As part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I interviewed fellow blogger Nora St.Laurent and she interviewed me.
Nora, of Finding Hope Through Fiction and Beyond, has been running two book clubs for the Christian bookstore she works at for nearly 3 years. She also helps run the ACFW online book club. She enjoys writing a book club column for the Christian Fiction online Magazine. Everyone other month she interviews book club leaders. She writes book reviews that regularly appear on Novel Reviews. “I’m all about book clubs — as if you couldn’t tell,” she said.
Without further ado, here’s my interview with Nora:
1. How did you get started with book blogging, Nora? Why do you blog?
I originally started a blog so that I could share pictures from several author visits that we had at book club. I thought a blog would be a great way to share them, and the ladies could comment on the photos, etc. Soon after starting my blog I discovered two book alliances. My blogging changed dramatically after joining these groups. I was exposed to a wide variety of books and authors. What a great tool for the book club selection process.
This year I started doing author interviews. I interview the authors in a book club style. The authors and my readers have had fun with the interviews I’ve done. Once the interview is complete I enjoy telling everyone about it being on my blog. I tell my friends on Facebook, Twitter, book club loop, and anyone else that will listen. Ha!
2. Has your taste in books changed since you started your blog? Do you read more genres than you did previously or do you specialize more?
I have to be honest with you I wasn’t a huge reader before starting book clubs and belonging to these book alliances. I’ve been on a very interesting quest to discover books and the authors that write them. I mostly read to find books that would make good book club selections. I’m checking out books that are fun, interesting, powerful and have something in them to discuss.
The book clubs I run read a variety of authors and book genres. My ladies have joined book club to broaden their horizons. They agree with me that variety is the spice of life. I also do not read sequels in my clubs. I have introduced the ladies to a series but we don’t take up book club time to read every single book in that series.
3. What’s your favorite thing about blogging? Do you have a least favorite thing about it?
I’ve enjoyed doing author interviews the most. It’s been fascinating to get to know the authors behind their books. What I enjoy the least are reading books under a deadline. I find it difficult to hurry up and read a book so I can review it and then post my review with the author blog tour. I like it when I have lots of time to read and review the book. This way I can enjoy the book and not rush through it.
4. What are the best books you’ve read so far this year?
I have a few books that have really touched my heart deeply this year:
• Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge (fun and funny)
• June Bug by Chris Fabry (powerful story of a father’s love for a child)
• If Tomorrow Never Comes by Marlo Schalesky (one couple’s struggle with infertility)
• Vanish by Tom Pawlik (a very different story, powerful and moving story)
• Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner (a cozy mystery, filled with love, forgiveness and adventure).
I’ve read some of those books! 5. How do you feel about series books? Are you more or less likely to pick up a book that is part of a series?
I feel overwhelmed sometimes to sign up to read a series of books. I am deterred about reading the first book in a long series, for sure. Three books in a series is doable for me; anything longer than that I just won’t read. I’m less likely to pick up a book that is part of a series. I don’t want to be committed to something that long and/or buy that many books.
6. Where do you get most of your book recommendations? How important are reviews to you when you choose your reading material?
I belong to two book alliances and I work at a book store. Both alliances have the author’s first chapter included in the blog tour. I keep my eyes and ears open at work. When I see a book flying off the shelf or being frequently requested I pay attention and check it out. I really don’t take the time to read reviews often.
7. Do your family and friends know about your blog? What do they think of it?
Yes, my family and friends have checked out my blog. They even leave comments on my blog, especially when I have book giveaways. Ha! Ha!
8. If you had a $1,000 gift card to your favorite book store and only half an hour to spend it, which section of the store would you head to first?
Where I start in the store would be determine by what time of year I got the gift certificate. If it was right after Christmas, the first place I would go would be the children’s Christmas picture book section because they would be on sale. I love to read these books to my kids every year. After that I would go to the DVD section and then finally the cook book section. The books I read normally I can get at the library or borrow.
9. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or are you a multiple book reader?
I’m dyslexic so for me reading one book is absolutely essential for remembering what is inside. I can only enjoy and remember one book at a time. Not kidding! Ha! Ha!
10. Do you have any reading rituals (taking notes, favorite reading spot, etc.)?
I write book reviews and pre-read for the book clubs that I run. So I mark up my books in pencil so I can remember what parts to share with my ladies. I also mark parts that will help me with the book reviews that I write.
Thanks so much for swapping interviews with me, Nora! (You can check out my answers to Nora’s questions on her blog, http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com.)