Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Page in the Life of Sandy from You've GOTTA Read This!

Welcome to another installment of A Page in the Life. It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you Sandy from You've GOTTA Read This! Sandy is one of my favorite bloggers, not to mention commenters. her comments are always so thoughtful, and whenever I stop by her blog, I know I will be welcome there. She has great taste in books and movies, and how could I ever resist a blog that features a cat in the header?

Please welcome Sandy to
Musings of a Bookish Kitty!

Literary Feline: Welcome, Sandy! I am excited to have you here today. I thought I would start off with an easy question: how do you like to start off your morning?

Sandy: Well, I’m usually the first one up each morning, which is usually around 5am. My one and only goal is to get to the computer! This gives me a good 45 minutes to an hour to read e-mails, do my blog socializing, work on a post, and do a little Facebooking before everyone starts to stir. Once the kids get up, I am making lunches, ensuring all appropriate things are in the backpacks (homework, projects, canned goods for donation, etc.), throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine, and sometimes reading to the kids while they eat their breakfasts.

Literary Feline: Besides reading and books, what are some of your other interests, hobbies or passions?

Sandy: I absolutely LOVE to cook. This has been a newly-acquired passion, since I quit working four and a half years ago. I never had time to bother with it before, but now I am able to experiment and try some exotic things. Unless the kids have a late activity after school, I will cook a meal each night. And what goes hand in hand with cooking? Wine! My husband and I are a couple of glasses short of being considered winos. If we are anywhere near California when we travel, we always make time for a quick stop in Napa/Sonoma. We have a couple of wine fridges, and we collect as well as drink. It doesn’t hurt that a very good friend of ours owns a wine shop! We also love to travel (sometimes with the kids, and sometimes not), and we like to play golf.

Literary Feline: How did you get started blogging about books?

Sandy: If you would have told me a year ago that I would have a book blog, I would have said “No. Way.” Too intimidating! I love to write, but am a little shy about it. However, my sister has had a movie blog for awhile, and I’d always been impressed and envious of her moxie. Via e-mail last October, I mentioned to her that I wanted to be a part of a book club, but there was nothing viable near me. Most of the book clubs that I am aware of spend most of their time gossiping and eating, and not near enough time on the book itself! I swear, I would rip my hair out! Anyway, my sister said, “Well, why not start your own book blog? It’s free. You read like a maniac and always have recommendations. What do you have to lose? I’d read your blog!” I sat there at my computer, chewing on that for awhile. I got butterflies in my stomach. But once I started thinking about it, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I launched myself into the project with an almost religious fervor.

Literary Feline: Has blogging impacted your reading? If so, how?

Sandy: Yes it actually has. Before I started blogging, I was much more relaxed about reading. I could never NOT be reading a book, but never felt any sense of urgency. Now I do, a little. I know this isn’t good! It’s not that I’m not enjoying the reading, but I’ve found that if I stumble on a book that takes longer to read, I get very twitchy. I guess because I am new at this, I worry that I need to keep the posts coming, and always have something fresh going on. I acknowledge I need to chill out! On the positive side, I am reading a way more diverse spectrum of books than I used to (see the next question!). I am also more aware of the different elements of a story and its characters, because I’m going to have to review it. Before I gave very little thought to writing styles, technique, character development, etc.

Another impact that blogging has had on my reading involves my kids. They are 11 and 9. My daughter, the 11 year old, has always been an avid reader. My son, not so much. He can’t sit still long enough. I had quit reading to them ages ago, back when they were able to read themselves. However, I recently started following Carrie’s blog (@ Books and Movies), and saw that we had kids the same age, and that she read to them all the time. This was like an epiphany for me. I started not only reading to my kids aloud, but also listening to audio books in the car. They absolutely love it. They even help me sometimes with the reviews. I can see that this has truly enriched their lives, and even lured my son back to books again. I’ve exposed them to some fabulous books and authors, and I think will be something that they look back on with fond memories.

Literary Feline: What types of books do you like to read? And do you blog about every book that you do read?

Sandy: Before I started blogging, I would get most of my recommended books from friends and Entertainment Weekly. For the most part, I read murder/mystery/thriller books, particularly series. I did stray off the path, but not much. About the time I started blogging, I had decided I needed to stop reading trashy paperbacks and start reading some “real” literature. Perfect timing! It is amazing how the wonderful blogging community has open my eyes to genres I’d never touched before. I read just about everything now, with some exceptions. I don’t think I’ve ever read a graphic novel. And very few short stories. I need to work on these genres. I may sign up for some reading challenges eventually that will push me in those directions. I do review everything I read, because I signed up for the Read and Review Challenge! Sometimes it is hard to keep up, but so far, so good…

Literary Feline: Do you have any reading routines, rituals or habits?

