Armchair BEA-- an interview with Emily, of Emily's Reading Room

Today is interview day at Armchair BEA, the next best thing to being in New York City, getting to meet each other in person. Today I'm honored to bring Emily of Emily's Reading Room to my blog!

Can you please tell my readers a little about your blog, and possibly a little about yourself? Does your non-blogging life have anything to do with books?

I have been a life-long reader. I learned to read before I was in Kindergarten and never stopped. I often got in trouble in school for hiding a book in my desk during Math and Science. I have very poor eyesight also due to the fact that I spent so much time reading at night under a blanket. Once I got to college my reading habits changed a little and I didn't have time for any other reading other than my required reading. But, once I finished college and got a job, I realized that I missed the escape that came from reading fiction. So, I got a library card and started reading again.

(me: that is exactly what happened with me too!)

My friends and family would ask me for book recommendations, and I found that I couldn't really remember a lot of the books that I had been reading. So, I started my blog in June 2009 as a way for me to remember what I had been reading, and also to give recommendations to my friends. But then I discovered that I loved the blogging community and got much more involved in that. We also have a wonderful community of book bloggers in Utah. I have met up with them several times, and I love it! My non-blogging life has very little to do with books. My full-time job is an office manager for a member of Congress. Now you see why I need the escape of fiction!

Truly you all are blessed to have such a great blogging community in Utah! I am envious--I live in spitting distance (a bit less than an hour) of Boston, but somehow it seems to far to travel there for book events. Also Utah looks lovely--some day I will go there, and meet bloggers and authors, and see mountains!

My next question--did becoming a blogger change your reading habits? For instance, do you pick books to read because they seem like they'd be fun to blog about? Have your reasons for blogging changed since you began?

Blogging has changed my reading habits immensely! When I started I had never heard of Advance Review Copies, and I had no clue about what new books were out. Now I know about all the newest and greatest books, and sometimes I even have a chance to read them before they come out. Getting review copies isn't a real motivator for me though, and most of my books I still get from the library.

Do you find yourself able to strike a nice balance between the life of work and home, and the life of books and blogging? If the sink were full of dirty dishes, and a new book came in the mail, which would you do first, read or wash?

I just had a baby girl in March of this year. (Me: Wow! Congratulations!) That really threw me for a loop at first. Because she's not going to wait for me to finish a chapter before I feed her. I'm fine with reading and book blogging taking a back seat to my family though. I wouldn't be able to do read and blog without the support of my husband, however. Together we tag team our chores and we both have time for our hobbies. (He does illustration and web/app design). I get most of my reading done in the evening after the baby goes to bed. (From about 7 pm to 10 pm)

I saw that a co-blogger is joining you--congratulations! Does it feel strange, to give up part of your blogging life to someone else? You say that your co-blogger is going to be bringing more contemporary fiction in, as opposed to your own tendency toward fantasy/science fiction... to quote your post about it: "This means that the reviews here are going to get a lot more diverse. Which is always a good thing." And I'm wondering if that plays out in your own blog reading habits-- do you, in fact, seek out blogs that have a tight focus, or do you like to be surprised by the books reviewed by your favorite bloggers....

Bringing on a co-blogger was really a natural transition. Julie is my neighbor (We actually live in different sections of the same house), and we both are advisers for a youth reading and writing group called the Literati. We discovered that we both love reading, but we have very different tastes in what we like. Julie also has the expertise of being an English teacher so she knows a lot about the mechanics of writing. As for my blog reading habits, I stay pretty focused on Young Adult book blogs. I like reading reviews of all types of books within that genre, even if they aren't science fiction/fantasy. But, some of my favorite blogs read a very wide variety of books. I have always envied their diverse reading taste.

Speaking of which, who are a couple of bloggers that are at the top of your reading list, who might not be getting the readers they should?

I'm going to plug our Utah Bloggers group. We have such a fantastic community of readers and writers here, and I love getting together with them. Some of my favorite blogs are Angie from Angieville (she has the best written reviews of any blogger I've ever read), Natasha Maw from Maw Books Blog (She has such diverse reading taste, I always find something new), and Suey from It's All About Books. A non-Utah blog I love is The Little Bookworm. Her reviews are great, and her blog design is so cute!

Those last two are new to me--thanks for the recommendations!

