One of the best things about book blogging is the sheer variety of blogs out there to read, with new ones springing up all the time. Even though it's only April, there have already been some great ones started this year. One of my very favourites so far is the wonderful We Sat Down, which is run by the mother-daughter team of M and Little M. They were kind enough to take some time out from reading and blogging to talk to me.
1. Tell us a bit about yourselves - what do you both do aside from reading and blogging?
Little M: I do horse-riding, gymnastics, Guides, school, art e.g. textile work like our bookmarks!. I play with my dog and my hamster.
M: I travel the world and the seven seas (mostly but not always in my head) and muck about with campaigns, NGO and charity work. I have a 'This is What a Feminist Looks Like' t-shirt, I like cooking Kylie Kwong style, I rarely turn down a glass of good bubbly and I wish I had an enormous dance floor at home.
2.. Whose idea was it to start a book blog?
Little M: "Was it mine?"
M: "Maybe. It was one of us!"
Little M: "When M was my age, she wrote down the books she read onto paper and she still has them now. So I thought maybe we should do one on the computer."
M: "And then we sat down on the brown sofa....and you all know the rest!
3. Who reads more out of the pair of you?
Little M: "Who is it? Is it me or you? I think it's me."
M: "Well, I read all the time but a lot of it is non-fiction. I think you read more fiction that I do right now."
4. Are there any books which you've both read but completely disagree on? Anything M loves that Little M can't stand, or vice versa?
Little M: "My Name is Mina!"
M: "You haven't read it! I loved it and I love Mina and her mum. But Little M read Skellig and Mina was her least favourite character - too much bird business. We tend to disagree on what books to read. And then often go our separate ways. But there are plenty of books we've both read and loved like Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys), Divergent (Veronica Roth - although Little M loved it, I liked it), the World's End series (Monica Dickens). Neither of us have read Black Beauty or National Velvet - but we love the stories."
I've never read Skellig and I keep meaning to. Same with Divergent, actually! I'll have to make a serious effort on remembering to get hold of that one if you're both recommending it.
5. You've mentioned Little M's aversion to 'girly' covers - what are your favourite and least-liked covers?
Little M: "I don't like book covers that have gory pictures or pink and loveheart kisses. I like Lauren St John's Laura Marlin covers - painting style. I also like covers with a picture of an animal like Marley & Me, Christian the Lion, and the Pippa Funnell series. I dislike Lauren Child illustrations, they just look childish!"
M: "I love the Pippi Longstocking cover that Lauren Child illustrated! I like Lauren Child's illustrations full-stop. Oh ,and Eric Carle too! I also like Marley & Me too - all animal goofy and cuddly. Generally, I don't like photos on covers but if they're there they need to be worked up and more like a collage. I like a little bit of art love on them - and texture. My Name is Mina has some great texture. Currently I like Code Name Verity's cover too - it's a bit cliche in its nostalgia but I probably would have put a poster of it on my wall as a teenI! Neither of us like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time cover (although the back and spine are great). I'm not really very good with violence (I wish I was a punkrocker with flowers in my hair)."
Agree that Code Name Verity's cover is superb! (As is everything else about CNV, obviously.) I have to agree with M about Lauren Child, I've never read any of her books but I quite like the illustrations.
6. M, are there any classic books from your own teenage years you're hoping that Little M will read and love when she's a bit older?
"Part of the reason for me getting involved with this blog was to find new books for Little M to read - and for me to see how much the world of kid lit had moved on! But yes, there are quite a few books from my past that I'd love her to read (not sure how they stand up now so I may have to re-read a few myself). I think she'll love these but she'll have to make up her own mind. The list would include the horsey Mary O'Hara trilogy - My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead and Green Grass of Wyoming, maybe Lorna Hill's Sadlers Wells ballet series (but that's for when we visit ze grandmere), at some point Robert Cormier (like I Am the Cheese or The Chocolate War), Orwell's 1984, Ursula le Guin's Earthsea books and The Beadle by Pauline Smith (if anyone can get this easily, please let me know!). And of course Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye."
Sadler's Wells is an amazing series which I don't mention anywhere near enough on here - great choice! I find Cormier hit and miss but the Chocolate War is one of my all-time favourites, along with The Bumblebee Flies Anyway. I'm less keen on I Am The Cheese. I won't mention my thoughts on Catcher in the Rye!
7. Little M, how many of your friends enjoy reading? Do they know about your blog?
"Some of my friends know about my blog but only a very, very small amount read. I'm also going to tell my teachers about it because my school is going to do the Carnegie shadowing."
Jealous! (Although my school actually does the Carnegie shadowing, I'm just too busy to take part in it!) Hope you have fun.
8. I’m hoping some of my readers will rush over to We Sat Down once they’ve finished this interview. Is there any particular post on the blog you’d recommend they check out?
M: "No. We think everyone visits blogs for different reasons and I'm definitely an explorer! We have a tag cloud and there's a page with all our reviews linked. The We Sat Down tag is for posts where I tend to get a bit heavy and controversial - but there's a lot of fun too. The Easter In My Mailbox post is quite fun - it has Easter eggs in it. And one of the IMM's has the dog's nose in it too! Hopefully, there's a little bit for everyone in most of our stuff."
Great point! I'll take the opportunity to plug your We Sat Down For a Chat... About YA post, though, because I really loved it.
9. You have an incredibly impressive collection of animal books! Who's your favourite fictional animal?
Little M: "Sheltie! Because he's really funny. He's cheeky. And he's got a funny little personality. He'd do something silly like pull a scarf off your neck."
M: "I really can't pick a favourite. I'd have a menagerie full of Flickas and Thunderheads - that's probably a stable actually!"
10. Do you think you'll still be blogging in another 2 years time?
Little M: "U-huh, I think it will carry on because it's meant to log the books we've read."
M: "I've been blogging since 2006 so chances are...yes! This one's my favourite blog so far. It's the most interactive blogging community I've ever joined."
Great to hear! Thanks for taking the time to give us such a fab interview!