Book Blogger Appreciation Week--interview swap with Liviania of In Bed With Books

I signed up at something of the last minute for this year's BBAW Interview Swap...and ended up being very pleased indeed to have been paired with a blogger on my Reader list, who's also a frequent commentor here!

Liviania blogs at In Bed With Books, where she reviews widely and well, and she includes a generous enough amount of middle grade and YA sci fi/fantasy to keep me reading her blog eagerly.

Here are my questions, and Liviania's answers:

You've been blogging a long time-since the fall of 2008. What keeps you going, blog-wise? Has your approach to blogging changed over the years? I guess your blogging energy is going strong right now (215 posts this year!), but have you ever felt overwhelmed and tempted to quit?

I think what keeps me going is the joy of talking about books. When I read something I love, I want to shout about it to the rooftops. (I read all the interview questions first, so I'll hold back for a second on my hosannas.) And blogging helps me find more of those books. It's a win-win situation. And that gels with my approach, which is to have fun. Every once in a while I'll go through an analytic period, but having fun is always the first priority.

As for this year, I'm not sure what's up with that. I have a lot of time on my hands due to the whole unemployed situation, and I spend a lot of that spare time reading. I've mostly been more dedicated to reviewing more of the books that I read. I've never been tempted to quit, but I did have a long hiatus recently. Ending it was tough because I felt guilty about all the things I meant to write during that period that I never would write. But I eventually girded my loins and got back to it. I'm going on a long trip starting on the 15th, so my posting rate may start suffering once I run out of prescheduled weeks. We'll see.

Me: I once had a prescheduled day....I hope the trip goes well, and you don't run out of things to read!

Have you always been a reader? Are you a re-reader?

I was immediately voracious about reading, unsurprising since I come from a family of readers. I'm a big re-reader – I don't feel like I've truly read a book until I've gone over it at least five times and found all the nuances I missed the first time. Nowadays I have so much to read it is hard to get back to old favorites.

Me: Isn't it the truth! I used to re-read voraciously, and I do miss it....

Do you still have your favorite books from childhood (and what are they?)

My favorite books from childhood include WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams, the Animorphs series by K. A. Applegate, the Circle of Magic quartet by Tamora Pierce, SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD by Diane Duane, ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede, anything by John Peel, AFTERNOON OF THE ELVES by Janet Taylor Lisle, anything by Mary Downing Hahn (especially THE GENTLEMAN OUTLAW AND ME, ELI), the Chronicles of Pyrdain by Lloyd Alexander, KIDNAPPED by Robert Louis Stevenson, anything by Roald Dahl, and THE GIRL WITH THE SILVER EYES by Willo Davis Roberts. And a quick shout-out to three favorite books I first read in late childhood (age thirteen or so): THE CHINA GARDEN by Liz Berry, THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner, and MARTYN PIG by Kevin Brooks. I'm pretty sure that covers the important ones. (I am not stingy with my book love.)

Texas seems to have a really vibrant book community. Do you live close enough to the action to get to go to all the cool events I seem to be reading about constantly? Have you met lots of Texas authors and bloggers? And following from that, who's the one author you would most like to meet (for real conversation) in real life?

It really does. I'm lucky in that I have places I can stay in most of the major cities, meaning I can attend a wide range of events if I want. This will be the first year I'm unable to attend the Austin Teen Book Festival, which I'm pretty sad about. I have met lots of Texas authors and bloggers at those events, though only briefly. I don't always introduce myself as a blogger, because I get super shy when someone goes, "I've heard of In Bed With Books!" I assume there are other people out there who are the same and thus I've probably met them without meeting them.

As for who I would like to meet for real conversation, Sarah Rees Brennan currently tops the list. When I thought I was going to ATBF, I set up an interview with her, but I had to break that engagement. I think she'd be just as fun in person as she is online. If it could be any author living or dead, I'd like to spend time with Nathaniel Hawthorne. I have a thing for his prose.

I am terribly behind on my YA reading, since I mainly read middle grade these days. Are there any particular Must Read YA sci fi/fantasy books that you'd recommend?


