I signed up for the interview swap for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I was matched up with another Jennifer (what are the chances??) who blogs at Rundpinne.
Tell me a little about yourself and your blog.
I am rather unexciting and try to speak as little as possible about my life and that of my family. The most exciting thing about me is that I lived for a while in the former USSR. I have been married for almost 20 years; I have 3 boys (18, 16 and 16), and an extremely pampered cat who believes she owns me. My one addiction is organic fair-trade coffee, which I buy in bulk, as I am a coffee snob. I could give a toss about fashion and detest wearing make-up, yet I must have a specific brand of coffee made in my French Press in a precise manner.
As for my blog, it began many years ago as a knitting blog, then turned more into a family blog until I realized I did not enjoy writing about my private life and sharing it with the world. At which point I was going to give up blogging when it dawned on me to follow my passion and blog about books!
While most would not associate a blog titled Rundpinne as a book review blog, it was the name I began with and it has grown on me over the years. One thing I do not care for in blogging is drama. I do not participate in it and I do not blog about it.
Have you always enjoyed reading or is it something that came later in life?
I quite literally cannot recall a time when I was not reading.
Does your family enjoy reading?
Yes! My boys all read early like me and have maintained their fondness for books. My husband reads mainly scientific and technical writing, allowing very him little time for leisure reading.
How do you fit reading in?
I read during the day while the house is empty. I work my household chores around reading and since it is rare to find the television on in my home, I can be found reading into the early hours of the morning. I do not read when my guys are home, unless they are doing their homework as family comes first.
Without thinking what is your favorite book?
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy! My first copy was in English; eventually I read it in Russian (which does make a difference!) and then several other languages. My Russian Literature books are the only books I have in multiple editions.
What is the first book that really took your breath away?
I was an early reader and so my skills at reading exceeded my age. The first book that truly made me marvel at life and all there was to learn in the world was The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I was young when I first read it, then I re-read them as I grew older and more mature and after living in the former USSR read them again in Russian.
What are a couple of books that you've enjoyed that show the diversity of your reading preferences?
This is a very tricky question. In The First Circle (Unabridged version, linked to my review) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne (I am a huge Milne fan and still have my first Milne book from when I was a child), two books that could not be more different, yet I enjoyed both, not in the same manner, yet they will always be a part of me.
What do you look for in a book review? What do you not like to see in a book review?
Each reviewer has their own style and I enjoy the many different styles of reviews. Imagine how boring it would be to read reviews that were all written in the same manner. The only thing I would not want to see is plagiarized work; otherwise anything works if the reviewer is being honest about their feelings and not bad mouthing a writer.
Do you rate books when you review them? If so how do you decide the rating?
I do indeed rate books based on the writing, style, and how well it captured my attention. It would be extremely odd to find one ranked below a 3 on my site mainly because I am fairly choosey about what I accept. True some books turn out to be not my genre, those are usually given a 3, which on my blog simply means it was not for me.
Point us to a couple of your favorite reviews (that you wrote):
The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller
An Unfinished Score by Elise Blackwell
Thanks, Jennifer, for an interesting interview! Check out her interview of ME at her blog.