Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW: Interview with Caitlin from Chaotic Compendiums

As part of the Book Blogger Appreciation Week festivities, we had the option of taking part in an interview exchange with another book blogger. I didn't manage to do it last year, but I'm excited to have the opportunity to try it this year. I'm extra excited because I got paired up with a blogger who is new to me, Caitlin from Chaotic Compendiums. She's got a great blog, and I'm sure I'll be adding a bunch of books to my wish list from her excellent reviews. I encourage you to get to know her a little bit better here, and then definitely head on over and check out her blog - you won't regret it! =)

First of all tell me about you. What's a a day in your life look like? What are you up to when you're not reading/blogging?

I am a transplanted Southerner living happily in the Bay Area. I work in Oakland for a very large not-for-profit healthcare provider where I have the privilege of managing various efforts related to quality of service. It's really nice to work for a progressive company & to do work that makes an actual difference to real people. I love my job & I love living here even though I can't get decent hush puppies.

What made you to decide to start blogging about books?

I've always been a voracious reader & I've off & on started writing down what I've been reading. I've always been sort of curious to know how many books I read in a year. I decided to try a book blog back in April this year & for whatever reason this time it took & I've been doing it ever since. It's been a lot of fun & has re-energized my reading in lots of different ways. I've also discovered scads of books I might not have read otherwise & have been happy to read many other book bloggers.

Has being a part of the book blogosphere changed what or even *how* you read?

As I said, this has in many ways re-energized my reading. I'd felt that I was in kind of a rut, reading a lot of the same stuff, but not finding new things that challenged me. Once I started blogging about books & reading other blogs I've found a lot of new authors & have expanded my reading considerably. It's been really fun!

Name me a book (or few?) that you've read (and enjoyed!) as a result of the the reviews or general chatter of other book bloggers:

Sophie's Choice, Empire Falls, & The Short Stories of Katherine Anne Porter - I read these as part of Rose City Reader's Sunshine Smackdown: The Battle of the Prizes Challenge. This was a challenge to read a National Book Award winner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, & a book that won both awards. Reviews are linked.

Another find was Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, a book I found recommended by Constance Reader's Guide to Throwing Books with Great Force.

Have you always been a (capital R) Reader? ;-) What book(s) do you have especially fond memories of from your childhood?

Absolutely. I have been reading voraciously since I learned to read at 3 or 4 years old. Favorite childhood books include: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (& making a movie of this book should be grounds for termination of life), Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Copper, & The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Reading & reading aloud to each other were a huge part of my growing up. I'm pleased to say that my son reads as much as I do & that most of our conversations start with, "So, I'm reading ..."

Tell me 5 "can't miss" book blogs that we should all be following:

Rose City Reader - She is list-obsessed & her blog is a great source for book lists of all kinds. She also reads a lot of really interesting books!
Constance Reader's Guide to Throwing Books with Great Force - Good writer, funny, interesting book list.
Stainless Steel Droppings - A beautiful blog with a quirky sensibility.
Serendipity - Vivienne's a British reader & scrapbooker & a faithful commenter on the blogs she reads.
Book Chase - Sam is an older gentlemen from Houston who reads a wide variety of books & reviews them, but who also writes on various topics about books & reading. I don't always agree with him, but his perspective is always refreshing.

Tell me 5 books you think everyone should read:

Just 5?! *grins*

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak - A classic read about imagination!
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn - Another classic. Kuhn argues that scientific advancement is a revolutionary not evolutionary process. He coined the term "paradigm shift" & reading him will change how you look at most things in the world, including how you see the nature of problem-solving & interpretation.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame - I read this book every spring, & when I was still living at home my mother & I read it aloud every spring. Aside from being a wonderful story filled with delightful characters it also contains one of the most beautiful chapters of a book ever written - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
Andrew Lang's Coloured Fairy Books - Read these & you'll have a firm grounding in fairy tales & folklore that will illuminate most other things that you might read.
Sandman by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean (& many other amazing illustrators) - Among the very best in storytelling & literature, an amazing comic (or graphic novel, if you prefer), & it's chock full of references to books Gaiman has read that are wonderfully fun to tease out.

Best book you've read this year thus far?

Best book this year is a tie: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver & The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Each wonderful in its own way & very different from each other.

Worst book you've read this year thus far?

Worst is tied, too: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (dreadful, if mildly entertaining) & Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry (which was just dreadful).


  1. Happy Tuesday! Thanks for the fun interview!

  2. Great interview. I have We Need to Talk about Kevin and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie on my wish list.

  3. Great interview. I do enjoy Caitlin's blog.

  4. great interview - I've been hearing good things about that Sweetness book, maybe I should check it out.

  5. Both of those best books are on my wish list!

  6. Thank you for the introduction to Caitlin, Megan! I was just over at her blog reading her interview with you. :-)

    I'm quite fond of the Bay Area too. It's been ages since I last as there though. Empire Falls is such a good book. I really want to read Sophie's Choice.

    Thanks for the great interview, Megan and Caitlin!