Sandy: I have a few, but my life is pretty crazy so I have to read when I can. I do love to take walks several times a week with my audio books. Sometimes I don’t want to stop walking, when I get to an exciting part of the story! I also will always be listening to an audio when I am cleaning the house or doing my yardwork. (I’ve fallen into the pool with my iPod on before, so I have to be careful!) This is a great way to forget that I’m doing a undesirable chore. And I almost always read before bed. Rarely does that last very long, but I try to keep my eyes open for as long as I can. If I get a moment to sit down, I have a reading/drinking chair…a big overstuffed thing that two people could fit into…in my living room, where I will curl up and read. This is also where I sit when my husband and I share a glass of wine and talk about our day.

Literary Feline: How do you pull yourself out of a reading or blogging slump or what steps do you take to avoid that from happening?

Sandy: This is a tough question. As far as reading slumps, the only ones I have is when it takes too long for me to get through a book. I get anxious. But I try pretty hard to alternate short books with long ones, WWII ones with lighter reads, just to make sure I don’t get burned out. If I stumble across a book that I don’t like, I’ll drop it and move on. I just did this actually, about a week ago. This does not happen all that often though. I put time into researching what I want to read, and will rarely just grab something without knowing what I’m getting into. As far as blogging slumps, I haven’t hit one of those yet. I’m too new I guess! I just can’t shut myself up…a problem I’ve had since I was young!

Literary Feline: Do you have any advice or tips for your fellow bloggers?

Sandy: Honestly, I don’t feel qualified to give advice. I need tips from everyone else! But if I must…I have found that the more social you are, visiting blogs and leaving comments, the more activity you will get in your own blog. People are innately curious, and will come check out this chatty person that won’t go away! It does take time, and I have trouble balancing my time away from the computer. I also try hard to respond to most comments that people leave on my blog. I’m not at the point yet where there are too many, so usually I can keep up. When you are a new blogger, try hard not to get your feelings hurt when it seems everyone else is getting awards. This I found very distressing at first. I felt left out and unloved, and when I got my first award I was over the moon. The awards will come with time.

Literary Feline: What are you reading right now? Do you have any book or author recommendations?

Sandy: I have four books going right now. I am very close to finishing “Before Women Had Wings” by Connie May Fowler. She is a favorite author of mine, a Floridian, who is the essence of the South, and an extremely talented writer. This particular book is very sad, about two girls growing up in an abusive household, but the book is still fabulous. I’m also in the middle of the Outlander Series (Diana Gabaldon) on audio, the current one being “Drums of Autumn”. This is a phenomenal series, but very lengthy. The current audio book is 39 discs, and I think the entire series is well over 200 discs. It is a commitment! The kids and I are reading the 39 Clues series in hard book, and we just finished an audio this morning called “The Kind of Friends We Used To Be”. Review forthcoming!

Literary Feline:
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Sandy. It's been a pleasure having you here.

Be sure to stop by and visit Sandy over at You've GOTTA Read This!


  1. Great questions! Sandy is one of my favourite bloggers, so it is always nice to find out a little bit more about her.

    I didn't realise she has an aversion to graphic novels - I'll have to do something about that!!lol!!

  2. Again, Wendy, thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about myself! haha You know, Jackie, I'm not sure if it an aversion to graphic novels, or what. My son has been reading the "Bone" series, and I just sit and stare at them. What is wrong with me?

  3. Where is it written that you have to like every genre? I don't read vampires or sci fi despite the fact that the rest of the world seems to find these subjects fascinating. I don't plan on reading them either. You probably won't be missing much if you never read a graphic novel. There are so many other books out there. Kudos to reviewing every book you read!
    Now every time I see your avatar, I will picture you with a wine glass in hand. Lol! Great interview.

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  5. Super interview and I loved learning more about Sandy, who writes one of my must-read blogs.

    Sandy: one day we'll have to share a glass of wine. Mine has to be white though.

  6. Beth - I am an equal opportunity wine lover. White will do just fine!

  7. Great to learn so much about Sandy! I am a lurker on her blog in the sense, I read her on my google reader. Everyday!

  8. I can really relate to Sandy. Sometimes it can be hard to come up with a post a day.

  9. Great interview, as always! I met Sandy through her comments right here, and added her blog to my Google Reader feeds not too long ago. It was nice to get to know her better.

  10. I love Sandy's blog and this was an excellent interview. Very insightful into Sandy's world of reading and life.

  11. Great interview! I was heretofore unaware of Sandy's presence in the book blogosphere, and I'm so excited to check her blog out. I loved the comment about getting twitchy when reading long books. Definitely a common side effect of book blogging!

