We’re excited to bring you our December Book Blogger Spotlight! This is where we chat with one of our bloggers, ask them to share some of their favorite authors, the books they can’t live without, and find out how they came to book blogging.
What made you want to start a book blog?
I’ve actually been blogging since 2004 and I used to post about books I loved on my personal blog. Back in July 2007 I followed the lead of a close friend of mine and began blogging about books in a separate space. I never thought I’d be able to keep up with a second blog and I was sure that it would just end up gathering dust. Though here I am over 5 years later and I tend to blog more often on Beyond Books than on my personal blog!
What’s your favourite reading spot?
I generally curl up on the couch in my living room, wrapped up in a blanket with one of my two dogs snoring away beside me. Not the most exciting of reading spots, but it’s certainly comfortable!
Your favourite book in the last year?
I’m going to feel super guilty for mentioning books that aren’t from S&S Canada, but I adored The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesy, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Cinder by Marissa Meyer and (and I promise this isn’t just to relieve my guilt!) Fever by Lauren DiStefano (The Chemical Garden Trilogy is one of my favourite Dystopian series ever!)
Favourite book of all time?
Polgara the Sorceress by David & Leigh Eddings. My copy is so well-read and loved it’s about to fall apart.
I have quite a few but those I am quick to push on others are: Kate Forsyth (Australian author), R.J. Anderson, Sarah Addison Allen, Kim Harrison.
Favourite movie adaptation of a book?
Oh dear, I’m afraid movie adaptations just make me so angry! This might not be original, but I do love the Harry Potter films. I think letting the author have full creatve control over the movie helped big time. Mostly I am so disappointed by movie adaptations I feel like the air has been knocked out of my lungs. I try not to watch movie adaptations if I can help it.
What do you do when you’re not working on your blog?
I am an administrative assistant to a Dean in a University. I am also a wife to a wonderfully patient man and a “mum” to two Finnish Lapphund dogs. Although my first dream of becoming a rock star isn’t going as planned, I am trying to make my second dream of working and living with books a reality. I might not have the money to own my own bookstore but I am currently taking Publishing courses* to try and move out of my academic administration career into a new one where I can live, breathe and work with BOOKS.
*Though I have to admit, being a student again after 15 years is daunting and exhausting. Working full time and schooling part time means a lot less time to do things like read and blog. Woe is me!
Do you seek reader engagement on your blog? If so, how does this affect your ideas about books and authors?
I love when people leave comments on my posts, but I don’t actively seek discussion. Since I tend to run my blog as a book journal rather than a review blog and I rarely participate in promotional events like blog tours or post book trailers, I suppose the answer to this question is no, in that case. Although I still feel a little sad if a post doesn’t get comments, but nothing is better than “great book, check out my blog?” 😉
Do you read other blogs? Which ones?
Oh my gosh! I read TOO MANY blogs! (Blog reading has also suffered due to my shiny new scholarly activity! My google reader is showing me scary numbers of unread posts!) These days I tend to check quickly on a handful of blogs that I know will give me great new book ideas like –www.booksandotherthoughts.com; sassymonkeyreads.ca; goodbooksandgoodwine.com; thestorysiren.com; and charlotteslibrary.blogspot.ca. These are my “quick and dirty” blog checks because I have always found great recommendations there!
How has your blog developed or changed since you first started?
I don’t think I have changed much in 5 years, with the exception of having a larger readership and the fact that I now make an occasional video blog post. I have always blogged the same way – in the order in which I read the books (I’m very OCD that way) and I am always completely honest in my opinions. I will not promote a book I have not read and loved myself and I don’t exactly review the book so much as I blog about what happened as I read the book and why I might have read that book. I buy a ton of books every month (much to my husband’s chagrin) and the first time I received an email from a publisher asking if I’d like to review a book, I thought I had won the lottery! I have never really received many review books and now I accept even fewer (due to limited free time these days) so I guess in that aspect my blog has changed a little.
I have always held to the belief that as long as I find this fun, I will continue to do it. So far blogging has been fun and I have made sure it never feels like something I HAVE to do. Staying true to myself and blogging the way I do has managed to keep this entire process fun and cathartic to me. I don’t see myself stopping blogging any time soon. 😉