Monday, 19 July 2010

Blogger Inquest - Angie (Angieville)

Lucky last in the Blogger Inquest interview series is the divine Angie from Angieville. Teacher. Editor. Mum. This lady has played many roles and is a favourite of many bloggers featuredthroughout the series. It seems perfect that she be the one to close the series. What I adore most of all (and it is completely shallow) is that she will post randomly about Richard Armitage because I ask her to. She's perfection!

I think she's the bee's knees. Want proof? Angieville is a blog where I actually post comments...I know, colour yourselves shocked. Throw in the fact that she is also a vehement Team Gale supporter and we were meant to be. And if we want to get meaningful and specific she's a darned good reviewer as well. She's got a lovely way about describing a book and why we should read it. Like Ana from The Book Smugglers raved "...her posts are always so heartfelt and when she talks about a book she loves I feel like I am sitting in a room having tea with Angie whilst she tells ME and only ME about it."

The purpose of the Blogger Inquest is to delve into a specific blogger's mind and experiences online. To be up front, I presented each of the interview subjects with 21 questions to choose from and they took it from there. This is a month long series of interviews on Persnickety Snark and I've got a whole host of bloggers (new and old) lined up. It is sadly coming to an end but never fear as of tomorrow you will be able to see the results for the Top 100 YA titles of all time be revealed. Exciting huh?

How has your approach and attitude (specifically reviewing) altered from the early stages of your blog?
So I started off just keeping a list of every book I read that month. That’s literally all it was. A list. And a way for me to keep a log of my reading. Then a few months later I started writing up short paragraphs on each book I read and calling each post “A Month of Reading.” In the meantime I started venturing out and reading other book blogs and realizing there was a whole world out there full of people like me. And they were talking about the books they love and they were doing it in such funny, colorful, and intelligent ways. I was hooked. Soon after that I got involved with the Cybils and almost exactly two years after I started the blog, I wrote my first full book review on Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White. What started out as a simple tool for my own use gradually morphed into a virtual cafĂ© of sorts where people came and discussed books with me. And suddenly they weren’t strangers anymore. They were friends.

Characterise yourself as a blog reader – monogamous, flirty or slutty? Lurker or commenter?
I am definitely a monogamous commenter. It’s not a proper day unless I’ve made the rounds and stopped in and offered my two cents at some of my old standbys like Bookshelves of Doom, Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Dear Author, and Lurv a la Mode, as well as some wonderful new favorites such as Emily’s Little Pink Notes, Book Harbinger, See Michelle Read, and Chachic’s Book Nook. Because I’m so enamored of the conversations people are having in these venues they’ve created, I have to leave comments complimenting, questioning, fangirling, or what have you. They deserve the comments for all they put into it.

What are some of the best and worst incidents of an author contacting you after a review?
You know, I haven’t really had any bad incidents of authors contacting me after a review. They’ve all been wonderfully cordial (or perhaps decided to ignore me for all eternity after I wrote a negative review of their book). And I’ve had countless wonderful responses from authors—so many of them debut authors—who want to say thank you or (even better) talk in more detail about books we both love. This isn’t related to a review, per se, but not too long ago I posted on the movie they’re making based on Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now. While talking about how much I love that novel, I mentioned I even named one of my children after a character in it. Shortly after that, I received the most lovely email from Ms. Rosoff entitled, “You named your CHILD after a character in How I Live Now?” I had to laugh. She wanted to know which character and which child and to tell me that it was an extraordinary fact to stumble upon while wasting time on the internet. I wrote pack and included a picture of my girl, who she dubbed “a very worthy Piper,” and honestly it was one of the most memorable blogger/author exchanges I’ve had the privilege of participating in.

Newest old find that you wish you had read years ago?
I’m afraid that honor is going to have to go to Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. Oh. My. Word. Those books are divine. I mean, one of those exquisite experiences when you know the author is so much smarter than you and will guide you through this new and most excellent world with care and precision and infinite humor and compassion. My dear friend had been trying to get me to read them for literally years and I kept holding off for no good reason. I bow down now to her superior wisdom and could literally kick myself for not starting them sooner. They certainly qualify as books I’d like to marry if legally possible. If not the series, then Gen. I adore that crooked boy.

