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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

7-Imp Jules

eisha: Has blogging about books changed your reading habits? 

Jules
: Yes, in a big ‘ol way. I would love to hear other bloggers’ thoughts on this question, too.

 
I suppose there are three big ways my reading habits have changed since I started blogging: Deciding to accept review copies, which are great things, has changed the way I read. I read primarily only new stuff anymore. And my to-be-read pile is constantly growing, due to other reviews at other blogs.
 
I still go out of my way to retrieve library copies of books which publishers don’t send me, but getting review copies has radically changed my reading habits and library trips. I’m grateful for review copies, yet sometimes it gets so that, depending on the week, I start to feel really behind and beholden to whomever sent them. And it’s at these moments that I’ll entertain the notion of going back to no longer reading review copies and just reviewing library copies of titles. This probably happens once every other month (mostly ’cause I get behind, having only little child-free windows of time in which to blog). But then, say, the new Uri Shulevitz picture book will arrive at my doorstep, thus reducing the amount of time I’ll have to wait on a hold list for it at the library. Or I’ll correspond with a favorite author or illustrator for some reason, and I’ll be over-the-moon for days.
 
Having said all that, I can totally understand why some bloggers refuse to do the review-copy thing, though it’s still something I choose to do now. Generally, I think the entire issue of ethics-and-blogging is so interesting – as well as the debate over how blogging about books has changed publicity for authors and illustrators today (with diminishing newspaper space for book reviews) and whether or not those of us running our mouths about books online are “reviewers” or not. I don’t get defensive about it; instead, I think it’s an endlessly fascinating topic. I thought Roger Sutton initiated a very thought-provoking discussion about it last April. I found myself all wrapped up in reading his thoughts on it – and all the impassioned responses from various and sundry bloggers. Interesting stuff.
 
Oh, and yeah, I mostly only read new stuff anymore, ‘cause I feel like – for my part – if I start declaring I’ll review any ‘ol book from any ‘ol year at 7-Imp, I’ll be too Way All Over the Place. I need to have focus, so mine is to discuss new and forthcoming titles. And since I never have enough time for blogging, I feel like I read only new stuff anymore. This bothers me, but I only have, as it is, little windows of time to read and blog. What’s a girl gonna do? (Occasionally, I will read an older title, I must add, but just not as often as I used to.)
 
And all my favorite bloggers talking about their favorite titles? So dangerous for my already-toppling-over to-be-read pile. But I love it. The community of book-lovers online is great.
 
Whoa. I promise my other responses will be shorter.

eisha
: What do you love about blogging? 

Jules
: How easy it is to hear about brand-new titles as soon as they come out – more often, before they do. And the people. All the smart-as-hell book lovers. 

eisha
: Anything you dislike about blogging? 

Jules
: Feeling like I’m constantly behind on everything. We need a 7-Imp administrative assistant just for blog-related email, for serious. And there’s too much I want to do and not enough time (since my children and my contractor-job-that-pays come first). 

eisha
: Has anyone we’ve interviewed ever answered any Pivot question in such a way that really struck you? 

Jules: I’ll never forget Jack Gantos’ answer to the pearly-gates question – “Shaken or stirred?” – or, oh! Adam Rex’s: “I’m going to leave the gate open and turn my back for a minute.” Don’t you think the answer to the pearly-gates question tells you the most about a person? Or when Cecil Castellucci said the profession she’d like to attempt is “rogue and scoundrel.” Best. answer. to. that. question. ever. Or when Roger Sutton said the profession he’d like to attempt is weatherman. Seriously, I think of that now every time I see a meteorologist. Dude, why haven’t we compiled these interviews into a book? 

eisha
: Name your all-time favorite interview thus far at 7-Imp. 

Jules
: It’s a tie: Haven Kimmel and M.T. Anderson

eisha
: We’re almost at the half-way mark in 2008. What’s been your favorite novel thus far? And picture book? 

Jules: Picture books? Too hard. D’oh! Why did I come up with this question? I’m going to cheat and give you more than one: Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum by Robert Andrew Parker and In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck and illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Oh, and two I haven’t reviewed yet (but plan to soon): A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton and Barbara Kerley’s What To Do About Alice? with illustrations from Edwin Fotheringham. Novels? Patricia Martin’s Lulu Atlantis and the Quest for True Blue Love and Haven Kimmel’s Kaline Klattermaster’s Tree House. As for YA, I just read my first E. Lockhart novel (her newest, to be co-reviewed by us soon) and was quite taken. 

eisha
: What’s your favorite current trend in children’s lit? And biggest gripe? 

Jules
: Let’s see . . . I’ll try. Generally, I’m happy that graphic novels, comics, etc. are seeing a revival, and I’m happy that Jon Scieszka is The Big Cheese of children’s lit right now, the first-ever children’s laureate. He’s saying some things about children and reading that need to be said. (He’s not a trend, but you know what I mean . . . it’s big news right now.) 

Gripe? "Gripe" is too strong a word for this, but here we go: The name "Piper" is popping up in children’s lit quite a bit right now. My daughter’s middle name is "Piper," and that’s what she wants to go by. "Piper" it is then. But, though I’m happy to see the name out-and-about, I wonder if it showing up here and there in children’s lit will make it show up more and then some more and then a bit more — and then she’ll be in school with ten other Pipers. Please. No. 

eisha
: Is there a new blog you can’t live without, one that’s come about since we started blogging? 

Jules
: It’s not new but . . . For the longest time, I assumed that Adrienne Furness at What Adrienne Thinks About That was this stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with, like, twelve kids. I don’t know why. I’m an idiot. I wasn’t reading her blog closely enough. Once I started, there was no going back. 

eisha
: What’s your favorite thing that we do at 7-Imp — your favorite feature, in other words, of all our features? 

Jules: I absolutely adore new illustrator-interview series. You can see where my allegiances primarily lie: Illustrators. Can’t get enough art. 

eisha
: How’d you get to be so awesome? * 

Jules
: ‘Cause I know, just like Daniel LaRusso does, that the secret to karate lies in the mind and heart. Not in the hands. My last name is Danielson, you know. That Daniel-san is a poseur. I AM the Karate Kid. 

eisha
: You asked about my author/illustrator crushes. Now you tell yours. 

Jules
: But if I did that, 7-Imp would have to find a new host. Heh. 

eisha
: What do you want to be doing ten years from now? Will you still be blogging then? Or in twenty years? 

Jules: I’d really like to teach children’s literature one day to teacher wannabes -– to talk to them about how to critically look at children’s books and how to use words other than just “cute” to describe them. But this would be after I get a doctorate in children’s lit one day, which I’d also like to do -– there will be LOTS of time then to read older titles. WOOT! Will I still be blogging in ten and twenty years? Only if you still do it with me. 

eisha: Do you ever wish you were just blogging alone and not co-blogging with your slacker friend who often suffers from writers block? (Oh, wait, you practically DO blog alone.) 

Jules
: No way, man. Isn’t it funny how we keep in better touch — now that we’re blogging together — than we ever did before? 7-Imp group hug! (No half-hugs with back-pats allowed.) Now: One of those professional-athlete fist handshake thingies (or the variation that includes twists and turns.) And signing off with the "hang loose" sign. * * * * * * * 

{* The how’d-you-get-to-be-so-awesome question came about after we asked it of Adam Rex, and his response made Jules laugh so hard for about fifteen minutes straight that she thought she might throw up. Consequently, it’s rather become a 7-Imp inside joke.}

Comments

  1. TadMack says:

    Ooh, Daniel-sen. I *KNEW* it was something like that which was the base of all the awesome!