Lost and Found

Hello Readers!

So, remember when I was lamenting the loss of some of my books in progress? I just found one of them again yesterday! It’s Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and I have just finished reading it. I believe I started it quite a while back, I mean, perhaps as far back as September or October even.

However, I sadly lost it just as things were getting really exciting in the storyline, and here’s the reason why: I’m a book sleeper- I have always liked to read before bed, and in graduate school I developed a (bad? Or Good?) habit of keeping my books close at hand, piled on the side of the bed in heaps. That worked pretty well when I had a bed on the floor, but apparently it does not work so well when the bed is raised.

Very nice tree. I really just wanted to post a tree picture 😉

I found the book tucked away under my bed, amongst a few other items I have been searching for, some for months. Next time I lose a book, I am looking here first.

Will be back with a review for you soon about this novel! I am also curious to know your experiences with books before sleep. Do you leave your books piled on your bed? Do you have a bookshelf next to your bed? I am looking for some strategies for managing this better in the future, and will hopefully be able to continue my reading habits of many at a time, without losing more of my books.


Miss E


Reading Moby Dick (Again)

Here are the 10 Reasons I need to re-read Moby Dick:

  1. One should probably do this at least once every three years, just as a general practice.
  2. I love this novel so much I painted a mural on my door, as discussed in this previous post.
  3. My tattoo of the future (I’ve been wafting on this for years) is inspired by Moby Dick, and I need some ideas for completing the design. I know that I am not the only one to want a Moby Dick tattoo- I have found a lot of them, some of which are on my Pinterest.

    Western Washington coast- drifted log on the beach. I live by an ocean now- that also probably means I should read Moby Dick again, right?

  4. I would like to revamp an old paper I wrote about the novel and send it off to a scholarly journal.
  5. I miss it.
  6. I want to paint another mural.
  7. I want to read it again after having a Masters and see how that changes my reading.
  8. It can be reviewed, lovingly, on the blog in one or multiple posts, thus contributing to the book reviews requested in one of my previous polls.
  9. I will probably be using it for tutoring soon- one of my students has shown an interest in reading it, which of course makes me very happy.
  10. There is really not a good reason I can come up with not to re-read it 🙂

I also found this really interesting blog of an artist who seems also very obsessed with Moby Dick, and makes artwork based on every page of the novel.

What do you think of Moby Dick? How many times have you read it, if any? If you have not read it, why not?

Happy Friday,

Miss E

National Library Week

Hello readers,

This is the third to the last day of National Library Week. While I love the idea of National Library Week, I also feel like every week in my life could be a library holiday. What a great idea though!

Not a library, but a place for books nonetheless...

I guess this could be a great week to check out my neighborhood branch of the Seattle Public Library 🙂

Is anyone going to the conferences or doing something special to participate?


Miss E

Review: The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

I have been reading the God of Animals, by Aryn Kyle, and although I am very close to being done, I am ready to review it for you. After buying this book during grad school as one of my “fun” books for when I had spare time to read more fiction, it has been moved around the country, and has been sitting on my shelf for many months now, without more than a second thought.

I was intrigued by both the title and the cover, since the animal shape in relief with another layer under the title page in a contrasting color reminded me a little bit of Mark Haddon’s the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime, one of my all time favorite novels.  

Honestly, I loved this book while I was reading it, but I had to take a break. I stopped reading it because this is one powerful book. Don’t let the childlike horse on the cover fool you- Aryn Kyle attempts to reverse any happy associations you might have had with horses, horse-rearing, ranch life, or romantic notions of what it is like to grow up in a ranching community.

Instead of a horse story, what we get as readers is a claustrophobic “coming of age” story that is filled with anxiety, discomfort, and people who have no understanding of emotional and psychological boundaries. I didn’t sleep for an entire night after reading the majority of it- there are some very disturbing elements of the novel, and things that you read that you can’t really “un see.”

Reading the God of Animals in the coffee shop as well- couldn't put it down so I took it with me for writing breaks...

The brutality and matter of fact negativity that Alice witnesses on a daily basis really seems to make her a pragmatist early on in life, but in the worst of ways. She has glimmers of hope throughout the text in the goodness of humanity, but she usually does not have her even low expectations met. She has a very unstable home life, and although she wants acceptance from her father, she fears her mother, and does not receive affection from either of her parents.

I think the writing is pretty incredible, and this is Kyle’s first published novel. Her characters are complex, and she does not shy away from real family issues. I cannot tell you too much about the plot, because there are some shockers, but the story begins with the protagonist telling us about a girl at school who drowned in the ravine walking home from school. We also soon find out that she lives with her parents on a horse ranch, her “do nothing wrong” award-winning sister has recently abandoned the family to marry a cowboy, and her mother has severe depression and potentially agoraphobia- she is also sometimes psychologically manipulative to her child and husband, and lives in her own land of self pity and misery.

