In this latest book blogger profile, I chat to historical fiction and travel enthusiast The Lit Bitch about King Edward, Harry Potter and sinking your teeth into a good reading challenge.
Who are you, where are you, and what made you decide to become a book blogger?
I am a 31 year old living in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon). I started blogging about my travel adventures with my family – a couple of years ago my mom and I had went and visited my sister in Paris and it was the worst travel experience EVER, so I decided to start blogging about it so I could remember it in vivid detail. Then I realized that I loved blogging and since I don’t travel constantly, I started looking for other things I could write about. Since I love reading I thought it might be nice to keep a record of books I had read and what I thought about them. Things progressed from there and now my blog has morphed into a book reviewing site, with occasional travel blogging.
What are your favourite and least favourite things about book blogging?
I love that I getting new books to review and I get lots of recommendations from friends and authors. I have had to chance to read books that I would not normally read and meet lots of great people/writers in the process.
The hardest part about blogging for me is shortening my posts so I don’t ramble on and on. That and it’s hard when I have to write a review on a book that I didn’t particularly care for… constructive criticism is always delicate situation.
What do you do when you’re not reading books or writing about them?
My other hobbies are photography and painting, so I am usually working on art projects. I also like traveling, and of course spending time with my husband and dogs never gets old!
You run a lot of reading challenges on your blog – why is that?
I love the accountability of a reading challenge. I run two challenges of my own each year (Game of Thrones and Outlander). Both are really long books series and it helps me to have other people who ‘count on me’ to facilitate the challenge. I know a lot of people, who like me, want the accountability, plus it’s fun to have the option of discussing the books with others. Currently I have about 40 people in the Outlander challenge and 20 in the Game of Thrones challenge.
I have entered a few challenges as well, again for the accountability part but I also like reading things that are out of my comfort zone and reading challenges help me do that. Last year I did the Steampunk reading challenge and discovered new and exciting books/authors. Challenges are also a great way to network and meet other bloggers.
Can you explain a little bit about Project Downton?
Project Downton is a ‘book scavenger hunt’ of sorts. I love Downton Abbey and I really wanted to read some books that had a Downton feel to them but couldn’t find any book lists. So I started compiling my own list and called it Project Downton! I post or other bloggers can post links to books that fit within the criteria.
Book must be set in the Edwardian era, which begins with the reign of King Edward VII (1901 to 1910) but for the purposes of this Project we will extend the end of the period through the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. That way it includes the Titanic sinking etc.
I also love to discuss history with people so I started expanding the scope of Project Downton. I have been posting discussions about the Edwardian era and invite people to share links about Downton and/or the Edwardian era. So far the response has been great! I have gotten lots of emails and Tweets about Project Downton, all positive.
What is it that appeals to you about historic fiction?
I love history and reading historic fiction for me is like being able to time travel… I can read and experience the whole historic part that I love but also read a good story. It’s the best of both worlds for me.
Have you ever agreed to review a book and really hated it?
So far not yet… I have reviewed books that I have not liked as well as others but none that are truly horrid but I know that someday that will happen and I dread it! I have been really lucky so far, but I am also very selective about the books I review which helps.
You say you are equally happy to take eBooks or paper for review, so what do you make of all the arguments about the digital revolution heralding the end of books?
It such a double edged sword… I love the feel of the feel of a book and what reading represents but at the same time there are so many things I love about my e-reader. I love that I can download a book any time, any place, right away. It is convenient and I can make notes or highlight passages that I liked…and having the ability to change the size of the font and brighten the screen is huge for me. But there is still something about having bookshelves full of books that I love. I love the smell of new books and feeling the pages between my fingers. I think that in my lifetime, we will see fewer and fewer books in print sadly, but that will make me cherish my print books even more
If you could interview any writer at all, who would it be and what would you ask them?
JK Rowling, I love her! I would like to know what started the idea for Harry Potter – how did it develop/evolve, and I would like a complete character profile on all my favourite characters.