Photo reprinted with permission of the author.
I’ve always been involved in writing – I got my first job as an assistant at a small publishing company at age 16. I moved on to news, studying journalism in college and doing stints as a writer and editor at newspapers and magazines in Chicago and New York City. A few years after college, I got an editing job at Harpo Studios, where I worked until The Oprah Show ended. I’m now working as an entertainment content producer.
So much of my life has een involved in writing, editing, and reading. I see my blog as an extension of the work I've been doing, at least semi-professionally, for 11 years now.
How did your blog come about?
A little more than a year ago, I got married and found myself with a lot of free time now that wedding planning was over. It was a great time for me to do something fun and creative while I had the time.
It really wasn’t a struggle to think about what that creative outlet would be: My college professors always said “Write what you know,” and I think I know teen literature.
How do you pick what or who to read next?
Over the past year, I’ve worked to introduce myself to some of the publishers in the business, and sometimes they’re kind enough to send me advanced reading copies of their books. So, I feel some responsibility to get through them in a timely manner. The goal is for my review – good or bad – to go up around the time of the book’s publication.
But this is a hobby, and it’s meant to be fun, so reading what I want, when I want, always prevails. To be honest, a pretty cover helps move it up on my list, too!
If you had to pick one book to read, yes, just one, what would it be & why?
“Sloppy Firsts” by Megan McCafferty is my favorite book of all time. It was published 10 years ago, and it almost feels like the main character in the five-book series has grown with me from adolescence into adulthood. I actually reread it once a year and always get something new out of it. It’s full of humor and teenage angst and is the perfect blend of adult and young adult literature. It’s a good “gateway” series between the age groups, so to speak.
What has been the highlight experience of the blog so far?
Megan McCafferty recently sent me a signed original galley of “Sloppy Firsts.” I pretty much screamed. And every time a new review copy of a book comes to me in the mail from a publisher, I just want to hug it out of gratitude.
But I think the highlight has been building a community of readers. A lot of my friends read, but they’ve never felt the urge to talk books like I have. There’s an active online community of readers who want to talk books, intelligently and hilariously, which has stunned me.
Do libraries or librarians play a part at all in your reading and blog? If so, who?
Libraries play a huge role in my blog. The header reads: “I read. A lot. Mostly whatever young adult novels the library has on hold for me that week. Sometime grown-up books if my book club makes me.”
I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my reading habit and not use a library – I’d go broke. I have about five books on hold at the library at all times so I can just swing by and pick up my latest “loot.” I’m blessed to live in Chicago, a big city with a very active public library system.
Librarians have also been so supportive of me – some of my closest friends work in the field, and many are very active in the online young adult literature world. I deeply admire their dedication to literacy, imagination and education.
Anything else would you like readers (general public) to know about you or your blog
I’m proud of my readership – I find the diversity fascinating. It includes boys, girls, teens, adults, parents, teachers, librarians, you name it, from around the world. It’s so interesting to me that people from so many different walks of life can share the same reading interests – especially now that young adult literature is booming post-“Twilight.”
How should readers best contact you?
I love having an open and active discussion on my blog, so comments are always welcome. Plus, I’m pretty active on Twitter @annareadsbooks. I’m also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.