Today are the interviews for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Last year I didn’t have time to do this part of the week, but this year I did not want to miss out. And I’m glad I carved out the time in my schedule because I got to meet a terrific blogger. Valorie blogs at Morbid Romantic…and she graciously answered all my questions.
How did you get started with book blogging?
It was very haphazard, you could say. I just sort of “fell into it.” My blog has been around for years, a present to myself when I started college. I enjoyed blogging, but I originally lacked focus with it. I ran your typical ‘this is what I did today, this is how I feel’ sort of blog, which is ultimately interesting to no one. I realized quickly that it wasn’t my way to simply write about trivialities and that I wanted to focus my blog on something. For lack of other things to write, I started posting my book reviews on the blog. I was already writing them for a book list webpage and various book sites, but it seemed to make perfect sense once it came to me to place them on my website. I was amazed I didn’t think of it sooner. Once I got into the actual community, I found that I really enjoyed book blogging as a whole and that I would devote the entirety of my blog to it. It was definitely the right choice for me.
One of the things I love about blogging is that I can recommend books to total strangers and not feel awkward or shy about it. Have you ever recommended a book to a stranger in real life?
I am so painfully shy that I cannot approach anyone about anything! Sometimes I see someone standing with a good book and I am just dying to talk to them about it and encourage them to buy it, but my shyness gets in the way and I just stand there staring at them like a total weirdo. That is why I especially love that I can do it here now on the internet. No need to overcome shyness and I get a wide audience.
If you had a $1000 gift card to your favorite book store and only half an hour to spend it, which section of the store would you head to first?
I would head to where they keep the historical fiction and purchase every single book in every single series available set in Ancient Rome. I have set a goal for myself to read any and every book set in Ancient Rome. I think that I could easily spend almost every cent on that subject alone. At least, I hope that I can.
What has been the most unexpected consequence of blogging? What surprised you the most about the whole experience?
What surprised me the most was to discover that running a blog can be quite lucrative once you get into advertising and sponsoring. I like that I can advertise and get enough to pay my yearly domain fee plus some, which I use to spoil myself with. It is a nice little treat. Though, having said that, I wouldn’t recommend to people to accept a lot of advertising offers and post sponsored posts frequently because that really annoys viewers. It was just both unexpected and a suprise to find out I could make the money I spent back.
You say that your favorite Greek god is Bacchus – tell us why.
I think I love the spirit of freedom that he embodies. I’m not a fan of getting drunk and having wild liasons with random anonymous people, but I love the idea of a god that embraces freedom and human nature for the bad and the good in it. Plus, he has some good stories! I just adore stories of Maenads tearing men apart from their mountains, going into mad frenzies of passion and drunkeness.
You have an amazing collection of Anne Rice/Vampire chronicle memorabilia…tell us about that! How did you get started collecting? What do you wish you had in the collection, but still have not acquired?
Originally, I was not looking to collect Anne Rice memorabilia. Though she is without a doubt my favorite author, I have never been much of a collector or had any desire to collect. Initially, my purchases were all impulses. I would be innocently shopping eBay and would run across something that I had to have, so I would guiltlessly purchase it. Once I realized that I did in fact have a collection, it became an actual effort of mine to find various Anne Rice goods to purchase.
I am DYING to find the Blood and Gold bookmark that used to be sold at the official store, but is unfortunately no longer. I keep watching and searching eBay, hoping one day that one will pop up and I will be able to buy it. I also would love an uncorrected proof of the book Pandora. I had one once, won in auction and everything, but the shipper forgot to put in the box with the other uncorrected proof I won and I had to count my loses and get my money back. It was very disappointing.
You are a graduate student and are teaching at a University. When you sit down to read for fun, what are you most apt to pick up? Do you find that your reading tends to be more geared to your life as a teacher/graduate student; or would you say you are able to balance your reading equally between academics and “fun” reading?
I don’t have much time to read for fun now, which is very sad for me. I look at my pile of pleasure books and sigh with sadness because my ‘required reading’ list this semester is mind numbing. Though I do think when I read for pleasure, it is very much tied into what I do as a teacher and as a student. As a graduate student, I am studying Ancient Rome and teaching European history. As it is, I love historical fiction set in Ancient Rome and various other points of European history such as the Renaissance. So, I do think that my interests bleed into one another and I just carry them over from one persuit to the next.
On average, how many books do you read and review each month?
I really envy those reviewers who have a book review done every two days or so. I can’t imagine being able to fit that much reading into my life! I tend to do about four a month, one a week. I keep pretty busy with my websites and real life, so reading is something I do to relax in between hectic moments. If I could spend all of my time pleasure reading, I so would.
What do you feel are the main differences between print and online book reviews?
Print book reviews are so formal! I am used to historical book reviews, which take a very critical look at things like accuracy and historiography. And when people review books in papers or any other means of print, their intent seems to be more critical and formal. Online book reviews are, for the most part, very personal. It seems the prevailing trend of online book reviews to really make the review a matter of opinion. Bloggers are much more likely to post their personal feelings on a book, why they liked it or didn’t like it, than what you see in print.
Is there anything you want the readers of your blog to know about you that you have not yet revealed?
I want all of you to know that I am very painfully shy! I am not an avid commentor or participator not because I don’t want to be part of the community or I lack the desire, but I am just so shy that I hate to butt in. I have a perpetual feeling of “not wantedness.” So please don’t think me unfriendly. I am just awkward. I read at least 70 blogs, though, and enjoy every one of them.
Thank you so much, Valorie, for participating in the interview part of BBAW! I really enjoyed getting to know you a little bit better. For those of you who haven’t visited Valorie’s blog yet, I encourage you to do so! You can read Valorie’s interview with me over there today.
To read other blogger interviews, check out the Interview Mr. Linky at the BBAW blog.