Book Blogger Q&A: So Many Books, So Little Time

Sophie Waters from So Many Books, So Little Time is the second blogger to take part in the Book Blogger Q&A, a series of posts on The Book Base featuring the people behind some of the web’s best book blogs.

Over to Sophie!

How long have you been a book blogger?

I’ve been blogging since January 2009. Sometimes I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for nearly two and half years as it just becomes a part of your life so completely and effortlessly. Not to say that it isn’t hard work…

Approximately, how many books do you read every year?

Well, this depends. In my first year of blogging, I read nearly 200 books. But then last year I had my A-levels and began university and my total slipped to 99 and so far this year (still at uni) I’ve only read a hugely pathetic 17 books. As amazing as university is, it doesn’t seem to mix well with voracious reading!

What were your favourite books as a child?

The first book from my childhood that I have to mention is Roald Dahl’s Matilda. It was the book that made me fall in love with reading when I discovered that these words on the page created such vivid pictures in my head. For the first time I felt that I was inside a book with the character.

I was also a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan-girl. I read every single one of her books; she was kind of my hero for a while. I also loved Karen McCombie’s Ally’s World series and in my early teens I discovered a series, and an author, that would begin a love affair: The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison.

What are you reading at the moment?

Unusually for me, I’m reading two books at the moment. The first is My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent. With all of the same-y books in paranormal YA at the moment, My Soul to Save is a breath of fresh air with its plot revolving around the trials and tribulations of a banshee.

I’m also reading Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go. I’d had it on my shelf for months and in the face of a really long train ride I grabbed it. It’s SO good; I’ve never read anything like it. In only a few chapters I feel able to recommend it.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last twelve months?

Oh man, what a question! I’ve read so many amazing books in the last year that it’s extremely difficult to choose one. So I’m going to cheat! Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins has to be on my list along with Melissa Marr’s Darkest Mercy and Richelle Mead’s Last Sacrifice. But I think that the title of best book definitely goes to Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. All I can say is don’t overlook it because of the synopsis, stick with it and you’ll have a read that you’ll never forget.

Who are you three favourite authors?

This was a surprisingly easy question. My very favourite author isn’t hard to decide at all: Sarah Dessen. She’s my hero and I pretty much want to be her when I grow up. She’s a seriously amazing woman who writes characters like no other author I’ve come across.

Next would Sarra Manning. She has always been the UK’s edgier version of Sarah Dessen to me. As well as being a lovely lady, she writes funny, engaging and heart-warming YA that is so distinctly hers.

Finally, Scott Westerfeld. He blows my mind with every book. Everything he writes is so utterly new and original and beautifully written. He, along with Sarah Dessen and Sarra Manning, will be one of those authors that I’ll read everything they ever publish because I know that I’ll love it.

What is your favourite book about books?

Well, I have to confess that I haven’t read any books about books that I can remember.

Which book has influenced you the most?

All of Sarah Dessen’s books have hugely influenced both my writing and my outlook on life and love. She writes about situations that real girls get into, things that life throws in your way and how everything can be healed with the right ingredients. Her books are inspiring and beautifully written. My personal favourites are The Truth About Forever and This Lullaby. I recommend them all.

What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Most importantly, don’t do it for the free books. You have to love blogging because it’s time consuming and can pretty much take over your life! You need to build a good reputation among other bloggers, publishers and authors through being polite, professional and friendly because otherwise you won’t get anywhere. Another hugely important aspect of blogging, especially in the YA blogosphere, is the community. Comment on other blogs, strike up conversations and make friends. I’ve made some amazing friends through blogging.

Which other book blogs do you recommend?

So many! There’s Wondrous Reads, I Was a Teenage Book Geek, The Crooked Shelf, Once Upon a Bookcase, Fluttering Butterflies, Chicklish, Writing From the Tub, Books 4 Teens, Narratively Speaking, Portrait of a Woman and dozens more.

Many thanks to Sophie for her great responses and reading recommendations. Make sure you check out her fabulous blog, So Many Books, So Little Time.

