Tag Archives: Matilda

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 watch the Tonys

Last night was one of my favorite nights of the year—Tony Tony Tony!

Correct, it was the 67th annual Tony awards, celebrating the best1 that Broadway has to offer. In spite of the fact that what was clearly the best musical of the season hardly won anything, I am still a devoted Tony fan, and I was excited this year that I was able to join my family at our annual viewing party at Magwitch’s house, since it was she who took me to my first Broadway play. We all cheered on the Tonys like most people cheer on professional sporting events.


Posters from the first shows Magwitch and I saw.

Though my pick for the season, Matilda2, only took home a smattering of the awards it should have, I was excited to see Pippin walk away with four, though frankly it could have won everything and I would have still thought it deserved more3.


The MT and Mum prepare for the Tonys with identical manic grins

I had a very unexpectedly theatrical week. Between the Tonys, auditioning for my first show in a long time, and seeing a lovely production of one of my favorite musicals, I felt myself looking backwards at the girl I used to be with big Broadway dreams of her own. They don’t belong to me anymore, but they will always still be a part of me, and a part of who I am will always belong to the theater. Even though that’s not the direction I went with my life, I owe so much of myself to directors, performers, drama teachers, playwrights, fellow actors, technicians, and audiences. More than anything, I owe them a deep and abiding love for storytelling that began in the theater and has carried into my career as an author.


Just like Neil Patrick Harris said in his absolutely brilliant opener; “There’s a kid in the middle of nowhere sitting and living for Tony performances and singing and flipping along with the Pippins and Wickeds and Kinkys, Matildas, and Mormonses. So it might reassure that kid and do something to spur that kid cause I promise that all of us up here tonight, we were that kid.”

That was me. That still is me—that kid at home wanting to do something amazing that makes other people feel as much as theater has always made me.

Theater, I love you. Broadway, I love you, and I always will. Even when you give Kinky Boots the Tony over Matilda.


  1. Theoretically
  2. Which I love because it combines my three great loves—children’s lit, musical theater, and England
  3. You remember the story of when I saw Pippin, don’t you?
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