Armchair Bea. Let's get started with the introductions.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
My name is Shan, I'm a mum of 2. I have been blogging for 3.5 years now. I started because friends of mine were always asking me what I had recently read, in search of a good book to read themselves. But as I would list every book I had read since the last time we spoke, their eyes glazed over. I realized I read more than most people I know, and I remembered the personal blog I kept on Xanga all those years ago and I thought a blog would be a great place to put down all my thoughts on books. Little I did I realize that there was such a wonderful book blogging community or that my blog would become what it has.
2. Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location.
I live in the fabulous city of Toronto, Ontario. You may have recently heard about our "interesting" mayor and his ahem, "interests" in the news wherever you live lately but there is so much more to our beautiful city. Toronto is called the "City within a Park" because we have over 7,393 hectares of green space and 1,473 named parks, many of which I take full advantage of during the summer!
3. What are you currently reading, or what is your favourite book you have read so far in 2013?
I recently read a book that made me want to declare my favourite book of 2013 right then and there and that is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A close second place is Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi. I am currently reading a book by another fantastic African writer, On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe.
4. Name your favourite blog(s) and explain why they are your favourite(s)
Leeswammes - as a first generation Dutch-Canadian, I have a soft spot for all things Dutch so that drew me to Judith's blog in the first place. But I stayed because we have similar (eclectic) reading tastes and I can always count on her for an honest review.
Farm Lane Books Blog - Jackie is a fan of literary fiction and closely follows the literary awards season. As someone who is getting more and more into this genre, I look to her blog for the best recommendations.
5. What is your favourite part of the book blogging community?
I love how international it is. I love that we connect with people around the world who have similar reading tastes and be exposed to great literature from all over the place. There are so many fantastic events that allow us to travel the world through books and interact with people from so many different cultures. We all know that the written word can transcend all cultural barriers, and so does the book blogging community.
I didn't read much of the Classics when I was in school. In our English classes we concentrated more on Canadian literature and Shakespeare was about as much of the Classics as we got. So when I started blogging I saw the many wonderful opportunities there were to read classic lit and I decided to go for it. That's why I joined the Classics Club and why I'm using the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list to choose books.
Some of my favourite classics include 1984 by George Orwell, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. As a new convert to reading the Classics my advice to other newbies is to try starting with a genre you really like. For me, I really liked 1984 so I decided to continue on with the dystopian/science fiction books and I've come across a lot of Classics that I like. It's kind of eerie and strange to read these books written so long that really seem to predict the way things are going currently. I think making the connection between what you like now and what was written back then will help make them seem not as daunting. Don't start with a book just because everyone else loved it, read what you love!