Emily is also a fan of science fiction/fantasy, and so it was especially fun for me to explore her blog! I noticed that she had just gotten The Demon's Lexicon...so of course I asked -- Did you like it? I just read The Demon's Covenant, and enjoyed it immensely! And while I'm at this level of specificity, have you read Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series yet?

I have not read The Demon's Lexicon yet. I just bought it last week, and it's on my list. Angie from Angieville recommended it very highly and I'm excited to get started on it in a week or two. I haven't read Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series yet either. I have it requested from the library though, and I'm on the list for it.

(both of us dislike the puffy lips in this incarnation of Nick...I strongly prefer the UK version, at right)

I read with great interest that Emily got to go to one of those exciting Utah-ian book events, so I asked--Did you have a great time meeting Shannon Hale and Mette Ivie Harrison a few weeks ago (is jealous)? Were there copies of Mette Ivie Harrison's new book (The Princess and the Snowbird)?

I had a wonderful time meeting some fantastically talented authors at the Children's Book Festival in Provo. Shannon Hale was so nice. She came out to do a signing even though she is pregnant with twins and feels pretty sick. She was so unbelievably nice. Even though there was a really long line, she spent a good 15 minutes talking to me about her books and tolerated my fan-girlness. I am so glad that I was finally able to meet her.

Mette Ivie Harrison was the same way. She asked me if I liked Princess and the Bear better than Princess in the Hound, and we discussed the different types of relationships found in Young Adult fiction. It's clear she is very educated and knows a lot about literature. And yes, I got a new copy of The Princess and the Snowbird signed. I haven't read it yet, but I can't wait to!
(you can see pictures at Emily's blog here!)

And lastly, have you ever been to BEA? Or one of the big ALA meetings, or a blogging conference? Would you like to?

I have not been to any of the big publishing or blogging conferences. I started blogging last year right as BEA ended, and I swore I would go the next year. But, this year funds were tight since I took some unpaid time off for maternity leave. So, I had my husband sign a paper saying that I could go in 2011. I did go to Life, The Universe and Everything which is a writing conference held at a university here in Utah. It has some really neat panels on science fiction and fantasy. That's where I first met Brandon Sanderson, who is awesome by the way!

Thank you so much, Emily! It was great getting to know you!

(and if anyone wants to know more about me, it was my great pleasure to be interviewed by Jennifer, aka The Introverted Reader).


  1. Great interview! I'm a fellow Utah blogger - we do have a great blogging community. Congrats on the baby girl!

  2. I am jealous that Emily got to meet Shannon Hale! And hats off to her for juggling the reading/blogging with home life AND a baby girl! It's just my husband and me and I find it hard to strike a good balance.

    Great interview, Charlotte!

  3. Terrific interview! I enjoyed meeting Emily and have been enjoying reading your blog, Charlotte.

  4. Fun interview! I've met Shannon Hale, too. She's as nice as Emily said. There do seem to be a lot of bloggers from Utah. :)

  5. Fun to meet you Emily and thanks for hosting it, Charlotte!

  6. Fun interview! Good questions, Charlotte. (And isn't Emily sweet?) (Oh, and I'm a wee bit jealous of the Utah Book Blogger community, since I've got no one out here with me...)

  7. Ah thanks for the plug Emily! And wonderful interview Charlotte. Good to meet you too. Much of my reading ends up being fantasy... I need to add more SF to the mix. This Demon's Lexicon series I'm seeing everywhere and I'm thinking I better add it to the list!

  8. Thanks for the awesome questions Charlotte! And you guys are all so nice!

  9. Very lovely interview! I love the Utah community too :)

  10. Thank you all for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed. And thanks again, Emily, for being a lovely interview-ee!

  11. Great interview. I would so love to meet Shannon Hale. I love reading too to escape from my job as an attorney.

  12. Congratulations to Emily on her new baby girl! I am so jealous that she has such a fantastic network of Utah bloggers. They set a shining example for the rest of us!

    Thank you for helping us to get to know Emily better!

  13. Congrats on Emily's baby girl! The fun is just beginning :-).

  14. Congratulations to Emily for her baby girl! This is a great interview and I'm going to add Emily's blog in my Google Reader. :) I have to agree that Angie of Angieville is one of my favorite book bloggers out there. And I'm so jealous that Emily got to meet Shannon Hale in person.

    Emily, you have to read Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series! :) I know that both Angie and Charlotte are fellow fans.

  15. You two.

    I love you two. Great interview and you really made me smile with your kind comments, Em. Now go read LEXICON! hehe


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