Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BBAW Interview Swap: Angie From Angieville

One of the best things about BBAW is that I get to add new (to me) blogs to my reader and meet some great bloggers for the first time.  One of those bloggers, Angie of Angieville, will be the first one added this year.  Even if I don't have time to do any of the other posts, I always sign up for the interview swap.  It's always fun to get to talk to someone I don't know.  Thanks to BBAW I'll be a regular in Angieville now.

1. What got you into reading? Have you been a book lover all your life or did it happen later on?

Quite simply, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe got me into reading. Both my parents have always been avid readers, and they encouraged reading in the home and read to me all the time as a kid. And I, well, I humored them. I'm not proud of this. But I didn't really seek things out on my own as a very young girl. My imagination just wasn't fully engaged until my aunt sent me the Chronicles of Narnia box set for my tenth birthday. I read the first book on a transatlantic flight to Sicily, where we were moving, and nothing was ever the same again. I didn't even get past the dedication before I was a goner. And it's been books, books, books ever since. 

2. What inspired you to start your own blog? What do you like the most about blogging?

My husband is tech savvy, and somewhere around five years ago or so he mentioned that I should start up a blog. I had only the vaguest notions of what they were at the time. I asked him what in the world I would do with it, and he shrugged and said, "What about a book journal?" I thought it was a great idea, and for the first couple of years, the blog was merely a personal record of the books I read (and re-read) each month, with accompanying thoughts and images. Then I started reading other book blogs and--once again--my imagination became fully engaged. And the blogging took off accordingly. 

As for what I like most about blogging? That moment when someone I don't know comments or emails or tweets me to say they read the same book and they felt the same way. It's like they reached out and took my hand in the dark. I never tire of the thrill and I don't think I ever will. 

3. Has your taste in books changed through your life? Have you found yourself reading books you might not have when you were younger? Or are there books you loved in the past and now you can't imaging why?

I guess I'd say my taste has broadened as I've gotten older. I don't think I've ever really turned my back on books or genres I used to like, which is why I'm a serial re-reader. Nothing is as comforting as characters and words you know and love. No one welcomes you home like they do. But I definitely have started reading books I probably wouldn't have when I was younger. These would include books that previously scared me off, specifically horror or romance novels. Though I still read on the tame end, I'm sure. My husband is a die-hard Stephen King fan and finally broke down a couple of years ago and shoved a copy of It into my hands, begging me to read it. I took a deep breath and dove in and what a book. I was unprepared for how much I would love those seven kids and the wonderful writing. I'm so glad to have the book blogging community to tell me what I'm missing out on and to egg me on to try new things and fall in love with new characters and new words and add them to my beloved bookshelf.

4. This is a totally subjective question. What elements do you look for in a book? What makes a book a "good read"?

Two things: I connect with at least one character. And the words are right. And you're correct--it's utterly subjective. The characters I connect with and the words I love are not necessarily the same ones for anyone else. Whether or not the words are right is  a matter of my own taste and aesthetic criteria. My reasons will perhaps not be the same as others'. Occasionally I will connect with a character, but the narrative doesn't do her or him justice, and the book and I don't click. And it has happened that the prose is beautiful but the characters are empty for me, so the book and I don't click. But when those two elements meet--the results are sublime and I will read it through to the very end. Every time. 

5. What book has most influenced the way you see life and your role in it?

My life has been broadly influenced by all kinds of literature. But when I think of the novel that has most influenced the way I see life, I have to go with Middlemarch by George Eliot. It's difficult to overstate the effect it had on me when I read it in grad school. I still remember my throat tightening with emotion and wonder at the way she was able to capture the human experience in such quiet, crystalline moments. It changed me, brought focus to my academic pursuits, and is one of the books of my life. 

6. Other than reading, what do you do for fun? Are you a adventure seeker or do you like something a little closer to home?

I love good food, good music, and traveling to new places. Preferably all three together. 

7. I love the idea of your Retro Friday meme.  I'm a huge fan of older books and I try to read as many as I can.  What made you start the meme?  Was there an older book that you feel in love with that got you hooked on the idea of reading older books instead of the constant stream of new ones?

Thanks! I was looking for a weekly meme to start up on the blog, and I kept coming back to the fact that I spend a huge chunk of time re-reading old favorites when I could be reading newly published works. But I wouldn't want it any other way. In fact, I don't think I could stop it if I tried. I'm baffled by people who don't re-read. How can they not long to go back and spend time inside their favorite stories again? And so I thought, hey, why not review some of the old ones on a regular basis? Maybe it will spark some interest in some under-the-radar books. Maybe I'll even get to talk about them with others who've read and loved them, too. That's how Retro Fridays was born.

8. What are some little known facts about yourself?

Ha! Well, here's one little known (and literary) fact about me. In lieu of having the birds and the bees talk, my mother decided to hand me a copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover and call it good. And, honestly? After reading that book, I had no questions left. 

Thanks for having me!

If you are even a little bit curious, head on over to Angieville to read my answers to her questions.


