It's interview day! This has been so much fun! I was paired with Mary from Just One More Page.
We've had a great email conversation going on for days and days-- here are excerpts for your enjoyment!
So, you have to tell me how you got started... and how you picked a name for your blog. Do you review everything you read, or do you skip books you didn't like? What's been your favorite book this year? -- Britt
Oh, great questions! May I ask the same ones back to you, or would that be cheating? :-b
I started a blog called The Anything Blog back in May 2008 because I was reading others' blogs and thought it might be fun. The Anything Blog, which is about whatever caught my fancy ~ a herd of goats in downtown L.A., banned books, 9/11, The Hollywood Bowl, the new TV series which is now in its second (or is it third) season ~ True Blood, and so on, I haven't really kept up. But after a couple of months of writing that blog, I found that I was blogging a lot about books ~ reviews, commentaries, etc. ~ so I thought maybe I should have one blog for "anything" and another dedicated solely to books and reviews. That's when I started Just One More Page.
The day I started it ~ it was a lovely end of summer day ~ I was reading on the couch next to a window that overlooks a park. I kept glancing out the window and telling myself that I should go outside and take a walk since the weather was so gorgeous and not too hot, but I couldn't seem to put the book down. Instead I kept on reading, turning page after page, telling myself that I'd stop after just one more page and go out. Well, later (after having finished the book without having gone out for that walk), I created the blog, and Just One More Page...Or Two seemed the perfect name for it.
In the beginning, I considered writing reviews for every book I read, but like you I was reading a lot of books, and my job was very demanding at the time, requiring a lot of overtime. So I decided against it. Then I started being contacted by PR people or publishers or even authors to do reviews, and I also reached out to publishers for ARCs to review, such that reviewing began to seem more of a chore than a pleasure for me.
Upshot is, other than a couple of authors with whom I have developed a relationship (and whose novels I love), and the Early Review program on Library Thing, I decided not to accept free books in exchange for reviews in future. Unless the book sounds really really good and it's an author I really really like. Or, if it's unfamiliar, if it sounds really fascinating. Or... Okay, I'm not OCD so much as addicted.
I plan to eventually review all the ARCs I have received (I have 3 left), even the ones I don't care for a lot, but, once I've finished, I'm planning to review only books about which I have strong feelings, either positive or negative, because I usually have a lot of enthusiasm to write a review and can find a lot to say about such books.
My favorite book so far for 2009 is "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara. Two and three in the lineup of favorites are "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman and "Cavalier of the Apocalypse" by Susanne Alleyn, although the non-fiction I'm reading now ~ "Annie's Ghosts" by Steve Luxenberg ~ may just edge out the other runners up and slip into second place.
Whew! That's probably a lot more info than you wanted. Feel free to edit and hopefully make me sound more intelligent. :) (No need, Mary, no need.)
Seriously, I would be interested in your answers to the questions you asked me, especially where your book blog name came from and what your top 3 books are so far for 2009. And what book you are particularly looking forward to reading. -- Mary
I read some blogger interviews today, so I got some new questions! :D
Do you run any memes or features? Is there a book you remember that really got you into reading? What is your review/rating system? Participating in any challenges? Where do you get most of your books-- buy, borrow, library,etc?
Ooh, I thought of one more question-- Do you ever find yourself finishing a book or series you aren't enjoying at all just because you've invested enough that you have to know what happens? -- Britt
Hmm, I better go read some blogger interviews myself. lol
No memes or features ~ yet. I've decided to change things up, so future blog will include some new stuff including memes and will omit some stuff that has been more or less regular. Not finished planning yet, so not going to say more about it.
I've been reading since I was 2 years old (or so...all I really know is that I can remember sitting on the floor of my grandma's kitchen, next to the roaster that was on a rolling cart, and the bottom shelf of the cart was filled with Little Golden Books and other children's books (remember, this is back in the time just after the Earth's crust cooled enough to walk on it, so my memory of specifics is vague), and pulling out book after book and "reading" them. The very first book that impressed me to the point I still remember it vividly was "The Lively Little Rabbit," which was a Little Golden Book. It was about, well, a rabbit, but the character that really got to me was the villain of the piece ~ a weasel. I used to get into bed by taking a running jump in order to avoid the weasel that I was afraid was hiding under it. To this day, I sometimes catch myself wondering if a little weasel paw will come out from beneath my bed to catch my ankle.
I'm not sure I'm organized enough to have a system. When I review books, I take into consideration the depth of the characterizations, if the plot is tight or all over the place, how skilled the storytelling, how polished the writing, how correct the punctuation and grammar (a sore point with me). That kind of thing. I also give points for sheer inventiveness and fascinating subject matter. When I review on my blog, I don't use a rating system. I only rate books on Library Thing, but it's purely subjective. (I've given excellent books a 4 star and mind candy 4.5 stars, just because I enjoyed it more.)
The only challenge I currently participate in is the 100-book Challenge on Library Thing, mostly to have a place to keep track of them. I'm up to 73 books, will be 75 in a day or two. I decided not to do any other challenges this year because I wanted to take it easy.
I borrow most of my books from the library and have done for many years now, at first because, as a single mom, I couldn't afford to buy them, and now mostly because I live in a tiny apartment and have room for only one small bookshelf plus I'm paying $75/month for a storage unit to keep the bulk of my library. Also, I am planning to move in a couple of years and don't want to have to shlepp a lot of additional books with me to wherever I settle. The number of boxes of books I already have would fill a small moving van. One other reason, which is perhaps the strangest of all, is because I tend not to read the books I buy, instead reading borrowed books "first" and "saving" the ones I own for when I don't have anything else to read. Which, the way I borrow books, will be never.
As to your last question: I used to finish every book and every series I started, whether I was enjoying them or not. Now, being older and much more aware of the comparable brevity of time left me, I no longer force myself to read stuff that doesn't give me extreme pleasure (unless I'm doing it for a promised review, of course). My feeling is, there are so many great books to read and only so much time left to read them, I don't want to waste a minute on anything that isn't wonderful. -- Mary
I have to say, I really enjoyed this. And I am so the same way about borrowing books. Library books have a DUE DATE so I HAVE to read them! The books I own are always here!! And I really need to adopt Mary's view on books that aren't wonderful. Too many books, too little time... :D
For more of our conversation, hop over to Mary's blog for her side of the interview!!