✿Ring Around the Prose✿


March 2016

Currently reading: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Hello from it’s-actually-kinda-sunny Seattle!

I’m here exploring the city for a few days, and while sightseeing is definitely a priority, I’m having trouble putting down the books (pretty typical).

I started Neverwhere on the flight up and found Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children while browsing a comic book store in Pike Place Market.


There’s a wonderfully grassy area behind the market, facing the water, and I think I spent about an hour reading there. After a not-so-subtle signal from my grumbling stomach I moved on to an Irish pub nestled in a snug alleyway where I had some really delicious ginger sour ale (not pictured) and kept on reading (Miss Peregrine’s is really hard to put down I’ve found).


Have any of you read one or both of these works? What did you think?

And another independent bookstore closes its doors


Today a friend told me about a sale at a bookstore near my apartment. Usually I’m stoked about book sales at local bookstores: collections are slightly more eclectic; and if you’re lucky enough to develop a relationship with the owners, staff, and other patrons, you get some solid recommendations and information about other book-things like author readings and publishing events.

Usually I’m stoked about this type of stuff, but today was bittersweet. The book sale was more of a book giveaway. The store is closing because an increase in the minimum wage coupled with a decrease in foot traffic means it can no longer afford the rent. All the books that weren’t sold in the weeks before the store officially closed were kept outside for people to take for free.

Though I had only been to this particular bookstore a handful of times, there are other independent bookstores in my city that I visit regularly, and most of my book purchases happen in those stores. I think it’s important to support local businesses, but I also realize that convenience is a high priority for a lot of people and that’s often the reason why businesses like Amazon attract more customers.

I’m curious to know how many of you purchase books from local stores versus large sellers like Amazon. What makes you pick one over the other? Is it convenience? Is it price? Is it the selection? Is there a realistic balance we can set to make sure we’re supporting families who can’t compete with big stores on their own?

Meet Archimedes, my newest travel companion


Last year I wrote a short post about my thoughts on e-readers. In it I explained that while I appreciated their convenience, I didn’t feel the need to invest in one myself. Six months, three new travel plans, and one apartment-moving later I think I’m ready.

Without any further ado, meet Archimedes, my newest travel companion! She’s (yes, she’s a she) a 5th generation Kindle I bought used on Amazon.

I’m still a big fan of the printed word and don’t plan on replacing my carefully (okay, fine…more like haphazardly) curated bookshelves with Archimedes, but it’s nice having a portable library that fits in my purse, and I’m looking forward to taking her along on my upcoming travel trips.

Love ’em, hate ’em? What do you guys think about e-readers?

Hi! It’s your friendly neighborhood mini-library!

mini library

I drive by this outdoor mini-library every day, and today was the first time I saw it literally overflowing with books, so of course I had to take a picture. I also found a book by one of my favorite authors (The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman if you’re curious) so double-yay!

Any of you have a neighborhood mini-library you like to visit?

New reading lists are up!

I keep a small journal for book recommendations and realized that if I shared some of my to-read lists with you maybe you could give me more things to add (because I don’t have enough stuff to read already…)!

Current lists include essay collections, Haitian diaspora, understanding the 2016 U.S. political climate, and non-fiction reads. To access these lists simply hover over the “Reading Lists” tab in the menu above. Let me know what I can add!


Currently reading: Wuthering Heights


I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book…Have any of you read it? What do you think?

A personal lending library

A few days ago I wrote about starting a book club at work. While brainstorming ways to get my coworkers to join and motivate them to read more, I came up with the idea of a personal lending library.

The premise is simple: I would make available a list of books I have, a person would request a book from that list, and I would let them borrow it.

Two immediate thoughts that came to mind were:

  • Should there be a “due date” for coworkers to return the book?
  • Should there be a collateral in case the book is lost or damaged?

I’m sure there are other details I haven’t worked out yet, so please help me out! Do you have any advice or suggestions?

Review: Garnethill by Denise Mina


Brief synopsisGarnethill is the first book in the Garnethill trilogy. Maureen O’Donnell’s boyfriend is killed violently in her apartment. Despite her procuring an alibi and telling the police she didn’t commit the crime they don’t believe her because of her psychiatric history and tendency to lie. In order for Maureen to clear her name she sets out to find the actual murderer, which leads her to a decades-old scandal that took place at one of the facilities she was admitted to.

Rating✈  Travel companion

Long story shortA quick note before I begin: many of the novel’s themes center around sexual assault, mental illness, and domestic violence, which may be triggering to survivors. This review avoids specific details.

At 400 pages Garnethill seemed intimidating but it was a good read that I couldn’t put down. In fact, I had my nose buried in it while waiting backstage at a dance performance this past weekend (I finished about 10 minutes before my group went on stage).

Some readers found the pacing slow, but I thought it was done well. The novel is quick to start, something that I love (I’m not a fan of a long set-up), and the chapters after the murder are also fast and reflect Maureen’s agitation and frustration. There are several places in the book where the plot slows down and are good places for the reader to catch her breath. At the same time, Mina uses them for character development and you learn more about Maureen’s family and their troubled history. The ending is a little rushed, but satisfying, and gives the reader the option to stop there or continue with the trilogy Enough is resolved in Garnethill that you don’t have to keep reading.

Continue reading “Review: Garnethill by Denise Mina”

How do you start and maintain a book club at work?

Last year I invited my coworkers to join me in completing the 2015 Reading Challenge. We met once a month during lunch to talk about literature and reading, and everybody seemed to be enjoying getting to know each other through books. I even set up a poster outside my office door and encouraged people to track their progress.


After about the first four or five months, interest waned and fewer people came out to our book club meetings. I chalked it up to an increase in our client base (I work as a social worker and there are certain times in the year that we see more people applying for our programs), but that hasn’t changed even after I introduced this year’s reading challenge.

Do any of you have advice on how to keep a work book club going? Thanks in advance!

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