I was recently interviewed by the lovely Bree at The Things We Read for her new feature – The Bloggers We Read – where she asks questions to get to know the person behind some of her favourite blogs! Here are my answers, please do check out Bree’s blog, which covers books and so much more.
Introducing….Cathy @ 746 Books
Today I welcome Cathy to the interview hotseat. She is relatively new to the blogging community having only been blogging a year but you would never know it based on her fan base and popularity already. I “met” Cathy during March Madness last year when we both topped our reading goals. She writes in-depth reviews on the books she is reading from her bookshelves. Stop by her blog to check out her book quest.
Why did you start blogging?
I had started a blog a few times before but never found the impetus to keep going. The blogs were vaguely about books, but didn’t feel focused enough to be effective. In an attempt to curb some spending I thought I would try not to buy anymore books until I’d read what I had, then I thought I would count what I had and when it came to 746, I realised I needed more drastic action and 746 Books was born! I hoped that the blog would keep me focused on my goal of reading more without buying more and I’m happy to say that it has!
Do people in your personal life know about your blog or is it your private spot?
A bit of both really. I have kept my blog quite quiet, although my family and a few friends know about it. I don’t think I’m confident enough yet with my writing to come out of my blogging closet and reveal that I don’t look a thing like Lauren Bacall! I have been posting more personal things lately though and I may well continue to do so this year, but I like having a separate FB page and Twitter profile so then I can concentrate solely on books! (Bree: I’m the same way. I like the separate life, like a secret identity. lol)
Do you have other blogs? If so, what are they?
746 Books keeps me busy enough as it is, so I just have the one. I do own a book that I inherited from my grandmother called ‘301 Things A Bright Girl Can Do’ and I would love to create a blog where I talk about doing each one of those things! Maybe if I get through the 746 quicker than anticipated I’ll start on that project! (Bree: Oh yes, please do. That idea sounds intriguing.)
What are some blogs (bookish or not) people should check out that you enjoy?
One of my favourite blogs is the fantastic Flavorwire which covers all things cultural. I’m also a regular reader of Go Fug Yourself and Tom and Lorenzo although these three sites are now so popular the term ‘blog’ doesn’t quite suffice. Other favourites include The Fluff is Raging, my co-host for Read Ireland Month and No More Workhorse, which focuses on arts and culture news from Dublin.
What do you do for a living? Anything book related that the rest of us can be jealous about?
My job is not directly book related but I run an Arts Centre in Northern Ireland where I organise a programme of theatre, music, visual arts and yes, the odd literary reading! I am very lucky in that I love my job and get to be surrounded by all things cultural all day!
Anything you would like to share about yourself, family, etc?
I have four year old twins called Harrison and Stella and we have a slightly unconventional set up as my husband stays at home to look after the kids. You would be surprised at how often, even nowadays, that this raises eyebrows, but we always knew we wanted one parent to be at home for them and this works for us. My husband is such a fantastic Dad, I am very blessed. (Bree: Yay for stay-at-home dads! There aren’t enough of them.)
What are your childhood reading memories?
My main memory is that there was a lot of it! I was an only child until I was 13 so I spent a lot of time reading. My father was a great reader and I owe my love of books to him. He had a built in wardrobe in his study that he had converted into a little mini library with bookshelves on three sides and as a child I would bring cushions, my favourite toys and my own book and go in, close the door, turn on the light and sit and read. It was my favourite spot in the whole house and I still remember the smell and feel of that little space.(Bree: sounds amazing)
What do you think of forcing students to read certain books especially the classics? Yes or No? Harmful or helpful to their reading life?
I don’t think forcing anyone to read anything is helpful, although I do think the classics should be taught. Classics are classics for a reason and can be misunderstood. Students wouldn’t just learn about modern art, or only recent advances in science, so I think literature should be viewed the same way.
What suggestions or advice do you have for new book bloggers?
I’m not sure I should be giving advice as I have only been blogging for a year but the one thing I would advise is to connect with other bloggers. Read blogs, comment on them and engage with other people. It is the most rewarding part of blogging and the surest way to grow your own audience.
What is your guilty secret pleasure?
Books wise, I don’t have any. I’ll read anything and everything. In fact, I rarely feel guilty, or keep a secret about anything I like, but I do blush a bit when I say I was a MASSIVE fan of the TV show Rock of Love with Brett Michaels. Trashy does not even begin to cover what this show was ☺ (Bree: everyone has something. lol)
Author: One? You want me to pick one?? Joyce Carol Oates. Or maybe Don DeLillo.
All time best book: One? You want me to pick one?? For purely sentimental reasons I choose Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Ask me again tomorrow and I will have changed my mind! (Bree: too funny!)
Blogging event/challenge: I’m gearing up to host Read Ireland Month in March this year, but my favourite challenge from last year was Cedar Station’s March Madness which made me read more that I thought was possible in one month! (me too! 🙂 )
Food: Medium rare steak, which is unusual given I was a vegetarian for 25 years.
Drink: Milk. When I was pregnant with the twins I had such a craving that I drank 4 litres a day.
Tea or Coffee Drinker: Coffee. Strong, black, no sugar. At regular intervals.
Dream vacation spot: The south coast of Crete. It is my favourite place in the world. Failing that? It’s hard to beat Donegal.
TV show: For drama? The Sopranos. For comedy? Party Down
Brad Pitt or Channing Tatum: Neither I’m afraid. I’m not a fan of a pretty boy (and I’m old enough to remember Pitt when he was just a pretty boy) (Bree: me too). I do have a soft spot for John Cusack though….
Summer or Winter: Winter, without a doubt. I am a pale Irish girl. Tights are my friend.
Many thanks to Bree for asking me to participate in her great new feature! Please do check out her blog.