Last year during BBAW I didn't participate in the interview exchange and I found myself regretting it by the end of the week. It is such a great way to meet other bloggers and even get some tips that may help you out with some ideas for your own blog. I was lucky enough to be given Charlotte from Charlotte's Library as an interview partner, so without further delay here is what Charlotte had to say:
Q: When and why did you start blogging?
I started in February of 2007. I'd been reading blogs for a while, and wanted to be part of the fun! Sometimes I say that I started blogging so that I could get an ARC of Megan Whalen Turner's fourth book (A Conspiracy of Kings). But that goal has now been realized (yay!) and it will probably be a few more years until her next book. I have bravely tried to keep blogging despite not having that particular incentive.
Q: Do you have a schedule that you follow when it comes to maintaining your blog and reading other's posts?
I get up about one or two hours before my kids and husband, and that's when I do the bulk of my blog reading and posting. I try to post everyday, because otherwise my pile of to-be-reviewed books gets crazy, and I have two things set in stone--a round-up every Sunday of posts from around the blogs of reviews and news about middle grade science fiction and fantasy, and a review of a time travel book every Tuesday.
Q: You obviously enjoy books from the science fiction genre, but how do you decide what books you will review?
I never have any posts set up in advance, nor am I even entirely sure what book I am going to review when... I always have more books in the house than I can read, and I try to give reading and reviewing priority to books that I agreed to accept from publishers. But if I read a book I enjoy, or that gets me thinking, I'll bump it up to the front of the queue! I mainly review fantasy and science fiction (sff) books for kids and teens, and, when I have the time to stop and think, I try to review books that haven't gotten the attention I think they deserve. I also make a concerted effort to review multicultural sff books.
Q: What kind of reading habits do you have?
In some ways, I am a Good Reader. I care for my books-- I do not crack the spines of my paperbacks, or (shudder) bend the pages to mark my place. I have (more or less) outgrown trying to read on the sofa and eat ice cream at the same time, and I have learned to avoid eating hot chocolate chip cookies while reading altogether. But in other respects, I fail--I have about four or five books going at any on time, and I shed them all over the house, and then can't find the one I want. I have lost books behind radiators, on top of the fridge, in the grocery store....and I have wasted hours of my life wandering around looking for my books and cursing.
Q: Where is your favorite and most enjoyable place to sit back and read?
um...because of working full time and having children and having tons of stuff to do at home (we have an old house -- this morning it was painting some windows) I take whatever reading time I can get, wherever I can get it. So although I know I must read somewhere, because I keep adding books to my to be reviewed pile, it beats me where and when I manage to do it. There's the exciting five minutes of reading at work, while waiting for my obnoxiously slow computer to get going, there's 45 minutes of chlorine-fumed reading at swimming lessons, a bit of time before supper (happily, my husband likes to cook), and maybe half an hour in the evening....I think that my favorite place to read is wherever I happen to be when I am in the middle of a book so good that it doesn't matter where I am!
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
I keep the authors I am fondest of closest to my bed --Megan Whalen Turner, Diana Wynne Jones, Hilary Mackay, Elfrida Vipont, Ursula Le Guin, Elizabeth Goudge, D.E. Stevenson....and exception is Rosemary Sutcliff, writer of historical fiction for children par excellence, who lives in my son's room.
Q: I don't read much science fiction myself, but my book club really enjoys reading different genres. Is there a particular book that you would recommend that my group might enjoy?
I saw at your blog that you were reading The Handmaid's Tale, and in a similar vein I'd suggest Lavinia, by Ursula Le Guin--she a speculative fiction author, but this book is far, far from being generic fantasy, and should appeal to historical fiction fans. And I'd also suggest The Gate to Women's Country, by Sherri Tepper, which is an interesting take on gender issues. Lots to talk about!
Q: What are some other hobbies or activities that you enjoy in your free time?
Some of my "free" time is spent running the booksale at my local public library--my goal is to raise enough money to get solar panels for it. A lot of my free time (those precious hours before the kids get up) is spent working in the garden....
I used to have real hobbies. When I was young and carefree, back in my twenties, I played a mean hand of competitive bridge (almost became a life master), then gave that up to play pool competitively (my team made it to the Nationals in Vegas, but I couldn't go because of having a baby instead :(. And when I meet my husband, who plays the Irish bagpipes (boasting shamelessly, you can hear his playing on some of Loreena McKennitt's albums), I decided I should learn how to play something too, so I took up the fiddle. I was a very good beginner, but gave it up because it made my babies cry whenever I played. Someday I'll pick it up again....I still play the piano, though, in a sense -- I have discovered that the best way to get my son to practice his own playing is to sit down and try to get some playing time in myself.
Q: I love the blogging community! Who are some bloggers that you have been fortunate enough to be introduced to because of your blog?
I went to Kidlitcon last fall, in Washington D.C., and had a great time meeting other children's book bloggers (too many to list). I have my airplane tickets booked for this year's conference in Minneapolis. I'll be rooming with Melissa from Book Nut, who I met at the conference last year--I'm really looking forward to seeing her again. This summer I was able to invite my blogging friend Tanita Davis and her husband to stay a few days with me at my mother's house in D.C.--I didn't tell my mother that I actually had never met them before in my life! Fortunately they were not axe murderers (or at least they kept it well hidden if they were), and we had a lovely time. I've also made lots of great blogging friends through the Cybils Awards--I've been a panelist for these blogger bestowed children's book awards for several years, and it is tons of fun!
Q: Is there anything random that you would like to share about yourself?
I am addicted to requesting books from the library during breaks at work. Although I find it gratifying while I'm doing it, the moment of truth when ten or more books come in at once for me is rather overwhelming....
Thanks for sharing with us Charlotte! My kids are both off to college now so I would imagine that it would be difficult to fit time in for blogging or even reading for that matter with such a busy household! Many years ago my husband and I used to shoot pool together but I realized my best pool shooting was done while I was pregnant and one can only be pregnant so often! lol
I really appreciate the book recommendations and next time my book club is selecting titles I will be sure to mention these. Besides The Handmaid's Tale I haven't heard of these other titles that you have mentioned but we always enjoy reading books together that we wouldn't read on our own.
Be sure to stop by Charlotte's Library to see her Science Fiction and middle grade book recommendations. You can also see what questions she had for me if you are interested in finding out my deep and darkest secrets!