Monthly Archives: August 2014

Project: Bookshelf with Kazia Berkley-Cramer

Welcome to PROJECT: BOOKSHELF, a continuing series in which Mackenzi Lee tries to read every book on her bookshelf in the course of a summer while friends, writers, and readers drop in to tell us about their respective shelves. This week, in our final edition to this series, we are joined by the lovely Kazia Berkley-Cramer, a library science student whose career choice will come as no surprise when you learn how much she likes rearranging bookshelves….

But first, let’s take a look at my reading wrap-up.

This week, from my collection of unread books on my shelf, I read…

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

  • Genre: YA Contemporary
  • Where I Got It: Bookstore ARC
  • What I Thought: You might not know this, but for a while I have been praying for a hilarious, authentic male narrator who is neither permanently aroused like so many of the boys of YA, or super feminine and emotional. Oh, and also I would like him to be hysterically funny. And have good grammar. And love Oreos.
    Simon Spier is that male narrator.
    The voice of this novel is SO GOOD. Simon is one of the most vivid and real narrators I’ve read in YA this year. Or maybe ever. A great coming out/coming of age story with a narrator who I want to hang out and eat Oreos with.

My Near-Death Adventures (99% True) by Alison DeCamp

  • Genre: MG Historical
  • Where I Got It: Bookstore ARC
  • What I Thought: This book had me laughing out loud from start to finish. Stan is a lively and hysterical narrator, and the lumber camp setting provides endless possibilities for hijinks. Also I love his granny. She reminded me of Grandma Dowdle from Richard Peck’s books. So much fun. This book was a pleasure to read.

Playlists for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

  • Genre: YA Contemporary
  • Where I Got It: Bookstore ARC (I am so sorry none of these books are out yet!)
  • What I Thought: This book was a really intense and honest portrait of suicide and moving on when you feel responsible for something horrible and tragic. The examination of responsibility in this book is beautiful and on point, and it manages to cover some really difficult subjects without feeling weighed down or heavy. Also the use of music (and a whole slew of really geeky references) was excellent.

And now, meet Kazia and her bookshelves!

Rearranging books has always been one of my favorite things to do. If I could list it as a hobby and be taken seriously, I probably would. I have always loved books and bookshelves, and rearranging books has become a regular fixture in my life, not only with my various jobs, but also with my personal collections. Bored? Rearrange books. Stressed? Rearrange books. Got more books? Rearrange books. Books and bookshelves hold so many possibilities; how can you not love tinkering with them?

My books (and bookshelves) are somewhat unevenly distributed, with the majority of my books still living at my parents’ house. I live less than an hour away from them (my parents and my books), which is good because I adore them (my parents and my books).

(Note: because I have an excessive number of books, my “bookshelves” are sometimes actually just dedicated floor space. I couldn’t leave those out, though, since some of my favorite books are there!)

So, let’s start in my room in my parents’ house first.

Photo 1What’s on it: Graphic novels, YA fiction, YA anthologies

How it’s arranged: By the broad genres above, then alphabetically by author

Standout books: My Harry Potters (which survived my tumultuous love-hate-love relationship with them), A Series of Unfortunate Events box set (the best birthday present a sixteen year old could ask for)

Photo 2What’s on it: Classics, nonfiction, picture books, adult fiction

How it’s arranged: By subject or body of work and alphabetically

Standout books: Tess of the D’Urbervilles (a classic I actually liked reading, and for a class!), The Portable Thoreau and other Thoreau books my dad edited, Invisible Man, The Fin de Siecle: A Reader in Cultural History, c. 1880-1900 (my favorite book from my Decadent Literature class), The Philharmonic Gets Dressed (a favorite picture book)

Photo 3What’s on it: Children’s books

How it’s arranged: Vaguely by how much I like it, and whether or not I’ve read it?

Standout books: The Two Princesses of Bamarre, The Secret of Platform Thirteen, and many other childhood favorites

Photo 4What’s on it: Grammar books, memoir/biography and history books, mass-market paperbacks

How it’s arranged: On top by genre, on the shelf by color

Standout books: Airborn, The Gospel According to Larry, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from the UK, lots of Tamora Pierce, Red Scarf Girl

Now, let’s check out my apartment!

Photo 5Welcome to my book nook! This is where I delicately shove all of the books I have in my apartment.

