Hello, Julie Valerie, book blogger extraordinaire

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but even though I’m a writer, who very much depends on book bloggers and their reviews, I never gave much thought behind how difficult it is to write reviews, week after week.

Until I started posting my own reviews on this blog.

Then it hit me: It’s hard, hard, hard to read a book and then review that book in such a way that’s fair and honest and yet also interesting, unique and personable.

So naturally I thought of Julie Valerie, a writer and book blogger I’ve admired for a long time, who reads and reviews an enormous amount of books each year plus is the mother of four children and, get this, has two fairly large dogs.

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How in the heck does she do it all?

So I asked her just that. And luckily, she agreed to take time out of her very busy schedule and sit down and chat with us about what it’s like to be a popular book blogger.

Enjoy!

Q: You read, a lot. How many books do you read a week, and how do you find the time? And do you have a yearly goal?

A: So great chatting with you, Cinthia. Thank you for inviting me to your website to talk about books.

I’ve always been a voracious reader but never tracked books or organized my reading life in any meaningful way until I started book blogging in 2013.

My book stats? Quite modest when compared to uber book bloggers who read 100+ books per year.

I’m about to write my 200th book review. After that, I suspect my eyeballs will fall out. And if each of the 200 books averaged 85,000 words in length, I’ve read about 17 million. Yow-za!

When do I find time to read? Oh gosh . . . I read all the time. My advice? Commit to carrying a book with you wherever you go and read when you feel active and alert. If reading at bedtime puts you to sleep, don’t blame the book. Blame the fact that it’s the end of the day; you’re exhausted, in pajamas, lying down with your head on a pillow.

Sleep happens. I’m way more productive with my reading when the sun is up.

Q: Do you prefer eBooks or hardcopy, or either?

A: I definitely read books across all formats and devices; hardback, paperback, ebook, audiobook. I buy books from indie booksellers, big box stores, and online booksellers. I also receive ARCs from authors and publishers, trade books with friends, and I’m on a first name basis with my local public librarian. I think there’s a name for people like me. Perhaps even, a twelve-step program.

Q: Did you read a lot as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?

A: Great question, Cinthia. I’m going to twist this question around a bit to tell you about a book from children’s literature that changed my life when I was an adult: Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne.

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I read the actual book by Milne, not something created by Disney who later bought the rights and then fought to retain those rights and won. (Every writer should read: License v. Assignment? The Winnie-the-Pooh Trademark Dispute by Anne O’Donnell).

I was awed by the fictional reality Milne created with Christopher Robin and his stuffed playmates. I was in college at the time, a good distance from the imaginative play of my youth and yet, through words—through the manipulation of 26 letters, I was three years old again; believing stuffed animals were real. Anthropomorphic, animistic, personification, blah, blah, blah, whatever it was, I looked up from the pages, so astounded by how deeply I was immersed in the narrative—I declared writing a type of magic.

Because of that specific book, read at that moment, in that chair, I decided to study the art and craft of fiction writing. I wanted to peek behind the curtain. I wanted to become … a magician.

Q: Writing reviews isn’t easy. Do you maintain a schedule or pen reviews as soon as you finish a book?

A: I do a little of both. Often, I agree to post a review on a particular day of the month to coincide with an event in the book’s life, most typically, its release date, but often, if the book is being promoted through pricing or hitting the news cycle for some reason. I tend to write the review immediately after reading the book so the content is fresh in my mind. And when I’m reading a book for review, I always read with a stack of yellow sticky notes so I can tuck them into certain pages and take notes as I read.

Q: How do you choose the books you review on your blog?

A: The word ‘choose’ in your question highlights a sensitive issue, something that has led to my making changes on my website in 2016. I started book blogging because I wanted to share books I felt passionate about. But, like most book bloggers, I quickly lost control of my reading life because I had difficulty saying ‘no’ to requests for book reviews.

