Sunday, May 18, 2014

10 From 100- A Profile of Canadian Book Challenge participant MARY RUSSELL

John's Preamble: Sorry, last month got away from me and I wasn't able to get a Canadian Book Challenge prepared in time. In any case, Mary Russell, who contributes to the challenge as simply Mary R, was kind enough to step up to the spotlight for May. 

Mary, I was happy to learn, is a librarian. She's also one of a handful of Canadian Book Challenge participants who hails from south of the border. She co-blogs at Bibliographic Manifestations with fellow challenge participant, Lisa.

Let's see what Mary has to say about quilts, anchovies, time travel, Susan Sarandon, and Nova Scotians:

10 FROM 100

1. What are your vital statistics? (Define as you see fit!)

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and now live in Manchester, NH with my husband (who grew up in California). I have worked as a librarian for over 20 years, but am not as old as that makes me sound.  
2.     What is the most recent prize or award you have won?

This spring I won a 3rd place ribbon at my Quilt Guild’s biannual quilt show for a miniature quilt called “Leaves at Night”. You can see a picture of the quilt where I blog about crafty stuff.

3.   Best bookstore near you and why. 

I am interpreting “near me” a bit broadly, but KramerBooks & Afterwords in Washington, D.C. ( is my favorite bookstore. It is big enough to have a lot of books but small enough not to be overwhelming. It is well organized and changes the books on display often so there is always something new to discover. It is a bit on the off-beat side, but I can always find stuff I have been hearing about there. Plus they have an excellent bar and a full restaurant (with a great brunch menu) attached to the store. Now that I don’t live a short walk away, a trip to Kramer’s is a must anytime I visit D.C .

4.   Preferred superpower: invisibility, ability to fly, or time travel? 

Definitely time travel. There is stuff that happened in the past that I want to go back and see for myself. Not so much big historical events as things I have heard about from friends and family. The ability to bring stuff (like a bike, or a camera) with me to specific places at specific times should be part of the superpower. 

5.   Who would play you in your bio-pic?

Susan Sarandon. It would be a part midway between her Bull Durham role and her Dead Man Walking role (I’m not saying which would be closer). I have been told that I look somewhat like her and when I was in college we lived in the same neighborhood (and shopped at the same market) so I feel like she is the best choice.

6.   You have five choices of pizza topping. Go:

anchovies, black olives, onions, blue cheese, and arugula on top after it comes out of the oven (not necessarily all on the same pizza) 

7.   How long have you been participating in the Canadian Book Challenge?

This is my second year participating in the Canadian Book Challenge. I completed it the first year (it was close, but I made it) and am on track to complete it this year. I have really enjoyed reading new-to-me authors and discovering that authors I already liked were Canadian. I have learned a lot about the country and have found it really interesting. I also recruited a friend, who is a transplanted Nova Scotian to play along and sharing book recommendations (and books) with her has been great.

8.   What advice would you give to a blogger who is feeling uninspired?
I think the key to staying inspired about blogging is to focus on what you want out of the experience and making sure that what you are doing is giving you that. I started because I love to read and I had opinions about books that I wanted to share with other readers, I also wanted to have a forum in which I could play along with reading challenges and other activities in the online world.  If these things stopped being what I wanted out of the experience I would need to reconsider how I blog to get something different out of it. Engaging with the book blogging community (join a new challenge, participate in a read-along, visit and comment on some new-to-you blogs, etc.) can be a good way to regain your enthusiasm if you start to get tired of your blog.  I also think that ‘if it’s not fun why do it?’ is important for what is (for me at least) a hobby. 

9.   Do you write negative reviews?

I don’t usually write negative reviews because I don’t usually finish books I am not liking. If after 50-100 pages I am not liking (or appreciating, or learning from, or interested in) a book I abandon it. I do not review books that I didn’t finish, though I mark them “abandoned” on GoodReads and that is a commentary on how I felt about the book. However, if I am liking a book well enough to finish it and at the end my final impression is a negative one then I will say so in my review.  I do try to keep in mind that my dislike of a particular book may be a mis-match with me as a reader and that others may be more compatible readers for that book. Addressing the s.pecific problems I had with the book will hopefully not put off other readers who will not be bothered by those things. 

10   What is your favourite source for book reviews?
GoodReads and book blogs are my favorite sources. In both cases the key is that they are reviews written by people whose literary tastes and tendencies I know either from being friends with the person or having read enough of their past reviews to know what their reading quirks are. I don’t think a review by someone I don’t know is very helpful in deciding if I want to read a particular book because I don’t know where the reviewer’s reading tastes intersect with mine.


Mary R. said...

Hello from down south! Thanks for including me in the 10 from 100 series. The questions were really good and I had fun answering them.

Teena in Toronto said...

Like you, rather than give a bad review for a book, I don't finish it. There are too many good books out there to waste my time on something I don't like.