Gayle blogs at Every Day I Write the Book, and even though her blog is new to me, she has lots of fans. In fact, Every Day I Write the Book was nominated in five categories for Book Blogger Appreciation Awards: Best Literary Fiction Blog, Best General Review Blog, Best Reviews, Best Writing, and Best Book Club Blog, and it’s shortlisted in that last category, Best Book Club Blog.
The first thing I discovered in perusing Gayle’s blog is that we don’t read the same books. I only found two titles that she’s reviewed that I have read, too. This lack of congruence is a great thing as far as I’m concerned because it means I can find lots of books that Gayle’s recommended that I might want to read. I did find several titles that I want to read after reading Gayle’s reviews and teasers, including:
The English Teacher by Lily King.
Beginner’s Greek by James Collins.
Here’s what Gayle has to say about reading and blogging:
How did you start blogging, and why do you blog? Why about books?
When I was in my early 20s, I started keeping track of reviews of books that I wanted to read, mostly from traditional media sources like newspapers and magazines. I was always the one in my book club to make suggestions for our next read. I now work in social media and spend a lot of time reading blogs. One day in 2006, I started thinking about launching a blog to recommend books that my friends maybe hadnâ€™t heard about, and to post my own reviews of books Iâ€™ve read. Once I got the idea in my head, I was so excited about it that I couldnâ€™t wait to launch it. I blog now because I love the community of authors, readers and publishers that I have come to know, and I love the fact that so many people tell me that they visit my blog regularly for recommendations.
Why books? I have a very strong sense of what I like to read, and I thought I had something to offer in to other readers. Plus, I love to read â€“ always have â€“ and despite the amount of time it takes to keep up the book blog, it has encouraged me to read more. My reviews tend to focus less on characters and more on writing â€“ I am fascinated by the process of writing fiction, and am in awe of people who do it well.
You’ve been shortlisted for an award at Book Blogger Appreciation Awards: Best Book Club Blog. Tell me about your book club. How does it work? How are the books chosen? How many participants do you have? How did you get started?
The book club component of my blog is probably the part I spend the least amount of time on, but I do enjoy it. It started in December 2007, when the publisher of Kelly Corriganâ€™s The Middle Place approached me to see if I wanted to host a discussion of that book on my site. Since then, Iâ€™ve hosted eight book club discussions on EDIWTB. Either I will select a book Iâ€™ve wanted to read, and will contact the publisher to see if they would like to participate, or I will be approached by a publisher with a particular book as a club suggestion. EDIWTB readers who sign up get a free copy of the book from the publisher, and on a pre-selected date, I open the discussion with a post on EDIWTB. The discussion continues in the comments. Usually, the author participates in a Q&A post the week after the book club discussion, answering questions that have come up in the comments.
I usually get somewhere between 20-30 participants. I always look forward to book club days, when the comments start rolling in.
Itâ€™s funny, I donâ€™t think of my blog as a â€œbook club blogâ€, except to the extent that people tell me they get ideas for books for their own book club to read.
YouÂ oftenÂ blogÂ aboutÂ booksÂ youÂ wouldÂ likeÂ toÂ read, future reads.Â DoÂ youÂ haveÂ aÂ list?Â HowÂ doÂ youÂ decideÂ what’sÂ nextÂ up?Â DoÂ youÂ readÂ moreÂ thanÂ oneÂ bookÂ atÂ aÂ time?
Yes, unfortunately, with a fulltime job and 5 year-old twins, I donâ€™t have nearly as much time to read as Iâ€™d like. So I end up posting about future reads more often than I post my own reviews. Iâ€™d love for that ratio to be reversedâ€¦ maybe someday. I donâ€™t have a list â€“ itâ€™s basically a large pile of books on the floor of my bedroom. (Actually, itâ€™s three piles and two bookshelves of books piled on their sides). The blog, in many ways, represents my TBR list.
I never read more than one book at a time.
Picking my next read is one of my favorite activities. Itâ€™s a rather unscientific process that involves thinking about what I am in the mood for, considering whether I want something very different from what I just read, and reading the first page or two of a few books to see what grabs me at that moment. I donâ€™t participate in many challenges or book tours, mostly because I donâ€™t want to feel constrained when choosing what to read next.
What has blogging done for you, and how do you try to serve your readers? What should a reader expect to get out of a visit to Everyday I Write the Book?
I try to serve my readers by offering honest reviews of what Iâ€™ve read, and sharing titles of books that they may not come across in their own travels. I am honest to a fault â€“ even if I am writing about a review copy or participating in the EDIWTB book club, I will say exactly what I think of a book, even if itâ€™s negative. I donâ€™t think sugarcoating or focusing only on the positive is helpful to anyone (except maybe the author). People trust my opinion, and thatâ€™s the best I have to offer, so I offer my whole, unedited opinion.
A reader visiting EDIWTB can hopefully expect to learn about a book that may be a bit off the beaten path (but not always â€“ I have read some pretty popular books), and can expect honest and hopefully well-written reviews of the book Iâ€™ve read. I also do some author Q&As and guest posts, and attend frequent author readings, which I always write up for the blog.
When do you do your blogging? How much time do you spend on blogging every day?
I do most of my blogging late at night, between 11-12 PM. I usually post 3-4 times a week, and posts usually take me about 45 minutes each.
What is the best book you’ve read this year?
The Time Travelerâ€™s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. I was late to the party on this one, but it has stayed with me.
What are your passions outside of reading?
I used to be a huge TV watcher, but with fewer hours to devote to it, and the everpresent temptation of the laptop, I am a much less engaged viewer than I used to be. I love my 5 year old girls, my basenji, and music, and I am somewhat obsessed with social media.
Where do you learn about new books?
I used to learn about new books from traditional book reviews and magazines, but I am getting my recommendations more often now from book bloggers and Twitter. I also get a lot of review copies in the mail, so I learn about new books that way too. One of my favorite activities is browsing the fiction shelves of bookstores I love, on the prowl for new books I havenâ€™t heard of before.
Thanks, Gayle. You can see my answers to some of these same interview questions at Every Day I Write the Book Blog.