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Soon, all of the book-rich content I created on the web led to publicists from publishing houses mailing me books. More and more authors were sending review queries. I began reading books on referral from other book bloggers. I joined reading challenges that featured preselected lists of books, even won the BookSparks 2015 Summer Reading Challenge Grand Prize.

Yes, I read books that appealed to me, but I soon realized the time I once spent browsing shelves at my favorite bookstore had almost stopped completely because my TBR pile was a mile long. I’ve been so “booked” with books I’ve lost those intimate moments with the bookshelves, quietly hand-selecting my next read. So many books, and truly, so little time.

Another problem? My reading commitments were taking time from my writing.

Q: You also write. Do you feel as if reading and reviewing books helps your writing, hinders it, or both?

A: Writers write. Writers should read, too. When I approach a page, I read for enjoyment, yes, but I also read to study the craft of writing.

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Q: What’s your favorite book? Favorite author? Favorite genre?

A: Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne changed my life. Helen Fielding deserves mention for speaking to me in the late 1990s through Bridget in a watershed book that launched a genre. (You go, girl.) Favorite genre? I don’t know what it’s called but I love reading books about books and the book life. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan comes to mind, as does 84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff. Was charmed by Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and felt I was revisiting my favorite bookstore in Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. by Jeremy Mercer. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows is on my bedside table and yes, I know it was released in 2009, and no, I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to read it.

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Q: Do you prefer books by female or male authors, or does it make a difference?

A: Love them both, but because I read so much women’s fiction, I tend to read more female authors than male. Not a deliberate choice, more a reality of the genre.

Q: What was the last book you read that really touched, and I mean grabbed and twisted and stunned you? Do you often cry at the end of books? If so, can you remember the last title that left you weepy?

A: Earlier this year, I reread Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides. My first reading was about fifteen years ago. Cried the ‘ugly cry’ all over again. Tears, snot, quivering chin, the whole bit. I was a mess. A glorious, book-loving mess.

Q: Have you ever turned down a review? If so, why?

A: Yes, definitely. I have to. For a while, I was receiving about 20 queries a day, way more than I could ever read. Some book bloggers read “wide” across many genres, but I read “deep” and specialize in a particular genre, so I tend to pass on books that aren’t women’s fiction.

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Q: Tell us more about yourself and your writing. When did you realize that you wanted to write and how do you schedule your writing around your reviewing, and your work and personal life?

A: I “wrote” long before I thought of myself as a writer. Growing up, a spiral notebook was a novel waiting to be created, and I almost always had a spiral notebook novel “in progress” in my backpack. After college, I wrote a “real” full-length novel but that novel shall remain hidden in my drawer where it belongs.

When my youngest of four kids started kindergarten in 2013, the house was finally quiet in a way that allowed me to reconnect with the writer within. After giving so much to my family, it was finally “my” time. So I started my book blog and wrote my second novel while reading and reviewing 200 books in my genre.

I’ve learned a lot about the industry, about book reviewing, about book marketing and publicity, and I’ve built a solid base of readers through my book blog. My debut novel is complete but not released, my tenure as a book blogger is slowing down so I can focus on my writing, and I’m excited for what’s in store for me in 2016.

Q: What’s your take on 5-Star reviews? Do you feel they’re given out too generously? Do you think there should be stricter parameters when it comes to book review guidelines and rating?

A: Stars. They’re odd little things, aren’t they? Subjective, qualitative and quantitative at the same time. There’s gotta be a better system. Please, oh gods of Amazon, at least give us the ability to rank with quarter- and half- stars. I’d love a system where I can give a book 4 stars, 4.25 stars, 4.5 stars, 4.75 stars, or 5 stars. I know that sounds tedious but trust me, I’d welcome tedious over a lack of choice and accuracy any day.

Q: Do you ever write negative reviews? Or do you find something positive in every book? And do you feel that there is a place for negative reviews? 

