I am thrilled, ecstatic even, to have Molly from My Cozy Book Nook here at Musings of a Bookish Kitty today. She's one of my blogging idols and I think she might become one of yours too after you hang around her blog long enough.
She was kind enough to answer a few of questions for me. I hope you will join me in welcoming Molly to Musings of a Bookish Kitty.
Literary Feline: Let's kick your visit off with an old favorite of mine: how do you like to start off your morning?
Molly: Typically I get up around 5:15 (the alarm goes off at 5:00 - but I hit snooze a couple of times). I immediately pour myself a cup of coffee, let out the dogs, read email, and then catch up on blogs. If it is a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday - then I start my devotions and write a few pages in my journal around 6:00 before getting ready for school. I leave the house around 7:15 and get home around 5:15. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I work from home, so the morning routine stays the same, but has a bit more flexibility.
Literary Feline: That snooze button sure comes in handy, doesn't it? I think I have been using it a little too often these days . . . But you don't want to hear about that! Trust me.
I am always interested to know what motivates a person to start blogging, especially about books. How did you get started blogging about books?
Molly: I guess I first heard of blogs about 3 or 4 years ago. I was very interested in the concept of an online journal, but I had no idea what I would write about. In October of 2008 I somehow landed on my first book blog - I believe it was the Pulitzer Prize book blog and I was fascinated by the concept that someone would read their way through these award winning books and then blog about the experience. It was shortly after that I happened upon Becky's Review blog and J. Kaye's blog and that was the beginning of the obsession. I began following links to other blogs and was addicted to reading them, but still not sure whether I could actually write on myself. Finally I discovered memes and figured that they could help me generate post ideas. So...on December 9, 2008, I wrote my first post and it has been a wonderful journey every since.
Literary Feline: I have enjoyed being on that journey with you! I was really surprised at just how much blogging has affected my reading. What about for you? Has blogging impacted your reading? If so, how?
Molly: OH MY...the easier question would be how has it not impacted my reading :) First of all, I purchased more books in 2009 than I believe I had purchased in the 5 years prior to the book blog. Now, a part of that is due to my season in life (my kids are nearly grown - I teach English so I am always looking for books in the classroom) - but by and large, the books purchased were recommended from fellow bloggers whose reviews I trust. I have also broadened my scope of reading. I am still not a graphic novel convert - but I continue to try them as a direct result of blogger recommendations. I have persevered with audio books and have finally discovered a way for me to enjoy this literary format. I use my library far more now for personal reading than I have done since I was a child (I have always used it for academic reading for school - but usually reserved personal reading for books I purchased at the bookstore). I read MUCH more closely now than I ever have before (or at least personal reading) because I now read with the review in mind. I am mindful of quotes that I want to use - themes that have been developed, etc. I am sure there are many other ways that blogging has impacted my reading - but this will suffice for now :)
Literary Feline: When you first began My Cozy Book Nook, you mentioned that you were partial to British authors during the mid-19th century but that you wanted to broaden your reading horizons. You have certainly done that from what I can tell from reading of your blog. Where do you hope your reading will take you this year?
Molly: Well, in my personal reading, this year seems to be going in several directions. I am always interested in mystery/thrillers - and new released in the literary fiction genre - but this year I am also focusing on fantasy fiction - a genre that I have always shied away from. I am listening to Harry Potter on audio CD - and my students have just turned me on to the Percy Jackson series. I am also pursuing an interest in writing - so I am currently reading several non-fiction books that deal with the writing life, as well as the craft of writing. I will soon have to start reading for my summer school class, which, if all goes as planned, I will be studying in Oxford and I will have numerous books of the 19th century - both British and American. C. B. James is nudging me towards watching film adaptations of books with his Read the Book, See the Movie Challenge - and I hope to do more of that throughout the year.
Literary Feline: Studying in Oxford would be such a great experience! I do hope it will work out for you. Imagine the stories you will have to share with us!
If it was not for my decision to severely limit my reading challenge participating this year, I would have jumped at the chance to sign up for C.B. James' challenge. I enjoy watching movies almost as much as I love to read. And I am a sucker for seeing a movie based on a book I have read.
Speaking of challenges, last year you hosted your first challenge, the Summer Vacation Reading Challenge. How did you find that experience? Do you think you will host the challenge again this year? Do you have any advice for other bloggers who might want to host a challenge?
Molly: Hmmm....I don't think I was a very good hostess :( I loved the concept - and I was so pleasantly surprised how many took part in my humble vacation challenge, but I did not consider that I would be going to summer school for half the challenge time. I was not very responsive to those who joined - and I did not comment on their reviews as much as I would like to have done. I would definitely like to host another challenge sometime - but I will probably wait until after my Master's is completed (God willing, summer of 2012).
