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Armchair BEA self-interview

June 4, 2012

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
I am the Director of a Writing Center at a small liberal arts college, a PhD in English Literature, married for thirty years this August, mother of two teenagers, caretaker of four cats, a rabbit, and a recently renovated 7,000 volume library downstairs in my house. I started blogging in February, 2008 when I was not working after knee surgery, and a question about necromancy made me realize that it would be fun to keep track of some of the things we learn from literature.
What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?
I’m currently reading Rivers of London for next week’s planned discussion with Jodie of Bookgazing, and it’s making me laugh out loud. My favorite book so far in 2012 is Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker.
Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
Every two years, we go to the beach in South Carolina with a group of our friends from college, so our kids have gotten to know each other through intensive sand-castle building and long, noisy seafood dinners.
What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?
My favorite feature has always been the very personal posts about a specific poem on a particular day.  The Invitation is an example.
Where do you see your blog in five years?
Probably in the same place it’s been for the past 4-1/2 years with some of the same readers. I don’t have any big plans to shake it up, although the way we use technology may change enough in the next five years that the kind of conversations I try to generate in the comments may move around some more–increasingly, there are conversations about blogging topics at other online sites.
Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
My favorite post in terms of the writing is probably Araby, because I worked on that one for a long time to try to get my interjections to the level that they would express anything of how strongly I feel about the story. But the one I want everyone to read is The Gone-Away World.
If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why? I would want to eat dinner in Rivendell and hear the singing afterwards.
What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
I’ve already gotten to visit so many places on the east coast, and in England and France. As much as I feel a thrill at walking through a place like Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage, I love tours like the Universal Studios trip through downtown Hill Valley—a place that doesn’t exist except in fiction. I’m looking forwards to going to the Harry Potter World in Florida this July.
What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?
My favorite part is talking about books with people I wouldn’t ordinarily meet in real life. I think the way we comment is going to change, but I’m not sure I have any suggestions about directing that.
Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?
Like many new bloggers, I read more recently-published books for a while, but then I mostly settled back into my usual pattern of borrowing books from the library and from friends to see what I’ll like, and buying the ones I think I’ll want to re-read.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2012 9:42 am

    That’s exactly what happened to me. I read all the new books until I realized I really wanted to read my old books.

    • June 4, 2012 10:13 am

      One of the things I haven’t made time to do is write more often about my re-reading. Probably I don’t want to admit how many times I have to read something before I have anything interesting to say about it.

  2. June 4, 2012 10:09 am

    Wow, I didn’t realize you had a 7000 book library! I’m guessing you haven’t bought into the e-book thing? LOL

    • June 4, 2012 10:14 am

      Actually, I do have a Kindle now, and own some books on there that I don’t own physical copies of, like The Blind Giant.

  3. June 4, 2012 10:32 am

    Welcome to Armchair BEA!!! I can’t wait for the week. I was at Harry Potter world a couple of years ago. Totally fun. In fact, I was drinking out of my Hogs Head Pub mug just last night. AND, the Butterbeer is to die for. Have fun.

    • June 4, 2012 11:49 am

      I’ve been told the frozen butterbeer is the best, which sounds good to me since we’ll be there in July.

  4. June 4, 2012 1:33 pm

    nice to meet you and sand castles and seafood sound wonderful. I agree that reading tastes do change over time.

    • June 4, 2012 3:00 pm

      My tastes have changed with the age of my kids. The thing about new book bloggers is that you get those offers of free books and you want to try them out. I still get a few free books from time to time, but mostly I’m a free agent.

  5. June 4, 2012 2:28 pm

    Groovy. I just received the first two books of what I am calling the 2012 Harry Potter Adventure and am so looking forward to reading them. I *think* I read the first one way way way back when but am treating it like I haven’t. Happy Armchair BEA. Do you ever think you might go to the ‘real’ one? I might try to go next year.

    • June 4, 2012 3:02 pm

      If a bunch of my imaginary friends, including you, said they were having a gathering on BEA weekend I might be talked into it. But travel by myself to NYC to see just-published books I can eventually read anyway when I could be planning a trip to see plays with my family? No thanks, not particularly my kind of thing.

  6. June 4, 2012 2:37 pm

    WOW, 7,000 book library!? 🙂 I bow to you the queen of books! Would love to get in on the sand castle building too but doesn’t happen here in Manitoba I don’t think. Great to meet you!

  7. June 4, 2012 3:15 pm

    We usually travel to S.C. in June so we can thaw out. Ohio is the farthest north I’ve ever lived, and winter seems very long. This year we can’t go until July (one of the kids is graduating from a high school that didn’t start until after Labor Day), so it’s a good thing spring came early.
    There are pictures of our library in this post:

  8. June 4, 2012 3:47 pm

    I’m enjoying reading these today – its nice to learn more about the bloggers behind the blogs we love! Thanks for stopping by my blog today, too! I’ve never been to S.C., but someday I hope to visit there (its on my bucket list!)