A: While I definitely indicate areas where I think the story, character development, or whatever is lacking, my policy has been to “fall silent” on books I really didn’t connect with rather than use my platform to openly bash a book. One example of how I handle negative feedback while also citing valuable merits of a book can be found in this post: Size doesn’t matter, fellas. It’s what you do with your sentences that matter. There was so much I loved about Verlyn Klinkenborg’s book, but his use of second-person POV and its resulting impact on tone needed mentioning.

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Q: Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people.

A: I’m certified in wilderness first aid, lose my ability to spell when writing with a Sharpie marker, and have given presentations to audiences in thirteen countries. Presentations in said countries had nothing to do with either wilderness first aid or Sharpie markers.

More about Julie Valerie:
Julie Valerie spent a portion of her career as a university professor, a trend forecaster, and a paid professional speaker. She has presented to large, international audiences across North America and Europe. She is the founder and host of the 85K Writing Challenge, which challenges writers to write 85,000 words in 90 days. She runs a monthly Fiction Writers Blog Hop and her short story “LLL” was featured in the anthology, A Kind of Mad Courage. She is currently considering options for her debut novel, Holly Banks Full of Angst. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two daughters, two sons, and two English Labradors—one yellow, one chocolate.

Connect with Julie:
www.julievalerie.com  
Twitter @Julie_Valerie
85K Writing Challenge: 
Fiction Writers Blog Hop: 
Facebook Author Page:
Google+: 

P.S. Stay tuned next week for Julie Valerie’s advice on what writers should and should not do when approaching a book blogger (or, in more blunt language, how to not piss off a book blogger when begging for a review).

 

 

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72 thoughts on “Hello, Julie Valerie, book blogger extraordinaire

  1. Cinthia,

    I had so much fun chatting with you about one of my favorite topics: books! Thank you for inviting me to your website to spend time with you and your book-loving blog readers. I’m so grateful and look forward to next week when we talk further about the process of querying a book blogger.

    If I may, I have a question for your readers. What are you reading right now? Do tell. 🙂

    Cheers everyone! And Cinthia, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I SO loved learning more about you, Julie. I think I have an even bigger bloggy crush on you now, lol. Thanks so much for stopping by, and taking the time and care to answer so honestly and openly.
      P.S. I’m reading three books right now, “Kabul Beauty School” by Deborah Rodriguez, “A Place Where the Sea Remembers” by Sandra Benitez, and I’m rereading, for like, the fourth time, Carolyn See’s “Golden Days,” which is so funny and warm and wonderful that I can’t say enough about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Looks like Carolyn See’s “Golden Days” was first published in 1987. Have you been revisiting the book since the late 80s? That’s so cool. I do that, too. Like visiting an old friend.

        Cinthia, I’m loving sharing time with you in your corner of the blogosphere. It’s a lonely place out there and it’s so nice and wonderful to “cozy in” together for some book talk with friends. I am so grateful to you for inviting me here. I’m having a wonderful time. Thank you.

        And I kinda sorta ABSOLUTELY have a bloggy crush on you, too, my friend! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Julie: I discovered “Golden Days” in the late-90s, when I was a struggling single mother. I swear, it was one of the books that saved my sanity (I used to read it in the bathtub after my son went to bed. I spent a lot of time reading-in-the-bathroom-back-to-save-my-sanity back then).

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  2. Great interview! I never thought of measuring the number of books I read in words – 17 million? Yowza is right and I think I’m pretty close to that myself 🙂 I think you have a great system for reviewing books and appreciate all of the support you have given to fellow authors, especially those who write women’s fiction like myself. I, for one, cannot wait to read YOUR book when it comes out.

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    1. Hey there, Meredith! Thanks for dropping by to talk books with me on Cinthia’s website. I suppose you’re not surprised to learn I have a system for reviewing books AND that I calculated word count into the millions. Not exactly metadata, but still an illness. So great bumping into you here, Meredith. Thanks so much. Cheers! 🙂

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  3. Even though I’ve stalked Julie’s blog for ages, I learned so much about her (and the book reviewer’s life) here! 20 requests a day is almost unfathomable, but I can attest to the thorough and fair treatment with which Julie seems to honor each book.
    Oh, and a word of recommendation for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s so long since I read it, I can’t remember why I loved it, only that I did! But I just heard Annie Barrows speak at a conference and was struck by how down to earth, gracious, and encouraging she was to other writers.