Literary Feline: I imagine running a challenge can be very time consuming. I give you a lot of credit for hosting one. I have always had a great admiration for those in the teaching profession. I consider it to be one of the most important jobs in the world. I will always be grateful to the teachers who introduced me to and encouraged me to read so many great books. What has been one of the highlights for you as an English teacher, helping instill the love of reading in your students?
Molly: I love when the lightbulb goes on. When they suddenly realize that they can find insight and analyze literature on their own. I would say the biggest highlight was last Friday when I experimented with the ball of yarn. Students downplayed that aspect when we discussed it in class on Monday, but the truth of the matter was -- IT WORKED. My 7th grade students are very anxious to try it and I think it is well suited to that grade level. I also love when students come to me and suggest a book. It is thrilling to know that some students still enjoy reading outside the classroom, and I am thrilled to connect with them in that way.
Literary Feline: It is innovative lessons like that which lead to a love for reading, I am sure. Besides reading and books, what are some of your other interests, hobbies or passions?
Molly: Well, I don't have much time for anything else nowadays with teaching, going to summer school, and maintaining a blog :) --- but other interests that I would love to continue to pursue once life settles down is scrapbooking (I was a Creative Memories instructor for 10 years and am totally convinced that the experienced prepared me to teach in the classroom); making stamped cards; and travel (I really want to travel to England, France and Italy for extended periods of time). I would also like to learn photography sometime --- not to be a professional, but to learn how to take a "decent" photo and then enhance it using PhotoShop. In addition, I would like to take some art appreciation courses to learn how to analyze a beautiful painting - and I would like to continue my pursuit of writing. It goes without saying that my primary passion in life are my DOGS :)
Literary Feline: I am right there with you! My dog and cats are my passion too. I especially love it when they cuddle up to me while I am reading--just one of our little reading routines. Do you have any reading routines, rituals or habits?
Molly: Since my nook has been established, I much prefer to spent quality time there than anywhere else. I have a difficult time with balance - and it is very easy for me to get tunnel vision with regards to school. I am trying to make myself spend at least one hour a day reading something for me - not for class. I enjoy reading with a nice glass of chardonnay - or a hot cup of tea. Other than that, I have no real routine. If I could - I would read 18 hours out of 24 :)
Literary Feline: Making time to read for yourself an hour a day sounds like a reasonable plan, especially given how busy you are. I can see how it would be hard to fit leisure reading in. Too read all day . . . Now that would be pure pleasure, wouldn't it? On the flip side, how do you pull yourself out of a reading or blogging slump or what steps do you take to avoid that from happening?
Molly: Hmmm....not sure I know how to prevent that from happening. I never tire of reading other blogs - and truthfully, that is probably the "secret" to draw me out of a slump. At this point I do think I have enough variety of books lying around, that I rarely find myself in a reading slump anymore. Now..I may not feel like reading fiction for a while, but if I read a bit of non-fiction, that will do until I find a book that I know I absolutely must read (which is of course, thanks to blog recommendations). Blog slumps are a bit more difficult. I either experience a slump because I am feeling depressed (and therefore think - what do others care what I have to say) OR because I am so busy with life that I don't have time. Memes are nice to help fill the latter issue. Usually memes can be answered rather quickly - and still make me feel like I am part of the community. I tend to procrastinate with reviews. I put too much pressure on myself. I want my review to be "perfect" - that is, to perfectly represent what I felt about the book. I oftentimes become paralyzed how to write such a review (case in point - I finished Alice I Have Been over a week ago but still haven't written the review). I don't know how to overcome that. Just Do It - as Nike says.
Literary Feline: I tend to put too much pressure on myself when it comes to review writing too and then have trouble starting. I think that's good advice, Just do it.
Now to put you on the spot (you have 20 seconds to answer each of these questions--I've got my stop watch ready!):
Book you'd most like to be trapped with in a broken elevator for several hours: anything by Dickens - it is long enough to outlast any elevator mishap, and the writing is unsurpassed.
It's storming outside, you're alone in the house, and the electricity has gone out; what book do you pick up to pass the time? Well, NOT a thriller as my imagine would get the better of me! Truthfully, it would probably be some kind of character driven novel that involves close relationships. And...now that I think about it....one of those characters would be a loyal, faithful dog :)
The storm has passed and it's a beautiful day outside. The temperature is just right. Will you read outside or inside? I am really not an outdoors gal (I wish I were, but bugs just ....well....bug me). NOW, if I lived at the beach, I would be outside in a heartbeat.
You're picnicking by the lake and have an hour to yourself while the family is off exploring. What book did you bring with you to read? This is where I would bring my mystery/thriller. One that I would not have to concentrate too hard (bugs, you know) --- but that would hold my interest and I could read rather quickly.
Name one book I absolutely must read at some point in my life: the Russians. I am not sure whether it would be Anna Karenina, or Crime and Punishment -- but one of those.
Thank you, Molly, for being my guest today! I hope all of you who are visiting will stop by My Cozy Book Nook and check out Molly's blog.
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