Photo 6What’s on it: Books for class

How it’s arranged: Currently by recommended and required and by size

Standout books: Peter and Wendy, The Wind in the Willows, Winnie-the-Pooh

Photo 7What’s on it: Nonfiction, authors coming to the area, library books, theory/reference

How it’s arranged: By the above categories and not much else

Standout books: Code Name Verity, Port Chicago 50, Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys, Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature (these two sociological/cultural texts were completely worldview-changing for me)

Photo 8What’s on it: Oversized, collections of authors or series, browsable, fiction (children’s, YA, adult); on the sides are graphic novels, mass-market paperbacks, and picture books

How it’s arranged: By type listed above, then by size, interest, or color

Standout books: Inkheart, Dealing with Dragons, Sense and Sensibility, Hamlet, Ella Enchanted, books signed by the authors (Flora and the Flamingo given to me by my sister; Journey given to me by my boss; The Fault in Our Stars after the 2012 Tour de Nerdfighting), too many other incredible books to list.

Since the school year is about to kick into gear, my reading of these tomes will have to be put on hold until next summer. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to make do with rearranging them.

Photo 9Kazia Berkley-Cramer is a graduate student at Simmons, where she is working towards an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library and Information Science. When she’s not working, homeworking, or reading for fun, she can usually be found marathoning television shows and getting excited about the intersection of social justice and pop culture. You can find her occasionally tweeting here, more frequently reblogging things on tumblr here, and see what non-picturebook books she’s been reading this year here.  

Thanks for tuning in! Join us next Friday for a Project: Bookshelf wrap up for a look back at all the wonderful posts we’ve had this summer.  Can’t wait that long? Visit the Project: Bookshelf archive.



Project: Bookshelf with Annie Cardi

Welcome to PROJECT: BOOKSHELF, a continuing series in which Mackenzi Lee tries to read every book on her bookshelf in the course of a summer while friends, writers, and readers drop in to tell us about their respective shelves. This week, we are joined by Annie Cardi whose debut novel, The Chance You Won’t Return, is absolutely stellar and I’m honestly a bit confused as to why you’re still reading this instead of running immediately to your local independent bookstore to get yourself a copy. She has some bookshelf confessions to share with us this week….

But first, let’s take a look at my reading wrap-up.

This week, from my collection of unread books on my shelf, I read…

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

  • Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
  • Where I Got It: Advanced copy from the bookstore. Also MarcyKate is both a fellow Bostonian and debut 2015 author, so I was super excited to get this one!
  • What I thought: This book is pitched as Frankenstein meets the Brothers Grimm, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s a beautiful love letter to classic fairytales and modern fantasy, and I think it would be a great book for kids transitioning out of middle grade and into YA.

Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell

  • Genre: YA magical realism
  • Where I got it: Courtesy copy from work
  • What I thought: This book is so creative, and so atmospheric, and so Maine. All of those are things that I love…but I didn’t love this book. I think it just lacked some tension, and needed just a little more going on to really keep me engaged.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

  • Genre: YA dystopian
  • Where I got it: So technically this is Marx’s book. But it’s on the bookshelf in the living room that we share. So it comes from my bookshelf. So it counts.
  • What I thought: The ending didn’t quite live up to all the build up, but over all it was a fast, enjoyable read and I’m super excited for the movie. I think the visuals will translate really well to film.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

  • Genre: YA contemporary realism
  • Where I got it: Another advanced copy of a fellow 2015 debut-ers book
  • What I thought: I knocked this one out in a single sitting. Without even meaning to. It just sort of happened. It’s a very heartfelt and sincere look at depression and suicide, and the use of physics to look at those subjects is brilliant. I also love the family dynamics at the core of this book, and the question of if children are destined to become their parents. Guys, there are so many great debut novels coming out next year! Get excited.

And now, meet Annie and her bookshelf!

I get nervous in a house without a lot of books. If I go to someone’s house, one of the first things I do is check out their bookshelf—not even purposefully, but because it’s the most interesting thing in the room. (Okay, if they have a dog or cat, I crouch down to pet said fuzzyface while checking out the bookshelves.)

Bookshelves can also tell you a lot about someone—what they generally like to read, what they enjoy enough to buy, what they love enough o have multiple copies of, how organized they are, etc. etc. Since I can’t invite all of you over to scan my shelves, here are a few of my bookshelf confessions:

photo 1Confession #1: Organization is for libraries and bookstores…

When I want to borrow or buy a book, I appreciate shelves organized by category and author’s last name. At home, things are a lot more haphazard. I try to keep things arranged by general category (YA, fiction, nonfiction, etc.) but within those categories authors get mixed up and books in a series get separated and sometimes books are shuffled into different categories if there’s not enough room on a shelf.

