It’s here…Book Blogger Appreciation Week has arrived. As part of this week’s celebration bloggers will be interviewing one another in an effort to get to know someone new and also spread the word about some great book blogs you might not be aware of. I was lucky enough to be paired up with Amanda of Opinions of a Wolf which was new to me! It was great to discover a new blogger and also a fellow librarian. It was so interesting to find all the differences between us but also find so many similarities. So without further ado please welcome Amanda to Stiletto Storytime…
The Book Blog
It’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week and we are obviously talking about
our Book Blogs so I have to ask. When and why did you start blogging?
Let’s see….I started blogging in March of 2009 because I wanted to be able to put my opinions out into the world. Plus I enjoy writing, and it seemed like a good way to start getting some feedback on it. I reviewed my first book in July of 2009, because I’d seen book reviews on other personal blogs, and I figured hey, I was already writing reviews on LibraryThing, why not put them on my blog? The rest is, as they say, history.
Can you give us three adjectives you think best describe your blog? How about three that best describes you?
For my blog I’d say honest, academic, and personable. For myself I’d say intelligent, funny, opinionated.
Do you view your blog as more of a personal or professional outlet?
If forced to pick I’d have to say personal just because I don’t talk about libraries and librarianship as much as I used to, and I definitely view it as an extension of my hobbies–reading, writing, movies, video gaming, etc…. On the other hand, it’s one of my goals to become a published author, and reading and thinking about the craft of storytelling is key to improving your writing, so I guess it’s personal and hopefully will one day be professional.
You review both books and movies. How do you choose what to review?
Are these titles you pick up personally or do you take submissions?
I review every single book I read, but not every movie I see. I do accept free books from authors and publishers to review, but I only accept a book I’d read anyway. Of course this has backfired a couple of times. One particular instance, I thought I was receiving a historical romance to review, but upon receiving it discovered it was historical Christian romance, which I stay away from with a 10 foot pole. I felt obligated to review it though, so I did. I learned my lesson, though, and make sure to investigate the book on Amazon or LibraryThing to make sure the publisher offering it isn’t leaving out any key details.
As for movies, I tend not to review movies that I go see in theaters, because I figure there are already so many reviews being generated in that time frame for that movie that it’d be a voice in the wind type scenario. Instead I review older movies that people may miss otherwise or a well-known movie that I had an atypical reaction to. An example is Terminator 2, which I liked but didn’t love. It’s interesting to me to consider why I didn’t like something others did or vice-versa.
What do you genres do you review and enjoy reviewing? Do you
review anything beyond that? What do you absolutely not review?
I review everything that I read, and that covers a lot of genres. I’d say the ones more heavily hit include horror, sci fi, paranormal romance, 20th century American literature, and classics. I absolutely won’t read Christian literature and avoid serious women’s literature in contemporary settings like the plague.
I noticed you have a rating system. How did you come up with your
system? Does it have criteria or is just a general feeling after you finish a work?
Using five stars was a natural extension of entering my books into LibraryThing and rating movies I’ve watched in Netflix, both of which use five stars. They are based purely on how much I liked the book so:
1 star hated it
2 stars didn’t like it
3 stars meh didn’t love it or hate it
4 stars really liked it
5 stars love it
I also try to make my last paragraph a snap-shot of my opinion as a whole. Providing both helps readers get the gist of the review without having to read the whole thing if they don’t want to.
“Opinions of a Wolf” is a pretty distinct name. So I must ask where your
blog name came from?
That’s kind of a long story. Essentially, I’m part Native American, and my totem animal is the wolf. Although I grew out of that, along with most other superstitions, I’m still fascinated by wolves. They’re such interesting animals! So when I made an account on WordPress, I made an anonymous username of “wolfshowl,” and I’ve been called wolfy in various places around the internet. Given all that, since I knew my blog was going to be my opinions, Opinions of a Wolf just popped into my head.
What does a book or movie need to achieve to make it into “Wolfy
It has to get 5 stars. That means that I absolutely loved in. In many cases, it’s a story that will stick with me for a very long time. Something I personally connected with or that I think has something important to say. Sometimes, of course, a book or movie gets 5 stars purely because it’s so incredibly entertaining and doesn’t have anything important to say at all, lol.
Where do you see yourself and your blog in ten years?
Oh good lord. Hm. I guess hopefully my blog will also be an author website. So I’ll be out of student debt, own a condo or a house, a published author, and generally happy and healthy. I’d like to get married someday, but I don’t like to put that sort of thing onto a time-line. It’ll happen when the time is right.
