Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Blogger Appreciation Week — Interview Swap

As part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week I had the privilege of interviewing a fellow book blogger about books, blogging, and everything in between.  Laura has an amazing blog, I'm Booking It, that you should all check out immediately.  While she and I differ on fundamental things like Ranger vs. Morelli and Eric vs. Bill (I mean, the answer is obviously Morelli and Eric every time), she's a fabulous reviewer and has turned me on to some great books.

Check out what Laura has to say here and go to her blog to see my interview!

1.  Tell me about yourself—Where you live, what you do, what hobbies you have (besides reading), basically what keeps you from reading and blogging. 

I'm a 41 year old stay at home mom living in Silicon Valley, trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up.  My main time commitments are related to my daughter-- volunteering at her school (Even in middle school, they want parents in the classroom.  I help with science and language arts each week.  I may do a book blogging unit with some of the kids!), driving her to and from rhythmic gymnastics practice (3-4 times a week) and dance class.

I also run two book clubs.  Outside of that, I have a lot of time to spend reading and blogging, and it shows in my monthly wrap-up posts.  (Well, I also spend too much time playing Farmville, and have been known to watch quite a bit of TV-- we'll see what happens when the new season starts up.  I spend much less time than I should on housework and such.).

2.  And of course tell me about your blog—what made you decide to start a blog?  Where'd you come up with the name?  What are your favorite aspects of having a book blog?

I started the blog as part of that "trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up".   I used to be in high tech, but since I've been out of my field for over 12 years, my experience isn't particularly relevant anymore.

I'd taken some classes, and wanted to get some hands on web experience, so I thought I'd start a blog-- the problem was coming up with something that people might actually be interested in reading.  I figured my experience with the two book clubs might count for something, and I decided on books.  I didn't go looking for other book blogs until after I started.

My blog name came out of my Twitter name (another experiment with the world of current technology).  I started out using my real name, but decided I wanted something shorter and more fun.  I decided on BookingIt because I'm always running off somewhere (book in hand).  That was taken when it came time to start my blog, but I'm Booking It seemed a natural extension.

My favorite aspects of having a book blog are mostly social-- I like the people I've met on-line (and it's particularly fun when we then meet off-line), and it gives me something to talk about when I meet people face to face.  The books themselves (the ones I get for review and the ones I find out about and buy myself) are a nice part of it as well.

3.  You have a daughter—does she know about your blog?  Do you do any reading together?  Does she influence what you read and blog about?

My daughter (who is 12) does know about my blog, and reads it at times.  We were going to do some reading and blogging together this past summer, but only got one post written.  We're starting to enjoy more of the same books and I'll sometimes talk in my reviews about whether or not I'll suggest a book to her, or what she thought if she's already read it.

4.  A hard question (for me at least): what's your favorite book?  Favorite genre?

I think my favorite book is probably The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King.  It's at least high enough on the list that I don't feel bad about singling it out.  I'm an eclectic reader, and prefer not to spend TOO much time in any one genre, but I probably lean most towards mysteries.

5. Do you have an e-reader?  Do you have any opinions on the digital direction publishing is moving in?

I have a Nook.  I enjoy it, and would probably use it more if it wasn't for the books I get for review.  With the huge piles of backlog I have, I tend to look at physical books when picking what to read next, even though I have great choices from NetGalley on my Nook!

I really don't know where digital publishing is going to go.   When talking to friends that read but don't have e-readers, the lack of being able to lend books is a big issue.  Even on my Nook, which has the capability to lend to other Nooks, less than c 1/2 the books I've bought have that option enabled.

6.  Who's your dream author interview?  Blogger interview (I mean, besides me :) )?

I'm scared of interviews!  This swap is my second interview ever, with the first being BBAW last year.

So far, I've passed up all opportunities to do author interviews on my blog.  If the chance to interview Laurie R. King, Charles de Lint, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman or Janet Evanovich came up, I'd take a deep breath and jump in, hoping I could find something interesting to ask about.  All five of them seem to be interesting and possibly approachable people.

If I wanted to interview another blogger, I think I'd be willing to just ask.  So far, the urge hasn't struck!

7.  What literary universe would you love to live in?

Maybe Thursday Next's, where she can jump in and out of books?

8.  Do you have any goals or plans for the future of your blog?  What one post or feature are you most proud of so far?

I want to move to a self hosted wordpress blog, so I can start playing more with the technical side of blogging.  I want to get more regular readers of my blog, and improve my Search Engine Optimization so that more people find me.

I can't come up with one post I'm most proud of, so I'll call out my Book Shots min-feature.  I occasionally post bookish photos, often featuring my cat or my daughter.

9.  What are the top five books you've read this year?

Only 5?

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Just missing the cutoff were
Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby
The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint

10.  I see you've read the Sookie Stackhouse books:  Eric or Bill?

Ummm, neither?  I'd take Eric over Bill, but (as in many romance novels) I don't see the appeal of either of them.  Sookie does, and that's enough (and I did like amnesiac Eric).  I did like the were-tiger, but I understand why that relationship went down the path it did.

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