How aware (and/or supportive) are people in your everyday life of your blogging?
My family members are all aware of the blog and my husband is insanely supportive of a hobby that takes up so much time and brings in so little money. My sisters-in-law, in particular, read it on a regular basis and comment and mention what posts they particularly enjoyed. They are wonderfully sisterly that way. My parents check in occasionally. I don’t think my mom really “gets” the whole blogging thing, but she knows it means a lot to me and so she tries to keep up. My co-workers know about it, mostly because I’ve taken a week off two years in a row to go to BEA! I don’t really talk about it much at work, but they do know I’m the one to come to if they’re in need of a good book recommendation. And I did get each and every one of them hooked on the Hunger Games series. My copies got passed through the entire office and I think I’ve pretty much got them all convinced to go to the midnight release party at our local bookstore in just over a month.

What word is most overused on your blog?
Is it weird if I say “particular?” I really think that or some variation on it is the most overused. “Awesome” would, perhaps, be a close second.

What recent review convinced you to buy a book?
Trisha’s of The YA YA YAs reviewed Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers not too long ago and I bought it that afternoon on my way in to work. I couldn’t even wait until I got off that evening, the review was that good. I even started it sitting in the parking lot in front of my office. I was that excited. And it lived up to everything she said. As the books Trisha staunchly recommends always do. I loved everything about that book and cannot wait for Ms. Summers’ next book.

For the life of me I cannot find it within myself to like Ann Brashares work. Is there an author whose work you find yourself irrationally disliking?
Interesting. For me, I have an embarrassing problem getting into Dianna Wynne Jones. It’s embarrassing because everyone whose taste I admire thinks she fell off a Christmas tree and I really, really wanted to be in on that lovefest. But it’s not in me. I don’t have the Wynne Jones gene, it would seem. As authors (and characters) go, you fall in love with some so much you can't remember a time you didn't read them, didn’t know them. With others, you're okay just remaining casual acquaintances. And that's how I feel about Ms. Jones’ work. I’ve tried her. For years I’ve tried her. Howl’s Moving Castle, Fire & Hemlock, Hexwood…There came a time when I just had to decide not to feel bad about it anymore. We just weren’t meant to be. It happens.

Writing a book review (for a title you’d ideally like to marry if legally possible) is one of the tougher tasks for a book reviewer. What is your approach to writing an informed, glowing review?
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! The ones that turn me into a pool of goo are absolute beasts to write reviews on. What to say to actually encourage others to give them a go? How to possibly convey in words the depth of your reaction to such characters, such splendid storytelling? It’s daunting. I guess I sit at the computer and try to give shape to my glow. I try to analyze it just a bit and pick out those few key, salient points that make it more. The things—be it the wordsmything, the nuanced characters, the sheer audacity of it all—that push it over into the realm of something special for me. And then I let myself loose on those. Then I don’t force myself to dial it down, once I’ve settled on the points of light to focus on. Then I press post and hope it all shakes out well for the reader.

If your blog was a meal what would we find on the plate?
Salt and vinegar chips, sugar snap peas with Ranch, popcorn, and Cadbury eggs. Mmm…

You can find Angie at the following places:


Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

i love angies blog!!! she is amazing, and i agree with Ana, she writes some really awesome posts. thanks for the interview!

Anonymous said...

What I really like about Angie's blog is the great content, she doesn't necessarily focus on new titles and releases which works perfectly for me, she doesn't rate books but her reviews are so insightful that you can always understand if a book is worth it and so far she has always been right.
Plus she likes The National :)

Ana said...

Angie! *hugs*

Katy said...

I love Angie's blog in fact it was the very fist blog I even followed and I can't even list all the amazing books I've read do to her reviews. Plus you can tell she only blogs for her love of books.

alishka babushka said...

What a lovely interview. I love Angie. I feel lucky to know her in real life as well as through her books in Angieville. I love visiting Angieville. It makes my heart happy.

Carla said...

Angie and The Book Smugglers are the reason I read The Theif, and I will forever be grateful. Love that Angies reviews are always so insightful and honest and she is *such* a lovely lady too.

