Tuesday, September 13, 2011
BBAW: Interviewing Eva from A Striped Armchair!
It's day two of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and that means the time-honored tradition of book blogger interview swap day. On my third time out for BBAW book blogger interviews, I've finally gotten an interview partner whose blog isn't new to me. In fact, I've been reading Eva's blog, A Striped Armchair for at least as long as I've been blogging myself. As the years have gone on, I've become more and more of a huge fan of Eva's fantastic blog where I can always find a book recommendation to feed my hunger for anything from world lit to popular science. I'd be lost without Eva in my feed reader, so it's a particular joy and privilege to be interviewing her for BBAW today. So, without further ado...
How did you get started book blogging?
Over Christmas break of my senior year of college, I was surfing the
web and came across Iliana's book blog. I knew about blogs before as personal journals (I kept one for friends & family when I studied abroad), but I hadn't realised there were book blogs! I checked out her blogroll and was delighted to see that there were all these wonderful people on the internet who were happily nerding out about books together. Pretty soon, I decided I had to join in the fun, so I waited until January 1, 2007 and then started my own blog. I couldn't think of a good title, but I was too impatient to wait until perfect inspiration struck, so I just named my blog after my then-favourite chair.
You've been book blogging for quite a while now - longer than me and I feel like I've been book blogging for quite a while! I know there are times when it's been tough to keep at it, so what drives you to *keep* book blogging even when the going gets tough?
Not that much longer than you! :) But yes, it'll be five years come next January, which is insane to me: I'm not usually known for my follow through. What makes me stick with it are the friendships I've made with other book bloggers: they're such an important part of my life. They celebrate my triumphs and share my setbacks and in between fill up my wish list with the most wonderful sounding books. I also love having a more examined reading life, but really it's the people and sense of community that I can't live without.
What's the biggest change you've seen in the book blogosphere since you started blogging? What's the most the same?
Ohhh: so much has changed! Publishers and review copies are a much bigger deal, memes have become weekly events instead of one-time survey/questionnaire things, challenges have gone from shorter time periods to mainly annual and now seem to be going back to shorter 'events', feed readers are ubiquitous, read-a-longs have supplanted challenges in popularity, and of course the blogosphere has grown exponentially, which has led to more 'subgroups' of bloggers. But the love of books and reading is still what drives us: that combination of unabashed nerdiness and passionate bibliophilia still defines the book blogosphere to me.
What's one super-excellent book you probably would not have read if not for a book blogger (or few)?
If I think about this too hard, I'll be here all day, so I'm just going to say the first one that sprung to mind: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson. I'd never heard of Jansson before other bloggers mentioned her (in fact, I thought she was a man for the longest time), and I just loved that book! Definitely one I'll be rereading often in the future whenever I'm in need of some comforting.
Is there one book that you believe everyone should read? Which one and why?
Oh dear…too many possibilities, especially for someone as interested in social justice as myself! Too bad I can't think of one book that includes feminism, antiracism, environmentalism, and global awareness, hehe. See: I let myself think about this one, and now I'm just paralysed with indecision. But I'm going to go with Food Matters by Mark Bittman: it's a book that lays out the health and environmental reasons for cutting back on the animal products in your diet without mentioning the horrors of how animals are treated (Bittman assumes you already know that), and lays out smart ways of doing just that. Bittman himself eats vegan before 6pm, then whatever he wants for dinner and dessert. I often feel frustrated that vegetarian and vegan diets are seen as an either/or issue, and Bittman neatly solves that problem. He also includes a number of delicious recipes, and the book is just very inspiring! I think if everyone read it, we'd see a huge change in eating habits that could help solve the nastier aspects of factory farming. Or at least, a more rational discussion of the issues.
Lastly, what's the best piece of blogging advice you've ever given or been given?
Blogging is a hobby, "an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure": keep it guilt free! :D