Interview with Lisa from The Little Reader [Armchair BEA]

I signed up for Armchair BEA ages ago. Then I forgot to check the site until last week. It was then that I realized I missed the Interview Swap signups and and assignments. Since this was my favorite part of BBAW, I really didn’t want to skip it. So, as always, I turned to twitter. And Lisa from the little reader came to my rescue. Which thrilled me even more because I love Lisa and I am so glad that I get to feature her on my blog today (you can find my interview on her blog). So enough from me for the day, meet Lisa.

1. How did  you become a book blogger?

i started a personal blog years and years ago on LiveJournal and found myself writing the occasional book review (which my friends mostly ignored, the poor fools). i stumbled upon a few more serious book bloggers, thought it was a great idea, and decided to spare my friends from any further babble about books. with a little bit of help from my book bloggy friends, i started a separate blog just for bookish stuffs at the little reader in early 2010.  although i had no idea what i was getting myself into, it’s been a lot of fun, and i wouldn’t have done a thing differently.

2. Where is your favorite place to read?

definitely the beach. the light breeze and sunshine, combined with the sound of the waves is my absolute favorite.

3. Where is your favorite place to blog?

i’ve recently gotten in the habit of carrying a notepad with me everywhere, which means i’m always brainstorming about bloggy stuff.  when it’s time to get to it, i mostly write from my desk at home, but i do love taking my laptop to a quiet little corner in a coffee shop with a book and a cup of hot tea.

4. If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?

if you’d asked me this a year ago, i would have said literary fiction. but, something happened somewhere and i’ve become obsessed with non-fiction lately. i don’t know if i can say that my reading tastes have matured, but they’ve certainly evolved.

5. How do you balance blogging and reading with your self-described “hobby problem?”

well, that’s funny actually, since i’m just coming back from hiatus. i’m apparently not so good at the balancing thing because when life got too crazy with grad school, i had to take a break from blogging. as a grad student and triathlete, it’s sometimes difficult to find time to eat and sleep, let alone read or write.  but, to help balance it out a bit, i have learned to incorporate audiobooks into the spaces where it will fit, like when commuting on the bus or training for longer runs. also, since i am in the English grad program (albeit not in literary studies or creative writing), i do occasionally find that i’m able to incorporate some of the same topics i’m studying into my blogging.  really, my main goal is to keep it fun and interesting for me and my readers. otherwise, what’s the point?

6. Do you have a few favorite bloggers?

Vasilly, at 1330V: one of the sweetest bloggers and best twitter buddies around! and for me personally, her reading tastes are just superb. she’s always introducing me to great books, readalongs, and other bloggers.

Mark, from Absorbed in Words: he doesn’t write often, but it’s always worth the wait when he does.

Dolce Bellezza: she writes beautiful and elegant reviews, has wonderfully eclectic tastes, and hosts the Japanese Literature Challenge each year.

7. What do think would be the best part of BEA if you could attend?

the best part would most definitely be getting to meet the people that have had such a huge impact on me and my reading.  with time zone differences and the geographic barrier of massive body of water, living in hawaii makes me feel so distant from the blogging community sometimes. it would be great to just put faces to the many wonderful bloggers that i’ve met and gotten to know over the last couple of years.

8. What kind of reader were you as a child?

insatiable. i remember vividly those library reward programs where you read books to accumulate stickers to earn free personal pan pizzas at Pizza Hut.  yeah, i ate a lot of pizza as a kid.

9. What is the best book you’ve read this year?

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (review)

10. Should I move to Hawaii?

yes! i’m from florida originally, so i can confidently say that moving from florida to hawaii is absolutely a great idea.  oh, unless you like doing things that require money, because in comparison, jobs pay less and the cost of living is higher than most other places in the country. but, for people who can live a simple life (or for those that are independently wealthy, in which case i’m accepting sponsors), then yes, it’s an amazing place to live and play.

Thank you, Lisa, for stopping by the blog today. Don’t forget to check out the little reader.

Pull Up a Chair for Armchair BEA

Armchair BEAHello, fellow Armchair BEA participants. While many of our friends have traveled to New York City this week for BEA, I know we are going to have some fun on our own from the comfort of our homes (trust me, our backs and feet will be so much more comfortable than theirs) (also, we don’t have to worry about trying to hail a cab from the Javits Center – a virtually impossible feat).

