Traci Pollitt works in a library. She also blogs about books. Do you think maybe she loves to read? Check out what she has to say and find out!
First, tell us a little about yourself. My name is Traci, but if you’re looking for me on the web, I’m better known as The Bookbabe. I’m 43 and live in North Carolina, relocated from Indiana in 2002. I work in a small branch library of a regional library system, and I previously worked for a used book store. I love to read and have since I was a little girl. I’m married to Jeff, and overall, I’d say I’m a pretty sane, happy person.
What is book blogging? “Book blogging” would be anything book-related written on a personal blog. I’ve tried a variety of things on my own blog, www.tracibookbabe.blogspot.com, and some have worked while others haven’t. I mostly stick to reviews of books I read, and I’m always quick to point out that they are my personal opinions.
What led you to being a book blogger? Actually, Amazon led to my blog! About 3-4 years ago, Amazon instituted a new policy regarding reviews: You had to have an “active” account (ie – you had to have purchased something through them) to write a review. Previously I’d written a few reviews of books I’d liked, and I was quite shocked when I was denied the ability due to the new policy. I even wrote to the “help” center explaining that I worked in a library and therefore did not purchase books through them, but still wanted to voice my opinion – and they pretty much said “sorry, you have to buy something”. Well! Of all the nerve….. My baby sister suggested I start a blog, and I’ve been writing it ever since!
What kinds of books do you like to read? I’ll read just about anything if the writing is good. Mostly I stick with paranormal-themed material: the romance, the urban fantasy, the dark fantasy, etc. I have a few science fiction series I follow, although I guess they fall more in the “urban fantasy” category. I’m still working on a list of classical titles that I somehow missed in my reading career, and I’ve picked up some really good “regular” books through work as well. Basically, if the writing is good, I’m a willing reader!
Do you have any preference for eBooks or print books? Oh boy, the eReader vs. Print material question! I, personally, prefer print. I like the feel of the book in my hands. I like the smell of older books. I love to turn back to pages and reread passages or make sure I read something correctly. I love that I have printed books that are signed; for example, my parents searched high and low for a hardback copy of “The Shining” by Stephen King, and when they did find one, they wrote a lovely inscription and gave it to me for Christmas (it was a book club version, not a 1st edition, thank goodness!) I also have an edition of one of Clive Barker’s titles that a friend took to a comic convention – and he got Barker to sign it! Not only did he sign it, he drew one of his little doodles in it, which just elated me to no end. These things would be very difficult, if not impossible, with an eBook. So, yes, I’m old-fashioned and prefer print. But I know that the industry is changing, and the library patrons are asking about eBooks, so I have to keep up with the times. And there are newer authors that I want to read that publish in eFormat only, so I, too, have to adapt!
Do you read fiction, nonfiction, a mix of both? Both. More nonfiction as I’ve gotten older. Trying to keep the brain occupied and learning!
Do you like reading multiple genres or do you stick to only romance, mystery, inspirational, etc.? As I said above, pretty much anything will do.
Do you read a book over again? Not usually. I tend to re-read passages from certain books I’ve loved, but rarely do I read a book more than once. The only exception I can think of is “The Stand” by Stephen King; I read it the first time around age 12 or so, then I had to read it again in my early 20s for a college course. The second reading took on a whole new meaning, and I attribute that to having a lot more “life experience” at that age. I often think of reading it again now that I’m in my 40s, and I wonder how I will react to it.
What makes a book “special” in your opinion? I think a book is “special” if you find yourself thinking about it long after you’ve read it. And/or recommending it to people. Or writing about it again and again. I’m thinking of “special” in the sense that I was really wowed by the book. Or maybe just can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve had books that I’ve loved that I can’t wait to tell people about; when the first “Sweet Potato Queens” book by Jill Connor Browne came out and I read it, I bought copies for all my female relatives and friends, it was that special to me. I’ve also found myself impressed by Malcolm Gladwell, and I can’t count how many times I’ve pointed someone in the direction of “Blink”. But I’ve also read books that are very powerfully written that I just can’t stop thinking about, and they aren’t necessarily “good” books with happy endings. One particular case is “The Girl Next Door” by Jack Ketchum; a very horrible story of child abuse that is also so well written that I still think about it years after reading it.