Emily said...

Angie's blog is pure gold. I'm also fortunate enough to know her in real life.

I have bought and read so many books on her recommendation. And, I agree about Diana Wynne Jones as well.

Heather (DarklyReading) said...

I love Angie's random Armitage love posts too! I like the retro Friday reviews too and the cover posts with all the different additions - who knew there were so many different covers for Sunshine by Robin McKinley!

John The Bookworm said...

Wow, you never post comments! O.o I hardly do, either, so I understand exactly how good of a blog it is to you. Angie is an excellent writer, and her recommendations are always awesome. I'm also happy to note I nudged her into wanting to read Stolen more. Because it's an awesome book. :) This series has been a great one, and I've loved seeing the different blogger faces.

Elisa said...

I Love this interview! One of my favorites! That quote by the booksmugglers really does describe Angie's blog well. I have had the pleasure of discussing books with Ang in person many times.

I know, I'm wildly lucky!

Angiegirl said...

Audrey, amazing or not, I'm glad you like the posts!

Emily, I'm glad it works for you even without the ratings. I've gone back and forth on them and always ended up just keeping it wordy instead of quantified. And now I'm going to go listen to "Slow Show." :)

Ana, *hugs* glad you thought BEASTLY was all right. I found it a good read. Very interested to see the movie.

Caitlin, oh man. The first? I'm so happy you ran across mine so I could find yours. :)

Alicia, *grin* I <3 you.

Carla, SO glad you're a Gen fan now, too. We must swell the ranks!

Emily, phew. I'm so glad to hear that. I feel so alone in my lack of Wynne Jones love. But wow. I do not connect.

Heather, I always love to hear someone enjoying the RF posts. And the RA ones as well. They cannot be stopped. Hehe.

John, I drooled over a copy of STOLEN just yesterday at the bookstore. I may have to break down and buy it. I can't stop thinking about your review.

Liza, I'm just as lucky.

Holly said...

Angie, that Rosoff encounter has to be the coolest ever! Thanks for sharing. I'm glad I know Piper as well.

Sally said...

Thanks, Angie. I loved reading about your process. Great blog.

Michelle said...

Angie, that story about Meg Rosoff is so incredible!! And of course, she would find and love your blog because EVERYONE does. You are such a great book pusher. I swear you've helped me blow my entire budget on numerous occasions.. hehehe.. Keep the wonderful bookish thoughts coming!! (and that's for the shout-out!)

Violet said...

I first stumbled across Angie's blog through one of those awesome Richard Armitage posts. *swoon* Thanks for sharing this interview! How cool about Meg Rosoff. :)

Chachic said...

Adele, I love your Blogger Inquest posts and I'm so glad you decided to interview Angie because I'm a huge fan of her blog. :) I agree with what other people have said, Angie is an awesome book pusher! I have bought and read so many books because of her wonderful reviews. Several of them have earned permanent places in my list of favorite books. I'm so lucky I met her online and that she visits my blog regularly.

Angie, I forgive you for not being a fan of Diana Wynne Jones because you're a huge fan of Megan Whalen Turner and it seems like you've convinced a lot of people to read MWT's books. Gen is ♥

Alix said...

Great interview and I love Meg Rostoff story - fabulous! I adore Angie's blog, I love her reviews and the books I've bought on her recommendations have not disappointed :-)

KIKA said...

Wonderful interview! :D I loved all the questions you asked. I love Angie! she's such a brilliant sweet woman, and was actually the first book blogger I ever met. Thanks for the interview!

Angiegirl said...

Holly, aw. I'm glad you do, too.

Sally, glad you stopped in!

Michelle, it's true. I'm guilty of costing you a lot of money. Must think of some way to give back... :)
And, yeah, I couldn't believe she wrote to me.

Violet, Richard Armitage brings people together and that's all there is to it.

Chachic, I'm relieved you won't hold it against me. ;) We are forever bonded over MWT and Gen the Magnificent!

Alexa, I am incredibly happy to hear that they haven't disappointed.

KIKA, and we even passed each other that time and didn't get to actually meet!

Michelle said...

Salt & vinegar chips are my favorite too! Tough my thighs may not agree, haha.