Confession #2: …Except when it comes to color.

One bookshelf is organized by color, ROYGBIV-style, with black and white at the end. I’m actually way more likely to find a book on this bookshelf, because mostly I remember a physical book by how it looks.

Confession #3: I judge books by their covers.

The bookshelf in our living room, the one that gets seen most by guests? Yeah, books are specifically selected for that shelf based on how pretty their covers/spines are. (Books that are especially cool or emotionally important also get priority.)

Confession #4: You can find me in the YA section.

I write YA, so it makes sense that I would have a solid collection of YA novels. It’s one of the categories I buy the most, and I have several shelves devoted entirely to YA.

photo 2Confession #5: Rereading is my excuse for buying more books.

I’ve always been a rereader. When I was younger, I’d reread books all the time—even just paging through sections that I enjoyed. I reread less now, but when I want to read a book and have to choose between buying it or getting it from the library, I ask myself, “Will I want to reread this?” If I do, it goes on the purchase list. If not, I get it from the library first, and then if I love it, I can buy it and add it to the collection.

Confession #6: My books stay on my shelves.

There are generous people in the world who, when you say “Oh, I want to read that,” will take that book off their shelves and give it to you and tell you that you can give it back whenever. I am not one of those people. I lost two copies of The Princess Bride in high school by lending them out, and I still haven’t gotten over the loss. (I’m petty, yes, but they were my books and they don’t make that cover anymore!) If I let you borrow a book, it means I deeply trust you as a human being. You might be named a godparent at some point.

Books are more than just the words on the pages. They contain all the excitement and emotions of your reading experience, all the memories that surrounded your reading experience. They’re a little part of who you are, right there for you to see.

*Some books also from husband’s collection; love means never having to ask to read a book.

Annie CardiAnnie Cardi holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and a BA from the University of Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in The Georgetown Review, Vestal Review, Juked, and other publications. In 2011, PEN New England selected her as a winner of the Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award for the manuscript that would become her debut young adult novel, The Chance You Won’t Return. Annie lives near Boston with her husband and a portrait of a sea captain. You can find her sharing funny gifs and pictures of corgis at: Blog Facebook Twitter Tumblr.

Thanks for tuning in! Join us next Friday for our final edition of Project: Bookshelf.  Can’t wait that long? Visit the Project: Bookshelf archive.



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Project: Bookshelf with Kylie Brien

Welcome to PROJECT: BOOKSHELF, a continuing series in which Mackenzi Lee tries to read every book on her bookshelf in the course of a summer while friends, writers, and readers drop in to tell us about their respective shelves. This week, we are joined by Kylie Brien, a bookseller, writer, and fangirl with a serious addiction to buying books. 

But first, let’s take a look at my reading wrap-up.

This week, from my collection of unread books on my shelf, I read…

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

  • Genre: YA Gothic/pseudo-historical fantasy
  • Where I got it: Advanced reading copy sent to the bookstore
  • What I thought: You might not know this, but I have been praying for a Gothic, steampunk reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera with a little bit of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle thrown in. And that is exactly what Sarah Fine delivers. I loved this book. Very creepy, very visceral, very smart retelling.

Bloody Jack by LA Meyer

  • Genre: YA historical fiction
  • Where I got it: Free books from work!
  • What I Thought: Not sure how I haven’t read this book before, because it is everything I love. Voicey historical fiction with a smart ass protagonist who does the right thing in spite of thinking herself cowardly. Also cross dressing. And sass. Did I mention the sass?

And now, meet Kylie and her bookshelves! 

Working at a bookstore became the catalyst for a book-buying problem—well, some (i.e. my coworkers, family, and friends) would say problem. I say “I just really like books” and everyone else says “but Kylie, you have like fifty that you haven’t read.” Except for my dad who gently reminds me, “Kylie, you have to pay rent.” The most important thing here is that I don’t consider the entire bookshelf of unread books a problem. I think of it as an investment.


Everything on this bookshelf is unread.

I’m building towards having my own library one day when I’m a homeowner. I’m talking like a Beauty and the Beast style library that I will present as a grand gesture of love and friendship…to myself.

Beauty and the Beast

While I’m slowly plowing through my investments, I have a shelf full of read books that hold some of my favorites.


