Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BBAW: "Meeting" the Mystery Woman Behind Pretty Books


One of my favorite parts of the wonderful annual event that is Book Blogger Appreciation Week has always been the blogger interview swap.  It's just fun to get to know the people behind the blogs I read, you know?  I've never participated in the swap before, but I thought it would be fun to join in this year.  Plus, I love that the focus of BBAW is no longer on awards—now, it really is just about celebrating the amazing book blogging community and I wanted to show my support for BBAW's re-focused mission.

I'm so glad I participated because I got to "meet" Stacey, an awesome reviewer who blogs from her home in London, England.  Not only does she post reviews on her blog, Pretty Books, but she also showcases photos of books and other fun things in her life on tumblr.  Through exploring her blog, I discovered that we share many of the same favorite books/authors.  Now that her blog is bookmarked on my Reader, I can check it often.  Yay!

Stacey asked me lots of thoughtful questions.  Mine for her weren't nearly as interesting, but she indulged me anyway:

Me:  You don't share a lot of personal information on your blog.  Can you tell us all a little about the mystery woman behind Pretty Books?
Stacey:  For someone who runs a blog, I'm actually quite a private person online! I think it's because I've been using the internet for about 11-12 years — since I was 11 — and I'm wary about what personal information I put online. But I'm a 23-year old-living in London (although I was born in what Londoners would call the countryside!) and I have lived here most of my life. I'm currently working in book publishing as a sales and marketing assistant, yet I'm one of the unusual bunch who didn't study English at university, but Sociology. I am deathly afraid of ladybirds (or should I say, ladybugs) but a huge fan of Taylor Swift.  

Me:  Besides the book reviews you do at Pretty Books, you also have a tumbler site where you post pictures of books.  How did you get into photography?  Besides books, what other subjects do you enjoy taking pictures of?
Stacey:  When I first joined Tumblr, I really didn't know what it was for, but then I came across wonderful food blogs with photos of amazing desserts, all things chocolate, and then eventually I started following book blogs. It just looked like so much fun and so very 'me'. So one night, I created prettybooks and posted a few photos of my favourite 'pretty' books and bookshelves. I never thought that that over 2 ½ years later I'd still be running it. I actually do not take the majority of photographs on my blog - they're submitted by followers, reblogged, or are wonderful bookish things I find on the internet. I take photos with my iPhone — I don't own a camera — but they're either photos for the blog or random photos I send to my friends, like of what I'm eating (yes, I'm one of those people!).

Me:  We have a lot of favorite books (The Chaos Walking series, UNWIND, THE BOOK THIEF, HP, etc.) and authors (J.K. Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Neal Shusterman, Patrick Ness, etc.) in common.  Since you obviously have *impeccable* taste, I'd love to know which new authors you've discovered in recent years.  Who would you recommend to a fellow Rowling/Picoult/Shusterman/Ness fan?
Stacey:  For fellow dystopia fans, I'd suggest Pure by Julianna Baggott, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and Divergent by Veronica Roth. For fans of The Book Thief I HAVE to suggest Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - it's one of the most memorable books I've ever read. The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock is also a recent favourite and is set during the German occupation of Guernsey. I think A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is also still a lot less known than Chaos Walking and it shouldn't be because it's such a beautiful book. Sister by Rosamund Lupton is one of those 'crime for people who don't like crime'-type books and I think Picoult fans will really enjoy it! Also her second novel, Afterwards. 

Me:  With the Olympics being in London this year, a lot of Americans (and probably others throughout the world) have re-discovered their love for all things English.  What are the Top 3 things (gold, silver and bronze) that make you proud to be a Brit?  
Stacey:  I'm lucky enough to live close to the Olympic stadium (and I got to watch the hockey!) and I absolutely love that the opening ceremony was so British, and so perfect, and I'm glad everyone around the world has enjoyed London 2012 too!

Gold: I hope this isn't too political but I'm constantly appreciate of the National Health Service (NHS). Good health isn't a privilege, it's a right!

Silver: I love how we love to complain about everything in Britain (the weather in particular!), but when anyone else steps in we become incredibly protective and patriotic. 

Bronze: I love how in every situation, queuing is held as the one social norms and must never be broken (or we'll start tutting). It's a quirky habit we can't seem to shake. 

I also didn't mention this because it's rather typical, but I love how we truly celebrate books, reading, and literacy, so much that it was featured in the two opening ceremonies. We started World Book Night (where 1 million books are given away) and we have Harry Potter, Charles Dickens and Roald Dahl postage stamps! 

Me:  In the introduction to your blog, you admit to being an unabashed book sniffer (I am, too!).  What are your other favorite smells?
Stacey:  Ah, there's so many! Coffee, fresh bread, bacon frying, fresh autumn air. I also love the smell of candles burning on a birthday cake. 

Me:  You mentioned that you'd love to have your own library someday.  What would it look like?  What books would you absolutely HAVE TO HAVE in order for your library to be complete?
Stacey:  I'd really just love a cosy personal library with bookshelves on three walls, and maybe a big comfy chair or cosy nook. I love for it to have a secret door so no one else would know it was there! I'd be happy surrounded by all my favourite books. 

Isn't Stacey great?  I had a good time getting to know her a little bit and I hope you will, too.  You'll love her reviews—they're thoughtful and smart—as well as her beautiful book stack photos.  Pretty Books is an excellent blog, one I'll definitely be keeping my eye on :)

If you want to see her interview with me, click here.

12 comments:

  1. Fabulous interview! I love the list of book-alikes. Not only do we meet new bloggers, but also new books :)

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    1. Stacey really does have fabulous taste in books, doesn't she? I picked up SISTER by Rosamund Lupton at the library yesterday on her recommendation. I can't wait to read it!

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    2. Hooray! I *really* hope you like it... I'll be checking back ;)

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  2. Thank you so much for interviewing me, Susan! It was super fun.

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    1. It was lots of fun, Stacey. I'm glad I found your blog :)

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  3. Okay, "booksniffers" are true bibliophiles. I, too, am a booksniffer. The two of you did a great job of swapping interviews. I've bookmarked both blogs for future readings. Thanks!

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    1. I know, right? That book smell is something you can only get from reading "real" books. Unless someone can come up with an app that releases it from an e-reader ...

      Glad you've bookmarked both me and Stacey. It's always nice to make new blogging friends!

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  4. Fun interview! Everytime I read about bloggers that are private I wonder if I'm way too open about myself.

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    1. YOU? Too open?! Ha. One of the things I like best about you is your opinionated, tell-it-like-it-is personality. I would hate for you to rein that in!

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  5. What great questions! I especially loved the Gold, Silver and Bronze questions and answers. They really gave it some distinct personality from where Stacey is from.

    Whiff...I smell a book calling me. LOVE that smell.

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    1. I'm glad you liked the Olympic tie-in. I thought it might be a little hokey, but I thought Stacey's answers were interesting and gave some good insight on what it's like to be English. Someday I'm going to hop across the pond and see what it's like for myself. Someday ...

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    2. Yes, great question, Susan!

      Thanks guys! I was wondering whether the answers were interesting enough because they weren't as quirky as they could be xD

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