  9. June 4, 2012 4:55 pm

    South Carolina is worth the trip. I’ll have to get my friends to count up how many years we’ve been going, but it’s almost as long as my marriage, long enough to make the smell of the sea air and the pluff mud smell like vacation home.

  10. June 4, 2012 5:00 pm

    I enjoy your poems for a particular day post as well!

    • June 4, 2012 7:25 pm

      That’s nice of you to say–especially since, early on, you were in on the post that incurred the wrath of Mr. “You don’t have the right to talk about my poems” F. Wright!

  11. June 4, 2012 5:53 pm

    Fun answers! Rivendell would be a great place to spend an evening, for sure. I’m like you and don’t see much changing with my blog in five years, but it will be interesting to see how things change around us. I can’t wait! 🙂

  12. June 4, 2012 7:27 pm

    I hesitated between Rivendell and Lorien, but decided that Lorien might be too much for the likes of me. Rivendell seems less full of peril.

  13. June 4, 2012 7:48 pm

    Great answers. I’ve seen your avatar around when you comment on various blogs but I had no idea you had two teenagers! I thought you were around my age (29)! 😀 I think you can’t help but want to read the newest books because of the influence of blogs but sooner or later, most of us would rather re-read old favorites. I’m still trying to balance the old with the new.

    • June 4, 2012 7:57 pm

      The funny thing is that, like my mother before me, I always give my age as “29.” My oldest is in college now, but home for the summer. Tonight at dinner she informed me that among her friends, I am known as the mom most likely to share fangirl obsessions (like the BBC Sherlock or Supernatural). I decided to take this as a compliment on how young I am in my thinking.

  14. June 4, 2012 7:52 pm

    I didn’t know you were going to Harry Potter World! I’m sort of jealous. You’re going to tell us all about it, right? When you get back?

    • June 4, 2012 8:00 pm

      Of course I will tell you all about it! The trip was my family’s Christmas present from my mother this year; we wrapped up bottles of pumpkin juice and an entry ticket for the kids. Then I took the two extra bottles of pumpkin juice (you can only order them four to a package) and gave them as prizes for the best essay from my student workers at the college during a traveling exhibition at our college library about Harry Potter and the Renaissance.

  15. June 4, 2012 9:09 pm

    Did you write 7000!!!! Wow. And I thought my 1053 was a lot. Have you ever posted a picture of your library?

    Here is mine

    • June 4, 2012 9:27 pm

      I posted a lot of pictures this spring, and there’s a link in the comments (above).

  16. aartichapati permalink
    June 4, 2012 9:37 pm

    I sort of want to take credit for pushing you to actually post the Araby post 😉 I know, I have a lot of growing up to do.

    Did you tell me about Rivers of London when I posted my review of The Water Room, which was all about London’s underground rivers? I am so fascinated! Can’t wait to see the joint review.

    • June 5, 2012 8:02 am

      You do get credit for inspiring me to finally try to say what I wanted to say about Araby. I thank you.
      This book Rivers of London is a police procedural about a young policeman who seems to be living in our world, but who discovers that magic is real. Not only that, he can detect it. And he can do it. The title comes from a turf dispute between ancient river spirits. It’s really funny and not at all what I expected–Jodie discovered it. We’re talking about the first half next Monday, and the second half the following Monday.

  17. June 5, 2012 8:48 am

    Dinner in Rivendell, could anything be better? I’m jealous you get to visit Harry Potter world next month. I keep trying to talk the Huz into planning a trip there with me.

    • June 5, 2012 9:15 am

      I have strategic tips from my sister-in-law and a friend, and will share as much of the experience as possible without spoiling any of the surprises. I don’t know what could be so surprising, at this point, but they insist that there are spoilers.

  18. June 5, 2012 7:54 pm

    My husband really loved THE GONE AWAY WORLD and has been trying to get me to read it forever! Thanks for hte push!

    • June 5, 2012 10:23 pm

      Yay! No one I know who has read it hasn’t loved it.

  19. June 6, 2012 9:05 am

    I promise to read “Gone-Away World” when the weather gets cooler. Right now it sits atop a bookcase, pointedly reminding me of this vow…

  20. June 10, 2012 10:15 am

    Wow, 7,000 books? Even after seeing the photos of your library, I didn’t realize it was that big. I’m a little jealous, although I am moving so much right now that having that many books would be more of a hindrance than a joy.

    • June 10, 2012 10:36 am

      That number is Ron’s estimate. We’ve been cleaning out a few–titles we accumulated along the way that none of the four of us have any interest in re-reading. And yes, this shows that we haven’t moved in 20 years.

  21. June 10, 2012 7:21 pm

    Hmmm I like your idea of getting back to re-reading. I have so many books in my reading pile(s) that I hardly ever go back and re-read lately. I think I need to remedy this soon. 🙂

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