This is my shelf of read books and textbooks.

I’ve compiled a list of books I’ve loved that have made it from the unread shelf to the read shelf in the past year:

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: This book is gorgeous. I want to live inside of this book. I have a grand plan to run away from home and join the Night Circus. I think I would make a good mime. I’d even help clean up after the lions or something.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami: This is the first Murakami book I’ve ever read and from it, I learned that I love his writing. I want to read anything and everything he has ever written. I just don’t want to run. Like ever.

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak: This book is full of smart and funny stories. Reading this collection has solidified my giant crush on B.J. Novak. (No, but really, B.J. if you’re reading this: wanna take me on a date sometime?)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Someone out there gets me and every other girl who spent the better part of her teenage years writing fanfiction at a time when fanfiction was still fanfiction and not—well, I’m sure you’ve all seen the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer by now.

Matilda by Roald Dahl: This book and every adaptation of it hold a special place in my heart. To this day whenever I eat cereal, I put on Send Me On My Way and try to use my mental powers to help me eat it. (It only works sometimes.) I just really relate to the voracious reader in Matilda but also, I want magic powers.

I highly recommend all of these books. Read them. Go. Go out and buy them right now—or if you don’t have an addiction to investing in books like I do, borrow them from your library. This option is probably better if you have to pay rent.

Kylie PhotoKylie M. Brien is a writer, reader, and bookseller who lives in Boston and has great aspirations to travel to Wonderland, Oz, and Hogwarts but settle down in Neverland (most likely she’ll be a pirate). You can follow her blog. And occasionally she tweets. 

Thanks for tuning in! Join us next Friday for more Project: Bookshelf.  Can’t wait that long? Visit the Project: Bookshelf archive.

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in which I sign off for a time

Hello friends and mortal enemies alike.

First of all, can we talk about the new blog banner? I’m kind of in love with it. It was done by my lovely sister, the MT, and if you like it and/or want one of your own, you can like her page on the Facebook. She really captured my essence, don’t you think? Thoughtful with a hint of conniving. She even gave me Azula eyebrows. Love.

Anyways, to business. Things have been rather grand at Chateau de Lee lately. Grand, but busy, and not conducive to blogging. Some happenings of late:

My friend Rose Tyler and I stayed a week in a lighthouse on an uninhabited island off the coast of Maine1. Marx and I bought not-so-spontaneous airline tickets to Switzerland for October. My new trivia team, Kiss Me Hardy, did moderately well last Monday. I found out I will be teaching a fiction workshop in the fall. Been reading lots, both in and out of work. Trying to maybe whip the tulip novel into something book shaped. Eating a lot of frozen yogurt now that the frozen yogurt shop across the street from me has reopened. Got new glasses. And a new coat. Which I can’t wear yet, because summer.

And then yesterday in the mail, I got a lovely package from my editor at HarperCollins containing my red-lined manuscript and essentially my last chance to make any big changes to my book before it is out of my hands. It makes me want to scream and cry and laugh all at the same time. Scraugh?

So from now until September second, my life belongs to this book and not to this blog, so don’t count on me being around much. Project: Bookshelf will continue as scheduled. In the meantime, you should visit the Fearless Fifteeners, my debut group of YA and MG authors with first novels coming out in 2015, and enter the super awesome end of summer giveaway we are hosting. You might just win a copy of Gris Grimley’s Frankenstein and a piece of steampunk jewelry from me. Or you know, other less awesome things.

Until we meet again.

  1. And did not get murdered, as much as this sounds like the start of every horror movie ever.
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Project: Bookshelf with Anna-Marie McLemore

Welcome to PROJECT: BOOKSHELF, a continuing series in which Mackenzi Lee tries to read every book on her bookshelf in the course of a summer while friends, writers, and readers drop in to tell us about their respective shelves. This week, we are joined by Anna-Marie McLemore, whose magical debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, comes out next year (and guys, you’re going to want to put this one on your “buy the moment it comes out” list. Or maybe your “will sell my soul for an ARC” list. It’s infuriatingly beautiful.) 

But first, let’s take a look at my reading wrap-up.

This week, from my collection of unread books on my shelf, I read…

The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde

  • Genre: YA urban fantasy
  • Where I got it: Let’s just say through creative connections.
  • What I thought: My love affair with the Kazam Chronicles has been no secret, and this one, the third, might actually be my favorite out of the bunch. My only complaint was that there was not nearly enough quarkbeast.

