Blog Hop: A Few Questions, Please

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Which author would you most like to interview, and why?

Limiting myself to living authors…I’d like to interview Brene Brown, whose work on vulnerability has been amazing and life-changing…though I’m a little afraid I’d inadvertently try to turn it into a therapy session, wanting her insights on everything in my life!

I’d also like to interview Catherynne Valente, partially because I love her Fairyland series so much, and partially to see if I could somehow (discreetly, politely) puzzle out the question of why that series is SO DIFFERENT from the rest of her books.

I’d love to interview Geraldine McCaughrean, who wrote the wonderful White Darkness, and wrote me a wonderful letter back when I wrote to her about it.  So I think she’d be just lovely to meet.

Do you have an author you’d like to interview?  Purely because they’re awesome, or do you have questions you really want answered?

Blog Hop: Love for the Classics

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you have a favorite classic? When did you read it? High school or as an adult?

I guess all of L. M. Montgomery’s books qualify for the Classics section?  At least, Anne of Green Gables does.  I possibly ought to pick something of hers, but they somehow don’t feel like proper, capital C Classics to me, which I guess implies a higher degree of difficulty in reading, or a more archaic style…or something?  I don’t know.  And I fully realize this attitude towards Montgomery’s books probably has more to do with my familiarity with them than anything intrinsic to them.

Anyway.  Let’s still set Montgomery aside (though The Blue Castle is my favorite of hers, one of my top five favorite ever books).  Even though J. M. Barrie and Montgomery were contemporaries, his Little White Bird (1902 publication) feels more like a proper Classic, and that’s also a great favorite of mine.  I believe I read both these books during high school, though neither was assigned, and I’ve reread them multiple times since then.

Charlotte Bronte feels even more like a proper Classics author though, which means giving the nod to Jane Eyre, another particularly beloved book.  So let’s call that my favorite Classic.  I read both Brontes some time after college, when I realized I’d never been assigned either (and I was an English major!) If you come down on the side of Wuthering Heights in the great Bronte debate, let’s not discuss it and remain friends…

Blog Hop: Stealing Like a Writer

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Which book do you wish you’d written?

Hmm.  The first to come to mind is Bloody Jack, probably because in college I wrote a story that flirted with some of the same ideas, a girl disguised as a boy who ran away to sea.  The series’ quality grew uneven and I kind of wish I’d written some of the later ones so I could have sent things in a different direction…

I wish I could write like Catherynne Valente in her Fairyland series, because the things she does with archetypes and fairy tales and magic are amazing and very much the things I want to do, but she has an exquisite, lyrical, witty writing style that I am in awe of.

I don’t actually wish that I’d written Susan Kay’s amazing Phantom, because even though it is, as aforesaid, amazing, and even though it’s an important inspiration for my own trilogy, and even though it’s up there as one of my very, very favorite books…I want to write my own Phantom story, you know?  Though I would like it to have a similar reception!

I guess I mostly don’t wish I’d written someone else’s book–because those are their stories, and I want to write my own.

Blog Hop: Enthusiasm…?

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: At the end of a hard day, how do you get yourself psyched about writing a book review?

I guess…I kind of don’t?  At least, on some level, I don’t.  One of the best pieces of advice I ever read about trying to get yourself to do something is (paraphrased) that you don’t actually have to be excited to do it, you just have to do it.  Taking the pressure off to feel positive about it makes it easier to just buckle down and do it, because you’re not putting willpower into trying to modify your emotions too.

How do I get myself to write a blog post though?  Well, having a schedule is everything for me.  I’ve had a set schedule of when I post since the first day of this blog–it’s shifted a little as my time allows, and I have missed posts occasionally (although I didn’t for years).  It’s much, much easier for me to say, I need to write Friday’s post because it’s Friday and I post on Friday, rather than, hmm, I haven’t posted in a while, I should post…which could easily be put off until tomorrow, indefinitely.

