Nina was the very first friend I made when I dove into the world of blogging. Actually, I met her before I made the plunge. I read her post, “I’m Not an Aspiring Novelist,” and something in me clicked. I’d just been hired by My Forsyth to write book reviews, and my editor had asked me if I had a blog. No, I thought, I’m going to write a book. In fact, I’d already written a “novel” over ten years ago. It’s still in a box in my closet and I’m scared to look at it. But I wanted to write and I don’t know – that post inspired me to get serious. I commented that I was “in the process” of starting a blog. She replied back and told me to let her know when it was live. I did, and she visited and commented and kept on doing so. It was through Nina that I connected with Jessica and Stephanie and The HerStories Project. From there, I met Allison Barrett Carter, who also became a mentor. And Allison led me to my blogging sister, Kristi Campbell, of Finding Ninee. See what blogging can do?
Nina’s amazing, brilliant, funny, talented, and oh so wise. Have you read her friendship column at the HerStories Project? You must. Nina’s also a total book nerd like me. She reviews books at Great New Books, a wonderful site for readers that I’m dying to write for. Last summer, while traveling through Minneapolis on our family road trip, I got to meet the real-live version of Nina. She even wrote a post about it, which was an honor. Friends, Nina is everything she seems to be on-line – she’s the real deal. My only regret is that our visit was rushed and my daughter had hurt her leg and she wouldn’t leave us alone. That sounds bad, but the time of her accident was rather suspicious, that’s all I’m saying.
Here’s my interview with Nina about the books of her life:
What was your favorite book that you read for school?
I loved The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Some of the books I read for school I couldn’t appreciate until later, but that one I fell for immediately.
What’s a book that really cemented you as a writer?
Do you mean that made me want to be a writer? I wish I could remember. But I’ve been writing little stories every since 5th grade. I used to write “fanfiction” of sorts about the teachers in my elementary school.
Is there a book that you’ve read over and over again?
I’ve read East of Eden by John Steinbeck several times, but it’s out of my system now. I’ve read Great Expectations several times, too. Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice are ones I’ve reread and I would watch any movie adaptation out there.
What’s a classic you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?
Anything by Joyce or Faulkner. I’ve tried, but cannot get through any of it. Life is too short.
What’s a book you’ve pretended to read?
Moby Dick. Does everyone say that?
What’s a recent book you wish you’d written?
The Beautiful Possible by Amy Gottlieb.
What’s a favorite movie adaptation of a book you loved? Worst adaptation of a book you loved?
The Age of Innocence was a great adaptation. I thought they did a great job with all the Harry Potter books and The Hunger Games, too. The Scarlet Letter was an awful movie.
The books I read to my children:
There’s a great, silly board book series by Amy Krause Rosenthal called Little Pea, Little Hoot, and so on. All my kids are too old for board books, but the stories are so clever that we keep reading them.
What was an illicit book you had to read in secret as a child?
Forever by Judy Blume. A classic. Learned quite a bit.
That’s a book people might be surprised to learn that you loved?
I like apocalyptic books to a point that evens surprises me.
Who’s your favorite character?
I know it’s unoriginal, but I adore Elizabeth Bennet.
If there were only one genre that you could read for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Anything in the realm of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.
Is there a book you’ve given multiple times as a gift?
Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.
What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?
When Breath Becomes Air for the cry. Mindy Kaling’s newest essay collection for the laugh.
What are you reading now?
Spiritual Boredom by Dr. Erica Brown
Books or eReader?
Books whenever possible. eReader for travel or immediate gratification.
Do you keep your books or pass them on?
I am extremely judicious about what I keep.
Do you have a favorite place to read?
My bed. Every night.
Do you have a favorite bookstore?
I frequent Barnes and Noble a lot because it’s the most convenient. I love to walk around a bookstore, and whenever I travel, visiting a local bookstore is a highlight.
Nina, I’m dying to know what kind of Fan fiction you wrote. Would you believe I still haven’t watched the Pride and Prejudice move? I have to make it priority, because I know I’ll love it. I just read a review a great of the new Curtis Sttitenfeld book, Eligible, which is supposed to be a P&P adaption. Yet, I know you didn’t love the book. I have to go back and read your pithy review. Yes, many have confessed to pretending to read Moby Dick, but a few of my interviewees professes to love it. Me? I not even going to pretend. I have no desire to read it. And I agree, The Scarlet Letter was dreadful! Yes, exclamation point. Forever was my illicit book and I also learned a lot. I love The Happiness Project and have given a few copies as gifts, too. Finally, the apocalyptic confession does surprise me. Very much.
Thank you so much Nina. Please leave Nina a comment below. And you can follow Nina at following places:
Book reviews at Great New Reads
If you’re interested in participating in the Books of My Life series, please email me.