The Broken Lands by Kate Milford

  • Genre: YA historical fantasy
  • Where I got it: Free bookshelf at work. Man I love that free bookshelf
  • What I thought: I liked this one a lot. It’s very vivid, and the history and magic are both very alive and well drawn. But I just never felt it. None of the emotional connection I really wanted. I will, however, be picking up its sequel, The Boneshaker. 

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

  • Genre: Middle grade historical fiction
  • Where I got it: So I bought myself a copy of this with the intention of having Lois sign it at the Susan Bloom Awards. But me, being a forgetful moron who was totally caught up in everything else going on, totally forgot to have her sign it. F.
  • What I thought: I had read this book before, many years when I was in elementary school, and it was one of the first books I remember really loving. Reading it as an adult, I’m even more impressed with how tight and powerful this book is. What a great story about empathy, love, and courage. Bravo, bravo Miss Lois!

And now, meet Anna-Marie and her bookshelf! 

lepetitprinceWhen Mackenzi asked me to join in on Project: Bookshelf, maybe I should have mentioned that I don’t have one.

I have a dresser that I keep a few books in. A freestanding counter in my kitchen that I store some books under. But I don’t actually have a bookshelf.

Two years ago, I was working part-time, the Boy had just gotten out of school and was looking for a job, and our apartment search was getting a little desperate. For many of the places we saw, we did not meet the income requirements. For a few, we were told in thinly veiled terms that we could apply, but they would never rent to us. I don’t think there’s anybody else like you around here. Or, You’d probably be happier somewhere else. Or, what do you mean, you’re married?

We knew what they meant. The Boy is transgender, and did not pass as a biological male.

AMbookshelfThen we found a tiny but adorable studio apartment, and with it, a property manager who didn’t seem to the mind the look of us the way so many others had. A week later, we were moved in, and it was just as well that we had no bookshelf since we didn’t have the wall space for it.

So I only unpacked a few of my books, slipped some into a free space in the cube storage unit we used as a dresser, found a place for a few in the kitchen, and tried to settle into the feeling of not knowing where our lives were going next.

A few months later, the Boy, thankfully, got a job. We might have been able to move somewhere a little bigger, somewhere with enough space that the Boy and I did not have something just short of a romantic interlude every time we wanted to get by each other at the dresser or the kitchen sink. But we’d gotten attached to our tiny but adorable apartment, our neighborhood, the sound of the chickens that lived down the block.

lovespeaksitsnameHalf my books are still in boxes. I rotate them in and out by mood, by season. Every March, I pack up my old set of The Chronicles of Narnia, like folding away a favorite winter coat. My Allende and my Saint-Exupéry come out right around the time the first crocuses are breaking up through the cold ground.

At first I saw it as an annoyance to dig through boxes every time I wanted to reread Sophie’s World or pull out the book of poetry I’d bought in Bloomsbury. But then I grew to like it, this minimalism of only having on hand the books I needed and wanted. It made it easier to take in all the power and beauty of all those words, just a few at a time.

One day, the Boy and I will have a bookshelf, a whole one. We’ll display all our books at once. But for now we’ll enjoy our little apartment, and the rhythm of putting books away and taking them out, rediscovering their pages like meeting up with old friends.

AMbookshelfbiophotoAnna-Marie McLemore writes from her Mexican-American heritage and the love for stories she learned from her family. She lives in California’s Central Valley with a boy from the other side of the Rockies. Her debut novel THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a YA contemporary love story with a magical twist, will be released in 2015 from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. You can find her on Facebook or Twitter @laannamarie.

Thanks for tuning in! Join us next Friday for more Project: Bookshelf.  Can’t wait that long? Visit the Project: Bookshelf archive.

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Project: Bookshelf with Rin Chupeco

Welcome to PROJECT: BOOKSHELF, a continuing series in which Mackenzi Lee tries to read every book on her bookshelf in the course of a summer while friends, writers, and readers drop in to tell us about their respective shelves. This week, we are joined by Rin Chupeco, whose delightfully creepy novel, THE GIRL FROM THE WELL, hits shelves on August 5. 

But first, let’s take a look at my reading wrap-up.