What were your reading experiences like as a child? Did you have favorite books or authors? I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading! Both my parents were/still are readers, and I know that had a huge influence on my own love of books. We visited our local library all the time, and my mother eventually worked there part-time, too. I was totally a Daddy’s girl, so I tended to read the sort of things my Dad read – mostly horror and thrillers. However, there was a time in my youth when I was completely spellbound by “gothic” romances, such as Victoria Holt; I laugh now when I think about those books (but secretly want to pick one up now and see if I still enjoy them).
What books are on your summer reading list for those lazy days at the beach or relaxing in a hammock? Titles I affectionately refer to as “popcorn fiction” – anything that would be great with a bowl of popcorn. These are not serious books! I want something light and fun, and preferably with a sweet romance and a happy ending. I would recommend Mary Kay Andrews, Jill Connor Browne (not fiction, but so funny you’ll love them!), and the sister writing duo Dixie Cash.
Do you like to browse books in the bookstore or do you like to shop online? I do both, although I probably get the majority of my browsing through the professional magazines and catalogs we use at the library. I read Publishers’ Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist quite a bit, as well as the Baker & Taylor Forecast. I do browse Amazon some as I’m looking for “my” authors, and about once a year I make it into our lone book store here in my small town. I wish we had a really good used book store, but alas, no such luck.
What draws you to a book if you are unfamiliar with the author and/or you don’t have any recommendations? I read the book description, and that will usually hook me. I also tend to be drawn to books that have blurbs from authors I’ve read, and sometimes that’s worked out very well. For example, I discovered the Chet & Bernie mysteries written by Spencer Quinn through one of the professional magazines. Shortly after that, Stephen King wrote a list of “summer reads” for Entertainment Weekly, and I’ll be darned, there was the first book, “Dog On It”! That pretty much sealed the deal for me. And lucky for me, I work in the library and have some really good patrons that will recommend books to me.
Do you have an all-time favorite book? Nope, not really. Could probably make a small list of books I loathe before I could name a favorite!
Can a happy ending also be true to life? Of course! I happen to think my life has a happy ending, so yes, of course. It’s what we all really want out of life, isn’t it?
Have you ever read a book and thought it would make a great movie? Yes, but probably not the book one would think! I’m a huge fan of “Beowulf”; in fact, I’m such a geek about it that I own about 3 or 4 different translations. Sad but true. Anyway, the first time I read it, I thought it would be a fantastic movie; this was when Arnold Schwarzenegger was starting to make it big as an “actor” (indeed, I think the first “Conan” movie might have been released). I could totally see a version of “Beowulf” starring the ex-Governator, and I often thought that if I was an English teacher, I would have my students “cast” the movie in their minds to get them to read the darn thing.
On the other hand, have you seen any movies based on books and thought the book was better? The book is almost always better than the movie!
Have you ever read a book and “seen” specific actors/actresses playing certain roles while you read? A few times, yes. When I first started reading the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, yes, I thought of Sandra Bullock. I’m not sure if I thought of her as Stephanie before or after I heard they were wanting to get a movie written, and that she was at the top of the list to play the part. I really do wish they’d been successful because I understand that the movie being filmed stars Katherine Heigl as Stephanie, and while I like her well enough as an actress, I’m not thrilled with that choice. I think the most interesting character I’ve read and tried to cast in my mind would be Jack from F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack series. Jack is supposed to be able to blend in and remain anonymous, which means you can’t have someone like Brad Pitt playing the part. That one has kept me quite entertained at times!
Have you ever thought about writing a book? Oddly enough, no, not really. What is strange is how many people think I should write one! That includes friends, library patrons, and even customers when I worked at the book store. I don’t really know why they think I should write; I don’t know if I tell a good story when I’m describing things that have happened in my life, or if they think that because I read so much, I have dreams of being a writer. If I did try to write something, I suspect I would do something in the nonfiction area, as I like to explore things, or pick them apart, or investigate topics, etc. I just don’t think I have the sort of mind that would write fiction well. But who knows? I never thought I’d be blogging about the books I read, and I know I never dreamed that I would have authors contact me due to that blog!
Don’t forget to visit Traci’s blog, Novel News.