Blog name: Intellectual Recreation
Blog URL: http://www.intellectualrecreation.com/
Your name: JoLee
Let’s begin with your blogger origin story - how long have you been blogging about books and why did you start?
I had been a really active member of Goodreads for years, and, when I finished graduate school, I decided that I wanted to put all of that effort into a blog. This was about four years ago, but Intellectual Recreation really took off a couple of years later when I brought my sister on board and started coming up with different blog series. Our first series kind of started by accident. I just happened to read five young adult books that had some tie to Russia right in a row, and I decided to put them all together in one post that I called “Reading on a Theme: Russia and YA.” The “Reading on a Theme” series quickly became the backbone of our blog, inspiring us to feature more than one book in almost every post.
What genres and subgenres does your blog focus on? Are there any trends within these that you’re excited to see, or would like to see disappear?
Our blog focuses primarily on young adult fiction, but, we read all types of books so occasionally we’ll feature adult fiction, non-fiction, and middle-grade books. There’s been a lot of ink spilled lately about how adults are reading young adult fiction and why that is and whether or not that’s a good thing. Personally, I’m all for adults reading YA (obviously), and I think the reason we are is simply because there is more exceptional young adult literature out there than ever before! I love how vast the genre is becoming.
How has being a NetGalley member and having access to digital galleys impacted your blogging?
It’s been huge. I don’t think that we’d be able to do what we do without NetGalley. Because we organize our content thematically, it’s very important for me to be able to see what types of books are coming out so that I can know how to organize the galleys that we receive. Also, I think NetGalley helps us to stay current. It’s given us the chance to read books and authors we might not have found otherwise. Plus, I love reading on my Kindle!
On your blog, you publish book roundups, a “Long-Distance Book Club” series, as well as other blog series. Can you briefly explain how you came up with these, and how they help structure your blog, which titles to review, etc.?
Our entire blog is structured around our blog series and most of them developed pretty organically. We wanted to feature more than one book in nearly every post, so we came up with series like “Reading on a Theme” and “Pair It With” to serve as our review posts. The blog was kind of becoming a long-distance book club for Paige and me, so we decided to formalize that with our “Long-Distance Book Club” series. That’s a fun one for us to because we get to read the same book at the same time, discuss it, and come up with book club questions together. We wanted to talk about bookish things like bedtime stories and star ratings so we started the “A Few Thoughts” series. One of my favorite series is our “Most Read Author” series. Those post are very nostalgic for me as they allow me to think back on all the books I have read by a particular author and what I was doing in my life when I read them. They are also a lot of fun because Paige and I work on them together. Perhaps unsurprisingly many of our most read authors are the same.
Do you have any advice for book bloggers who are just starting out? Perhaps advice about co-blogging, and how to come up with a structure and schedule that works best?
Do what works for you. Find a structure that suits your needs. Don’t feel like you have to do what you think everyone else is doing. A unique format will make you stand out. For example, we each started out doing our own posts but then found that, for us, working on posts together actually worked a lot better. That means that we spend some time every week talking about what posts we need to work on and dividing up the reading. It works great for us because we like talking and planning, but I know that wouldn’t necessarily work best for a lot of people.
Are there any titles on NetGalley that you’re looking forward to reading/reviewing?
I’m really looking forward to reading Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley. It’s a story about the Brontë siblings and their vivid imaginations. And speaking of the Brontë’s, I’m also really excited about Stone Field by Christy Lenzi. It’s a reimagining of Wuthering Heights set in Civil War era Missouri. For something completely different, I’m eager to read Jennifer Longo’s Up to This Pointe. I love books about ballet dancers, and I’m interested to see how this dancer ends up in Antarctica.
Your favorite snack(s) to eat while reading:
No snack is the best snack. Eating gets in the way of reading!
Your current favorite authors:
Kasie West – Reading a book by Kasie is like giving yourself a little reward.
Rachel Hartman – Seraphina and Shadow Scale are 5-star fantasies.
Maggie Stiefvater – I’ve read everything she’s written.
Your blog, in 2 sentences:
We’re sisters who love to read. We share what we are reading in thematic posts that feature multiple books with similar topics.
The 1 book you wish was never-ending:
Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. I want to read a new story about Lockwood, Lucy, and George every Halloween season for the rest of my life.
And to finish off our interview, if you could have coffee (…or something stiffer) with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?
Definitely Shannon Hale. First of all, I love Shannon’s books. The finale to the Princess Academy series was just divine. Secondly, I really admire everything that Shannon has said and done about erasing the boundaries between “boy books” and “girl books.” Finally, Shannon is really funny, and I want to be her friend.
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*Interviewed by Tarah Theoret