BBAW: Interview Swap - Amy Reads

And now onto what has to be my favorite part about Book Blogger Appreciation Week - the Interview Swap. It all started a couple of weeks ago after I received an email letting me know I had been paired up with Amy of Amy Reads for my partner. Now Amy's blog was completely new to me but it looks like I am in the minority here after discovering that her site had been shortlisted as a 2010 Best New Book Blog. As I began emailing back and forth with Amy while checking her blog regularly, I began to see what all the fuss was about. Amy is one of those voracious readers who truly has eclectic taste in books. She makes a point to switch between non-fiction, fiction and YA novels with lots of ethnically diverse books thrown in for good measure (just check out her picks from the interview!). Not only does her reading pile inspire me to start reading more non-fiction again, but she is a wonderful person to get to know and I am utterly jealous of the fact that she lives in the iconic Prince Edward Island - even if her work schedule doesn't allow her much time to enjoy it. I'm so pleased to have her here today - so here we go!

When did you start blogging and what were some of your goals for Amy Reads?

I started blogging on January 1st, 2010. Yep, I'm that OCD that I really wanted to start on the first day of the year. And as I finally made the decision after working late on a big project and then having some wine by myself on New Years Eve (working on NYE = not fun)... well, it was a last minute decision that really paid off! My goal was that I really wanted to be part of this community that I saw online. I had followed it online for some time and just couldn't get over how friendly everyone was to each other (I was a lurker, too shy to actually comment). I really wanted to get in on all this fun and book discussion - very few people I know in real life will talk books with me, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity.

What do you do when you hit a reading slump and nothing seems to pull you out of it? Do you have comfort reads your find yourself returning to?

Hmm... this is a hard one! My reading slumps tend to happen either when I look at the tbr shelf and just have trouble settling with something (too much choice can do that too me!) or when I've read too much and just need a bit of a break. Usually I just keep trying different books until something clicks for me. Young Adult books tend to snap me out of them more often than not though, I think because they are just fun and lighter than some of what I read (I have a big love of random non-fiction books...!).

Have you always been a dedicated reader? If not, what changed? What types of books did you like when you were younger?

I've definitely always been a reader :) Growing up we weren't allowed watching much TV, so I read a lot. I remember library trips fondly (I had my library card number memorized) and read pretty much everything in the house and in our tiny little library. During University I read less than I used to, but that was mainly because I had so much school texts to read. I read a lot of series - Thoroughbred, Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew, and really just whatever I could find in the house. I was always rereading the same books over and over because they were around. I definitely do read a lot more now than I used to though as well.

You mentioned on your blog that you travel often for work. What are some of your favorite places you've gone to? And right along with that, what books do you have stashed in your overnight bag awaiting your next trip?

I spend between 50-75% of my time on the road. Usually I go for 1 to 2 week trips, though occasionally for longer, and usually a week or two at a time at the same place. My absolute favorite place to go was Botswana this January / February but that was a one time thing - unfortunately the rest is only around North America. Some other favorites are Minnesota, Northern California and Bermuda.

Funny enough I am on a trip as I write this. I have a wide collection of books in my suitcase from Imperial Brotherhood (about cold war policy and feminism), The Tiger (about a man eating tiger in Siberia), What They Always Tell Us (young adult GLBTQ), and Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah (a Tanzanian novel). Books are almost always the last thing I pack. I check out my review pile and grab anything I need to review during or immediately after my trip, and then spend as much time as I have sitting in front of the tbr bookshelf trying to decide what to bring. Usually I try to get a variety. Then I have to go through again and limit my pile to what will actually fit!

Audiobooks, print copies or ebooks? Any preferences or strong feelings?

Ohhh how I love print copies! I have a Kindle, and I do love it for travel, but I just have so many print copies that I have to fill my suitcase anyway. I love having the actual book - I love the smell, the touch, the look, and also just the ability to lend it around or pass it on once I've finished it. I do see me using the Kindle more and more as I read through my tbr shelf though. As for audiobooks... I am trying to listen to more, but I do find it more difficult to pay attention. I am a fast reader so I find it much slower to listen to a book rather than read it.

Is there a particular book you find yourself recommending over and over again?

