like a house cat and a lion on the Serengeti. They may have some genetic traits in common but they’re wildly different animals. Capiche?

9. Fantasy, Always Fantasy

I have been reading romance novels since I was about twelve. Now I don’t have unrealistic expectations about reality in the bedroom department or even the physicality department (I mean it would be nice if a ruggedly handsome biker with a heart of gold turned out to be my soul mate but I’m not banking on it). Nope, my problem is that in romance novels there is a moment where you’re swept off your feet closely followed by a deep emotionally transparent conversation. I don’t expect that, per se, but fantasizing over it definitely a thing that I do. *Sigh*

10. Just One More Chapter

Every bibliophile has told themselves this potent lie more times than they would like to admit. I haven’t gone to bed before midnight in weeks for this very reason. I can’t truly call this a “problem” because I love doing it, but it does have some ramifications on my intellectual presence the next day.

I realize for many of these bookish problems, I am not alone. Some of them, I might be on my own, but personal quirks aside I think these are fairly typical. Tell me all about your best and worst problems in the comments!

Thanks for popping in!

Surprisingly Un-Read

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about the books in “x genre” that you can’t believe you haven’t read yet. Since starting the weekly memes at The Broke and the Bookish, I have been reading more YA in part because there are so many bloggers who champion the genre through their linkups. So this week, my TTT is about the YA books I can’t believe I haven’t read.

*As usual, links and pictures sourced from Goodreads*

Every Day (Every Day #1)

1. Every Day by David Levithan

This book has been on my Goodreads TBR list for years.I have no idea why I haven’t cracked this open. I still want to read it, so maybe some day?

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth

I’m a bit stunned that I haven’t read Roth’s über famous YA novel. There is no good reason why this hasn’t happened. Must read soon.

Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1)

3. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen

I don’t actually know much about this series–The Malediction Series–but I found it on Goodreads and was intrigued enough by the description to add it to my TBR.

Half Bad (Half Bad, #1)

4. Half Bad by Sally Green

The cover of this novel is so eye-catching! I’m also a big fan of paranormal tales no matter if they’re YA or more “adult.” So this one should be a win for me once I finally get around to reading it.

My Ex From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #1)

5. My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling

I’ve heard so much about The Blooming Goddess series and I just need to start this thing! I’ve always been a sucker for mythology, so I’m excited to take on Darling’s version of the Greek gods.

How to Build a Girl

6. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

This is another novel that has been cropping up on other bloggers’ TTT lists. It’s been on my radar for a while now but I haven’t ever picked it up. Maybe that will change soon? Plus we have the same first name. Spelling solidarity.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

7. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Another epic series that I haven’t even started yet. This book and its sequels get so much love from the blogging community but I’ve never cracked the spine on one of these books. I’d certainly like to though.

Matched (Matched, #1)

8. Matched by Ally Condie

Societal dystopias are extremely popular right now in YA and take many different forms. The idea of society picking your perfect mate is somewhat tempting if you’ve ever struggled in the dating world (a.k.a. all of us), but then again perfect is an awfully tricky concept to nail down.

Stardust

9. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

This one I own but have never opened. I also adore the film, so I have high hopes for this one.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Last but certainly not least is the first novel in The Mortal Instruments series. It sounds like the kind of book I would adore, so I’m not at all clear on why I haven’t picked this up.

Since I’ve only recently started exploring the world of YA again this list could probably go on for much longer and include some other heavy hitters. For now these are the Top Ten Books I’m most shocked to have not read in the YA genre, but I’ll likely fix some of these soon.

Thanks for popping in!

What My Book Club Would Read (If I Had One)

Part of the reason I love The Broke and the Bookish weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme is because I adore getting book recommendations from other readers. And book clubs are another great source for challenging or unexpected reads. This week’s TTT topic is about the top ten books you would have in your book club line up, if you had a book club that is.

I do participate in two book clubs through Goodreads–Bookworm Bitches and The Life of a Book Addict–but I use these online book clubs primarily to keep up with what’s new and exciting in the book world. I rarely read the books when I’m supposed to, but I also enjoy the list challenges these groups have on the discussion boards (i.e. I’m participating in the A-Z title challenge right now).

