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bbaw: interview swap September 15, 2009

Posted by Katie in community.


Welcome to the second day of Book Blogger Appreciate Week!

This morning’s topic is our interview swaps. I was really nervous when I signed up to do an interview. In fact, I debated about doing it for a few days before actually signing up. I actually fretted that I’d get a blogger who was anti-YA and hated my blog from the beginning. (Okay, a bit dramatic, I know — but this is my first BBAW and I didn’t realize how awesome the event was!)

I was delighted when I got matched up with my partner, Ali from Worducopia!

A bit about Ali (in her own words!)

My name is Alison but online I go by Ali. I live in Portland, Oregon, with my husband and two sons who are 9 and 12. I spend a lot of time with my family; since my kids are homeschooled they’re with me almost all the time. Before I was a mom I was a school social worker. When I’m not blogging or reading I sing in a choir, love to go hiking and camping, and I’m working on the last revision of a YA novel.

I participated in BBAW last year as a brand new blogger–I’d been blogging for just a few months at that point. It was a great way to get to know some other book bloggers better. It was so great that I actually intended to be involved behind the scenes this year, but when I found out it would be scheduled for the week I was returning from a long vacation, I realized I wouldn’t be of much use during that crucial prep time.

And now, on to the questions!

How do you and your family choose books to read? Do you visit bookstores/libraries together?

We do plenty of dropping in together and browsing the shelves. I don’t buy a lot of books, but I definitely buy more for my kids than myself.

My 12-year-old son has his own route through the library but my 9-year-old likes company so we often find books together. I also place holds on their library cards for them, if I find out about a book I think they’ll like. And occasionally I’ll get a total winner as a review book. One review copy of a book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan got us caught up in the entire series, and right now we’re reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner out loud, and we’re all completely riveted.

What were the books from your childhood that stuck with you?

The Little House on the Prairie series, Heidi, Escape to Witch Mountain, Harriet the Spy. As a teen: The Outsiders, The Catcher in the Rye, Roots, and the 14 Dick Francis mysteries I read in 10 days while my family stayed in an Italian villa in Tuscany. I had found the books in the basement and wasn’t convinced they existed anywhere else in the real world. I still have a soft spot for Francis’s various main characters.

What books do you think will matter to your children?
I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have an answer. What I think and hope will stick with them, more than any particular book, is their love of reading and the memory of reading as a fun thing we did together as a family.

How did you get started blogging?
I started a blog when my oldest son was three, because I wanted to start journaling again–I had pretty much stopped writing when he was born. That blog still exists, though it’s often neglected by me and not widely read by people who don’t already know me. A couple of years ago, I started writing reviews on Library Thing and found that I really enjoyed keeping track of my reading that way. Through the discussion groups there, book bloggers like Bermuda Onion and Lenore inspired me to start my own book blog.

Tell me more about C.O.R.A. Diversity Roll Call.

Diversity Roll Call is so much fun, I love doing it. It’s a regular meme (usually every 2 weeks) that I co-host with Susan, of Color Online, which gives bloggers a chance to find or write about books written by nonwhite authors, or that deal with diversity in some other way. Everything from sci-fi/fantasy to the Bloomsbury cover fiasco.

But, let me back up. I started a reading challenge (Diversity Rocks) in January, to help me focus on reading non-white authors this year. Through that I met a lot of wonderful readers and bloggers who hadn’t been on my radar at all. One of them was Susan, of Color Online, and after we’d gotten to know each other a bit, she asked if I’d be willing to co-host a meme with her. She’s passionate about getting the spotlight on books by authors of color, which often get overshadowed by the slicker promotional campaigns and bookstore placement. Working with her and getting to know the participants in the Roll Call has been one of the highlights of blogging for me.

Do you have a favorite subject/post that you’ve blogged about?

I especially love the ones my kids have helped me write, because they’re like little time capsules for me. One of my favorites is our discussion of Graham Salisbury’s Night of the Howling Dogs.

Where do you want to be (blogging-wise) in five years? Do you think blogging is a life-long habit?
I think I’ll still be blogging in 5 years, but right now I spend more time on blogging than I’d like. I love it, but I don’t love the guilt when I feel like I’m “behind,” and it sometimes takes too much time away from my fiction writing and from my family. So, in 5 years I predict I’ll be accepting even fewer review copies and reading more library books. I’ll write fewer full reviews and post more mini-reviews. But I’ll still be plugging away.

What’s the one (or 2-3) YA books that you think everyone should read?
The one I’m writing, of course!

Other than that, the one that comes to mind that left me thinking “everyone should read this!” was The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

Where is your favorite place to read?
In bed.

How much time do you read every week?
I have no idea–I snatch my reading minutes at a time, sometimes. Probably an hour or two hours per day.

Easiest genre for you to read?
YA. It’s so full of life and tends to pull me in quickly.

Hardest genre for you to read?
Well, there are quite a few genres I just don’t read–horror would probably be the hardest for me to get through. I’m too chicken to try, though.

Are you a re-reader?
Almost never. I don’t even preview books I plan to read aloud with my kids, because I won’t want to read it a second time–although I did reread Harry Potter, and a few books I remember from my childhood, with my kids.

What happens to your books once you finish reading them?
I pass them on to friends, or return them to the library, or resell them at my local Powell’s. I’m not a book collector, by any stretch. I’m trying to get into BookCrossing, but I don’t seem to be very good at it. I just came home from a resort cabin I’ve stayed in for 5 years, where people leave books on the bathroom shelves, and once again I forgot to bring a single finished book with me!

Thanks, Ali, for such a great interview and for answering all my questions (I had a lot, I think!). It’s been so great meeting you this BBAW.

[Edited to add: Ali’s interview with me can be found here on Worducopia!]



1. susan - September 15, 2009

Great interview! Ali is a fantastic, forgiving co-host (I’m the ultimate scatterbrain). It has been wonderful getting to know her. Ali is one of those folks you want to chat with off-blog often.

Glad you got, Ali. She rocks.

2. BrownGirl - September 15, 2009

great job and i can’t wait until i’m a librarian. ๐Ÿ˜‰

3. Elizabeth - September 15, 2009

Love your interviews! I’m so happy to meet you and your blog – I’m not a YA blogger, but do love to read that genre. Can’t wait to see what you entice me to read. =)

4. austenfan - September 16, 2009

I don’t read horror as well. I don’t think I could get past page 10. LOL. And I agree, YA is so much fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Doret - September 16, 2009

Are you a re-reader, I love that question. Surprised I don’t see it more often. Katie, I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it.

6. softdrink - September 17, 2009

I agree with Susan…Ali does rock! And she keeps all us Geeks organized. Weekly Geeks would fall apart without her!

You two did a great job with the interviews…I enjoyed reading them!

7. Heather J. - September 17, 2009

I love writing reviews with my son too – it’s fun to do and fun to look back on later.

Have you tried PaperBackSwap.com or BookMooch? I love PBS but I haven’t had much success with BookCrossing …

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