For those of you who are new to the blog, welcome to my books. my life. I read a little bit of everything but I would say my main genres are literary fiction and dystopian and paranormal YA (I like to think the lit fic balances out the YA). I review everything I read but not necessarily in a timely manner. Have a look around, read about me, or check out the books I’ve read this year.

I did attend part of BEA and the Book Blogger Convention last year. You can read about my experiences here, here, and here. This year is full of other traveling so my work schedule and bank account just wouldn’t let me swing it.  I hope to attend again next year, but until then, I am happily Armchair BEA-ing with you.

BBAW: Forgotten Treasure – Simon Singh’s Big Bang

Today’s Topic:

Thursday – Forgotten Treasure
Sure we’ve all read about
Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction.  This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!

My recent reading life is so blogger-driven that I had a really hard time coming up with a book to feature today. Sure, some books I read are not as well known as some, but none of them seemed appropriate for this. So I’m taking you all the way back to October of 2007 when I was assigned a book for law school (don’t ask how this is law school appropriate) and fell in love.

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh tells the history of the big bang theory in a very interesting and easy-to-understand manner. I will admit that I am partial to books about The Universe, but I think anyone with any interest in learning how we got to our understanding of the history of Everything would enjoy this one. I don’t have a science background but I found it very readable. I have at least one more of Singh’s books and I really should get around to reading them.

I hope you check out Big Bang if you have any interest in the subject matter. Please let me know how you like it if you do.

PS – I think this book might be the beginning of my attempt to explain to Ben how when we look far away we are looking back in time. I think he might finally understand it.

BBAW: Look What You Made Me Do

Today’s Topic:

Wednesday—Unexpected Treasure
We invite you to share with us a book or genre you tried due to the influence of another blogger.  What made you cave in to try something new and what was the experience like?

Me (while thinking of how to answer this question): What book did I only read because of a blogger’s recommendation?
Ben: EVERY book you’ve read this year.

He has a fair point (although he said it with some amount of disdain in his voice). Most of my reading is formed by other bloggers. It’s how I know what’s out there and worth reading. As a result, I can’t single out ONE book that I tried because of a blogger’s recommendation. Instead, I am going to discuss two to knew genres and one new series I tried because of bloggers. I never was very good at following directions.

(1) Fantasy

I’ve read some light fantasy and young adult/middle grade fantasy but before this year, I had yet to read a real, adult fantasy novel (wow, “adult fantasy” give you the wrong idea, huh?). My IRL friend and sometimes book blogger, Susan, gave me The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan a few years ago, but it was Heather from Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books who finally convinced me to read it. She picked it as her That’s How I Blog book and I figured that was as good a time as ever to finally sit down and read it.

Well, I tried to sit down and read it and it didn’t work out. Heather’s show came and went and I still hadn’t read it. But I did pick up the audio from the library and even though it took me months (that’s a LONG time to stick with an audiobook) I finally finished it.

What did I think? Um, I didn’t really like it. You can read my full review here. But I am glad that I tried it. That’s part of the fun of reading, right? Figuring out what you like and what you don’t. I’ve gotten very good at picking out books that I’ll like but I still like to push myself a bit.

(2) Graphic Novels

Another genre that I had neglected as a reader was graphic novels. When Nymeth from Things Mean a Lot gushed about Blankets by Craig Thompson, I couldn’t resist. I grabbed it for the spring readathon, devoured it in a couple hours, and decided that graphic novels were my new favorite thing.  I then promptly forgot to read any more of them and still haven’t to this day. But I want to. Because I loved Blankets. You can read my full review here.

(3) Betsy-Tacy

In my Favorite Books of 2009 post, I said that I will remember 2009 as the year I discovered Betsy-Tacy. It was a combination of Emily from Books, the Universe, and Everything and Jen from Bookclub Girl that finally got me to give these books a try. And, while I haven’t read them all yet, I love what I have read. I think part of me doesn’t want to finish it because it’s that good.

So there you have it, three new things I tried because of a blogger. What new books/genres have you tried this year?