Alice’s overarching motive as a character is a never-ending search for love she has never known. The way readers are privy to her thoughts about social interaction is a fascinating and really well-done aspect of the piece. She describes people in a distant and almost chilly way, and does not seem to understand what compassion or empathy feel like. Although there are moments when readers are encouraged to understand Alice as pitiable, since she truly does not understand love, on a certain level she is also an unreliable narrator and has some sociopathic tendencies to detach. This creates a really interesting, but very uncomfortable reader position throughout the novel.

For example, early on in the novel she is wondering what it would be like to attend a funeral, but from a very ego-centric standpoint. She attempts to present herself as a friend of the deceased various times throughout the book, even lying at times about her actions and relationship to her dead classmate, and desires attention and potentially even affection as a result of her classmate’s death. However, it is constantly often Alice’s experience in this novel that only the wealthy, and kids without the same depth of familial problems seem to have the luxury of grief, love, and a chance to make friends.

Alice’s detached narration often seems to come as the result of seeing the hopes and dreams of those around her fail, and although she is hard on herself, her parents put a large amount of responsibility and knowledge on her shoulders.

To find out more about the book, you will have to read it yourself, because I can’t give much more away without giving away too much.

I am giving this book 4-5 stars. I would recommend this book but with caution. If you are looking for a piece of really interesting fiction exploring family issues, then you should check it out. However, be warned that you will be put in an uncomfortable place as a reader, and that this is one of those books that is very difficult to put down once you get started, so give yourself some time to finish it if you plan to start.

Also know that this is the type of book that will stick with you for a while, and not necessarily in a happy way. I really appreciate that this novel addresses some serious issues in a unique and hard way, and that there is really nothing friendly about it. It is obvious that Aryn Kyle’s first novel is a brave one.

Read with some sort of cheap beer, like PBR or Rainier, but probably not with food- it’s not really the type of book you want to eat while reading.

Kindest Regards,



Hello readers,

Here is a guest blog I wrote for Miss Laurel Ann at Austenprose 🙂 Thank you for hosting me Laurel Ann! Have a great Friday!

Miss E

Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog

Jane Austen, by Cassandra AustenGentle readers: We are happy to add the story of another conversion to Jane to our monthly column, Reading Austen. Today’s guest blog is by Emma Mincks, who shares her personal story of how she discovered Jane Austen and why she is passionate about defending her.

My love affair with Jane Austen’s storytelling began early. I watched the Gwyneth Paltrow adaptation of Emma in eighth grade. At the time, the melodrama and internal conflict that Emma experiences during her discovery of love for Mr. Knightley resonated perfectly with my teenage angst and misunderstandings of love. It also didn’t hurt that the musical score was beautiful, that Emma was a painter (so was I), that she tried hopelessly to set up all her friends (so did I), or that she and I shared the same first name.

Throughout the years Miss Austen has inspired me as a writer and artist…

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Working in Seattle

Hello everyone! Hope your Tuesday/Wednesday is going well.

Lately I have been reading blogs that have “Wordless Wednesdays.” Have you ever heard of that? It’s when blogs have a series of pictures, or one picture instead of a prose post.

I do not think I’ll start doing Wordless Wednesdays, but I did want to share some fun pics I took of writing in Seattle yesterday with you. Nothing serious today- just fun Seattle sunshine and latte art from a place you should definitely check out- Zoka coffee shop.

The Space Needle with sun in Seattle

Love it when the sun comes out in Seattle!

With the flash!

Different angle- no flash.

Love the new pattern.

about 1/2 the way through

Ah, I love my coffee while writing. It makes me more productive, although I usually don’t order lattes. Just regular black coffee. I am also very glad to have finally found a few places that serve delicious lattes (although coffee is everywhere here, truly great coffee shops are bizarrely difficult to find in Seattle, which shocks me). Zoka definitely makes one of the best lattes I’ve ever had in my lifetime.

In other good news, these pictures were all taken with my cell phone camera, as are many of the ones I post here. If you have a larger screen, you might be grossed out by the poor image quality/ pixels. However, my wonderful friend gave me an old Nikon digital camera yesterday. As you might have guessed, I will use it to take pictures, and will then post those (way better than cell phone quality) pictures to the blog! I’m very excited about it, and hope that it will make your reading experience better.

Do you drink coffee while writing?  Something else? Nothing at all?

Let me know if you have any suggestions!


Miss E