Sunday, July 3, 2011

Interview with Jenny from Jenny's Books

Posted by Simcha 2:47 AM, under | 5 comments

I'm delighted to be able to start off the new week with another fantastic interview with one of my favorite book bloggers, Jenny from Jenny's Books.

This picture is not really of Jenny...

If you wrote a book what would the blurb on the inside back cover (right beside your picture) say about you?

This picture is not really of Jenny, because Jenny does not photograph well and does her level best to steer clear of photographers. She gripes a lot about missing Louisiana while taking advantage of all the awesome things New York offers, including her wonderful job in publishing. She has three sisters and a lot of books.

How long have you been blogging for?

Three yearsish? Three and a half? I started in December 2007, which is a long time ago, though it seems like I’ve only been blogging for about twenty seconds.

How did you come to start a book blog?

I had reached a parlous state where I had read everything my mother recommended to me, and my reading tastes had diverged from the tastes of my reading friends. One day it occurred to me to google “book blog”, and a whole new world of recommendations opened up to me. I started my own book blog because I thought it would be useful to have a record of what I thought of the books I had read in the past, and in order to be able to tell people why I wasn’t going to read anything else ever by Ian McEwan.

Have you always been an avid reader?

Apparently there was a time in my life at which I could not yet read. But I do not remember it. I was at that time also allergic to dairy products. I suppose those were very dark years, and I appreciate my subconscious’s kindness in repressing them.

Was there a particular book that turned you on to reading?


…Yes. My mother started reading the Chronicles of Narnia to me when I was three. I actually don’t remember what I thought of the books upon first listen (apart from that The Silver Chair scared the hell out of me), but the Chronicles of Narnia have always sort of lived in my mind as a sort of Platonic ideal of how books ought to be.

Has being a book reviewer changed the way that you approach reading?

I think being a book blogger has changed the way I approach reading, in that I’m a little more reluctant to start reading great big fat books, lest I fall behind on my posting schedule (behinder than I usually am, which is very very behind indeed). Apart from that, I don’t think I’ve changed my reading strategies much. I read a bigger variety of books, maybe.

You claim to read the end of books first, is that true? And if so, why?

Oh it is so true. I do it because I like having a general outline of the book in my mind when I’m reading it: it gives me somewhere to put the middle bits as they occur. I don’t like the sort of punched-in-the-gut surprise some books enjoy dishing out (*hem*SarahWatersFingersmith*hem*). I did an experiment last September where I didn’t read the end of any of the books I was reading at all; and what I found was that reading the “normal” way was exactly like reading my way, except less fun and awesome.

Book bloggers often find that reviewing books encourages them to read books outside of their regular reading comfort zone. Is there a particular book that you would never have otherwise tried if you weren’t a book reviewer, but you ended up loving?

I think it’s not so much reviewing that makes me read books I wouldn’t normally read, but other bloggers. Being a book blogger sort of puts you in a different conversation stream than ordinary life, so there are times when I will read a book – such as The Hunger Games – just because I want to be able to participate in a conversation that all the other book bloggers are having.

Are there any particular topics or causes that you have discovered a passion for since becoming a book blogger which you might have never thought much about before? (ex. cover whitewashing, banned books)

Hm. Not really. I have thought about topics and causes I never thought about before, including cover whitewashing, but I wouldn’t say that anything’s made me want to get up in arms and go storm the castle gates.

What’s the last book that you read that blew you away?

Persian Fire. Rocked my world. On the fiction side, I’m reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series (finally), and although it’s not necessarily blowing me away, it’s one of those really, really absorbing and enjoyable reading experiences that makes me remember why I love reading so much.

If you met someone who was only going to read one book this year which book would you recommend to them?

After about two hours of explaining why they should read way more books than just one a year, I might recommend The Book Thief. It’s just so good.

What’s the most interesting thing has has every happened to you?

Oo, hard! I’ve had a boring life! My mind immediately goes to tales of woe, although even those are pretty tame. The problem is that things that are interesting while they’re happening (like seeing a play at the Globe Theatre, say) are not that interesting to talk about. I don’t know!

Favorite snack while reading?

Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. Or cheese fries. Or cheese fries and then Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. Heart health, obviously, is my watchword.

Favorite word?

No idea. I’m very fond of “shabby” but I wouldn’t call it my favorite. I like words with Ts and hard Cs. “Indefatigable” is very good because it feels like running down a hill – once you’ve started saying the word, you can’t stop! That word is coming out.

Favorite quote?

“What emotional storms and oh, what a tiny teacup!” from Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love. I want to start naming second and third favorites, but that’s a slippery slope.

Favorite childhood memory

When I was a kid, my family used to spend two weeks at a little cottage on the beach in southern Maine. One of my favorite childhood memories is definitely when we would go out to Nubble Light and climb around the rocks, and then sit down and have a pizza picnic on the rocks, and watch the seagulls and tourists and scuba divers.

Favorite comfort read

Hilary McKay’s Casson family books. They are sweet without being saccharine, and funny, and charming. Also L. M. Montgomery, A Tangled Web and Jane of Lantern Hill. I could read those over and over and over. I don't mind that the storylines are predictable. That is just L. M. Montgomery's way.

If you could spend the day with any book character who would you choose and why?

I would probably answer this differently on any given day, depending on what I’d read lately. Right now I feel like I’d like to spend the day with Septimus Hodge from Arcadia. He could make wry jokes and teach me math, and then I wouldn’t be so stupid about math. Oh, he’s a character in a play, not a book book. Is that still okay?

Thank you Jenny!


Nice to meet ya Jenny :)
have fun with Ice and Fire!

You're right - I can't stop saying indefatigable. It has taken over my mouth. indefatigable, indefatigable, indefatigable, indefatigable, drat you, indefatigable...

I was not familiar with Jenny or her blog so I think I'm going to have to check it out. Thanks for the interview.

You read the end first? Oh I couldn't do that. I also couldn't sneak a peak at the pressies because I hated to ruin the surprise. I'm glad you enjoy it that way tho! :)

Hi! :) I'm sorry I didn't provide a picture but I truly take awful pictures. Truly terrible.

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