BBAW: Interview with Katy from A Few More Pages


Today is what I have heard many people tell me is their favorite part of BBAW – interview swap day. I have the pleasure of bringing you Katy from A Few More Pages (@afewmorepages on Twitter). I already knew Katy a bit from Twitter but I had fun getting to know her better. I hope you all enjoy the interview and you can see Katy interview me over on her blog today. I will turn things over to Katy now.

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1. How did you become a book blogger?

After I started talking a lot about books on my family/kids blog, I decided to start a blog that focused solely on books. Then when I found the Book Blogs Ning, I realized that there was this big community of book bloggers that I could connect with. I started networking, and I never looked back. What started as a hobby to just post my thoughts about books I’ve read became something even better when I started talking to other book bloggers.

2. Where is your favorite place to read?

I love to read just about anywhere, but my favorite place is in my bed. I’ve always loved reading before going to sleep (though that often means I stay up too late reading those books that I just can’t put down).

3. Where is your favorite place to blog?

Hmmm, I don’t really have a lot of choices, so I guess my favorite place to blog is at my desk. Timing is more important than location, though–I like to blog in the morning when hubby is at work and the kids are at school (and preschool) so I can concentrate with no interruptions. 🙂

4. If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Historical fiction. I love it. There are so many time periods, locations, and subgenres that I could immerse myself in. Most of my reading lands in that genre already.

5. How do you balance blogging and reading with your work and family life?

Reading is something I’ve always done to relax. Most of the time I would rather read than watch TV. Blogging and work both happen mostly when the kids are sleeping or at school, so when my workload gets heavier the blogging has to slow down. I’ve had to step back from blogging a bit in the last few months because of my job, and although I’m not posting daily right now I’ve tried to focus more on reviews. Once I gave myself permission to not post everyday, it was a lot less stressful and a lot more fun.

6. In your bio, you talk about giving your kids a reading obsession similar to yours. How is that working?

I think it’s coming along nicely! They love books and we read books together throughout the day. We always read before bed. They adore going to the bookstore and the library, and they won’t let us leave without bringing some books home with us.

7. How many book blogs do you regularly read?

Well, I’ve got about 250 blogs in my Google Reader, which I try to go through at least once a week. I haven’t been commenting as much lately as I used to because I’ve been a bit busy (shame on me for lurking!), but I have been reading new posts. I also visit blogs I’m not subscribed to through twitter when I see a tweet that grabs my interest.

8. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

I love to dialog with other people about books–I don’t have a lot of people in real life to talk books with besides my mom. I love visiting other peoples’ blogs and reading reviews and discussions about books I’ve read or am planning to read. I think one of my favorite blog-related activities is Twitter–I got on Twitter because of my book blog and I love being able to tweet with authors and other book bloggers about books.

9. What kind of reader were you as a child?

I was a serious book nerd when I was a child! When I wasn’t outside playing in the summertime, I had my nose in a book. I loved going to the library and discovering new authors and series. And silent reading time was one of my favorite times of the day in grade school.

10. What is the best book you’ve read this year?

Ah, it’s so hard to pick just one! Just based on how long I kept thinking about it after I had closed the book, I’d have to say The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. But I also couldn’t put down Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, which I just finished reading last week. I have been so lucky to read a lot of really great books this year.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog Michelle! This was really fun!

BBAW: Check Out These Book Bloggers

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is here. Expect posts from me this week on the various discussion topics including my interview of Katy from A Few More Pages tomorrow.

Today’s topic:

Monday—First Treasure
We invite you to share with us about a great new book blog you’ve discovered since BBAW last year!  If you are new to BBAW or book blogging, share with us the very first book blog you discovered.  Tell us why this blog rocks your socks off and why you keep going back for more.

I hope the BBAW organizers don’t mind if I take this one in a little bit of a different direction. Instead of sharing just one book blog, I want to share several. And the reason is that a lot of my original online friends from around the world have (like me) started new book blogs this year (and due to vox.com ‘s recent closing a couple are brand new). While some are more active than others, I like these blogs because of the people behind them who write them and I always look forward to new posts.

In alphabetical order, they are:

I hope you check them out if you haven’t before. There are some really great people behind these blogs.

And now I’m off to check out how everyone else answered this question (I’m assuming you all did a much better job of following directions than I did).

PS – I really hope I didn’t forget anyone. Please forgive me if I did.