The Fan Shelf presents : Write Meg!
I’ve been wanting to introduce this new feature for a while now; a shelf of my blog where I can present people and book-things I’m a fan of, mainly bloggers but also, maybe, authors, series, etc. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I invite you to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!
I am really happy to start this feature with a favorite blogger of mine, Megan from “Write Meg!”. Megan’s blog is one of the firsts I discovered when I started lurking around book blogs. I was instantly charmed by her sense of humor and her reviews. I thought we shared similar tastes in young adults and chicklit reads, and I really appreciate how she writes her reviews with a just appreciation of the book, whether she liked it or not.
(Plus, look at that picture! The wind and the rose in the hair = beautiful!)
In a few months already, Megan influenced my reading with her advices. Because of her, I have read, not read or added to my TBR list the following books (among others)
Megan was nice enough to answer – lengthly, might I add! But interesting, too! – six questions for me. Not only did she do it quickly, she was also extremely patient with me since I am really bad at emailing. Thank you, Megan, for your great answers and your patience!
Click on “more” button to read more! 🙂
(Do it, do it! It’s fun!)
Hi Meg! For those who don’t know you, can you present your blog in a few words?
Hi Kay! write meg! is my little corner of the universe to talk about books I love, my random celebrity (and literary!) crushes, my adventures in Maryland and to share the results of my random Google searches! I love learning about new people, things and places, and I love having a way to share my obsessions. Plus, I’m very into photography, web and graphic design—and I’m slowly expanding my knowledge of all of it through blogging! And I can’t resist blogging about desserts and food, either.
You celebrated this week your blog’s 1 year anniversary! Congrats! Has your perception of “book-blogging” changed in that time? Or is it pretty much what you thought it would be?
Thank you! It’s been a great year. I have to admit that I had no real concept of what “book-blogging” was until I quit my job at a bookstore last fall! I’d worked part-time at my local Borders since college and loved having an outlet to discuss work with customers and coworkers, and after I was promoted as an editor at a newspaper, I didn’t have enough time or energy to keep up with both positions anymore.
I know it probably sounds crazy, but I really loved my job at the bookstore! It was a way for me to keep up with all the new releases, constantly discuss literature and introduce my favorite books to new readers. Plus, I absolutely loved heading up the store’s book events, most notably for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn. Leaving Borders was very hard for me, and I immediately looked for a new forum to keep up with the book world.
write meg! was up and running at that time, and I had discussed books from time to time, but I was originally a little focused on recounting my adventures as a twentysomething office drone (fascinating, I know). Once I started Googling around and discovered sites like LibraryThing, I quickly realized an entire world in which folks obsess about books just as much as I do—or even more!—existed! It was thrilling. I took the plunge.
Book blogging is much like I thought it would be, introducing me to so many awesome folks around the world who share in my extreme love of literature. I’ve picked up so many awesome novels based on blog recommendations that I can’t imagine ever reading in the world before blogging, and I’m very grateful for that. I have to say that I’ve been even more pleasantly surprised by how kind my fellow bloggers and folks who stumble across the blog are, and I’ve been thrilled to make contacts with authors and agents in the literary community.
It’s been awesome to see another side of the publishing world, too. I’m a novelist, poet and English student, so I love writing and producing the work—and then I was a bookseller, so I loved actually selling the work. As a reader, of course I adore picking up new books . . . and as a blogger, I speak with authors and publishers about their work with a kind but critical eye. What could be better?
How do you prepare for a review? Do you take notes while you read?
I’m totally obsessed with Post-It notes! (Not as much as my sister, whose books look like a multi-colored circus has camped out, but still.) It’s hard for me to actually write in books, so I use Post-Its to mark pages with quotes that I especially love. After finishing a book, I go back and re-read all of my favorite moments to really inspire me to sit down and tap out my review.
Other than the Post-Its, I can’t say I do much preparing. When I read the reviews of others, what I really want to know is how someone felt about a book. Did it make you laugh? Cry? Did you see yourself in the characters, or recognize attributes of someone you know? We can all grab the synopsis on Amazon, so I want to really look at the human experience of just . . . reading it. I try to incorporate those feelings into my reviews, and that usually requires me to just do a little feeling-analyzing as research! Sometimes I’m just gushing about a book, but I try to form some coherent thoughts!
What were some of the books that caught your attention recently, good or bad?
I’ve become hopelessly, ridiculously obsessed with the Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty—Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings and Charmed Thirds are the ones I’ve read thus far. Jessica is such a bold, interesting character, and we share a common love of badboy-turned-hot-genius Marcus Flutie. I’m crushing like crazy on that guy! I’m so happy to have discovered the series—albeit quite a bit after most people, I know!—and to blab about it to anyone who will listen. Most recently, I’ve shoved copies of Sloppy Firsts into the hands of family and friends.
A book that majorly set me on a rampage recently was The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, and let me say—the book had me gripped from the first paragraph only to leave me a mess by the end! I read it for a book club that never really got off the ground, and that was probably a good thing . . . I probably would have gone into nuclear meltdown mode at the meeting!
I have to give a shout-out to John Green here, too—I read Looking For Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines earlier in the year and have firmly reestablished a love of young adult fiction. I highly recommend Green’s work to anyone looking for great characterization and an unforgettable story.
I read on your blog that you are an anglophile; do you have some books to suggest to those who share your passion – or would like to give it a try?
Oh, my Anglophilia—it’s a fire that can’t be put out! I’m a huge Jane Austen fan, too, which kind of ties in. Though I know most folks have probably encountered Pride & Prejudice, Emma orNorthanger Abbey at some point in their literary lives, if you’ve haven’t, grab a copy—I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
I’ve gotten heavy into Austen fiction, too . . . modern retellings of her classic stories, or “sequels” to the original stories. At least ten books are sitting patiently in my to-be-read stack, glaring at me. You really get a sense of the sweeping English countryside, the accents (oh, those accents!) and the general propriety of the time period, which I love. Of course, modern England is a very different place . . . but it still holds a lot of that magic for me, I think. Laurie Viera Rigler’s Confessions Of A Jane Austen Addict is a good one, and I absolutely loved Syrie James’s The Lost Memoirs Of Jane Austen.
If you’re looking for a different read with plenty of awesome English references and quirky dialogue, I highly recommend David Nicholls’ Starter For Ten and Nick Hornby’s Slam.
Something for the deeper, maybe stormier Anglophile? Check out Ian McEwan. Atonement was a wee bit heavy for me, but I was absolutely entranced with On Chesil Beach—I read it in one day, unable to get out of the heads of these characters. Very poignant.
And if you like historical England—and Tudor England? Of course, grab Philippa Gregory. Anyone looking for a really crazy, profound look at life when the black plague was bringing death to streets and cottages everywhere would probably like Geraldine Brooks’ A Year Of Wonders—it’s one of the most haunting books I’ve ever read. The imagery will stay with me forever. She’s an amazing writer!
One last question! If you were a book, which would you be?
Wow! This is tough. I think I’m light, smart and funny—but with a big heart and plenty of stories to tell. I’d firmly label myself in with so many of the great women’s fiction novels I love, especiallySomething Borrowed by Emily Giffin, Everyone Is Beautiful by Katherine Center and Belong To Me by Marisa de los Santos. I’d be happy sharing a shelf with any of them!
But just to satisfy my snarky side, I would be Laurie Notaro’s I Love Everybody (And Other Atrocious Lies): True Tales Of a Loud-Mouth Girl. She’s my hero—and hey, if the title fits, I’ll wear it!