But if I were in charge of my own book club, here’s what it might look like…

*As usual, all links and pictures are sourced from Goodreads*

Don't Breathe a Word

1. Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

All of the books on this list will be books I haven’t read yet, because that’s what I think book clubs are all about–new and exciting reads. Don’t Breathe a Word has elements of a thriller and the paranormal, which I think would appeal to a diverse group of readers and lead to an engaging discussion.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek

2. Popular by Maya Van Wagenen

I think every book club should try to tackle at least one work of non-fiction. This memoir follows Maya as she tries to survive high school by following a 1950’s popularity guide written by a former teen model. There’s a lot to be said about the perils of high school, beauty standards, and the modern woman even without reading this book, so I think it would be a rich read for a book club.

Damned (Damned #1)

3. Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

Palahniuk is one of those modern authors that you should read at least once just to have an opinion. His novels are often odd and slightly dark but manage to reveal much about humanity in the midst of his own ridiculous scenarios. In Damned, a thirteen year old girl finds herself in hell. Without knowing how long her stay will be, she decides to make the best of her situation.

Havisham

4. Havisham by Ronald Frame

This novel is supposed to be a prequel of sorts to Dickens’ Great Expectations as it explores the trauma that creates the tattered, Gothic figure of Miss Havisham. I think these classic-adjacent novels that have become increasingly popular are great reads for a book club since you get to look at parallels between the two books.

Cloud Atlas

5. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

This book’s premise seems complex and I think that’s what makes it a good book club read. Others might catch details you missed or connect threads in an intriguing way. Some books are just better to read with group effort, and I suspect Cloud Atlas would be one of those books.

Gone with the Wind

6. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Book clubs are also great for tackling classics; as much for motivational reasons as discussion reasons. I’ve always wanted to read this dense classic and think a book club would be a great place to make it happen.

Man in the Empty Suit

7. Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell

A man with the ability to time travel spends his birthday every year with various versions of himself. When his forty-year old self turns up at the party dead, the younger versions implore the thirty-nine year old man to figure out what happens before it’s too late for all of them.

Fangirl

8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I wanted to include at least one YA novel on this list because I think book clubs should cover a little bit of everything. I liked Attachments and would like to read more of Rowell. Fangirl would be a light and fun addition to a book club roster.

Bad Feminist: Essays

9. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

This is a collection of essays that covers everything from politics to pop culture to, yes, feminism. It would be another chance to really have some personal and deep discussions with a group of friends, which is what would make it a great book club selection.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

10. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

A mysterious bookstore owned by a mysterious man; let’s face it, if you’re in a book club, you’re up for reading a book about books. This particular novel sounds quirky and enjoyable, particularly if you’re a book lover.

There you have it: my reading list for my hypothetical book club. What do you think?

Thanks for popping in!

Bookshelf Lingerers

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, but here come the return of Top Ten Tuesdays! If you’re not familiar, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish with category prompts and participation is open to anyone. It’s a fun way to get yourself blogging regularly and connect with other readers.

This week, I’m reviving an older category and exploring the top ten books I just HAD to buy but never made it farther than my bookshelf.

*As usual, all links and pictures are sourced from Goodreads*

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

1. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

I loved the movie and went right out and bought the book. Yet this memoir has sat on my shelves for quite some time. I’d still like to read it; actually all of these books on my list are books I would still like to read. I just need to put it in the rotation!

Memoirs of a Geisha

2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

This book has also been adapted to a film, but I wasn’t terribly impressed with the movie. Still, I wanted to read the book because the novel was getting a lot of good press long before the film came to be.

The Devil Wears Prada (The Devil Wears Prada, #1)

3. The Devil Wears Prada by Laura Weisberger

I swear not all of these are film adaptations (though many of them are)! This book is one that I always tell myself I’m going to read and then never manage to do it: it’s a seasonal commitment that I always break.

One Day

4. One Day by David Nicholls

Now, I never saw the movie but my understanding of the premise for this story made me feel that it would be undeniably better in print. So in essence, not seeing the movie is what made me want to read this book.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

5. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris

Without a doubt, Sedaris is my favorite nonfiction writer. He’s hilarious and poignant, often at the same time. This is his most recent collection of essays and I have high hopes.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

6. World War Z by Max Brooks

Years this book has been on my shelves. Years. And I still haven’t managed to crack it open. Maybe 2015 will be the year it happens?

Gone with the Wind

7. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 

I have mixed feelings about this being on my shelves and on my list. I hated the movie. I know that could be a controversial opinion for some folks, but there it is. However, a friend in college told me that the book was much better and explored Scarlet’s flawed character more earnestly, so I’m willing to give the book a chance.

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)

8. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This book has actually been lingering on my kindle, so it’s more of a virtual shelf space holder. I don’t use my kindle very often as I prefer real books, which is likely why I haven’t read this book yet.

