Saturday, 17 July 2010

Blogger Inquest - Jenny (Wondrous Reads)

It is probably no surprise that many of the bloggers I have featured started in the same month as myself but it surprised me. It is only now, looking back on the interviews that I have posted that I realised. In some ways bloggers have their own little groups like the authors, I guess it makes Jenny and myself Niners?

Buffy fan. British crumpet. Bookseller extraordinaire. Jenny from Wondrous Reads can claim all of those titles as well as biggest The Book Thief fan that I have ever had the fortune to come across (still haven't read it, bad Adele). She's one of my tweeting brethren and usually thinks the exact same thing about books as I book twin. We do diverge on the whole Twilight situation but she seems to tolerate my criticism with a great deal of tolerance...what a gal!

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 with the final interview posting later today. Thanks for delving into bloggers minds with me!

How has your approach and attitude (specifically reviewing) altered from the early stages of your blog?
When I first started blogging, I had no idea of the community I'd just joined. There weren't as many of us back then (as you'll remember too, Adele - I started blogging during the same month as you... January 2009!). I never imagined publishers or authors would read any of my posts, and I honestly, hand on heart, had no idea that such a thing as review copies even existed. Believe me, I was very surprised when I received my first review request. These days, I think my attitude is still pretty much the same as it was when I first started - I'm very grateful that people take the time to read what I write, send me books, or even just tell me they enjoyed one of my reviews. Review wise, I'm now definitely not afraid to write a negative review, and say exactly what I think. That's something I've learnt over time.

Characterise yourself as a blog reader - monogamous, flirty or slutty? Lurker or commenter?
Probably a mix of all of the above! I follow a lot of blogs, most of which I dip in and out of, though with some I will read every post that appears on the page. I don't comment on every post I read, but I do read a lot, and from a wide range of blogs. I wish I could comment more, but I just don't have time. Ideally, I'd like to spend hours a day commenting and reading other blogs, but then I wouldn't read anything!

I am currently in a situation where debut authors I have befriended are coming out with their second titles. How do you choose to deal with the apprehension and pressure (of my own making) with reviewing work of those you are closer to?
That's a difficult one. I don't know too many authors personally, so that helps. Those that I do know well, and who I'd call friends, realise that I'll write an honest review of their books, and I think they appreciate that. I do worry I'll hate their new title and have to tell them, but I just try and remember that I can't like everything I read. Even if one of my best online friends has written it! I rememeber when Lucy Christopher's second book, Flyaway, was published, I was so worried I wouldn't like it as much as Stolen. It was even worse because she's a good friend of mine, and I didn't want to be biased in any way. Luckily I loved it more, and it's one of the best books I've read so far this year.

Newest old find that you wish you had read years ago?
Jellicoe Road! I bought it just after I started blogging, when I heard Melina Marchetta has won the Printz and I saw it on Amazon. It sat there for about 15 months, until I finally read it a couple of months ago. WOW! And also, how stupid am I?!

How aware (and/or supportive) are people in your everyday life of your blogging?
My family all know about it - my mum reads it, and my dad does occasionally. My sister isn't really interested, because she *gasp* hates books. No, really. My best friend knows all about it, and he's pretty supportive. Select other friends know what I do, and they all think it's cool. I don't mention it on Facebook or anything though - I don't think all my old secondary school friends need to know what I'm up to now.

What recent review convinced you to buy a book?
Lauren from Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf's review of Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs made me rush to Amazon and pre-order a copy. That was a cracking review - so enthusiastic and positive.

How has attending conferences (BEA, ALA, etc) affected your blog?
I've never attended these US conferences, though I have been to quite a lot of presentations and meetings with UK publishers. They're a great way to meet the people behind the books, share feedback, find new reads and talk to other bloggers and authors. It just shows that publishers do appreciate bloggers, and it's nice to know how highly they think of the whole community. Plus, seeing their offices is like walking into book heaven!

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?
If I really love something, I'll just say that and try my best to explain why it personally worked for me. When I wrote my Jellicoe Road review, I didn't have a single bad thing to say about it, but hopefully that just showed my enthusiasm for the book. Sometimes I really do struggle to find things wrong with books, as I'm not an overly critical person and I don't pick apart writing while I'm reading. If there's an aspect I really didn't like, that's great, and much easier to write a balanced review. I read for enjoyment though, so I'm glad when I love the majority of what I'm reading.

How long do foresee yourself blogging for?
A long, long time. I love it. Sorry guys, you're stuck with me for a while! ;)

Which author do you believe has found the perfect online medium between marketing themselves, making connections and establishing their identity without spamming on all social networks?
Michelle Zink. She's everywhere, but not so that you notice. I think she's very clever with how she chooses to participate in social networks, and she's so friendly and professional in everything she does.

You can find Jenny at the following places:
Wondrous Reads


Emily said...

I didn't know about Jenny's blog until now. It looks awesome! I'm now following it. I didn't know what a review copy was either when I started. I can almost hear her accent in the interview. :)

erin said...

Oh, man, Jenny! My brother hates books too! How old is your sister; maybe we can hook them up! Then if they ever have babies, their clearly recessive book-loving genes will come out and we can talk to our neice or nephew about books all the time!

The Book Thief and Jellicoe Road . . . admit it, you just like pain and sadness, don't you?

Unknown said...

I have had the pleasure of meeting Jenny a few weeks ago, she is a great girl and has a great blog :o)