It’s actually the same attitude I have towards writing.  I write every day.  Period, full stop.  I’ve kept that up for…five years?  Six years?  I don’t know, I’ve lost track.  But the key thing is, the question becomes not, do I have a good enough reason to write today?  The question is, do I have a good enough reason to NOT write today?  So far, I haven’t had a good enough reason to break the streak.  Including my wedding day.  Including my honeymoon.  Including international travel and various illnesses.  I won’t say that there haven’t been days when I edited one paragraph, or reread one page that I was revising, or wrote two sentences…but every day, something happened.  Because the question wasn’t will I, it was will I not? [/end divergence]

So along with knowing when I need to write a blog post, inverting the question of whether to do it, I also remind myself that it usually goes faster than I imagine it will, it’s usually easier than it looks once I start, and I do in fact usually enjoy writing it.  Or I probably wouldn’t be doing it to begin with!

For bloggers, how do you get yourself to post?  Non-bloggers, do you have tricks you use for other tasks that you might find challenging to start?

Blog Hop: Revisiting to Resume

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: When reading a series, do you re-read the previous book/s before reading the newly released book?

Sometimes yes.  It depends on how much I like a series and how recently I’ve read the earlier books.  Often if I don’t reread earlier books before reading the newly released one, I end up realizing that I’ve forgotten great swathes of things (like, say, the main character’s best friend.  Or the twist ending of the last book revealing the villain is actually a good guy.  It’s happened.)  So in general I probably should reread the previous book(s) before reading a new one, but it really only happens if I enjoyed the previous book enough to want to read it again.

For a while I was doing an annual reread of at least some of Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series, each autumn when a new one came out.  Because those are amazing.  I reread all the previous four when the fifth one came out and it was awesome.  I should reread those, come to think of it…

When I reread series, I pretty much always read the entire series.  So some, like Anne of Green Gables (eight books!) become a rather lengthy process.  But it just feels incomplete to only read part, and very strange to just jump to the middle somewhere.  Although I can think of a few series (the Oz books, the Bloody Jack series) where the quality is uneven, and I may only reread my favorites next time I revisit.  It would be a shift in habits, though!

What do you do when a new book in a series comes out?  Rereading, or just diving into the new part of the story?

Blog Hop: Walking in a Character’s Shoes…

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you could take the place of any fictional character, who would it be and why?

This is a rather intriguing question…I assume this would be for a brief visit, and I assume I’m still me but occupying the role of a fictional character, with the other characters not seeing anything strange.  So!  With those parameters in mind…

The first one to come to mind is Dr. Watson.  I don’t think I could be Sherlock Holmes, and besides, I’d want to meet Holmes, so it would be better to have Watson’s role.  As long as medical knowledge wasn’t called for to help solve the case, I think I could be a decent Watson–even though I’m more squeamish than he is!

I definitely couldn’t be Anne of Green Gables, but it would be nice to try being her friend Diana Barry for a bit.  Or it might actually be more fun to be Ilse, friend of Emily of New Moon.  I like Emily a lot, and Ilse can get away with wild statements and flights of passion that, while not really me, might be fun for a change!

Continue reading “Blog Hop: Walking in a Character’s Shoes…”

Blog Hop: To Buy or Not to Buy

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you buy all your books? If yes, do you keep them all? If no, where do you source them?

I buy almost none of my books.  Virtually everything I read comes from my local library.  I’ve said for years that I could never afford my book habit if I had to actually pay for my books.  Last year I read around a hundred books, and it was a serious drop-off from most years.

Shall we run some math?  I’d guess at least a third of what I read last year were audiobooks, which are typically more expensive than print ones.  So let’s say I got really good used book deals on the paper books and spent an average of $5 per book.  If I went the ebook route, I think that’s still realistic.  Audiobooks, I think we have to say $15 to be even faintly plausible.  So that’s…[calculator on my phone]…approximately $1,000.  I could buy a signed L. M. Montgomery book for that.  Let’s assume that a decent number of those paper books were new books I had to buy at higher prices, call it a $15 average for the paper books too, and we’re up to $1,500.  And remember, I’ve typically read twice that many books.  Some are coming off of my own shelves, especially when I’m reading at a higher quantity, but I think we can still conservatively say that a typical year of reading, if purchased, would cost me around $2,500.  That’s most of a trip to England, right there.

Continue reading “Blog Hop: To Buy or Not to Buy”