Kushiel's Dart (Phèdre's Trilogy, #1)

9. Kushiel’s Dart by Jaqueline Carey

I picked up a used hardback copy of this at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles and have been meaning to read it ever since. Part of my problem is that I check a ton of books out of the library, so those get priority while books I actually own are taking the backseat. My friend, Russ, is really insistent I read this so I can tell him how it is, and that will probably motivate me to get this one read sooner rather than later.

Love in the Time of Cholera

10. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I have read several of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short stories, but this is the only novel of his that I own. I love his use of language and the tenderness he brings to each of his subjects. I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

Every time I make one of these lists I feel like there will never be enough time for all the books I want to read! But it’s a wonderful dilemma to have.

What are some of your bookshelf lingerers?

Thanks for popping in!

Best New-To-Me-Authors of 2014

This week’s Broke and the Bookish weekly meme is all about the top ten authors that are new to me this year. 2014 has been a good year for discovering new books and new writers. I’ve consciously been expanding my horizons and have found some lovely books (and authors) as a result.

Some of these authors have been publishing for quite a while (hence the new-to-me part) but some of these authors are new to the book-blogging community as a whole. So let’s dive in and see who’s who…

*Links and pictures provided by Goodreads*

1. Markus Zusack

I fell in love with Zusack’s writing style and fantastic imagery when reading The Book Thief this year.

2. Diane Setterfield

Ms. Setterfield may not be the most prolific author on this list but she is a top quality writer. This year I have read both The Thirteenth Tale and Bellman & Black, which were both satisfying reads.

3. Marissa Meyer

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say Marissa Meyer will be featured in many a Top Ten Tuesday post this week. Her Lunar Chronicles series is taking the YA market by storm right now and there is a darn good reason for it! I’ve only finished Cinder and I’m hooked.

4. Joan Didion

This year I read my first Joan Didion book–The Year of Magical Thinking–and it was one of the most profound experiences I have had with a book in a good long while. Not only did it greatly impact me on a personal level, but it effected this blog in a way that still mildly confounds me. I would highly recommend reaching out for a Joan Didion novel in your near future.

5. Emily Giffin

I received my first Emily Giffin novel–The One & Only— in my first PopSugar Must Have box and both were extremely satisfying events. Currently, I have another Giffin novel–Something Borrowed–in my to-read stack from the library. Not sure when I’ll get to it, but I’m excited to give Giffin another go.

6. M.D. Waters

I randomly picked up Archetype, Waters’ first novel, at an airport bookstore. And that one purchased has fueled an obsession. Watch out for Waters; she has some real potential to be a powerful voice in science fiction.

7. John Green

Once again, I would not be shocked if this man made it many people’s Top Ten Tuesday list this week. I read The Fault in Our Stars like nearly every other human this year and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

http://www.carlosruizzafon.com/

8. Carlos Ruiz Zafon

After a hearty recommendation from my friend, Clara, I picked up The Shadows of the Wind, which is the first novel of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. Solid storytelling, with a beautiful take on magical realism.

9. Chuck Klosterman

I’ve always wanted to read some of Klosterman’s essays and I finally got around to it this year! His most recent release, I Wear the Black Hat, was the piece I read from him and it definitely made me want to read more!

10. Michael Crichton

Crichton is an unbelievably prolific writer but 2014 was the first time I ever attempted any of his novels. I read the first Jurassic Park novel and enjoyed it as much as the film.

So that’s it. That’s my list of favorite new-to-me authors from 2014. Did any of them surprise you? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for popping in!

My Most Anticipated Sequels

This week’s Broke and the Bookish weekly meme is about the top ten sequels I cannot wait to get a hold of. Not all of these are super current, some of these sequels are from older series that I’m just now catching up on while others are highly anticipated treasures. Either way I’m anxious to get reading!

*Pictures and links sourced from Goodreads.com*

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)

1. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

I try really hard not to buy too many hardbacks because they’re space hogs on my book shelves. This book, the final book in the All Souls Trilogy, has been out since July and I have been bidding my time until it is released in paperback. I can barely stand it. I am enamoured with Harkness’ series and cannot wait to see how this ends! I’m equally excited to see what she does in the future.

 

Prototype: A Novel

2. Prototype by M.D. Waters

This is part two of a two book series. You can read my review of book one, Archetype, if you click here. I am so compelled to know what happens to Emma Wade!

