I was tagged by Lisa at My Bookshelf Dialogues in her first ever tag: The Life of a Book Blogger. It happened when I was on vacation and then life got crazy, so I am late responding, but immensely grateful for the opportunity 🙂
Question #1: You are a (book) blogger with an X number of people from all over the world following your blog. But these people only get to know you through your posts. What are the five basic things that everyone you meet would know about you by the end of your face-to-face conversation?
Hmmm, I never met myself face-to-face, but I guess the first thing would be the fact that my hair is dyed in two colors, one half is red and the other black (the colours were changing over the years, but the half-half thing has been there for over 15 years now). What else? I studied art history, but I work in financial data world. I am not very good at small talk, I do believe that ‘small talk is for small minds’. I like people with sense of humour, but mine is really, really bad, makes me appreciate this gift in others. I am shy and often sarcastic, a defense mechanism. Overall probably not the great first impression, but then it can only get better on the second 😉
Question #2: What kinds of books do you like to read the most and what genres do you prefer to review on your blog?
I usually go just for literary fiction, with an odd crime book thrown in, definitely fiction over non-fiction. Though in recent years I started appreciating non-fiction more. I am not a big fan of science-fiction, but I’ve read some amazing books in this genre, so I never dismiss a book just because it is science-fiction. When I was a lot younger I liked fantasy, I read less of it now, because it is tricky to find good books. There are two genres I actively avoid: YA (I’m sure it won’t make me more popular, but I really dislike YA books) and romance (gave it a few tries when I was younger and more emotional and decided I enjoy crime more).
Question #3: People tend to develop some quirky habits when doing things they love, in our case reading. How do you like to read your books?
Ruthlessly, I like physical books, but for me they are also a thing meant to be used, so I do break spines and bend corners and some of my books have been assaulted by my dinners. I like reading when I’m eating, bad habit, but I got it from my mother so I feel excused. I like reading while laying down, but I tend to quickly fall asleep, so I usually end up sitting and reading. I always have a book with me, always, actually it is usually the most important factor when I buy a bag – will it fit a book.
Question #4: How do you go about blogging, what is your creative process?
I usually write my posts for the week during weekend, I discovered that I need some brain space to be able to write, time to rethink the book I want to write about. While reading I take some notes on post-it’s I put at the end of each book, to record my impressions as I go. When I start writing I re-read them and think if the feelings still hold. Probably like everyone else I find it easier to write about the books that moved me, than those that I just enjoyed, but I find it very difficult to review books that changed me, those best of the best, I always feel I don’t do them justice, that’s when I reach out to other bloggers for support and link to your reviews. One thing I try to avoid is reading other reviews before I write mine, I want to make sure my opinion stays my own, once I’m done writing is the time to read other reviews. As for the writing process itself once I organize my thoughts a bit I just go ahead and write, sometimes on my laptop, sometimes by hand, both ways work for me. Recently I finally got into the good habit of running spell-check at the end, because I tend to rush and then my posts are full of typos (I know, it’s basic, but some habits take time to develop). Each of my posts also has a featured picture and those very often come from my mum, who is a photographer, so my task is just limited to selecting one from her vast archive.
Question #5: Reflect on your reading goals for this year and tell us what you are currently reading.
I didn’t have any reading goals this year. No, I lie, I have a TBR, but I sort of knew from the start that I won’t finish it, I still think I made good progress on it. It includes books I had for some time and I tend to be intimidated by them, so it is my way of pushing myself to read them. My other goal this year was 20booksofsummer, which I shockingly completed a month before the deadline. No other goal than that, I still think I’ll read more books this year than last, but that was not something I planned.
Currently I’m reading White Teeth, I re-read On Beauty recently and then I found White Teeth forgotten on my shelf, so I decided it’s time to get to it. I really enjoy it so far.
Question #6: Do you often tell people that you are a book blogger? And when you do what is their response?
Actually I don’t, my friends know I have a book blog, but none of them is as obsessed with books as I am, so they took a look out of curiosity and that’s it. I generally spend most of my time among people who don’t read much, people who prefer science to humanities (I know it’s not one or the other, but it still feels like this sometimes).
Question #7: How do you acquire new books? Do you go to a bookstore or buy them online? Do you prefer hardcovers, paperbacks or ebooks? Do you receive books from publishers or prefer to buy them yourself? And how do you decide which book to buy next?
This year I have a self-imposed book-buying-ban, so I only bought around 10 books, all of them in second-hand bookshops. I rarely buy physical books online. In the previous years every 2-3 months I would go crazy with e-books on Amazon, but I stopped that now, as my Kindle holds 300 out of my 400 books that I haven’t read yet. I also fell under the spell of Netgalley last year, which landed me with 21 books to review, so I stopped that now too. I always liked paperbacks and I try to buy more of those, also because I live in a small apartment so due to space limitations I have to be more picky, which is a good thing. The most amazing thing is that 10 minutes walk from my flat is a second-hand bookshop that sells all books for 1GBP what it also offers is the sense of adventure, because it is like a cave, books are in no particular order and they are also piled on the floor, so it’s a true treasure hunt every time I allow myself to go there.
Question #8: How do you decide what to read next and what happens if you are hating the book you are reading?
To decide what I am going to read next I use my intuition, I stand in front of my shelves and pull out few books, read the blurbs, hold them for a second and finally always one feels just right. Not a very scientific process.
When I hate the book I am reading I test to persist for a while longer, sometimes the feeling passes, but if the book really wears me down and I end up doing everything else I can not to read it, then I know it’s time to give up. I have very few DNFs in my career, probably less than 20, but they do happen, life is too short.
Question #9: What other platform or social media do you use to talk about books?
I have a Facebook page about my blog which you can find here: My Bookshelf Dialogues Facebook page. Whenever I upload a new post I also put the link on that Facebook page.
Yeah, I’m not very good with that, I think my blog’s Facebook page got closed…oh, wait, I just checked it’s still there. You can also follow me on Twitter @booksceptic. I never got round to Instagram, I have my personal account, but I don’t take enough of bookish pictures to connect the two in my mind.
Question #10: Now that we got to know you a little better, who would you like to know more about next? Tag some bloggers here so we can all learn more about each other
I’d like all of you to feel nominated! Please do take part. I will call out some names, but only to encourage all of you.
Naomi at Consumed by Ink