Oh gosh, I can only pick one?! I really don't know... I think it really depends too on what I've just read, who I'm making the recommendation to and what they normally read. I am drawing a complete blank here actually! (Which doesn't happen often ;) heh)

Do you adore any lesser known books that you wish got more love?

Oh yes, this one is much easier. My top five favorite authors are all international, and I wish that everyone would read them. Some are all fairly well known but I do wish that everyone would give these books a try. I can't pick just a book by each so I will just list authors instead (cheating, I know!):

Dubravka Ugresic
Slavenka Drakulic
Assia Djebar
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Thank you again Amy for taking the time to answer all my questions! I had such a wonderful time getting to know you and can't wait to see what you'll be reading next.

Take a moment to stop on over to Amy Reads now for Amy's interview with me.


Chachic said...

Congrats to Amy for being shortlisted! And to both of you for a great interview. :) I agree with what Amy said. I think I'll always prefer actual books, I love the feeling of holding a book in your hand and turning the pages while you're reading. I also like smelling books before I buy them. Although I did order a Kindle so I don't have to worry about the availability of books here in the Philippines.

Amy said...

Non-readers always look at you oddly when you say you like smelling books don't they, Chachic! But at least other readers get it :D

Michelle, thank you so much for the kind words and for the great interview! I had a lot of fun getting to know you. Also, come visit me in PEI any time :D

Angiegirl said...

Wow, I haven't read any of those authors you recommend there at the end. Must check them out soon!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm still jealous that Amy has a copy of THE TIGER already. :)

Amy said...

Angiegirl - they are all awesome and worth a read :D

Heather J - I'm awful glad I got a copy on release day!

Cass said...

It's funny how many of us seem to have started blogs because not enough of our "real life" friends would discuss books with us! Great interview!

Anonymous said...

Nice interview! I didn't realise Amy started her blog only this year!

I've got one of Adichie's novel but haven't read it yet. And I totally agree about the smell of the book too. I have a Sony e-reader which is just beautiful and easy to read but I never seem to use it...

Anonymous said...

Great interviews, you two!

Michelle, I read that you live in CA! Give me a holler if you're ever interested in any of our CA meet-ups...LA, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo!

Florinda said...

Oh, Jill (Softdrink) got here first and told you what I was going to! Several of us Southern and Central California book bloggers like to attend the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA together each April, and we've been known to meet up at other places and times as well. Nice to meet you (I already knew Amy and her blog)!

Holly said...

Great interview, Michelle! I want to get to know Amy and her blog better, she sounds like such a friendly, interesting person from her answers. I'm very curious about her favorite authors. She has encouraged me to branch out. ;)

Michelle said...

Chachic - Yes! I love actual books too. Although I've seriously considered splurging on a Kindle or such recently - you should share your thoughts on it.

Amy - It was so much pleasure to host you today! Come back anytime!

Angie - Amy truly has eclectic tastes - she makes me want to try some different things too.

Cass- *grins* Yup. Pretty much sums up why I did it.

chasingbawa - Thanks for stopping by. And YES to the feel and smell of books!

softdrink - Yes! I'd love to gather with other like minded bookish folks! Sign me up pronto. I will be in touch ;)

Florinda - Well, that just sounds better and better. I'll have to mark my calendar ladies.

Holly - No joke. I'm really kicking myself for not trying different genres more often. I'm inspired now though.

ImageNations said...

Interesting. I have been following Amy for sometime but your interview makes me know her more. Thanks Michelle.

Amy said...

Cass - Yep, real life friends get sick of us and our book talk, so we have to find somewhere else! ;)

Chasing Bawa - I really hope you love the Adichie novel! And ahhh the wonderful smell of books. I can't get enough!

softdrink and Florinda - Thank you :) And I'll give a holler too if I'm in the area. heh.

Holly - Thank you for those kind words! I recently started reading more international fiction and I've been loving it so much!

Michelle - Thank you again for having me! I'm glad we were paired, as I'm loving your blog!

Nana - thank you :)

Anonymous said...

It's suprising how even in an interview Amy manages to add to my TBR-list!

Amy said...

Heh, sorry Iris. But not really :D said...

Amy is cool people:)

Amy said...

Gwen is also cool people :D

Valerie said...

I recently discovered Amy, and love her blog. Had no idea she was blogging for less than a year. Impressive!