 

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)

3. A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin

Anyone who has tackled a Martin book knows that these books need to be planned. You can’t casually pick up a book in the Song of Ice and Fire series and just expect to knock it out. Well, you can, but you likely won’t get any work done or have much of a social life. I’m trying to do both at the moment, but mayhap around Christmas time?

 

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)

4. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I read Cinder a few months ago and got sucked in. I’ve just been waiting on a break in my reading schedule to dive into the second book in The Lunar Chronicles. Must. Know. What. Happens.

 

Crimson Night (Crimison, #2)

5. Crimson Night by Trisha Baker

I really need to get over myself and just buy a used copy of this on Amazon or eBay. This is an out of print series that I fell in love with before I realized it was an out of print series (anyone else have this problem?). Rumor has it that it’s being reprinted, but I live in fear of author edits in series that have been out of print for a significant length of time. One day, I’ll make it happen!

 

Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark #14)

6. Dark Skye by Kresley Cole

Cole has been building up this storyline for several books now, and I’m so excited Thronos and Lanthe finally get their story told! If you couldn’t tell, I’m a big fan of paranormal romance and Kresley Cole has one of the best, farthest reaching range of creature-characters that fit together in a way that makes sense. Cannot wait to read this one!

 

Rapture (Fallen Angels, #4)

7. Rapture by J.R. Ward

When I started reading J.R. Ward it was for her Black Dagger Brotherhood series (which is still great) but lately I’ve been more drawn into her Fallen Angels series. Both circle around Caldwell, New York and have very similar types of male protagonists, but I’m always excited to see where Ward takes her characters next. I’m behind on both series but will look forward to catching up!

 

The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2)

8. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

This one is probably more wishful thinking on my part. When I get around to reading Anne Rice, I really enjoy it because she has a cinematic quality to her writing. But I hardly ever get around to it. The Vampire Chronicles is one of those series that I always think about and go, “Oh yeah, I should start that back up again.” We’ll see if I get off the ground with this one or not.

 

Hit List (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #20)

9. Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton

It’s officially rare for me to be complete a Top Ten Tuesday without mentioning Laurell K. Hamilton. Currently there are twenty-four books in the series, and this is number twenty. Hamilton is still writing the Anita Blake series though so that’s good news for me. This particular novel involves Edward, one of my all time favorite characters in the Anita Blake series. He doesn’t appear often, but when he does I get pumped.

 

Voyager (Outlander, #3)

10. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

I tend to go long stretches in between reading the different books in the Outlander series, which could be bad for my memory. But these books are such commitments. Don’t get me wrong, they’re worth it every time. I just have to schedule reading this size book. However, I feel the urge coming on again, so perhaps sometime soon.

So there are my most anticipated sequels. Hopefully I’ll be able to dig into a few of these through the new year.

Thanks for popping in!

Bookish Verbage

I think it’s safe to say that anyone who loves books is equally fond of words. Some words have a taste of the unique or a delicious weight to work around. Words are food for the soul, and like anyone I have my comfort foods, my guilty pleasures, and my strange cravings.

For this week’s Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday meme, I am returning to an old topic to give you a culinary tour of my favorite words. In no way is this an exhaustive or definitive list. I will barely be skimming the surface of the decadence that is language. And I will keep myself within the boundaries of English for the time being (though some of my favorites are in Latin).

Onward!

1. Dapper adj. ~ neat, trim, smart, well put together.

Though John usually wears sweatpants or jeans, he looks dapper in a three piece suit.

Gentlemen, of the world, if I tell you that you look dapper, it is my polite way of saying that you look very attractive when you’ve dressed well. It’s a bit of a special occasion word, because I have yet to meet someone who looks dapper everyday. But that’s OK. That individual would probably intimidate the living daylights out of me anyway.

2. Ethereal adj. ~ light, airy; extremely delicate or refined; heavenly or celestial.

The bride was ethereal in her wedding gown.

Often applied to beauty, I also think of ethereal as a great quality to find in poetry or literature as well.

3. Ergo conjunction, adv. ~ therefore.

Sandra Bullock won an Oscar, ergo she is considered one of the best American actresses. 

Maybe it was my three years in Latin. Maybe it’s my continued pursuit of academia, but I relish any opportunity to use the word ergo. As a word, it’s somewhat stuffy but try throwing it into a sentence where it might not belong and just see if it doesn’t tickle your funny bone a little. ex: Brent cheated on Jessica, ergo she dumped him.

4. Fuck ~ to have sex; to meddle or treat unfairly.

If James Lipton were to ever ask me what my favorite word is, I would answer with a resounding, “Fuck!”

