Book Blogger Q&A: Things Mean A Lot

The 64th post in our Book Blogger Q&A series features Ana from Things Mean  A Lot.

Here are her responses:

How long have you been a blogger?

I started in March 2007, so four and a half years now. I can’t believe it’s been so long!

Approximately, how many books do you read every year?

It really depends on my life circumstances. In 2009 and 2010 it was over 200. But ever since I started grad school I’m averaging twelve a month, so it definitely won’t be as many this year.

What were your favourite books as a child?

Grimm’s fairy tales and a collection of retold Greek myths. My access to books was somewhat limited, so what I’d do was read the same collections again and again.

What are you reading at the moment?

I have a bunch of books going, mostly because my attention’s scattered and I have trouble concentrating on just one thing. Two are fiction (Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld) and two are non-fiction (Myths of Gender by Anne Fausto-Sterling and The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson). I’m enjoying them all so far!

If you had to pick one, what’s the best book you’ve read in the last twelve months?

It’s really hard to pick just one, but probably The 10pm Question by Kate de Goldi.

Who are your three favourite authors?

Argh, just three? I can’t pick a definite list, but Sarah Waters, Margo Lanagan and Neil Gaiman are certainly three of them.

Which book has had the greatest impact on your life?

I swear, I’ve been staring at this question for five minutes and drawing a blank. I think my childhood obsession with myths and fairy tales was life-changing because it made me fall in love with story and define myself as a reader – not to mention the fact that it determined some of my lifelong interests. But to be honest I could come up with ten different answers to this question and they would all be equally truthful. So many books have impacted me in such different ways that it’s hard to compare them.

Which books are you most eagerly anticipating?

I’m absolutely dying to get my hands on The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, which will be out in October.

Which book character is most like you?

Hmm… the characters I’m drawn to actually tend to be very different from me, but I guess I identify with the unnamed narrator of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. She’s a character a lot of readers dislike for being so insecure, but I recognised a lot of myself in her.

If you had to invite some book characters round for dinner, who would you choose and why?

I’d invite Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s incarnations of Death. This might sound a bit morbid but it’s not, really! As anyone who has read Reaper Man or Death: The High Cost of Living will know, both are fascinating characters with a real appreciation of life. I think both would be a lot of fun to spend time with, even if in very different ways.

What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Just be yourself, and most of all have fun. The blogging world was very different when I started out all those years ago, and to be honest I suspect that if I was a new blogger now I would easily get discouraged. But this is a great community to belong to, and being a book blogger can be so rewarding. So don’t let yourself feel pressured or stressed out. Don’t worry too much about rules, being the best, or “making it” as a blogger (unless that’s what you really want, of course). Just do your own thing. You don’t have to fit any specific mould – there’s room for all sorts of voices and approaches. Your individuality is the best you can offer.

Which other book blogs do you recommend?

Amy Reads, Iris on Books, Still Life With Books, Jenny’s Books, BookGazing, Stella Matutina and Booklust – just to name a few!

Thanks to Ana for taking the time to answer our questions. If you haven’t already done so, check out her fantastic blog and follow her on Twitter.

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