  12. Great interview! Sandy is already one of my favorite bloggers so it was great getting to know more about her and I see we share one of the same passions other than reading which is cooking.

  13. I subscribe to both of your blogs! It's nice to see this interview where I get the best of both worlds!


  14. It's nice to hear that other bloggers feel the 'pressure' to get a book done. I find myself automatically dismissed books that are too long for fear it will take me so long to finish and I won't have any blog posts :)
    Great interview!

  15. Thanks for the intro!

    Oh my, I can't imagine listening to the Outlander series, reading it takes so long!

  16. Great interview, thanks, Wendy! I will definitely check out Sandy's blog.

    I especially enjoyed reading about Sandy's challenges with blogging - I love hearing how other bloggers deal with the challenges (that are far outweighed by the rewards, or else none of us would be doing it, right?)

  17. LOOOOOVE Sandy. She's the best! I may have to pick her up a bottle of wine when we visit Niagra on the Lake this summer - I hear it is the Canadian version of Napa. She provides me with such excellent book reviews it is the least I could do :0)

    Thanks for using your space to delve deeper into your fellow bloggers - such a nice feature. That's what the blog world should be all about.

    On a purely separate note - any idea why my network at work has suddenly decided to block your site? Do you think perhaps you are a sex kitten instead of a bookish one?!

  18. Interesting interview! I agree, if you comment they will come or something like that lol. The Outlander series is awesome hope Sandy enjoys it :)

  19. I am so grateful to Sandy's sister for pushing her to start blogging! Her blog has become a daily stop for me, and I enjoy the bookish conversations in her posts and comment section.

  20. It happens with me too, if a book tales unusually long to read I have to think about what to post :)
    It was nice knowing you Sandy.

  21. Great interview! I've been reading Sandy's blog for a while now, and it was nice to get to know her a little better.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  22. I really love Sandy's blog, hence all those awards I passed along to her recently.

    I can't believe Sandy fell into the pool with her iPod on! LOL

  23. love your questions--and this whole idea! i haven't yet 'met' sandy and am off to introduce myself!!! great interview--you're a natural.

  24. Sandy is a fave of mine too! Thanks for the great interview.

  25. Loved reading Sandy's interview! It's funny although she may be newer to the book blog scene I feel like I've known her forever. She's always so great with comments and book suggestions!

    Thanks Wendy for another great interview :)

  26. Great to meet a new-to-me blogger. I, too, start to get anxious when it takes me longer than anticipated to read a book. I think it's 'cause I keep seeing all the other books I want to read piling up!

  27. Sandy's terrific, and so is her blog! Thanks for the chance to get to know her a little better.

  28. Yikes! 5 AM. I use to have to get up at that time when I was working my way through college. Those days are long gone but I still have nightmares about it. I'm a night owl. LOL!

  29. Thank you Literary Feline for conduction this interview!!

    It's a great interview and it's really nice to learn new things about one of my favorite blogging friends.. Sandy is great and her blog is fabulous!!
    WOW the Outlander series on audio will take forever if I consider doing it.. it is a commitment so good luck!
    Please do say thanks to your wonderful sister for puching you to blog!!
    By the way since you love to cook, why not make a blog specific for your recipes :)

  30. Wendy,
    Again you hit a home run with this great feature on your blog!! I loved getting to know Sandy and to read about how she tries to juggle life, kids, family, cooking, reading, blogging and all of that good stuff!! Thanks to for introducing me to another great blog!!

  31. Thank you everyone for stopping by and commenting! I am so glad you all are enjoying this feature. I'm enjoying getting to know my fellow bloggers too. :-)

    Sandy - I enjoyed reading your answers. I can relate to so much of what you said. My reading is much less relaxed now then it was before I blogged, and I think that has been both a positive and a negative. I'm a much more careful reader now and it's enriched my reading experiences (and improved my writing skills). I do long for those old days though when I could read a book without all the fuss. And when I didn't feel rushed to finish a book because I "needed" to get to the next one.

    I think it's so neat that your children get involved with your blog. I'm sure your enthusiasm for reading and blogging has played a part in that. :-)

    Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions!

  32. Hi Wendy! Those are great questions and I like reading Sandy's answers.

    Hi Sandy! This is a great post and I really enjoy reading about your activities.

  33. Great questions and great answers! It was fun to get to know Sandy a bit more.

  34. I just love reading your interviews with fellow bookbloggers, Wendy! I felt I've known them much better after reading their answers. :)

    Sandy is one of my favourite bloggers. She's friendly and has a great sense of humor!


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