Suey said...

Awesome to learn more about Angie! I blame her for many many books I've read the last couple of years! And hey, Angie... you should come to book club this week and talk to us about Middlemarch! I don't think we appreciated it near enough!

Cecelia said...

Wonderful interview! As someone who follows both of your blogs regularly, this was a treat. Angie - I shall have to start taking part in Retro Friday! I too am a serial re-reader, and I used to review those rereads with Alyce's 'My Favorite Books' meme before she discontinued it.

Anonymous said...

Angie's blog is new to me so I definitely need to check it out. I wish I had a tech savvy husband too!

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I had to laugh at her little known fact. Actually sounds like a good idea to me.

bermudaonion said...

Angie sounds like someone I could be friends with. Great interview!

Blodeuedd said...

Nice to meet you :)
I do like your blog, it's just so good

Erin said...

I love hearing about how bloggers got started reading as well as blogging -- everyone has such a unique story. And Retro Friday sounds great!

Katy said...

Fun interview! I've been following Angie for a while now, so it's been fun to learn more about her! :D

Heidenkind said...

#5 was a great question, and I adore Retro Fridays. :) Great interview swap, you too!

Angiegirl said...

Thanks so much for having me, Ryan! I had a great time exchanging interviews and answering your questions.

Suey, you're discussing it this week? That would be fun!

Cecilia, you should totally take part! Anytime. I always look forward to which books people choose to feature.

Lola, I saw your interview over at Chachic's and I'm looking forward to reading your blog.

Carol, LOL. That's the way it was in my family. I'm an only child as well and so there were no other siblings to clue me in or ask follow-up questions . . . ;)

bermudaonion, *grin* let's be friends.

Blod, Wordsmithonia is great, isn't it?

Erin, I agree. I love hearing the stories.

Katy, glad you stopped by. I had fun writing up my answers. Ryan asks good questions that made me think.

Heidenkind, it really was. That's the one that gave me the most pause. It makes me so happy to hear people enjoy the RF posts.

Jenners said...

Excellent interview ... you asked some good questions and got some good answers. I love how Narnia was her "gateway" book to reading!

And I spaced out signing up for the interviews this year so it was fun to read yours. Happy BBAW!

Anonymous said...

Yep... a book journal, that's why I started my blog as well.

Great questions and wonderful answers.


LoriStrongin said...

Fun interview! "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" was my first foray into fantasy, too! And wow, what a way to learn about the Birds and the Bees!

Thanks for sharing!


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

What a great interview. Love the Birds and the Bees covered by Lady Chatterly's Lover LOL

Anonymous said...

You learned about sex through Lady Chatterly's Lover?! Priceless!

I love your comparison of finding like-minded readers like someone taking a hold of your hand in the dark. What a lovely thought!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh I have a new book to look up. I also found it interesting that your mother used that book to explain the birds and the bees! How interesting!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Retro Friday is a great feature - one of my favorites!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

That is really hilarious about Lady Chatterley's Lover...

Angiegirl said...

Jenners, gateway book--exactly!

Man of la Book, is that right? I really enjoyed that simple beginning and then branching out when I was ready.

Lori, was it? It was just the perfect book at the perfect time for me. So many good memories associated with it.

Diane, I know. I know. Guess she REALLY didn't want to talk about it. ;)

Stephanie, I did indeed. Only later did I realize that wasn't how other people learned about it . . .

Melissa, interesting is putting it nicely. You should have seen the look on my husband's face when I told him that story. lol.

Heather, I'm so happy to hear it.

Sheila, *grin* It was a rather thorough education.

Amy said...

LOL I love what your mother did instead of talking to you. So funny. Great questions and answers here.

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Nice to meet you, Angie! Great answers to some awesome questions. Well done, Ryan. I loved the answer to #8! And I'm going to be checking out Retro Friday myself, as I'm a big re-reader myself. =O)

Chachic said...

I always enjoy learning more about my favorite bloggers and Angie is at the top of that list. I love her blog and I keep reading the books that she recommends because she's so good at convincing others to pick them up. :P I think her Retro Friday meme is awesome and I try to participate as often as I can. I love promoting under-the-radar books. And I love the Narnia books too. <3

Angiegirl said...

Amy, I didn't realize how hilarious it was that she did that until much later. At the time I was just like, Okay...

Michelle, nice to meet you! Ryan's questions were great, weren't they? Definitely take part in Retro Fridays any old time you want. :)

Chachic, *hugs* none of this was probably new to you. And I love every one of your RF posts. Thanks so much for participating.

Holly said...

These were great questions, Ryan! I know Angie through her blog and RL and I learned some new things about her.

Angie, you've convinced me that I really need to read Middlemarch. Now I want to read Lady Chatterley's Lover out of innocent curiosity of course. ;)

Angiegirl said...

Holly, MIDDLEMARCH really shouldn't be missed in this lifetime. Then we could get together and watch the miniseries together.

And truthfully I think LCL shouldn't be missed either. But for entirely different reasons. ;)