Let's meet Jenn, our lovely BookLikes blogger, an amazing contributor and a great supporter. Jenn is a true mystery lover and an owner of an 8m tall TBR pile! Whoa!
Follow Jenn and her blog Murder by Death: http://jenn.booklikes.com/
When have you discovered you’re a book lover?
I think it’s always been part of my DNA. My parents taught me to read when I was three; they claim it was in self-defense, as my favorite book was Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks. They’d taken to hiding it, hoping I’d forget it and move on, but I’d search the house until I found it. After finding it in the cookie jar on top of the high kitchen cabinets, they figured teaching me to read it myself would be the best solution. (I still love Fox in Socks.)
How did your blogging adventure start?
With BookLikes and myself as a very unwilling participant, lol. I was a GoodReads refugee, very unhappy with the Amazon buy-out, and the censorious turn their policies were taking. I admit, when I first saw BookLikes platform, I thought “I don’t blog! I don’t want to blog! I just want to talk about books!” But everything else was set up so well, and the staff was so responsive, I decided to dive in anyway; I told myself I wouldn’t post anything except book reviews. We can see how that turned out! Once we started coming together as a community, it was impossible not to post pictures of my cats, or the garden, or a holiday, or about my inability to police myself in a bookstore or book sale. But mostly, I try to keep it about books.
Can you name three things that book blogging changed in your life?
My TBR pile, My TBR pile and My TBR pile.
Seriously, my TBR pile. When I was on GoodReads my TBR pile wasn’t even a pile; it was 2 or 3 paperbacks that shared a fleeting moment in the vertical plane. Since joining BookLikes, I have 342 physical books stacked everywhere. I’ve been on BookLikes half as long as I’ve been on GR, and have found 339 times as many books.
My reading horizons have expanded dramatically. When I joined BL, all I read were cozy mysteries and maybe a science book once in awhile. Now, cozies make up less than half my yearly reading, with a lot more traditional mystery, urban fantasy, classics, and non-fiction: history, science, and memoirs.
My social circle. I get odd reactions when I’m having a conversation in RL, trying to talk about what’s happening on BookLikes and referring to friends named “BrokenTune” or “WhiskeyInTheJarLikesToRead”, but the people on this site are as much a part of my daily life and routine as my husband and my cats. I can’t talk about my day without talking about my BookLikes friends.
Your blog name is Murder by Death. Is it due to your love of the literary detectives?
Yes, and no. Or, maybe it would be more accurate to say: Yes, and sort of. I love the literary detectives – Sherlock Holmes, Lord Peter Whimsy, and Poirot. But it’s also a reflection of my love for silliness and comedy. Murder by Death was a 70’s movie that spoofed the classic literary detectives, and it perfectly sums up my love of both a mystery and a comedy.
Murder by Death movie poster (via IMDb)
If you could measure your TBR pile how tall would it be?
This is an evil question! Because I can’t leave a question unanswered, I had to go and measure them. If they were all stacked into one pile, they’d be 26 feet, or 8 metres, tall. Right before they all fell over and buried me alive.
Yes, I googled: about the length of a London bus, or a little taller than a giraffe. And no, I do not have a book buying problem; obviously it’s very easy for me to buy books. ;)
You read a lot of nonfiction and history books. Can you please recommend three titles of the genres that amazed you?
Ooh… that amazed me? The pressure! I’m a relative new-comer to non-fiction so I’m in the delightful honeymoon phase, where I haven’t yet read enough of it to have high standards, but I think these three would appeal to most, and all of them left me with a sense of ‘wow’. (The third is something of a cheat: it’s technically fiction because of the narrative construction, but since the vast bulk of the book is Einstein’s theories, I’m including it.)
- For history and science: The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science
- For history: Dawn of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends
- For science (and fiction): Please Mr. Einstein
You’ve co-created the reading game of 16 Tasks of the Festive Season and set up the book clubs buddy reads. It seems that reading is a very social activity for you, isn't it? :)
It never used to be; I went for decades wondering if I was the only reader left on Earth because I never knew anyone who read for pleasure and enjoyed talking about books. BookLikes changed that, and I find the only thing better than reading is buddy reading! Whether you both like/hate the book, or you each have opposite views, the discussions add another dimension to the read.
My co-hosting of the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, with Themis-Athena, was a very last minute decision on our part; we wanted to fill in for Moonlight Reader and Obsidian Blue while they took a very deserved break – they’ve created some of the best reading/book related games around.
But I have to admit, I was a late comer to the reading games; I’m such a mood reader I didn’t see how it could work. Then my TBR started to get out of control and the games offered me a fun way to whittle down the mountain and now I’m a confirmed fan! ☺
How do you choose your next read?
I stand in front of the stacks and wait for a book to speak to me. Said like that it sounds a little … eccentric, but I really am a mood reader. As I scan the titles in the piles, one will just ‘click’ with me and that’s the one I need to read. Trying to read anything I’m not in the mood for is a sure-fire way of ruining for myself what might have been a great book.
Your bookshelf is full of nonfiction but also mystery and fantasy books. What’s your favorite genre?
Mystery. It’s my first and true love. In fact, if you look closely at the books on my urban fantasy shelf, they’re all mysteries too, just with an extra sprinkling of vampires and weres. ☺
What are your three favorite book covers?
The first one is a no-brainer for me – I bought it purely for the cover (thank goodness I liked the story!):
- The Muse by Jessie Burton
- The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science by Andrea Wulf
- My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner by Meir Shalev: A Family Memoir
There’s a definite theme to my cover love; apparently I like them dark and flowery.
Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers this winter?
Recommending? I don’t know – I haven’t read them yet! ☺ But these are three I’m really looking forward to reading myself this winter (or, as my husband pointed out to me as he proofread this - our summer):
- Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
- A Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber
- How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say by Melissa Caughey
Laugh at that last one if you must, but I’m pretty sure my backyard chickens could tell me who has been nicking my figs, if only I could understand them.
What’s your reading spot? We’d love to see the photos :)
My library and my garden.
A paper book or an e-book?
Paper all the way. I happily concede the benefits of an e-reader, but for medical reasons, I can’t use them, which is totally ok, as I prefer paper books anyway.
There are two:
"...the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
"...all the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal. ...with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not."
The Polysyllabic Spree
by Nick Hornby
If you could dine with one literary character, who would it be?
Easiest question of the lot. There’s only ever been one answer for me: Sherlock Holmes. The answer will always be Sherlock Holmes.
Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)
Missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the catch up links:
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- #1 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Jennifer's Books ->
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