This week, from my collection of unread books on my shelf, I read…

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

  • Genre: YA contemporary romance/time travel lite
  • Where I got it: Won in a giveaway I don’t remember entering. So one day this book just showed up on my doorstep, and I did not complain.
  • What I thought: I knew going into it this book was not the sort of thing I usually enjoy. So while I enjoyed it more than I do more contemporaries, this novel was too heavy on the romance and too light on the time travel for me to really enjoy it.

Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

  • Genre: YA historical fantasy
  • Where I got it: ARC from the bookstore
  • What I thought: YA historical fantasy–my genre! And while this one was a little slow in places, it was so atmospheric and lush. It helped that I read it while I was in Maine and it’s set in a whaling town off the coast of New England.

And now, meet Rin and her bookshelf!

I would like to make a rather embarrassing confession: I am not a very organized person, even when it comes to my own books. I don’t particular care about arranging volumes in their proper order, as expected of any decent bibliophile; half of the time I don’t even lump books from the same series in the same bookshelf, much less in the same row.

bookshelfYou’d think I’d have more respect for the writers whose books I’ve bought to, at the very least least, stack my collections in their proper orders, instead of the haphazard fashion they almost always find themselves in.

The problem with my bookshelf, I have found, is that 1.) one bookshelf alone is about three rows deep, which means I have to keep reaching in and taking out books to get to the particular novel I want, (which is trying for my patience, which I only have a bit more of than a sense of neatness); and 2.) I never run out of books to buy, which only makes my problems with #1 even worse.

I tried to be neater about the whole thing, I really did. I spent a considerable amount of time agonizing over which books should be donated to the nearest local charities in a bid to decrease the number I have to manage on my shelves. I tried stacking them in piles on my floor first – my prized Nancy Drew hardcovers in this pile, Agatha Christie murder mysteries over here, forensic and criminal profile books in the next, my David Eddings and Robert Jordan books in the one next to it. I even attempted to arrange them according to date of publication whenever I could.

It lasted for about a week. Once I realized I had to take out virtually my whole Death Gate cycle and Dragonlance collection to reach in and grab my Mafia nonfiction books, the whole notion of organizing to make my bookcase look pretty flew out the window.

Now, my system for locating books is that I don’t have any. I have a fairly good idea of which row a particular book I’m looking for is located at despite the mess, so it only takes about five minutes of groping about before I find it. That isn’t to say that on rare occasions I have spent half an hour hunting down a particular novel because it wasn’t where I thought it was, and often accompanying that search is the conviction that maybe I really ought to arrange all these more properly, but that only lasts until five minutes after said book has been located.

Now, it looks like I can’t be bothered to take care of my books, which is not the case at all. All my new books remain in good condition despite appearances. I also have a habit of buying books at discount bins or secondhand (mostly the hard-to-finds, like my treasured Gormenghast series) and I like dog-eared books that are a bit worse for wear as much as I like new books and new-book smells. I like books that look to have been thoroughly devoured by many other eyes and hands before they’ve been passed into mine. I like books that look like other people had enjoyed reading them, and had read them often.

In a very odd way, how I arrange my books is similar to the way I tackle my writing and my writing habits. I have no set rules when I sit down to begin or finish a story; I don’t always have a plot structure, or even a plot in mind when I begin to type, and I tend to wing it as I go along. I pay dearly for it when it comes to fixing up all those plot contradictions that undoubtedly crop up – but in the long run, making no restrictions over how the book should be written has served me well. I like the promise of chaos, of knowing about not knowing how the book will shape out until I’ve written it.

And so my Stephen King and Peter Straub books rarely ever sit side by side. There is at least one Boris Akunin mystery in every shelf I own; I think there are two on the bottom row. Infinite Jest, which I bought from a friend, will probably never share the same immediate space as The Pale King or Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, but I think David Foster Wallace himself might appreciate my (lack of a) filing system, which comes off almost as manic as his own novels.

Because sometimes it’s not about having a system.

rinDespite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Her work, The Girl from the Well, is a YA psychological horror novel due out in Fall 2014. She is represented by Nicole LaBombard and Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency.
You can visit her website, follow her on Twitter, and friend her on Goodreads. And don’t forget to add THE GIRL FROM THE WELL on Goodreads or pre-order on Amazon (note from Mackenzi: Or your local indie!)
So THE GIRL FROM THE WELL is downright scary. Think you need something to cuddle with while you read it? Never fear! Rin is giving away one tiny crocheted ghost for comfort.
Want to win it? (Of course you do, because it’s adorable) Fill out the Rafflecopter and check back next week! 

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