I Love Your Blog: Curled Up with a Good Book and a Cup of Tea

I love this little series.  It’s such a great chance to share some of my favourite writers and bloggers with my own little audience, and I relish the opportunity!

Today I’d like to share with you the lovely Shan.  I’ve known Shan for years in that wonderful ‘oh, we made friends on the internet’ way, and have enjoyed her blog since its very early days.  Shan is a formidably good reader and a fantastic suggester of books (between her, Christy, Kaz and Hannah, I am kept busy!), and her blog is a real treat too.  Over to Shan…

1. How long have you been blogging?

I just celebrated the 6th anniversary of my blog. Over the years, I had started and stopped a few personal blogs but I definitely found my stride when I started book blogging. 

2. What do you blog about?  Do you have a specific goal with your blog (i.e. reviewing products, promoting a business, transitioning into a writing / media / digital career), or is it more a record of your life?

My blog is all about books. Every once in a while I will discuss television shows or movies I’m watching, but 99% of my blog is books. I mostly write reviews, but I also do author interviews and guest posts, book blasts, and coverage of bookish events. My goal is just to talk about books with other book lovers. But it did also help me get a job as a bookseller, so that’s a plus!

3. What is your favourite thing about blogging?

I love that I have a community to talk about books. No matter what you read, there are other people out there waiting to talk about it. And it feels great to know that people are reading and loving books that I have recommended to them.

4. What is your least favourite thing about blogging?

I’m terrible when it comes to scheduling and getting posts done ahead of time! Sometimes life will get busy and I won’t have any posts for a while and that bothers me. I think consistency is important when it comes to blogging and that is an area I need to work on.

5. Do you have any favourite posts on your blog – pieces you’re really proud of, which document something special, or which seemed to strike a chord with your readers?

I’m proud that my blog promotes a lot of Canadian literature. Years back, I committed myself to reading more CanLit and I’m so amazed and proud at the literary talent of my country.  I keep a list on the blog of all of the Canadian books I have reviewed and you can find them here –http://goodbooksandacupoftea.blogspot.ca/p/oh-canada.html

6. Whose blogs do you love?  I’m always looking for recommendations 🙂

Tanya is a Canadian currently living in Scotland. She and I have very similar reading tastes so I love reading her blog 52 Books or Bust.https://52booksorbust.wordpress.com

I always look to Jackie at Farm Lane Books Blog for literary fiction recommendations. It’s amazing how many books I find out about from her.www.farmlanebooks.co.uk

Darkowaa of African Book Addict reviews and discusses books from the African diaspora and always has great recommendations. She helps me discover authors that may not get as much attention outside of the continent. www.africanbookaddict.com

7. I love your take on books and writers – which are your favourite genres/authors to read?

Over the years you can see how my book tastes change. Before I started blogging I stuck to the same few genres so I’m always challenging myself to get over my comfort zone. CanLit is my favourite because it tells a wide range of stories and I’m a very proud Canadian. My favourite Canadian author from this genre is Lawrence Hill. I will read anything he writes, fiction or non-fiction.  

British Chick Lit is my comfort reading genre.  My favourite authors are Lindsey Kelk, Chrissie Manby, Alexandra Brown, Kirsty Greenwood, and Lucy Diamond.

8. What’s the longest book you’ve ever read?  What’s been the trickiest?

The longest book that I have actually completed is A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. It took me almost two weeks to complete but it was easy to keep reading because it is such an amazing book. (I usually read 2-3 books a week, so two weeks on one book is a big deal for me!)

Two years ago I started reading the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo. I’ve been reading it in bits and pieces because at over 1400 pages, I have trouble reading it in the time the library allows me to have it! I’m still only about 500 pages in. I have a hard time reading long books, I’d rather read a few books in a week than one long one.

9. Do you have any ambitions for your reading this year (particular challenges etc.)? (I know you often do these and I think it’ll be fun to share the kinds of challenges you do!)

Each year I set the number of books I hope to read. It started out at 100 and I fell short for a few years. Then one year I achieved it so the next year I set it at 105. It will remain at that until I hit and then I’ll bump it up to 110. I like a good challenge and don’t mind when I don’t achieve it. 

I used to enter blogger challenges but I found that I was missing out on books I wanted to read because I was busy trying to complete my challenges.  So now, I just aim to increase each year how many books I read by Canadians, writers of colour, and female authors.

10. What tips do you have for bloggers growing and nurturing their blogs?

When you start out, it’s easy to look at popular blogs and want that success to happen right away but it takes time. Especially with book bloggers, it takes time to establish yourself before you start receiving ARCs and event invites. Take the time to cultivate quality readership and relationships with other bloggers and people in the publishing industry and all of that will come to you. Let your blog grow naturally, find your niche, and have fun doing it. 

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