Hi Angie! Tell us a little about yourself both in- and outside of the blogosphere.
Well, my name really is Angie and I spend chunks of my life reading and reviewing all sorts of books. As a result, I get very little sleep and occasionally wonder how productive I would be if I got more. But then I toss aside the thought immediately. Life’s too short to sleep too much and miss out on all these wonderful stories. I have a soft spot for YA, urban fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries. In real life I'm married to an audiophile/photographer who (thankfully) is no stranger to obsessive hobbies. I'm also Mom to two made-of-awesome squirts—a 6-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. I work as an editor for an educational publisher. I love my job and spend most of my time researching and writing about people and cultures from around the world. I got my masters in English literature and am particularly partial to the Victorian period. I spent a few years teaching freshman composition at my local university and, even though I love being an editor, I still miss teaching every day.
Congratulations on making the shortlist of nominees for Best Young Adult Book Blog! Angieville certainly deserves the win, but if you had to choose one of your fellow nominees to win the award, who would you pick?
You don’t pull any punches, do you, Lisa? Honestly, the other four blogs are go-to blogs for me for very different reasons and it’s impossible to pick one overall favorite. Sorry! It may sound like a copout but it’s true. Presenting Lenore conducts awesome interviews that I always look forward to. Her questions pack a punch. Steph Su Reads is just excellently written and her final say on a book review can push me over into having to read a book right now. Forever Young Adult is the freaking bee’s knees and I go there to laugh my head off and snark the day away. And Pure Imagination is just frankly a happy place to be and we share a taste for dystopia and urban fantasy. When we first saw the shortlist, the five of us joked about how that guest list right there would make for the best slumber party EVER. And it really would.
For those new to your blog, describe Angieville in five words or less.
Bibliophilia on display.
Retro Friday Review is a meme started on your blog focusing on reviewing books from your past. What has been your favorite revival of a previously read book? Have your opinions of a well-loved book ever changed upon rereading?
I’m gonna have to go with A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb for this one. I first read that one over four years ago and rarely, if ever, encountered anyone else who had read it. I loved it so much, though. Found myself thinking about favorite scenes and passages all the time. It stuck with me and I really felt it deserved a wider readership. So I featured it in a Retro Friday post a few months ago and was absolutely tickled with the response, both from people who had read it and also wanted someone else to talk about it with and from people who had never heard of it but wanted to check it out right away. And they did! And they loved it, too. And they reviewed it on their blogs! And it was just exactly what I hoped to accomplish with Retro Fridays.I have occasionally put down a book because I was not enjoying it and was pretty sure it was me and not the book, my mood negatively affecting my ability to enjoy it. I’ve then picked it up later, in a better frame of mind, and thoroughly enjoyed it. But I haven’t often picked up a beloved book and found it lacking the second (or third or fourth) time around. Thank goodness. I tend to give my whole heart to a book and not in pieces.
You also have a lot of interactions with authors on your blog. What was the most interesting or surprising thing you learned about an author from an interview or guest post?
I’ve loved all the author interviews I’ve had the opportunity to participate in on my blog. I interviewed Sarah Rees Brennan a few months ago and was really struck by her response to my question about the importance of creating real, sometimes unbearably painful family relationships in her books. She talked about how she loves a good romance as much as the next person, but that it’s interesting that family didn’t play as large a role as you might expect in young adult novels featuring teenagers coming to terms with their own independence in the context of the people they’re attached to for life. Sarah said she wanted to write about how families come together in times of trauma and she closed with a line that has stuck with me, “There are all kinds of love stories to be told.”
We share eclectic tastes in our reading and it's great to find another blogging who appreciates such a wide range of books. Do you ever have strange leaps in genres when you're choosing what to read next? What's the oddest pair of books you've read back to back?
Sometimes it’s the only thing that saves me, making a radical jump in genres. I’ll finish an absolute stunner of a book and have the worst time coming out of the world! It’s then that I either pull out an old favorite or immerse myself in something completely and utterly different. The oddest pair of books I’ve read back to back is definitely The Book Thief by Markus Zusak followed up by Laura Weiss’ Such a Pretty Girl. I was emotionally wrung out upon finishing the superb The Book Thief and honestly didn’t know where to turn after that. I ended up turning to a book I would otherwise probably never have picked up because it dealt heavily with child abuse. But something about the raw state of mind I was in after finishing The Book Thief made me respond to a wonderful review I read of Such a Pretty Girl. I went and checked it out from the library that evening and fell completely and effortlessly in love. They’re both important novels in such very different ways.