I’m truly sorry if this offends you because that’s never my goal here as a writer, but it would be disingenuous of me to create a list of favorite words and not include fuck. It’s a word I use daily but I try not to use it around children or to scream it in public or even toss it around often on this blog because I understand that not everyone enjoys hearing this word. But for me it’s a rich Merlot or a brick of dark chocolate that just tastes so good. I also admire the versatility of fuck: it can transform into nearly any form of speech.

5. Rogue n. ~ a scoundrel; a playfully mischievous person.

Finnick Odair is such a rogue. 

In the modern era this word has taken on a lighter tone, which is rather enjoyable. But I think I first became acquainted with this word through historical romance novels. No joke, I feel as though historical romance novels prepared me better for my SATs than the vocabulary prep course. Give credit where credit is due.

6. Malicious adj. ~ malevolent, spiteful.

Tabloids are full of malicious gossip.

This word has cropped up in several conversations lately, so I thought it deserved a spot on the list. For such a negative word it has a lovely ring to it.

7. Sustenance n. ~ nourishment; means of a livelihood.

They may not be great sustenance, but potato chips sure are tasty.

If you couldn’t tell, I have a fondness for slightly antiquated words. Craving sustenance also sounds better than simply, “I’m hungry.”

8. Upon proposition ~ immediately or soon after; up and on; from an elevated position; on; on the occasion of.

Once upon a time…

Add a little bit of magic to your life by adding the most stellar opener to a fairy tale into your vocabulary.

9. Spawn n. v. ~ numerous offspring; to give birth or rise to.

Twilight spawned a new interest in YA literature.

I can’t put my finger on why this is one of my favorite words, but I enjoy using the word quite a bit. Probably easier (and more polite) to use the verb form, though I have been known to call an unruly child spawn on a rare occasion.

10. Progeny n. ~ a descendant or offspring; outcome; issue.

The vampire’s progeny ravaged the population.

I’m pretty sure the first time I heard this word was in the movie Van Helsing. Using this word makes me smile. It probably shouldn’t but it does. Both spawn and progeny appear regularly in my vocabulary and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon.

For all of these words, I used dictionary.com to help make sure I got all the parts of speech and definitions right. Again, this is a small slice of my favorite words. After making this list, I realize I have a flair of words that sound slightly old-fashioned.

Let me know in the comments what some of your favorite words are.

Thanks for popping in!

Bookish Halloween Costumes

This week’s Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday post is devoted to the best characters to bring to life in costume for Halloween.

I love creating costumes from my own closet and being inspired by characters from books and movies. This list is devoted to the literary characters I’d love to bring to life for Halloween!

1. Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones by  George R.R. Martin

Me and my little dragon friend.

Me and my little dragon friend.

Me and my friend Monica. Halloween 2012

Me and my friend Monica. Halloween 2012

This is a costume I’ve actually completed, two years ago. But I still have it in case I want to break it out again in the future. Daenerys is my favorite character in the series (both book and TV) so it was a lot of fun to create a costume around her. I crimped and braided my hair and wore very natural looking makeup. I found the dragon at a local toy store and then attached it to my sleeve. The “egg” is a Nerf football that I spray painted bronze. I had the belt and the shoes, but I did purchase the long blue dress for the occasion; this was before they had specific Daenerys costumes out, so I had to hunt for something that came close. But I think this turned out well and the people who knew who I was were really impressed.

2. Alanna of Trebond from the Song of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)

This is the cover I grew up with for Pierce’s series and the other covers aren’t as attractive in my opinion. But this would be such an easy costume! Red leggings, yellow, tunic, puffy shirt, a wig, and boots. So simple! I’ve always wanted to do this for a Halloween costume, so maybe next year?

3. A Hogwarts Student from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Image respectfully borrowed from the Harry Potter Wiki

I realize this is probably the most obvious costume choice. But it is also the perfect way to reuse your graduation robes from college. To make it more unique, try coming up with your own character. Give yourself a wizard or witch’s name and talk about your classes or the latest Quidditch match.

4. Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

Why go as a simple flapper when you could be Daisy Buchanan? Or better yet get a group together to go as the whole gang: Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and Jordan Baker.

5. Ms. Havisham from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

 

Great Expectations

Go to Goodwill, find a wedding dress from the 1980’s (they’re going to be the closest to Victorian with the puffy sleeves and the beading), and carry around a slice of cake all night. Presto! You’re a deranged literary figure. This could be a costume to have a lot of fun with.

6. Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter (Bantam Classics Edition)

The really nice thing about this costume is that it’s warm. If you live somewhere with colder climates during this time of year a long sleeved dress or sweater and skirt combo could be a great idea.

7. Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale

Along the same lines of number six, being Offred would be warm for a night ought and would offer the same level of societal critique. Costumes six and seven have specific potential for feminist critique given the current issues on voters’ ballots this year.

8. Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1)

Whether you’re male or female this would be a great costume, especially because Halloween is such a candy-centric holiday. This would also be easy to go to a thrift shop or a Goodwill to put together. The trickiest part would be the top hat, but after that almost anything goes!

9.  Lucky Rainbow from A Troll Tale: Lucky Rainbow by Jane Jerrard

Did anyone else have this book as a kid? I did and I read it so many times, I’m sure my Mom was sick of it! It’s a darling story about a troll child who gets teased for having multi-colored hair, but helps discover a crystal cave filled with rainbows so the other kids learn to appreciate Rainbow’s beauty. Maybe I’m not selling this well enough, but I loved this book as a kid! This would be such a cool and simple costume! If anyone knew who I was I would befriend them on the spot!

10. Peter Pan from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Peter Pan

My Mom went as Peter Pan when I was a baby and I went as Tinkerbell. She kept the costume and I went as Pan in high school. It’s a really simple costume: an XL men’s green shirt cut at the collar, sleeves, and hem to look a bit tattered. Add green tights, a pair of boots, and a felt cap to complete the look. I also belted the shirt to add a touch of the feminine to my look, but it really depends on what you’re going for. If I were ever in a jam and needed a last minute costume, this could all be accomplished with a quick trip to Walmart.

So there are my literary inspired costumes. What do you think? But more importantly, who are you going to be for Halloween?

Thanks for popping in!

*All book photos unless otherwise specified were respectfully borrowed from Goodreads*

Books to Get You in the Halloween Spirit

For this week’s Broke and the Bookish meme, I decided to revive an older topic and do my Top Ten Tuesday on books that get me in the Halloween spirit.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love this time of year and thoroughly enjoy planning costumes. So whether you like to scare yourself silly or are just in it for the candy, hopefully this list will have something for you.

*Links lead to it and pictures come from it: Goodreads*

Macbeth

1. Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The original creepy witches. “Double, double toil and trouble/ Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” Plus murder, political intrigue, and insanity. Halloween sounds like a great time to brush up on The Bard.

The Monkey's Paw

2. The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs

An eerie short story about the perils of making wishes that will create the perfect spooky atmosphere for a Halloween party. It was originally published in 1902 but don’t be afraid to break it out and read it to your youngsters if they’re looking for a good scary story.

Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, #1)

3. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Not that you couldn’t enjoy the Odd Thomas series any time of the year, but considering that originally Halloween is supposed to be when the veil between the spirit world and our world is at its thinnest, now might be a good time to read about a man who sees ghosts and solves crimes.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

4. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M Schulz

If the scary stuff isn’t your style, I suggest reading and/or watching this Peanuts classic. The story of The Great Pumpkin is one of my all time favorite Peanuts moments and always gives me a case of the warm fuzzies.

The Witches

5. The Witches by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is a natural choice for a children’s story with dark twists and turns. The Witches is just the right amount of scary, especially if your household has some young readers.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

6. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Another solid tale of witchcraft. This particular novel flashes back and forth between past and present day to explore the rich history of witches in New England. I got sucked into this book a few years ago and really enjoyed the mood and tone Howe so expertly conveys.

The Night Circus

7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I know I mentioned this in last week’s TTT, but I think this book has a strong sense of atmosphere that can only be enhanced by cool autumn nights and a hot beverage while reading.

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,  #1)

8. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I finished this book within the last year and was captivated by Zafon’s magical realism. The winding streets of Barcelona and the mysterious, supernatural feel of the book would make for a great Halloween read.

Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #10)

9. Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton

If you’re not reading the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series then you should absolutely start from the beginning (which is the book Guilty Pleasures). But if you’re already involved in the series, might I suggest re-reading Narcissus in Chains. It’s a novel that focuses on the shifting part of Hamilton’s world and it’s as dark and compelling as ever.

Bellman & Black

10. Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

I’m not quite finished with this one yet, but I can say it has been a great October read. Setterfield has a way of telling stories that are not explicitly creepy but evoke elements of the macabre and unusual. Definitely worth the read!

I hope these spooky-themed reads get you in the right state of mind for Halloween.

Thanks for popping in!