Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA: blogger interview

Today's Armchair BEA activity is blogger interviews! Although we may be virtual, we can still get to know each other better, just like we would if we met in person at a conference, so bloggers have been matched up to conduct interviews and share them. I had the pleasure of interviewing Carrie, from West Virginia Red Reads! (Cute blog title, no?)

So, Carrie, what compelled you to start blogging about books?

I have always been a hard core reader. I love words and will read just about anything. After I became a Mom and certainly after I stopped working, I never had time to read. I missed it terribly as books were my saving grace for many years. About 2006 I found a group on LiveJournal called 50books (I think). I decided to challenge myself to read at least that much. I got to 93 books that year.* I kept track of them in a written journal as well as posting reviews to the LJ group. I did that for the next few years but found that books were taking over my journal. A year ago in April, I started West Virginia Red Reads to keep up with a Read Along hosted by Tif from Tif Talks Books. It has grown from there.
*I have never been that successful again.
I see you're participating in a lot of reading challenges, and it looks like you're aiming to read in a wide variety of genres. Very cool! Left to your own devices, though, what genres do you gravitate toward most naturally?
I need to update my challenges. That is one of the major things that falls away as I try to keep up with the blog. But to answer your question, in February I tried to post a quick review every day of a book that I loved. I called it Five Star February. It really opened my eyes to the genres that I read. Mostly these days it is some variation on Fantasy. I adore dystopian lit and post apocalyptic lit (and I do think they are different).
That's a great point- dystopian and post apocalyptic are definitely two different concepts. Life as we know it doesn't need to have ended for society to get really creepy, right?

I notice you read both adult and youth literature. Do you tend to prefer one over the other?
Not really. I think that Young Adult books are my dirty little secret. I would love to read “Literature” but honestly there are days where it is all I can do to finish the chapter in the beginner chapter book I am reading as a bedtime story to my 7 year old. YA is easy, it is quick and I really think that there is a huge amount of talent out there these days. So I am leaning toward that. Add to those arguments a voracious 11 year-old and I need to be on top of what is out there for her.
What is your favorite book you've read this year?
Ouch! Just one? I have a few 5 stars this year; Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon; Locke & Key, vols. 1-3 by Joe Hill; Incarceron by Catherine Fisher; The Passage by Justin Cronin, and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. But I think if I had to pick one it would be The Magicians (The Magicians Trilogy: Book 1) by Lev Grossman. Just an amazingly told tale.
Heh, I know, I can never pick just one favorite either. You made some great choices! I've been meaning to read Incarceron forever...

From one mom to another, I have to say that my biggest challenge with book blogging is finding the TIME to read and write reviews! What are your strategies for carving out reading and blogging time for yourself?

It helps that my girls are both in school. I have set a schedule for myself which at the end of the school year is hard to keep. I try to get at least 3-4 posts in a week. Sometimes it is just a quick meme but I am trying to work on having a back log of reviews so that I am not so pressured to post. Generally, I try to prep reviews on the weekend. Monday is my big push day where I try to organize the blog, update lists, etc. One of the biggest things I have done recently to give me more time is join a meal co-op. I cook huge on Sunday and then package up 3 meals and trade on Monday morning. Big time saver.
Wow, you've really got your system perfected! I am taking notes.

So, we're participating in Armchair BEA because we're not at the real BEA. Do you think you might eventually go to BEA at some point? Have you ever gone to any kind of blogging conference or meet-up?
I would love to go to a meet up or conference and BEA would be heaven. BEA is more doable than others since I am originally from NY. I could have a place to stay if I wanted to go.
When I worked I would go to a conference every year for my profession and as much fun as they were they were also serious work and a great networking tool.
I live in a fairly small city where there are not book signings or meet ups. I am still trying to find like minded readers to get together and have a book club. ;-)
Thanks for sharing about yourself, Carrie! I hope you do make it to BEA one of these years. It was a pleasure getting to know you, and I look forward to continuing to read your blog.


  1. Great interview! I really enjoyed getting to meet Carrie, a new to me blogger!

  2. Thanks for the comment! I was so glad to get to know Carrie and start reading her blog.

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