I had the opportunity to interview Meredith from the blog The Librarian Next Door for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Her blog includes a lot of YA stuff, but is not totally YA. Basically Meredith writes about good books, regardless of if they are YA or not. Also, I love that she loves Ron Weasley more than a friend. He is vastly underrated in my opinion. Anyway, here are Meredith’s answers to some questions about blogging and YA stuff. My interview (we asked each other mostly the same questions) can be found on her site.
Nora: What would you say (or do you say) to people who might not understand the appeal of YA Lit for adults?
Meredith: I know not everyone will like YA books and that a lot of adults might shy away from reading them because they are specifically for teens or kids. But for me, I find myself drawn to these types of stories because I think YA authors and books (the good ones, anyway) do a really good job at capturing teens as they really are. I think adults sometimes underestimate teens and how they can be. I know that when I was a teen, I didn’t quite fit into anyone’s stereotypes. I felt awkward and out of place almost all the time. Good YA books capture this feeling and build a realistic story around it. I also like the escapism aspect. I like to feel like I’m getting a chance to live vicariously through someone else. Liz B, from the Tea Cozy blog, had a great quote about why she reads YA: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/teacozy/2010/08/12/team-mockingjay/ (the part I liked is towards the end of the second paragraph.)
Nora: What are good “gateway” YA books for doubters?
Meredith: I agree with you- I think there are a few books that have a wide appeal, like the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games. I also really like Madeleine L’Engle, John Green and Meg Cabot – they write great books that aren’t just YA. And classically, I consider Jane Austen YA because I read her for the first time in high school.
Nora: How did you get started blogging? Why did you decide to start a book blog?
Meredith: I actually explain this in my “About Me” section, but the short version is that an assignment for a graduate school social media class was to start a blog. I needed a topic I could write about weekly for the class and I realized I could write about books because I’m always reading. I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started. I just sort of jumped right in. Now, almost two years later, I think I’m finally starting to find my stride.
Nora: What book blogs do you read most frequently?
Meredith: I skim a lot of book blogs through my Google Reader: Persnickety Snark, Forever Young Adult, Amazon’s Omnivoracious, Galleysmith, The Book Smugglers, a handful of Jane Austen blogs, and Love YA Lit (of course!). I also read a lot of kid lit and YA lit blogs for work, since part of my job involves children’s literature, so Publisher’s Weekly and School Library Journal blogs. Things like that.
Nora: What are your passions / interests outside of reading and blogging?
Meredith: There’s life outside of reading? Who knew?! Actually, I still write a lot. I have a personal blog that I write (Ordinary Mer) which is sort just my random thoughts on whatever happens to be on my mind. I volunteer weekly at a local church in my town and I make disastrous attempts to play tennis.
Nora: If you could have dinner with any 5 characters (or authors) from literature, who would you choose?
Meredith: It’s completely random and eclectic, but here it goes:
- Shakespeare, because he just seems like he would be a good dinner guest.
- Ron Weasley, because he loves to eat.
- Samwise (Lord of the Rings), because he also loved to eat and because I also suspect he just needs a hug.
- Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables), because she and I could get into mischief.
- Zaphod Beeblebrox (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), because the dude has two heads!
Nora: Who is your super-secret YA character crush?
Meredith: My all-time crush is Mr. Darcy, of course, but I also really love Ron Weasley.
Nora: What do you like to read besides YA? Is there any genre you avoid like the plague?
Meredith: I like a lot of contemporary fiction and romance novels. Most people probably call that “chick lit.” I also like anything historical, especially if it has to do with the Tudors. I have an odd and strange obsession with the Tudors. I don’t really like most non-fiction and I irrationally dislike Nicholas Sparks, Dan Brown and Jonathan Franzen. But honestly, you could put a cereal box in front of me and I’d read it.
Nora: Anything else you want people to know?
Meredith: Just read! In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what you read as long as you’re reading something.
Nora: As someone who has been blogging for a while, have you learned any important lessons? Any good tips for those of us just starting?
Meredith: I have learned a lot and the most important thing, in my opinion, is to be yourself. There’s a lot of blogs that I love because they’re well written, smart and funny. And I think, “I want to be well-written, smart and funny too!” At the end of the day, though, it’s most important to be yourself. Just write what you really think. I think it’s more important to be honest than it is to try to be something you’re not. Oh and as far as I’m concerned, there is no “wrong way.”
Nora: Why did you decide not to be a librarian? Do you think you will ever change your mind?
Meredith: I don’t know that I decided not to be a librarian as much as I did decide to be something else. I had applied to a few graduate school programs. I couldn’t attend all of them, so I had to choose. I don’t regret the choice I made, but I do sometimes think about the road not taken. Part of me would love to go back to school and get my library science degree, but only if some rich sugar-daddy paid for it (or if I won the lottery). The other part of me likes that my reading and writing is something fun just for me. I’d hate for it to lose that sense of fun.