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    1. I’m part way through The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes (love her even if I might not love every minute of the book). Next up is a novel by an indie author friend, so I’m keeping quiet about that until I decide if I like it 😉

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      1. Crazy you should mention that book, Pauline. I’ve got a blog post already written and ready to publish about The Woman Who Stole My Life (Marian Keyes), Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple), and Finding Audrey (Sophie Kinsella). What do they have in common? Book covers. Stay tuned…

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  4. Julie – What a wonderful interview. Gave me more insight to you, things I never knew. Can’t wait to read your book when it comes out, too (agreeing with Meredith here!), I am reading more thanks to a friend who is introducing me to writers I have never heard of. At the moment, Lydia Davis, “Can’t Won’t” . I’m actually trying to write short pieces inspired by her book. And I do remember reading and loving 84 Charing Cross Road years ago. I am off now to buy my copy of Winnie the Pooh! Haven’t looked at it in years, but see wonderful sweet quotes popping up on Facebook all the time. Thank you for bringing readers, writers, and books together on your amazing blog!

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    1. Aw, shucks. Thanks so much, Barbara. And thanks for introducing me to Lydia Davis’s Can’t Won’t. I love her book cover! I took a peek inside and had to smile when I read this (see below). Clearly, you, a woman who mothers (is it six?) dogs will love a writer who writes this:

      From Can’t Won’t by Lydia Davis

      Contingency (vs. Necessity)

      He could be our dog.
      But he is not our dog.
      So he barks at us.

      I hope you enjoy Winnie-the-Pooh. It changed my life.

      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cinthia, I need to clarify: That’s CLEARLY a dog in your profile picture. I was acting silly – like I wasn’t sure if he/she was a dog when he/she so clearly is. My sweeties (both female, both English Labradors) are named Chloe and Penny. And I love dog books, too. 🙂

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      2. Julie: The dog in my photo is The Beebs, who was the BEST dog in the world and whom I loved terribly and dearly and who ran thousands of miles with me in the mountains. She died last year, at 15, and I still miss her like crazy. Cheers and woof-woof.

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  5. Julie, you absolutely have to take the time to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is fabulous! One of my favorite books, and when the book gods grace me with the time to reread a book, it is the one I would read.
    What am I reading? I just started Thompson Road by Scott Wyatt.

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  6. Hi Michelle! Thompson Road by Scott Wyatt? How is it? Will you be writing a book review on your book blog? He has an interesting bio on Amazon.

    Just came across this title: Arcadia by Iain Pears. Looks like a fascinating read. It’s being sold in hardcover with deckled edge papers. Michelle, can you hear me? I LOVE HARDCOVERS WITH DECKLED PAGES!!!

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    1. Hi Julie! I will be reviewing Thompson Road on my blog. So far, I am loving it! I did see his bio, and yes, it is interesting.
      I’ll have to look up Arcadia. I hear you, lady. Who doesn’t love hardcovers with deckled pages. The first book of short stories I owned, a gift from my grandmother when I was in 5th grade, was hardcover with deckled pages.

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      1. Such a special gift from your grandmother, Michelle. Speaking of deckled edges, do you like books printed with white paper or cream? I tend to like cream, but I hear that’s an American preference whereas readers in the UK prefer white. Your thoughts? Have you heard that?

        And one more question. Go, on. You can admit it . . . do you ever open a book to smell the ink? I do. And I’m not afraid to admit it. My 8-year-old son does it every time we walk into a bookstore or library. Two steps inside the door and he’s drawing in a huge breath, nice and slow – but quite exaggerated, and then he exhales really loud with a smile on his face that usually generates smiles from others who have looked up when they heard his very loud intake of breath.