Book Blogger Q&A: The Bookette

Becky from The Bookette, a fantastic blog focusing on YA and children’s fiction,  kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about her favourite books and authors. In doing so, she became the first person to take part in the Book Blogger Q&A, a series of posts which I hope will become a popular feature at The Book Base.

How long have you been a book blogger?

I started blogging in August 2009. So one  year and eight months. It seems longer.

Approximately, how many books do you read every year?

I think I read about 100 books a year. I tend to read between two and three a week. I challenged myself on Goodreads to read 100 books this year and so far I’m on target.

What were your favourite books as a child?

Winnie the Pooh was a childhood favourite. As was The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. My favourite fairytale was The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I just loved the idea of dancing all night long and hoodwinking your dad, I guess.

What are you reading at the moment?

I just finished Becoming Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty last night. I am rather in awe of said author. I am considering applying to run her fan club. I can’t decide what to start reading today. I am in an indecisive mood.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last twelve months?

What sort of question is that?! How can one choose just one book? If I have to choose, it would be Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. I feel in love with the ‘star-crossed’ lovers storyline. But it isn’t necessarily the best book but the one I loved the most. That doesn’t make sense. The best book would be Finding Cassie Crazy by Jaclyn Moriarty. As I have already mentioned, I feel as if I am in the presence of greatness when I read her novels. I don’t usually read contemporary fiction though. My best fantasy read was Firebrand by Gillian Philip. Fantasy is my favourite genre. I am an escapist reader.

Who are your three favourite authors?

Jaclyn Moriarty and Simone Elkeles who I have already mentioned. I also love Rick Riordan the author of Percy Jackson. I have always wanted to discover I have a special power.

Which book has influenced you the most?

Wow. I wish I knew. I think that’s a subjective question. My instinctive answer is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. That book opened my eyes to the world and made me a reader. But I think I should mention my favourite poem here: On the Pulse of Morning by Maya Angelou. I feel as if that peom speaks what I feel about the world and so it hasn’t necessarily influenced me but it communicates everything I believe.

What is your favourite book about books?

Yikes! I am not sure I have one. I certainly have books that are about books but I don’t really read them that much. So I am going to pick a book about writing books: On Writing by Stephen King. That book made me actually get on and do some writing. I am much more organised about writing now.

What advice would you give to new book bloggers?

Oh wow! I could write an essay for this. This is my advice for newbies in a nutshell:

  • Enjoy it! Blogging is fun and a great way to meet like minded people.
  • Review your favourite authors and show them they are appreciated.
  • Be yourself.
  • Try to decide early on what types of books your blog is going to focus on: YA? Fantasy? Crime? Historical?
  • Get involved in memes and challenges – this will help you get to know other bloggers.
  • Join Twitter – this will help you to connect with bloggers, authors and publishers.
  • Review with sensitivity – if you rip an author’s work to pieces, they will most likely find out and they will be hurt. Authors are people too. So write honestly but with consideration.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask more experienced bloggers for advice. I know I am always happy to help.

Which other book blogs do you recommend?

Wondrous Reads – I love Jenny’s blog. It was the first British blog I found and I always think of it as the original and the best.

Portrait of a Woman – I should say I am a little bias here. Caroline is my friend and I met her through blogging but I do love her blog. I always think of Caroline’s blog as intellectual and her reviews are so funny.

The Tales Compendium – This is my favourite Aussie blog. I love Aussie fiction so Jess is one of my sources for finding new titles.

Confessions of a Book Addict – Christina is my book twin. She lives in the US and we love the same books. I follow her recommendations and she costs me a fortune importing US titles.

The Book Zone – Darren’s blog is all about books for boys which is really helpful for me in my capacity as a children’s librarian as I find out all about books I wouldn’t personally be interested in.

Presenting Lenore – Lenore has the coolest themed months. I just really love her blog. I’ve been following her since I started blogging and I think she is the voice of experience and reason.

I could list many more but these are varied highlights from my personal favourites.

Thanks to Becky for giving such great responses to our questions. If you haven’t done so already, check out Becky’s blog, The Bookette, and follow her on Twitter (the_bookette).