Monday, 25 June 2012

Guest Blogger of the Month - The Little Reader Library

Today I would like to welcome Lindsay from The Little Reader Library to my blog.


Lindsay I am honoured to have you over here today.  Lindsay's blog can be found here.

Thank you so much for the chance to feature on your blog.

Was there a particular childhood book or author that fuelled your love of reading from a young age?

I was lucky that I learned to read and write fairly early and reading became such an escape for me as I was growing up, a place to get away from unhappy times.  I read many different stories when I was young although there isn't one particular book that started it all - not that I can recall now anyway.  Books I remember enjoying when I was quite little include Heidi and Anne of Green Gables.  When I was older I started to read more of the classics like the Brontes and Jane Austen, and Dickens.

You made your own little storybooks as a child.  Have you continued making stories or thought about writing a book?

I did make little storybooks, I loved them, I think I added pictures though I don't know what they would be like to look back at as I don't think drawing is my strong point.  I don't have nay of the books now though.  I always wanted to be a writer.  One day I would love to write a book, a novel, and it is something I think about more and more at the moment actually.  I need to have more confidence in myself, to just start writing and be less critical I think at first, and let myself discover if there is anything within me that I can put down on paper and shape into creating a story.

You like contemporary and romantic fiction, crime/mystery/thrillers, historical fiction, YA reads, poetry and travel writing.  Are there any particular favourite authors of yours under those genres?

I do have some favourite authors, but I would say that I am discovering new authors and new books I love every week!  I also worry that if I pick some out there is bound to be some that I forget - here are just a few: I love the novels of Mary Lawson and Sadie Jones.  Katherine McMahon is one of my favourites for historical fiction, for crime I like Liza Marklund, Elizabeth Haynes and William Ryan.  My favourite poets are John Donne and Dylan Thomas.  I also like Jasper Fforde's novels, which are a little different from most other things I read.  That is just a few of the many authors who I've read and enjoyed.

You are a bookseller.  Which company do you work for and what is your role?

I have worked part-time for Oxfam for several years, in both voluntary and paid roles, always with a focus on books - primarily fiction.  Due to illness and relocation I need to rethink this now.  I would love to work in a bookshop again.

I read that you are a book reviewer for NewBooks magazine, a TOP250 reviewer for Amazon UK plus Lovereading UK and We Love This Book.  Were you head-hunted by these companies or were they opportunities that came your way?

Not at all, I have been writing reviews and putting them on Amazon UK for quite a while, long before I started blogging, and I have gradually kept writing them and adding them and built up my reviews on there and been fortunate enough to now have moved up their rankings a bit.  I subscribe to NewBook magazine and I signed up to be a reviewer with them.  I entered a competition to review a book for Lovereading UK, and I contacted We Love This Book via twitter I think, to try and get involved in reviewing.  So it's all a question of hard work and research and determination on my part to try and build a profile as a reviewer and get involved with what is out there I guess.

After studying English language and literature, French and German literature, translation and history, you have a very good background for critiquing.  Are there any tips you would like to pass on to other reviewers?

That's very kind of you to say.  I do try my best to write informative and constructive reviews, but you're never sure how well received they are unless you get feedback from time to time.  I have always loved the written word, and a big part of my studies in the past was discussing and debating literature, and writing about it.  Though this was a while ago, blogging has given me a chance to try and rediscover how much I enjoyed writing about books.  There are so many good reviewers out there.  As for tips, I would say ideally a review would give a synopsis of the story in the reviewer's own words if possible, then your thoughts on how you liked the book.  You can only be honest, but you should try and be fair, and be constructive, never cruel.  I like to sometimes add quotes to illustrate a point, or if they have just struck me as being beautifully written or pertinent.

I noticed your list of favourite bookshops on your blog in various British cities and New York.  These are all unknown names to me apart from Oxfam Bookshops of course.  Are these independent one-off book stores and what makes them stand out from the rest?

I thought it would be nice to pick out some of the bookshops that I really like.  The Oxfam bookshops was a special place for me for many years when I helped there.  Strand in New York I have been to only a couple of times but it is amazing and I urge any visitors to NYC to check it out!  They have something like 18 miles of books.  Heffers is a lovely big old bookshops in Cambridge.  I am always adding to my list - fairly recently I have discovered Topping Books in Ely and David's in Letchworth both of which are local favourites now.  I have only been to Barter Books once but I was very impressed by this shop.  Daunt books is a beautiful building and has so many wonderful foreign sections too.

Like me, you are a member of ReadItSwapIt  , Goodreads  and BookRabbit.  I love these websites particularly RISI a book swapping website which has excellent discussion forums and Goodreads (great for posting events/give-aways and reviews).  Are there any other good websites you could recommend?   

I really enjoy these sites, RISI has been a great site to meet other book lovers.  Goodreads is great for finding out about so many different books and seeing how you found a book compared to others.  I also like lovereading, welovethisbook, Newbooks, Fantastic Fiction, and I do use amazon an awful lot too.

I can't really complain because I have a bookshelf in one room holding my TBR.  You have a library built by your husband and father in law.  How cool is that?  Is this one room purely devoted to books?

When we moved house, we discovered so many jobs to do that hadn't been apparent.  There was one room that just needed stripping out and starting again basically!  The floor was rotten and it moved up and down as you walked on it!  We decided to make this room into two smaller rooms, and that I could use one of them as a little library - I was absolutely thrilled; for the first time in my life I would have my own library for my books!  My husband and my father-in-law put down a new wooden floor, and then my f-i-l so kindly gave us some lovely old wooden shelving that he no longer needed, and fitted this along the wall.  We put a comfy armchair and a rug in there, and it is such a little paradise.  Needless to say, I have filled all the shelves with my keepers!

I like to close with a fun question, favourite music and film?

My favourite film is probably The Lives of Others.  It's a German film that won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2006.  It's about a Stasi - secret police- agent who is undertaking foreign surveillance on a writer and his partner, and how life changes for them all.  A wonderful story, and great performances.  Plus I love to listen to German because I studied it.  My favourite music - that is even harder as it changes, and what you are currently listening to often dominates your thoughts - I was always an Indie music fan in my teens and early 20's, at the moment I really like Amy MacDonald, Damien Rice, singers with a captivating voice and a guitar; that's all you need sometimes.

Thank you for coming over and sharing with us.

Thank you very much Booketta for the opportunity to feature on your lovely blog!  






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