        Voracious readers are odd characters. Harmless, lovable (if I do say so myself), but odd. Agreed?

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      2. Like you, I prefer cream. I think it’s easier on the eyes. Do I smell the ink? Absolutely, but I’m not sure if it’s because I’m smelling the ink in a book, or if it’s reminiscent of my dad’s print shop. Yes, we are odd creatures, but as you say, we are also lovable, and definitely harmless.
        When do you think you will publish your book? I want to be one of the first to read it, of course. Hugs, my sweet friend.

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  7. So it’s 10:30pm EST and my dogs are tired and looking at me with droopy eyes. So I’m saying good night because I’ve also got an appointment with the book on my bedside table…

    Cinthia, what are you reading tonight? “Kabul Beauty School” by Deborah Rodriguez, “A Place Where the Sea Remembers” by Sandra Benitez, or Carolyn See’s “Golden Days”?

    For everyone else, if you’re just arriving to this comment section – I’m wondering:

    1. What are you reading? (Great book recommendations in the comments above!)

    2. I’d also love to know how you’d answer a question that Cinthia asked me: Do you prefer eBooks or hardcopy, or either?

    I’ll check in bright and early tomorrow morning. Bringing a cup of tea with me. English Breakfast with a lump of sugar.

    🙂

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  8. Hi Julie and Cinthia! Great interview! And two paws up to Winnie the Pooh! I have a lovely hardcover set of all the Pooh books that I bought quite a few years ago with my bookstore-employee discount. Now they reside in my son’s room. I adored reading them to him when he was younger (and yes, I had to fight back the tears as I read!) Allow me to add The Love Letter by Cathleen Schine to the list of books about bookstores. The main character is a bookstore owner, and the author’s narrative about the mission of running a bookstore, the love of connecting readers with the perfect book, is as much a love letter to readers as the more traditional one referred to in the title. 🙂

    To answer your questions…

    1. Not reading any book at the moment, alas, but for a good reason—I’m frantically editing my sixth romcom.

    2. I will read in any format! I tend to read mostly ebooks lately because of that darned addicting 1-Click, but I’ll happily read hardcopies. I just need to find my glasses… 🙂

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    1. Hi, Jayne! Thanks for stopping by. And now there’s another book I simply must (must!) read. I love Cathleen Schine. Have you read “Alice in Bed”? It’s one of Schine’s earlier works and I read it twice in a row the first time I read it (I’m dating myself, lol).
      P.S. Love your “two paws up for Winnie the Pooh” reference, hee, hee.
      Cheers and take care.

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    2. Hello Jayne!

      Good morning. And thanks for stopping by to talk books with Cinthia and me. I’m aware of Cathleen Schine’s Rameau’s Niece – main character in Rameau’s Niece is a writer who pens an accidental bestseller but then gets seduced by an old book and then walks around town (NYC? can’t remember) emulating the character in the book she read. I have not read The Love Letter. But I’m going to head to Barnes & Noble now to “add it to my bag” as they say on their website.

      I’m so grateful to you for tipping me off about this book. Been thinking about starting an online book club to discuss books about books. If I could just come up with a dang title for that genre. What is it called?! The “Books About Books” genre? Hm . . .

      Someone, anyone, please! Help me figure out the name of that genre!

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  9. Love this post, Julie! Love you! You are an inspiration to us all, a tireless promoter of books, and you do it for the best reason there is: out of love of reading. Your own blog is amazing. Honestly, I don’t know how you do it. Coffee by the gallon? Pact with the devil (no, you’re too nice for that)? You’re one of those people who sleeps only three hours a day (I know that isn’t true – I’ve seen you in your PJs)? Whatever, I love you for it.