We also both share a love of reading aloud! Are there certain books that you find lend themselves better to being read aloud than others? What to you makes a great read aloud book?
Definitely. I think the most mutually enjoyable reading aloud experience we’ve had together was our stint with the Harry Potter series. They just have a great cast of characters and enough action and charm to keep two people grinning at each other continuously. It certainly gave me a chance to polish my range of character voices so that I was ready to start over again with my son. He says he always knows who’s talking before it actually says it in the text because he recognizes the voice. This thing makes me incredibly happy.Other favorites have been Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses series and Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief books. Both are distinguished by casts of engaging and awesome characters, extremely well fleshed out worlds, and not a little humor and derring-do.
On August 23, you proudly displayed a Team Gale badge on your blog and yet on August 25, it was Team Katniss. Now that some time has passed since finishing Mockingjay, are you sticking with Team Katniss? Would a reread of the series return you to Team Gale? Can you explain any of this to those who have not yet read The Hunger Games series?
Unquestionably. The thing is—I can get into the whole Team Gale/Team Peeta debate with as much fervor as the next reader. I get a kick out of trading well-meaning barbs back and forth on twitter and crossing my fingers for the outcome I want for months on end. But the reason I changed the button on my blog upon finishing Mockingjay was quite simple. The whole team thing was fun while it lasted. But it wasn’t the point of the series. And, in Mockinjay, Ms. Collins made that point so beautifully and unabashedly that I could have stood up an applauded. It was always about Katniss. Thus the change.
You stated that your two kids - Will and Piper - are named after book characters. Knowing you like both young adult and classic literature, I'm going to take some wild guesses and say Will is from Will Parry of the His Dark Materials series and Piper is after Pip from Great Expectations. How far off am I?
Ooh. Good guesses! Wrong on both counts, but I do love the idea of Pip for a boy. Great Expectations was my first Dickens novel and I have always loved it. Will is actually named for a couple of characters and one author. Will Stanton from The Dark Is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper, Will Ladislaw from George Eliot’s Middlemarch, and the Bard himself. Now he hasn’t read the first two yet, but he has had some experience with Shakespeare. A friend asked him the other day who he was named after and he said, “Shakespeare.” The friend looked at him blankly and Will said, “You know, the playwright. Twelfth Night? Taming of the Shrew?” An even blanker look from said friend. That’s my boy.
My little girl is actually named after a character in a much more recent novel—How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. I read that gorgeous book in a single day and woke up the next day and read it all over again. The Piper in that book is a bright light amid the darkness and it is impossible not to love her. I loved her, I loved the name, and I feel the same way about my Piper.
Along with your fabulous blog, you're active on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. What do each of these sites add to your blogging experience? Can you share your links so we can find you on all of them?
I joined GoodReads right about the same time as I started blogging. My husband was the instigator in both cases. He knew I would love the cataloguing and socializing aspect of GoodReads and he knew, even before I did, how quickly I would take to blogging. I’ve met so many other readers through GoodReads, many who don’t blog or follow them, and so I’m grateful for that additional venue in which I am privileged to interact with such interesting, smart people. In a couple of particularly special cases, I’ve met people who live not so far from me at all and we’ve been able to become friends in real life as well as online.I discovered twitter through my husband as well. He is my internet guru. And I was quickly and happily engulfed in the waves of witty tweets. I love being able to drop in and out as my schedule demands and I love the lovely links and pithy comments people send out into the twittersphere. They often make my day and point me to posts, sites, and articles I might never otherwise have found.I have a complicated relationship with Facebook and I think we’ll just leave it at that.You can easily find me through the social media icons on the right hand sidebar on my blog just under the Search field.
Thanks so much for the interview and congratulations again on your nomination! Best of luck and Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week!
And be sure to check out Angieville for the flip side of this interview swap where Angie interviews me!Thanks so much for having me, Lisa. I had a blast!