EVERY DAY by David Levithan – This one isn't neatly science fiction or fantasy, but it's definitely in the speculative fiction wheelhouse. Every day A wakes up as a different person. It's a love story and an exploration of identity and Levithan's writing is more polished than ever.
THE GIRL WITH BORROWED WINGS by Rinsai Rossetti – Another pic that fits more under the spec fic title. Rossetti's prose is so polished and lovely that's it's hard to believe she wrote this novel at eighteen. It's girl meets boy-with-wings, lushly told.
UNSPOKEN by Sarah Rees Brennan – This one comes out today and I can't pimp it enough. It's a modernized Gothic filled with magic, danger, intrepid girl reporters. It's funny and saucy.
SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman – Hartman's debut brings traditional fantasy back. It's a bit slow for some readers, but I love her mix of politics and dragons.
THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater – Stiefvater takes myth from the British Isles, dumps it in the American sticks, and makes it work. This one is about a group of beautiful boys and a beautiful girl who are walking straight into disaster because they want. I'm still getting shivers over it.
INSIGNIA by S. J. Kincaid – ENDER'S GAME meets Red Dawn is my best description of this book. I feel like science fiction is having a bit of a resurgence in the YA market right now, and books like this are leading the way.
LOSERS IN SPACE by John Barnes – This one took a bit of time to get into, but paid off in spades. It's cynical and funny with at least one scene that's still sticking with me, emotionally, three months later.
A CONFUSION OF PRINCES by Garth Nix – Basically anything Nix writes is fantastic, and his latest is no exception. It's been growing on me since the first time I read it. Perfect for any space opera fans.

And, because I can't resist, I'm going to throw in a bonus middle grade book. I adored 13 HANGMEN by Art Corriveau. It's exactly the sort of book I read and loved in elementary and it still appealed to me.

Me: Thanks!!!! That should keep me going for a while....I want Unspoken in particular rather badly...

Reading your About Me section, I saw that you have years of ballet in your past. Do you seek out ballet books? Are there any you would recommend, or any that bothered you because of not getting details right? I enjoy ballet books lots myself, even though my own lessons were intermittent!

I don't really seek out any specific kinds of books. I'm a bit too enthusiastic about everything. But I do enjoy reading about ballet and I've had the good luck to come across novels that get it right. Some recent ones I'd recommend are THE CRANES DANCE by Meg Howrey, a darkly comedic adult novel about an injured ballerina, and AUDITION by Stasia Ward Kehoe, a YA novel in verse about a girl choosing between professional ballet and writing. And I still have all of my Noel Streatfeild's, including a copy of SKATING SHOES my mom bought from ebay when it was out of print.

Liviania spent some time studying at Oxford a while ago, and so my natural question is--Did you get much chance to go book shopping? Did you discover any new to you UK authors?
I went to all the bookshops I could find. Most of the books I bought were by authors I first heard of in the States. Some, like RJ Anderson's KNIFE (FAERY REBELS in the US), I bought because I preferred the UK cover. One of the few absolutely new-to-me authors I found was Sophie McKenzie. Her YA thrillers have won several awards but aren't available in the US. When I took advantage of a three-day weekend to go to Germany, Lenore (http://presentinglenore.blogspot.com) introduced me to Sarah Waters. Sadly, I had to leave several books I bought behind because there wasn't room for them in my luggage.

Me: Sad!

Thanks so much, Liviania, for being my blog interview partner!


  1. Wonderful interview!! I am learning so much about fellow bloggers!

    Happy BBAW!! Here is my BBAW: Interview Swap with Emma Cazabonne post.

  2. I feel sad not having time to reread too. And I love that list of SF/Fantasy recs, since there are a number on there I haven't read!

  3. Thanks for interviewing me Charlotte! You asked some interesting questions.

  4. In Bed with Books is such a great title for a blog! I still haven't read Watership Down. One of these days . . . Great interview!

  5. I'm so happy I introduced you to Sarah Waters. I am about to read the only book of hers I haven't yet read and that means she better publish another one soon!

    1. I guess I really should be trying her myself....

  6. What a lovely interview! You know I read both of your blogs religiously, and those recommendations for new sci-fi releases are CRUCIAL! I can see my TBR pile growing from here...

  7. Thanks all of you for stopping bye! and thanks again to Liviania for her great answers!

  8. Great interview! I adore reading about ballet so I will have to check out The Cranes Dance!


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