I really like the mixture of reviews on Katie's blog. There is also something new and interesting that Katie is reading and it's quite nice to see a good range. Fun stuff going on, you really should read her blog! Here are some good links to get you started...
I'm in my twenties, and live on the Isle of Wight, where I work in a bookshop. I've always loved books to the point of obsession, and have a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing.
I write mostly about fiction books, but in a wide variety of genres, from classic children's books to epic fantasy, coming-of-age books for teenagers, or modern bestsellers.
How did you begin being a book blogger?
When I finished my degree, and moved back to the Island, away from most of my literature-course friends, I missed having really in-depth discussions about what I'd been reading: character motivations, plot twists, themes, etc. The part of my mind that enjoyed getting really stuck into books and thinking critically and analytically about them wouldn't shut up, so I carried on with that by setting up a blog.
When you're not reading or blogging, what do you do with yourself?
In the summer, I like to spend as much time out of doors as possible. I'm lucky living about 20-40 minutes' bus ride away from the sea in any conceivable direction, so I swim a lot. Swimming in the sea can be a bit unpredictable, though - some of our seaside towns seem to have their own microclimate. In winter, I dabble in crafts - knitting and cross-stitching, for example. I'm the first to admit to being a bit of a geek, loving Doctor Who and Firefly, but also period dramas - I'm currently loving the third series of Downton Abbey.
What was the first book you reviewed on your blog?
Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I really set up the blog because there weren't many online forums to discuss Montgomery's writing - though there is a big Anne of Green Gables online fandom, it seems to be more focused on the 1985 miniseries than the original book series.
What has been the best experience of being a book blogger so far?
It's been great to discover so many other people with the same interests, and be encouraged to read books that I otherwise may never have picked up. The Hunger Games is the most notable series I discovered thanks to book bloggers' unanimously positive reviews.
Just when I think I've got a definite answer, I'll read another contender and change my mind. So I'll narrow it down to my top three, very different books: Anne of Green Gables, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and The Lord of the Rings.
If you could be best friends with any fictional character, who would you choose?
Anne Shirley (of Green Gables, of course.) As a child I would let my imagination run away with me, and lived half in a dream world, so it was great to meet someone else in a book who was like me in that respect. Perhaps it's a good thing we're not real-life friends, though, as we both need people a bit more down-to-earth to keep our feet on the ground. I must have read the first two books in Anne's series dozens of times in the last twenty years, and still revisit it regularly.
Name your top 5 UK book bloggers!
Ellie @ Musings of a Bookshop Girl
Hanna @ Booking in Heels
Rebecca @ Rebecca-Books
Jen @ This Is Not The Six Word Novel (author of Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops.)
Petty Witter @ Pen and Paper
Neil Gaiman, without a doubt - although I would have no idea what to say to him. That man has such a way with words, and of making the world make a bit more sense by viewing it through a fantasy filter. I am in awe.
What would you like to see more of or less of in YA?
Fewer love triangles - occasionally they work, but usually they make the girl (and it's nearly always the girl torn between two boys) look fickle. Ladies, if you can't decide who you like more, then perhaps you don't like either enough!
And I'd like to see more stories where romance doesn't feature at all, or takes a back seat. Staying single doesn't mean someone's story is incomplete, whether in fiction or real life.
Most of all, I want to see lots of original, exciting storytelling that keeps me guessing and glued to the page.
In keeping with the earlier Anne of Green Gables mentions - Gilbert Blythe. There are brooding romantic heroes and funny romantic heroes, there are those who would die for the one they love, or kill for her, or break his own heart to protect hers, but in Gilbert we see something different.
Anne inspires him to want to be a better man. In Anne of Avonlea, Gilbert looks at Anne and loves her for the high standards she holds herself to in living a good life, and the positive influence she has over her friends, and he determines "to keep himself worthy of Anne's friendship and perhaps some distant day her love; and he watched over word and thought and deed as jealously as if her clear eyes were to pass in judgment on it." You can keep your sparkly vampires who fancy a girl because her blood smells yummy. Gilbert's love manifests itself in every aspect of his daily life.
YES! Thank you so much for these brilliant answers, Katie! I LOVE that you've picked Gilbert Blythe as your fictional crush. I could not agree more, and you've put it into words wonderfully. Plus, I kind of love the weird mix of books that you've talked about - from oldy-timey books by LM Montgomery on one side to Neil Gaiman on the other! You deserve a high-five for that.
Are you a huge Neil Gaiman fan? Do you swoon over Gilbert Blythe? Would you like to be friends with Anne Shirley? Do let Katie and I know in comments! We want to hear from you!