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  10. What a fantastic interview, Cinthia and Julie! Julie is such a brilliant reviewer, and I had the great, great pleasure to read her book, and she is an absolutely incredible writer. I cannot wait for the world to read it, too! Cinthia, I must also tell you that DOLLS BEHAVING BADLY is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Right now I’m reading THE FLOOD GIRLS by Richard Fifield, and it is awesome.

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    1. Ah, thanks so much, Samantha. I cannot (cannot!) wait to read THE FLOOD GIRLS. It’s on my list, and it’s exciting to hear that it’s as awesome as I expected. P.S. Also cannot wait to read Julie’s book. Cheers and have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi there Samantha!

      So . . . you’re reading THE FLOOD GIRLS by Richard Fifield, eh? I noticed a description of the book compared its “caustic wit” to Maria Semple’s WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE. We spoke about Semple’s book just last week. I loved it. Think I’ll have to check out Fifield’s book next . . .

      Question: Does Fifield’s book remind you of anything else you’ve read? Knowing how much I enjoyed Bernadette, I’d love to know where I can find more books like it.

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  11. For years I have read 100+ books a year, in 2015 I committed to reviewing 100 on goodreads. This is my second year doing that. I think it is hard to review them sometimes, because of silly things, I enjoyed the book the weird sisters, but not third person plural. Alice Hoffman’s Mueseum of extraordinary things, nearly half the pages were in italics–hurt my head, but it was an interesting tale. I almost never read reviews til after I read a book because I don’t want to be influenced, so I haven’t ever read a book blog. But maybe it is time for change. Guernsey is fun. I am reading Sarah Water’s The Night Watch. And Cinthia–great post!!

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    1. Tolly,

      So nice to meet you here on Cinthia’s website. Years of reading 100+ books? That’s awesome! Question: Are you also active in book clubs? I know I’d love to be in a book club with you!

      I haven’t read Sarah Water’s The Night Watch – how are you liking the structure? Doesn’t it move backward in time? Is that hard to follow or fun to read? While not The Night Watch – I am reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern right now. Loving it.

      Tolly, I’m going to look you up on Goodreads. Am very interested in your bookshelves!

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  12. Thanks, Tolly! And 100 books, plus 100 reviews–wow, you are my new hero! (Are we Goodreads friends? If not, we will be soon because I totally need to check out your book lists. Need some good recommendations.)
    I committed to reading 65 books this year and it’s a struggle. I’m trying to average six a month and I swear, toward the end of the month I frantically search for short books, hee, hee. Is that cheating? No matter, at least I’m reading.
    Cheers and I’m putting The Night Watch on my list.
    Take care, Tolly.

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      1. Thanks, Julie! Shorter books are definitely appealing, especially during the last week of the month. I think I may occasionally branch out to children’s books. I have an odd craving to revisit Wilbur and Charlotte (oh, how I love the last line of that book. I tear up just thinking of it). Cheers and happy reading, my friend.

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  13. Cinthia, thank you for hosting Julie! What a great interview! Julie, so wonderful to meet you! (Okay, I’ll tone down the exclamation points.) Really, I truly enjoyed this talk between you two. Julie, I really appreciate your honesty in book reviewing. I occasionally do book reviews on my blog, some straightforward reviews and then others that are book reviews within a story. They’re fun to write, but they are a lot of work (not to mention the reading that you have to do first). For a very short while, I wrote reviews in exchange for an ARC or free copy, but no more. It started to get out of hand and I have a day job that sucks up a lot of my energy. I prefer to choose the book I want to read next and I don’t like feeling compelled to write a review because someone gave me a free copy. More importantly, though, if I really like a book (or an author), I want to buy the book and support the author that way as well. Maybe when I retire from my day job, I can open the floodgates again, but then, like you and Cinthia, I’m a writer too. Ack! Not enough hours in the day (or night)!

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    1. Hello Marie! So nice to meet you. And I love exclamation points! They seem such happy little marks. I can almost feel them smiling!

      !!! 🙂 !!!

