Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interview with Alyce of At Home with Books

As part of BBAW, I signed up to interview a follow blogger. I was matched up with Alyce with At Home With Books.  She has an interview with me today so make sure you check that out. But here's my interview with her.

Linda: Since I've never had the pleasure of reading your blog til now, tell me a little bit about yourself?
Alyce: I am a stay at home mom of two boys.  My oldest son is eight years old, and my youngest is five.  I play the flute in a community concert band and teach flute lessons to a couple of girls who live on my street.  I like to play golf, but am sorely in need of practice.
When I was ten years old I entered a reading contest in school. I read constantly for weeks, trying to raise my book total so that I would win the grand prize.  I lost the contest.  I still remember the name of the girl who won, and the disappointment that I felt when I lost.  Thankfully the disappointment faded quickly, and in its place was a love of reading that has endured through the years.
I don’t watch very much television, but my favorite shows are: The West Wing, The Gilmore Girls, The Biggest Loser and Secret Life of the American Teenager.  I watch a lot of them on DVD, and am still wishing that there were more new episodes of The West Wing and The Gilmore Girls.

Linda: You seem to read books from multiple genres. How do you choose what books to read?
Alyce: I do enjoy books from a lot of different genres. I like: general fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, young adult fiction, memoirs, biographies, graphic novels and general nonfiction.
I really like to read almost anything as long as the writing is good.  Usually I choose books based on recommendations from other book blogs, friends, or Amazon.com. Sometimes I will pick something up on impulse at the book store or library if I really like the cover and the description on the back cover is appealing.

Linda: What types of books do you avoid if any?
Alyce: I have an aversion to books with supernatural elements (especially things like zombies and vampires) or books with physical abuse.

Linda: It looks like we are both doing the Fill In the Gaps Challenge. I've finished 5 so far and I've been participating since the end of June. How are you doing?
Alyce: I joined the Fill in the Gaps Challenge in April and I have read fifteen so far.  I am in the process of reading two more right now.  I am about halfway through The Oxford Project by Peter Feldstein and Stephen G. Bloom.  It’s a hard book to classify, but I would describe it as a coffee table/social anthropology book.  It contains photos of everyone who lived in Oxford Iowa in 1984, and then updated information and photos of each person twenty years later.
The other book I am working on right now for the Filling in the Gaps Challenge is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I try to read a chapter every time I exercise on my stationary bike.  I have been reading it for a few months now if that gives you any indication of how often I ride my exercise bike.  I am reading it on a first generation Kindle that my husband borrowed from work, and that has been a fun experience.  After working out last week I figured I had to be close to the end of the book (it sure feels like I’ve been working out forever) so I cracked open my paperback version to see how much further I have to go.  I was shocked to discover that I am only about a third of the way through the book.  

Linda: And speaking of the FitGC, how hard was it to put together that list?
Alyce: Putting together my Filling in the Gaps Challenge list was something I enjoyed very much.  I was a little overwhelmed at first, but I was able to find about fifty books on my shelves that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time to start off the list.  Then I took a look at the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list and was able to easily fill out my challenge list from there.  I ended up adding a lot of classic literature titles and science fiction classics.

Linda: What blogger or reviewer gets the most blame for your book choices (ie who's recommendations wind up on your tbr list the most)?
Alyce: This is probably the hardest question for me to answer.  I counted my book blog feeds about a month ago and found that I had almost four hundred book blogs in my feed reader.  I generally will chose to read a book if I have read several good reviews of it on different blogs.
On my wish list I keep track of where I discovered each book, and out of the past fifty books on the list there were thirty-two different blogs listed.  Now you can see the difficulty I face – how do I choose just one out of those thirty-two?
However, for the sake of answering your question, the two that statistically showed up the most on my wish list were: Find Your Next Book Here and Age 30+ . . . A Lifetime in Books.

Linda: What book do you love that other people seem to dislike?
Timeline by Michael Crichton.  I love books involving time travel, but I know that a lot of people thought that this book didn’t live up to the quality of his other writing.

Linda: What book did you dislike that others love?  
Alyce: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  It wasn’t so bad after I finally finished the book, but I tried and failed to read this book over and over again for years because it is so dry and slow-moving.

Linda: Your favorite book is going to be made into a movie. What book is it? And who do you cast as the leads? If your favorite book has been made into a movie, recast it.
Alyce: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is actually supposed to be made into a movie soon.  I am terrible at casting for movies, in part because I’m not familiar with who a lot of movie stars are. For the role of Jamie I would chose someone who looks like Glen Hansard.  For the role of Claire I am at a loss.  I have a picture of her in my head that doesn’t match any actresses that I know of.  If forced to pick I would choose Keira Knightley.  In the rolls of Frank/Jack Randall I would cast a young Alan Rickman (if only time travel were possible).

Linda: Do you prefer to read one book at a time or are you a multiple book reader?
Alyce: I like to read multiple books at once, that way if my mood changes I always have something to read.

Linda: Favorite reading snack if any?
Alyce: Chocolate with a cup of coffee.

Linda: Favorite place to read? Picture if you can!
Alyce:  I normally read on the futon in our living room.  An absolute luxury would be to read in bed, but that only happens if I have someone else at home to watch the kids, and nothing that needs to be done.  That doesn’t happen very often.

Linda: Other hobbies besides reading?
Alyce: I play the flute and sometimes the piccolo.  At times I crochet, but my attempts are very amateurish.  I used to do scrapbooking, but just haven’t found the time for it.  I like to golf but am out of practice.  

Linda: Any advice for someone who would start a book blog?

1.    Find what you like to write about and focus your blog on that.  Above all else you want to enjoy what you are doing.  Once you have figured out what you are passionate about then settle down to work.
2.    Use the spell check and preview your post every time before you hit the publish button.  I’ve forgotten to do this before and ended up with embarrassing errors.
3.    Get to know other bloggers.  Visit other book blogs and comment.  Find out where the bloggers that you admire are hanging out (like twitter) and then go and strike up a conversation with them. 
4.    Join in on book blogging events, memes and challenges in order to let people know that you are out there.
5.    Host a giveaway.  Giveaways can draw a lot of new traffic to your site, just don’t forget to advertise your giveaways so that people know about them (on places like West of Mars – Win a Book!).
6.    Have fun!


  1. I'm a huge Alyce fan so I came over to check out her interview ... plus I wanted to check out your blog because of her interview with you on her blog. (Boy, that is confusing!) We seems to like a lot of the same books. This was a wonderful interview -- and I learned more about Alyce than I knew before. And finding out my blog is responsible for adding lots of books to her wish list made me happy -- and also put the pressure on me! I hope she likes whatever she reads!

  2. Wow, you’re blog is GORGEOUS! I see that Alyce blames me for most of her TBR list – to be fair, I blame her for most of mine. :) And I won’t hold it against her that she doesn’t like A TALE OF TWO CITIES.

    But I think my favorite part of the interview is her suggestion to use spell check and preview your blog posts before publishing – THANK YOU!!!

  3. or course, I made my comment above about using spell check and proceeded to spell "your" incorrectly - typical! :)

  4. Alyce is so very cool!! Really great questions and I enjoyed learning more about her!!

  5. I can relate to Alyce's experience with the school reading challenge. The same thing happened to me. I read and I read and I read and I read, then I read some more, and somebody else won. :( It was a huge blow.

  6. I also wasn't a big fan of A Tale of Two Cities. I trudged through it and finally put it down for good with 45 pages to go.

  7. Great interview! I've been reading Alyce's blog for a while now, and I really enjoyed getting to know more about her.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  8. Alyce has a great blog and it was fun to get to know her better!


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