Blogger Interview with Carina from Reading Through Life

Today’s topic on Armchair BEA is all about networking and meeting new people.

Having went to BEA last year I was really excited to meet the bloggers that I have spoken with online, in real life. As well as the reps from publishing house that I worked with over the past year. Being able to put a face to the name was alot of fun and I have to say that I loved meeting them because for me what they were online was how they are in real life.

So today I am very honored to have been given the chance to interview a blogger. Not just any blogger but one who is Canadian and one that I just happened to have been following for a little while now.

Please help me welcome Carina who blogs over at Reading Through Life. Carina’s tag line on her blog is

A twenty-something teacher in Toronto reflecting on books, reading, and literacy.

Cindy: You are the host of a weekly feature called Reading Roots, can you tell us about it and why did you decide to do it?

Basically, my feature Reading Roots is where I get to ask other bloggers about their reading history and how they came to be so in love with the written word. I decided to start it about a year ago. I had been thinking that I wanted a regular feature of some kind, and I wanted it to be unique – and I also wanted to talk a bit more about reading habits and literacy development on my blog than I had been doing already. So when I ended up coming up with the idea for this series, it just turned out to be perfect! I really love learning about people’s early reading lives, and particularly about how it has shaped the way they think about reading promotion with their children (or children in general, if they don’t have any).

Cindy: Since discovering your blog, I love reading this feature and reading about other bloggers early reading days. I read a blog post about you moving away to work this summer in the UAE, what are you most excited about in your move to work in the United Arab Emirate this summer?

I think I’m most excited about the opportunity to really immerse myself in another culture, and in the opportunities for travel that I will have while I’m there. Living in Canada, it’s so much farther to travel to most places than it will be from the UAE – I’ve been to the US, and to a few countries in the Caribbean, but I’ve never crossed the ocean before! So I’m really looking forward to the opportunity for more travel once I’m living there, because so many countries will be so much closer (and I’ll have more expendable income to use to do that travelling). Plus, I think it will be absolutely great to live somewhere that’s so completely different from where I’ve lived the rest of my life. It will be an adventure!

Cindy: That sounds like it will be alot of fun working and being able to travel a little while you are there. You would think it would be easier to travel but I agree things are much further here in Canada. I have travelled to places in the US but like you never overseas. (As of yet, but one day.) In your opinion what are the pros and cons about being a Canadian book blogger?

There’s a bit of both, but it’s all in how you look at it. I think that the biggest “con” to being a Canadian book blogger is that you’re blocked out from so many things – lots of publishers (and even more bloggers) won’t ship to you, and you’re farther away from the big events like BEA. It’s also a much smaller blogging community, and more spread out, so it’s harder to meet up with people and forge offline friendships (though I have managed to meet a couple people anyways!). One of the big “pros” ties into that, though – because once you actually do get a chance to meet people, even if you don’t get to meet them offline, there’s sort of a closer bond with them right from the beginning, because you have this thing in common with them. Plus, there’s a tendency among a lot of Canadian book bloggers to read more Canadiana – including a really awesome challenge run over at The Book Mine Set – that I really enjoy. It gives me at least a few people who I can depend on to introduce me to new Canadian literature that I might not otherwise have heard of from the American (and international) book blogs that I follow.

Cindy: I agree. With anything there is always pros and cons. I have noticed that too that we are excluded from alot with the US publishers and bloggers not wanting to mail to us. Which I don’t know why since the US has access to media mail? I know I sometimes have to limit my giveaways (if I am mailing them out) because it gets expensive for me to ship since we don’t have media mail here. What are you currently reading?

I’m kind of reading a giant mishmash of things, which is fairly normal for me. Right now, I’m listening to the audio version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, while reading dead-tree versions of “Alias Grace”, “Footnotes in Gaza”, “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam”, and “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You”. Believe it or not, that’s actually a fairly trimmed down version of the book polyamory that I usually practice

Cindy: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are the five things you would want to have?

Books, diet Coke, my iPhone (with Internet and my stored music, of course), my partner Zaid (does he count?), and marshmallows to roast over a fire.

Cindy: Of course Zaid counts. What made you decide to start a blog? Is there a meaning behind your blog title?

I used to keep a personal blog on LiveJournal, but that had kind of petered out by the fall of 2009 and I think I was missing the outlet and the regular opportunity to write that it had given me. Plus, I had finally been reading more over the past year (after pretty much stopping most recreational reading when I was in university), and wanted somewhere for me to record my thoughts since I tend to forget about what I’ve read after a few years. I just wanted there to be a record of my reading, if nothing else, and a place for me to jot down my thoughts. It was an added bonus that I found a community of book bloggers at the same time to connect with! As for the blog title, I just wanted something that reflected the fact that I consider reading to be something that’s integral to my life – I always have at least one book with me (a physical book, an audiobook, an ebook, or any combination of the above) and the things that I read tend to tie into whatever mood or interests are striking my fancy at a certain period of my life. So reading is just something that comes naturally and that gets integrated into the flow with everything else.

Cindy:Of all the books you have, what would you say are your top five that everyone should read during their life?

This one’s probably the hardest question you asked me! I had to leave it and come back, and even now, I’m not sure … but I’m just going to have to go with my gut. Off the top of my head, here are five books that I think everyone should have to read during their life, in no particular order:

– The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
– The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS by Elizabeth Pisani
– The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew – Three Women Search for Understanding by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner
– Watchmen by Alan Moore
– Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

Cindy: When your not reading or blogging what do you like to do for fun?

I tend to watch an awful lot of movies (for example, earlier this month, I saw a total of 25 feature-length films (and a bunch of shorts tacked onto some of them that I didn’t count) at a documentary film festival called HotDocs here in Toronto, in the span of 9 days. (I think I finally caught up on all the sleep I missed a few days ago.) I also love to bike and run, go geocaching, and go camping during the summer. I love to salsa dance, but have really slacked off on it over the past few years after I stopped taking regular lessons. And I love to cook and bake, especially for other people. (I actually just fed Amy some yummy apple scones a few days ago!)

Cindy:What has surprised you the most about the book blogging community?

Just how huge it is, and how far it reaches! I never expected to be reading someone’s book blog who lives in Sri Lanka, Brunei, or Trinidad and Tobago … but I do! And I never really expected there to be so many people who were so friendly and open, even if you only really interact with them in passing. I wish we could all just meet up in one giant room for a week and get to know each other.

Cindy: Carina, I think that would be so much fun to have a blogging event like that. I am always amazed at how much of the world is book blogging and how friendly and they can be. Since this is a BEA Armchair event have you ever been to any book events?

I’ve been to a couple small events, but nothing really huge. I was actually hoping to be at BEA this year, but the finances and timing (since I’m a teacher) just didn’t work out. A month or two ago, I went to a book reading for “Up Up Up” at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore, and I went to an event called “Word On the Street” back in the fall which was absolutely fabulous. I’m really hoping to get up to more literary-type things once I move … maybe I’ll get to go to the Festival of Literature in Dubai, or some other interesting book-related events elsewhere in the world!

Cindy: I have heard alot of great things about Word on the Street and hoping to make it to Toronto eventually to take part. We don’t have anything like that here.

Carina, I want to thank you so much for taking the time out to answer my questions. Have fun and enjoy your time in UAE. I hope you get to travel and take part in some book events.

Be sure to check out Carina’s blog at Reading Through Life. You can also check out Armchair BEA’s site for more blogger interviews.

You can also go over to Julie’s blog My 5 Monkeys to see the interview she did with me.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
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