As promised here is yet another Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World! If you haven't read one of these posts before and have no idea what this is all about, this is a feature I created to spotlight other bloggers and let everyone get to know them a bit better through a simple interview. Today I'm talking to Amanda and Addison, the lovely ladies behind Of Spectacles and Books!
Give us a crash history course on your blog and you guys! Why did you start? When? Ect.
My name is Amanda. I’m a native Texan who has been gorging on books since high school and suffers from Abibliophobia (the fear of not having enough reading material –which is why I hoard books more than squirrels hoard nuts).
I’m Addison! I am from Oklahoma and have roots all over the state. I have my Masters in Library Education and am returning for a second degree this fall. I am a flower hippie, corgi mom, glitter aficionado, and lover of the written word.
Well, originally we started with Project Book Vlogger –it was more Tumblr than blog in which we would upload videos of us reviewing books. It began as just something fun to do over Christmas break when we were in college and needed to make sure to continue to read, and for the next year or two we intermittently uploaded video reviews on Youtube and our Tumblr. Then last Christmas (2013) we decided to become legitimate and actually make it a thing that we would devote a lot more time into, thus the creation of Of Spectacles and Books.
Why do you love being book blogger?
I love the community the most! I only have a few friends in real life that share my enthusiasm for YA lit and the written word, so entering into a community that is so welcoming and just as excited about books makes my heart flutter. Plus it melds two of my interests: writing and reading, so I get to write book reviews about stories and characters that I love!
I feel like book blogging is this living and breathing being that can change at the drop of a hat. It has feeling and emotion that you don’t see many places. (Harry/Hermione shipping wars last winter, anyone? I still have scars.) No two blogs are alike, so you come across some really diverse thoughts and opinions.
Where do you think your love of reading came from or how did it all start? Was there a specific book that started it all for you?
I actually used to hate reading. I had trouble reading when I was a child, and it came to the point that I didn’t pick up a book to read on my own until I was an 8th grader, even then I would pick up maybe one or two a year. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school when I picked up The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce that I began hoarding books and reading all the time.
My dad started reading to me at night when I was 8 months old. He continued for years until I was in my teens. We read so many diverse and exciting books that I couldn’t help but fall in love. It also made me consider the act of reading as this sacred and special thing, something I still carry with me today.
Why did you guys choose to blog together rather than have individual blogs?
For me, it was never a question of do we blog together, it was why not? We both started Project Book Vlogger (which is now disbanded since we began Of Spectacles and Books), and it was just our little project to keep us accountable in reading, so there was really never any question, plus we are BFFs, so that only makes sense.
This was never something I would have thought to do alone. Amanda is kind of like my other half when it comes to things like this, so doing it without her was never a question. Besides, she sometimes struggles with being fabulous on the internet, so I help boost that.
What’s it like writing with someone else on one blog? Pos? Cons?
I personally LOVE having a co-blogger. I don’t know how people run their own book blogs. I wouldn’t be able to read and churn out book reviews quickly enough to make it in the blogosphere. Having Addison makes it run smoothly. We also have different strong suits. She is an HTML wizard –I don’t know a thing about it practically, so she’s the designer. I’m the scheduler. I love schedules and I’m the one that organizes everything. Together, I think we make a pretty great team.
Amanda isn’t lying when she says she is good at schedules. For the first few months she made me this little calendar to keep track of posts and deadlines (because I am a hot mess when it comes to things like that). Eventually she cut me loose and now I have to make them myself. But it works. I pick up where she falls behind and the same goes for her. Now when I go on dates I brag to boys about how “organized” I am, and Amanda judges me silently when she hears about it later. We are a team.
How do you feel about the whole books v.s. kindles/nooks/other tech issue? Is it all nonsense? Are people taking it too far? Where do you stand?
Actually, I was very anti e-reader for a while. Up until I began running a blog, but that was just my personal preference. I understood other people liking e-readers and the convenience of it, but I would rather have the physical book in my hand. I’m a re-reader, so I like going back to books and seeing my little notes and tear stained pages; it’s like revisiting who I was when I read those pages for the first time. Now, I proudly say that I have a Kindle Fire. It’s quite convenient, and as a blogger it’s almost essential if you want eARCs, which I read quite often. I’ll take either, but if it’s a book that I really like, I will go out of my way to have a physical copy.
The issue is nonsense as long as people are still reading. Stories are what matters.
(I totally bought her that Kindle Fire for her birthday.)
Lately there has been a lot of chatter in the blogging world about the horrible phenomenon called “the blogger burnout.” Have you experienced it? How did you recover and what convinced you to get back on your blogger feet again?
Well, we are still a relatively new blog. We just began at Christmastime, so I wouldn’t say we are completely burnt out yet. Yes, sometimes we get tired of certain things or we run out of ideas to post about. I was getting there at the end of May, but I scheduled a lot of posts (almost enough for an entire month), and for the rest of that time, I stepped away. It was about two solid weeks that I didn’t write anything for my blog. Yes, sometimes I commented on other posts and interacted with other bloggers, but for the most part I focused on reading what I wanted to read not what I had to read, and I focused on my writing, which was a nice reprieve. After that, I was ready to go. From what I’ve seen bloggers are pretty anal when it comes to perfection (I’m one of them too!), but I think we need to step back and realize that we should be doing this for fun. As soon as the fun is sucked out of it, we are left with obligation, and that’s no good.
I wouldn’t say “burnout” but there have been times where life got so busy that it made me feel bad if/when I neglected the blog. I think that having a co-blogger helps with the stress and potential burnout.
Why do you guys love YA fiction? What makes you want to read a book?
I read YA because the characters speak to me, and as I read, I become the MC and I learn right alongside them. I guess I identify with teenagers more than adult novels, because I’m still not quite there yet. I still live in the land of first loves and fairytale dreams, so why not continue to read about them. I would say that a solid, strong character (female or male) is what draws me to a book. If they don’t have a spine, I’m not as interested, but if they have strength in character, I’m all over it!
I love reading YA because I remember so vividly what it was like to be 12, 15, 17, or 20. I remember the feeling of first love and the “all or nothing” emotions that come with being a teenager. People brush aside teens so often because of their age, but some of the most quintessential moments can happen in that period. I also think that there can be so much gained from reading YA. Anyone from any background can relate to something in a YA novel. It's a platform for diversity and open mindedness.
What are five of your favorite blogs/bloggers and why?
The Notebook Sisters –they are adorable and sooooo creative! I wish I could meet them IRL. Definitely one of my favorite blogs to follow!
The Paper Sea –Nikki is really cool! She’s a blogger based out of England, and her posts are unique and thought provoking. She expresses herself really well, and I find that I trust her opinions on a lot of things.
Adrift on Vulcan –She’s funny as hell! I LOVE reading her posts, and we have extremely similar tastes in lit.
Novel Sounds –Elena is so fun! She really loves chatting about books with anyone, and she has a bomb Instgram to boot: http://instagram.com/novelsounds
So Obsessed With –Hannah is the kindest, sweetest girl ever! She has such a cutesy blog and is always willing to give advice.
Any profound (or not so profound) last words?
I just finished reading Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen, and I’m going through a depression because I have to wait for the next book, and I’m dying inside because I just love these characters so much… Then I began reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. So freaking good. I will hardly be getting any work done on the blog for the next month because I will only be reading these amazing books.
If you get drunk at a bar with your friends, don't start talking about your book blog. No one is going to care how exciting your BlogLovin stats are. (I heard this from a friend….maybe.)
How can people find and follow you?
You can follow our blog through Bloglovin: http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11593061
Or find me on Twitter @amandapate
Thanks so much! It’s been great having you ladies!