1. What made you decide to start blogging? What's been the highlight so far?
I have a terrible habit of reading a book, declaring that I love it to one and all, and then not being able to remember what actually happened in it. I thought that if I set up a blog--something public to keep me honest, so to speak--and posted a review for every book I read, I'd be less likely to forget them. In my short time blogging, the highlight has been the fact that things have gone in a very different direction from where I thought they could go. I'm doing author interviews, hosting giveaways and reviewing new and unreleased books. In generally, I just feel lucky to be involved in this amazing community
2. Have other bloggers helped you out with suggestions and tips?
Absolutely! (And that absolutely can't be big enough!) When I was first starting out, I was completely clueless, and was happy to chug along doing my own reviews (and getting no readers, incidentally). But then I started following other book blogs, and I saw what they were doing. What a blast it would be to review new books and host giveaways and all that exciting hoopala!With that in mind, I reached out to a couple of bloggers whose blogs I particularly admire. (I would love to name names and give credit where credit is due, but I know I would miss someone, so let me just say: thank you from the bottom of my heart to those who know who you are.) From there, I've had a lot of hard work, and my blog still isn't where I want it, but I couldn't been close to where I am without the help of other bloggers.
3. Beside blogs, what other sources do you use to discover new books?
Well, I suppose I could use the metaphor of a tree. The trunk consists of the authors I already know and love; I'll almost always buy their new books. Then there are branches: authors that the original authors mention, authors I hear mentioned in the same context with the original authors, and so on. Then--in a separate, nearby shrub--there are the recommendations I cull from non-blog reviews. I don't follow many particular publications, so it's mostly what catches my eye in waiting rooms or check-out lines.Sorry for the completely nonsensical answer to your very simple question. The idea seemed like it was going to go somewhere.
4. I see in your blog, that your grandmother owns (ed?) a used bookstore. Do you tend to buy a lot of your books at used bookstores? Would you rather shop in the store or online?
Yes, my grandmother did own a used bookstore; she retired and sold it when I was about twelve, to my great sadness. And your question brings me to a very, very awful confession: I have a big problem with used books. I never did when I was younger, but at some point towards the end of college, some OCD part of me took over. Anything used that couldn't really be washed started making me feel creepy-crawly. I so strongly support the plight of the used bookstores, too. I saw how difficult my grandmother had it, and I see how much worse things have become. In my entire neighboorhood, there's one used bookstore. One! In a entire Manhattan neighborhood! So I do buy from used bookstores and just close my eyes and repeat a silly little mantra to get past my OCD. All this also answers your second question: I prefer brick-and-morter; however, I'm not immune to economic incentives, so I also shop online for new books.
5. I see that you just celebrated a wedding anniversary; congratulations! How long have you been married? Any human or furry children?
Thanks! We've been married the big one (that sounds so silly). It's been one wonderful, lovely year, and if ever my blog makes it seem that I'm reading very slowly, that's all my husband! No children of any kind yet; our small apartment makes the former unworkable and my husband's allergies make the latter undoable.
6. You're a writer, too. Is that something you studied in school?
Sadly, no. If I could go back in time, I definitely would take some classes! I hope to have the opportunity to study creative writing in the future, but for now, it remains a very fun and fulfiling hobby. And if ever I were to become indepentantly wealthy, writer would suddenly become my full-time profession. (Well, maybe travel writer.)
7. What brought you to Manhattan's Upper West Side?
My husband's job was what brought us to New York. We chose the Upper West Side for a few reasons. A sense of community is very palpable, and the little things that are important to us--mainly, quick access to great food--were right there. It's somewhat odd being among the younger members of the neighborhood; most of the people in our building are about ten years older and have families already. In that sense, maybe the West Village would've made more sense!
8. Last book you bought?
Ooh, you're asking me to remember "the last" something; that never turns out well! I'm almost positive that it was The Curtain by Milan Kundera. Kundera is one of my favorite authors, so I snatch up anything of his that I don't already have.
9. What was your favorite book from childhood?
Now this one is absolutely impossible to answer; I could never pick just one. Top contenders, though, would include: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, Little House on the Praire by Laura Ingalls Wilder, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The Islands of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss, The Giver by Lois Lowry. You know. Just to name a few.
10. Where is your favorite place to read?
Oddly, I almost never read in those comfortable places that invite curling up to read: the couch, the park, the bed. I'm the type that finds time to get reading in wherever and whenever I can. Typical places include on the bus, while cooking, waiting in lines, even--and I wouldn't recommend this--while walking. While walking may be my favorite; even the dullest book gets a little more spice that way.
You've got to admire someone who's favorite way to read is while walking! Be sure to check out Lesley's site and you can find her interview of me here.