BBAW--my interview with Joanne, of Jo-Jo Loves to Read

Today's the second day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week--a day when participants are sharing interviews of their BBAW assigned partners! I was matched with Joanne, of Jo-Jo Loves to Read, and here's my interview with her:

1. What made you decide to start a book blog? How long have you been blogging? Do you have any advice you'd give new bloggers?

It will be two years next month since I first started my blog, and I think the original purpose for me was to find another outlet to discuss books that my book club wasn't showing an interest in. Advice I would give to new bloggers is don't let yourself become overwhelmed with review copies. It's ok to say NO! We started book blogs because we like to read so be sure to keep the enjoyment in one of your favorite leisure activities.

2. Has your blog's focus changed since you began? Or did you start with a clear idea in your mind of what sort of books you'd read, and stick with it?

Well, when I started my blog I wasn't really sure where I was going with it! But then I thought this would be a good way to expand into reading genre's that I don't usually read. After reading a couple of books that are not in my usual genre I decided that I'm just not going to do that any more. There are plenty of bloggers out there that read specific genres that I do not enjoy, so I'm going to stick with the one's that I like.

3. The book blogging world is pretty big these days (over 7000 book review blogs are tracked by Technorati), and there seem to me to be a number of clusters, or communities, within it. Do you have a sense of a particular blogging community that you are part of?

I guess I do feel that I am a part of a community that contains blogs that focus on literary fiction or an eclectic mix. Besides the few historical fiction blogs that I view, I really only regularly visit blogs that share a balanced assortment of reviews, such as memoirs, contemporary fiction, cultural fiction, or classics (just to name a few).

4. Has blogging changed your reading habits? Do you have more books on your tbr pile now, for instance? Has the number of books you read a week gone up? And where do you get the majority of the books you talk about?

Blogging has changed my reading habits in that I definitely read more. I think it also inspired me to start listening to audiobooks, which I am so thankful for discovering! I have the opportunity to read (or shall I say listen) to so many more books that I wouldn't have been able to in the past. Audiobooks also introduced me to the thriller/suspense genre, which I found I just love to listen to, but never really enjoyed reading before.

My TBR pile goes up almost every day-all it takes is a visit to a couple of blogs in the morning and I find a new book I HAVE to read! Before blogging I probably only read about 2 books a month, but now I can average about a book a week so my reading has definitely gone up.

I get my books from various sources. Publishers, authors, PR firms, and several come from requests through the Shelf Awareness newsletter. I have also received review copies through LibraryThing and Goodreads. I feel that I should give special mention to Hachette Book Group and TLC Tours because they are both so generous with their review copies and giveaways that they offer!

5. And, speaking of reading habits, have you had a chance to try out your new kindle yet? Do you like it?

With all of the review copies on my pile I haven't really had a chance to try out my Kindle yet and it's driving me nuts! I'm going to start getting my book club selections on my Kindle, but before the Kindle was given to me I already had most of the books for the next year that my group is reading. I do plan on reading our Christmas selection, Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah on the Kindle so I will be sure to let you know how it goes after I get to experience it fully. I might even buy the Good Husband of Zebra Drive (our November selection) on the Kindle and let one of the ladies buy my used copy. The little bit that I have been able to check out I can tell you has definitely floated my boat!

6. Where are your favorite places to read?

One of my very favorite places to read is on my deck in the summertime. With a glass of ice water, tea, coffee or wine on a sunny day I can just stay there all day! But since we live in Northern Wisconsin most of my reading is done in the recliner in the family room.

7. Do you ever write critical, or even negative reviews? Or do you see your reviews as primarily recommendations?

I think it's so important to be honest with the reviews that I write so I think I have written critical or even negative reviews. I do try to still find some positive within the book in this case and not be distasteful about it. Just because a certain book wasn't right for me, doesn't mean that the next person that reads my review would not enjoy it.

8. I see on your blog that you are a member of a pretty active book club. Did your involvement with the book club predate your blogging? Do you review on your blog the same books you talk about with your club?

Our book club first started meeting in September of 2004 so we are just starting our 7th year together! We have a great bunch of ladies and we always have a nice selection of books that we read throughout the year. Since I review all of the books that I read I do post reviews about them also. You can see our complete list of book club picks since our group began on my blog here.

We actually just finished a book that I didn't particularly care for and one of the ladies asked me if I was going to blog about it. And I told her it wouldn't be right if I didn't let other bloggers know what I honestly thought about this book.

9. I primarily read middle grade and YA fantasy and science fiction, and so I am rather clueless about good books for adults, reviewed by bloggers like yourself! What's a book you've loved this past year that I should read?

A couple of my favorite books from the last year were Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman and Labor Day by Joyce Maynard. I usually recommend books to people depending upon what they usually read and since you enjoy middle grade books these might be great for you! Both of these books have children as the main characters between the ages of 9 and 12 and they have such a good message and story. Oh sorry, I just noticed you asked for one and I gave you two!

Thanks so much for being my partner, Joanne! It was great meeting you! And in looking around all the new to me blogs taking part in BBAW, I've been seeing CeeCee cropping up all over the place--I'll definitely be looking for this myself now!

And if anyone wants to read more about me, Joanne asked some great questions....


  1. Great interview! Remembering to read what you like rather than what you think is expected is so important.

  2. I love BBAW because it provides an impetus for me to take the time to wander out of the kidlit community and browse other types of book blogs. I very much enjoyed your interview!

  3. Joanne-I agree! Labor Day was fantastic! Thanks for the interview, Charlotte. I'm familiar with Joanne's blog, but still learned a great deal about her!

  4. Great interview. She's new to me, and so I'm curious to check her out. (And I learned something: 7000 book blogs?? Wow.)

  5. Thanks for the interview Charlotte! I think it was especially fun getting to know you since we have different reading preferences.

  6. Meeting new bloggers is one of the nicest parts of BBAW!

  7. I'm also amazed by that fact, 7,000 book blogs! That means those of us participating in BBAW are just a tiny drop in the water!
    Nice to see both of you being part of BBAW.

  8. I've heard only good things about Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, so I guess it's time to read that one. Great interview!


Free Blog Counter

Button styles