Partner swapping tends to bring naughty images of car keys in bowls or a horrifically entertaining episode of Wife Swap to mind. However, in the case of BBAW, it's time to have some nice, clean fun.
Thanks to the BBAW crew I was assigned a fellow blogger to interview and visa versa. I was extremely lucky and was paired with the lovely Wendy (aka Literary Feline) from Musings of Bookish Kitty. After getting her fantastic questions via email it was time for me to hit her with some of mine.
If you could be any character from any novel, which one would it be?
Nancy Drew. She was intelligent, resourceful and knew how to get out of a jam. What could be more rewarding than helping others, facing a little danger and solving a mystery?
I am not much of a cat lover, you are. What is it about cats that you love so much? Convince me :)
I was born a dog person. I love dogs. They are playful and make great companions. Dogs are loyal and offer unconditional love. I was raised around dogs all my life and dreamed of the day I could one day have a dog all my own.
I married a cat person. Go figure. He was raised around cats and has never been especially fond of dogs. He would do anything for me though and agreed that we could adopt a dog once we were settled in our own house.
Now I have two cats and a dog. Parker got me over my initial fear of cats. I have come to love their independence. As a working woman, I do not have to worry about them being indoors all day while I am away. I can go away on a weekend trip without needing a babysitter. They are clean animals. They are graceful and beautiful. My youngest cat, Anya, is affectionate too and a lot less careful with her claws than Parker is. However, I'm also more tolerant than I once was, no longer afraid of getting a little scratch. And now it's Anya who teases the dog unmercifully, demanding he play with her.
I am still a dog person. But now, I am also a cat person. I can't imagine life without either.
You've been part of the blogosphere for a number of years, what is the main change you've witnessed in this time?
When I first began blogging three years ago, the book blogging community seemed so much smaller. I imagine a small part of that had to do with my limited connections and experiences. It really has grown since then though. There are many more book blogs today, offering an array of viewpoints and topics. Some are more serious while others more casual. With the growth in numbers, I have seen the reading challenge movement take off. More and more bloggers are hosting their own challenges--and there's a reading challenge for just about every topic. There's something for everyone just about.
I think perhaps the biggest change I have seen, however, is the direct involvement of publishers, authors and marketing professionals have with book bloggers. While to a small degree, they have always had a presence, it seems to have increased tenfold over the past couple of years. With the decline in newspaper and magazine sales, those in the book business have had to turn to other avenues to get the word about their books out. Authors, publishers and publicists are taking full advantage of the willingness of book bloggers to help spread the word about books by offering giveaways and ARC's for review. Many book bloggers have welcomed the opportunity to be a part of that process and both sides have benefited. There are downsides, of course. Just like there is with anything.
The book blogging community is ever evolving and it will be interesting to see what direction it goes in next.
You are taking part in a number of challenges, how do you find this assists your blogging?
Reading challenges offer an array of benefits. They encourage readers to read books they might not have otherwise read, to take a chance on something different or outside of his or her comfort zone. When I initially began participating in challenges, the challenges helped me whittle down my TBR collection, motivating me to read books I'd been meaning to read but hadn't yet gotten to. That first year I made it a point to read mostly books that were already sitting on my shelves. I think the biggest benefit for the book blogger though, is the community aspect. It is a great way for bloggers to network with other bloggers and for new bloggers to get noticed. Reading challenges draw people together to work towards a common goal in which participants provide each other encouragement, support and sometimes that much needed motivation. As a bonus, since not everyone is reading the same books, a reader may discover many more books he or she may want to try. There is no pressure when it comes to reading challenges. They are a lot of fun when it gets right down to it. I admit that one of my favorite parts of the whole challenge process is coming up with the list of books I will read for each one. I love making lists.
The best book you've read this year and why?
It's a tie between three books. As much as I tried to narrow it down further, I just couldn't. My favorite three books so far this year are Who By Fire by Diana Spechler, No One You Know by Michelle Richmond and Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall. These are all books that moved me, made me think and just plain wowed me.
Who By Fire by Diana Spechler touched me on several levels. It is about a family that never got over the loss of a child many years before. One sibling member turned to religion, another turned to sex and empty relationships, and the mother tried everything she could to bring them back together. It is a tragic and yet hopeful story, one with deeply flawed characters. It touched me and got under my skin. I hated to see the book end.
Michelle Richmond's writing style captivated me from the start in No One You Know. She has a gift with words. No One You Know is another book about a family tragedy, one sister is brutally murdered while her killer goes free. The other is left to live her life as best she can. She discovers that the killer is not the person she had always suspected he was. While a mystery on one level, this is also a book that is very much about the characters and their life struggles. I really came to care for the main character of this novel and felt as if I was living her life right along side her.
Carolyn Wall's Sweeping Up Glass is another tragic but hopeful story. One of love lost and dark secrets. Set in a rural town in Kentucky during the Depression, this novel captures the strain of poverty on on a community and the divisiveness of segregation and racism. Olivia, the narrator on the novel, is a hard and cynical woman who has a soft spot for her grandson and the family's wolves. I loved her wry humor. This book had several elements I love in a book: mystery, action, a historical time period, and even a hint of romance. I hadn't expected to like this book as much as I did. And that makes it all the more worthwhile.
Hmm. I'm beginning to detect a theme here. You'd think I was stuck on family tragedies wouldn't you?
What is the best advice you can offer to someone starting out in the blogosphere?
Don't be shy! One of the aspects of the book blogging community I like the most is how friendly and inviting nearly everyone is. Sure, there are sticks in the mud here and there; but, for the most part, everyone is friendly and eager to welcome new bloggers into the fold. Don't be afraid to ask questions or leave comments. One sure fire way to get noticed is to get involved in the community by leaving comments on other people's blogs and joining reading challenges or events.
When blogging becomes a chore and isn't fun for you anymore, it really isn't worth the headache. Recent research shows that you don't have to post every day to keep your audience. And you certainly are entitled to a break now and then. Be yourself, and most importantly, have fun!
You are 5"0 and I am 5"11 - what do I need to know about being on the other end of the height spectrum?
Whoever thought to put stadium seating in movie theaters deserves a medal. People, including women, should take off their hats when sitting in front of others. It is inevitable that the tallest person in the room will sit right in front of the shortest person. Although you might be tempted to, short people do not make good armrests. We are likely to move. Not to mention we have a lower center of gravity which means we can knock over an unsuspecting tall person easily. I'm less likely to be struck by lightning than a tall person. Climbing the shelves in the grocery store isn't a good idea. It really is okay to ask for help. Although, I must admit that I've gotten good at standing on my tiptoes and edging items off the top shelf ever so carefully without having everything on top of that item falling down too. Airbags are dangerous and can be life threatening. A recent study indicated that short people process information faster than tall people. The electrical signals do not have as far to travel. So, it's less than a millisecond. It's enough.
Which genre do you feel gets the raw deal?
Science Fiction. And maybe Westerns. But most definitely Science Fiction. When people think of Science Fiction, they often associate it with Star Trek and Star Wars, not to mention cheesy television shows. They do not open themselves up to the possibilities of the genre, which is quite diverse in scope and subject matter. Science Fiction often tackles relevant social issues in ways that contemporary fiction may not be able to. Too, Science Fiction is a way of looking at the world and its potential. And let's not forget how entertaining the genre can be!
Thanks so much to Wendy for being such a great partner in this BBAW ride! You can check out her interview with me here.