Where do you see the world of book blogging in ten years?
I hope that book blogs will become integral to the world of publishing with the best ones offering up honest, trustworthy reviews that will be respected the way NY Times ones are today. Hopefully we’ll replace the snobbery with reviews that read more like a recommendation from a trusted, intellectual neighbor. We’ll also probably be using devices to blog that no one has even thought of yet, of course, haha.
From Librarian to Librarian
You like me, are a Librarian. Congrats on your upcoming MLIS by the
way! We are both in our twenties so this is something of an oddity in
itself…how did you find your way to librarianship and why did it become
your career choice?
I was a student worker at my undergrad’s library as part of my work-study for all four years. In the summers, I did internships in areas that I thought I might be interested in, but I didn’t enjoy them. My senior year, my supervisor asked me if I’d considered librarianship. I applied for jobs at libraries and publishing houses in Boston and applied to Simmons. I figured I’d see what job I landed and go from there. The first job I landed was at a library, and so I went with that and started grad school that fall.
What drew you to your particular specialty in medical librarianship and do
you think that is where you want to stay? Are there other specialties that interest you?
Haha, I applied to every single job opening at Boston area libraries that I was even moderately qualified for. I was determined to not have to move home at all! The one that I landed just happened to be in a small medical library. What appeals to me isn’t the type of library but the work. I enjoy interacting with the public, organizing, and running websites, so I see myself in reference or management or both. I’m truly not picky at all about the type of library, although I don’t think I’d be happy at one at a religious academic institution. Also I’ve worked at large and small libraries, and I think I’m generally happier at larger ones.
Being a book blogger and a librarian obviously means you enjoy reading.
Have you always been a reader? Did you read a lot as a child? Did you
have a favorite book from childhood?
I’ve always been a reader. I begged my parents to teach me how to read, and by the age of four I was reading the Little House books on my own (Those were also my favorite books, by the way. On the Banks of Plum Creek in particular). I read all the time as a child. Books were my friends that didn’t leave me and let me escape my own life for a while.
Where do you see libraries and librarians in ten years?
I hope that we’ll have figured out how to incorporate the social aspects of learning without losing the respect for quiet spaces and a push to challenge ourselves. I hope we don’t react so strongly to the changing world that we go too far the other direction and basically make libraries into community centers. It’s important for a democracy to have an educated public, and that needs to be respected in our society. I want learning in libraries to be fun, but I also still want it to be learning.
The Deserted Island
The classic, you’re stranded on a desert island and can only take 5
Logic would have me say 5 books that would help me survive on the deserted island, but let’s assume I mysteriously already get to have those, lol.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood to remind me of what I escaped and how much worse it could be
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams to make me laugh
- Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel because Ayla’s strength as a person inspire me and her relationship with Jondalar still makes me swoon
- Paradise Lost by John Milton It’s already survived 3 intense readings in undergrad, and the poetry still touches me every time. Plus I’m one of those people who finds the devil as represented in Paradise Lost quite inspiring
- The Odyssey by Homer It’s funny, scary, full of mythology, and would easily still be entertaining even with multiple re-readings.
- Fight Club–I love the twist, plus there’s lots of eye candy and violence.
- The Adventures of Milo and Otis–cutest cat movie ever
- South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut–raunchy humor like that doesn’t get old with rewatches
- Moulin Rouge–one of the only movies to make me cry
- Evil Dead–tree porn. Nuff said.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer–I’ve already watched each episode at least 3 times, can quote them, and never get tired of them.
- True Blood–hot sexy vampire awesomeness
- The Office (US)–never fails to be funny on rewatching
- Lost–how could you be stranded on a desert island and not watch Lost?
- Futurama–It’s hilarious, and I could try to catch all the references on repeated watchings.
No-Name–this vegan General Tso’s chicken served at a local restaurant. It’s amazingness. Ice cream–this doesn’t need explanation. Crackers. Cheese. Booze–to pass the time (hey, it has calories)
Thanks so much Amanda for taking time to be my interview partner it was wonderful to get to know you and your blog. Please make sure you go and visit Amanda’s blog Opinions of a Wolf where you can also check out my interview and all the other great things she has to offer. I loved how eclectic her blog is and that she reviews movies I might have missed in the past. And make sure to check out all the other great blogger interviews going on for Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Also go check out the BBAW winners for 2010.