      Exclamation points aside, I feel your pain! (Whoops. Did it again.) The world of reading and book reviewing can certainly take over your life. I was shocked and saddened when I realized I’d become so over-scheduled with book reviews that I’d lost the “need” to shop for my next book. (Lost the need but not the desire.) While I loved the towers of books sent to me to review – I started to feel guilty buying more books to add to the pile. And buying books is my most favorite thing to do! (Exclamation point.)

      When you figure out how to add hours in the day, and days in the week, will you let me know? Oh, but . . . hey, as I’m writing this – it is February 29th. Too bad we have to wait another four years to get a little extra time to read! (Exclamation point.)

      One more question: Whatcha reading right now?

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      1. Actually, right now I’m listening to Richard Armitage (the actor) narrate David Copperfield. I LOVE audiobooks because I also love walking and knitting (although I can’t do both of those at the same time). Armitage’s narration is wonderful and I may never get Copperfield, Dora, Peggity, Agnes and (shudder) Uriah Heep out of my head! But next to my book, the next two books I plan to read are The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen and Silk for the Feed Dogs by Jackie Mallon. I’ve had both of these books by my side for a couple of years (yup, years!) and I really, really want to read them 🙂

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      2. I am positively addicted to Audible. But I have to admit to being a bit of a grammar geek . . . Most of my Audible library is dedicated to books on the writing craft, literature, grammar, and wine. Hmmm. I wonder what that says about me?

        Audiobooks I’m enjoying right now:

        – The History of World Literature by Grant L. Voth* (The Great Courses)
        – The Art of X-Ray Reading by Roy Peter Clark narrated by Jefferson Mays
        – Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft by Brooks Landon (The Great Courses)
        – A Guide to Wine by Julian Curry

        * I love this man’s voice. I’d marry him without ever meeting him if he’d agree to talk literature to me on our wedding night. Over glasses of wine, of course.

        Marie, are you listening to your books on Audible or another delivery service? When you have a credit to spend – how do you make your decisions? I always panic. Like it’s the last audiobook selection I’ll ever make in my lifetime and it has to be a good one. I evaluate cost (love grabbing a The Great Courses course with an Audible credit – $34.95 becomes FREE! sort of), length of book, topic, and whether I’m going to learn something or be entertained. Such a complex decision. Someone should write a blog post. Hmmm . . . maybe I will . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Love your response, Marie, and yes, yes, isn’t Julie wonderful? And I’m with you about book reviews. I try to write one or two a month but lord, it’s difficult and time-consuming and heck, it’s easier to simply read a book, digest it and then move on to the next. I so admire book reviewers/book bloggers. They are high on my list. Plus reading and writing reviews can easily get in the way of writing, and it’s too, too easy to use both as an excuse not to write when writing becomes tough (I’ll admit I’m guilty of both).
    And oh, if only there were more hours in the day/night!!

    Like

  15. Cinthia, reflecting on a question you asked me in the above interview:

    Q: What was the last book you read that really touched, and I mean grabbed and twisted and stunned you? Do you often cry at the end of books? If so, can you remember the last title that left you weepy?

    A: Earlier this year, I reread Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides. My first reading was about fifteen years ago. Cried the ‘ugly cry’ all over again. Tears, snot, quivering chin, the whole bit. I was a mess. A glorious, book-loving mess.

    Just learned he passed away yesterday, age 70. Pancreatic cancer. I’m so incredibly sad.

    Thought you’d appreciate this insight into his childhood and how the events of his youth informed his writing:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/05/books/pat-conroy-who-wove-his-family-strife-into-novels-of-carolina-dies-at-70.html?smid=tw-share

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thanks so, so much, Julie. I heard about Pat’s death earlier today and it kind of hit me hard. I read “The Water is Wide” years ago when I was a teenager and it really impacted the way I viewed the world. Since then, I’ve read more of Conroy’s work. Loved “Prince of Tides” but “The Water is Wide” is still my favorite. Can’t wait to read the article and learn more about his life, and his writing. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

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