Featured Book Blogger is a monthly interview series highlighting amazing members of the book blogging community.
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This month’s featured book blogger is Catherine Gilmore from The Gilmore Guide to Books. Catherine has great taste in books and her reviews are thoughtful and comprehensive.
Welcome, Catherine! First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are some of your interests outside of blogging?
I was inadvertently ahead of the trend about how many careers a person will have in their lifetime. I’ve been a department store manager and then buyer, an account executive for a men’s clothing company, a librarian, a database developer, a library automation sales rep, a pharmaceutical researcher and a research analyst. I’m married and live in Seattle.
I guess it won’t come as a shock, but my favorite hobby is reading. How many times have you heard that answer?! I also love working out- no one could be more surprised than me by that- it’s a recent discovery. But it helps balance my love of great food and wine!
Oddly enough, I’m an INXJ- I split equally between Thinking and Feeling. I am 100% introvert and pretty judge-y which makes sense for a reviewer, right?
I don’t know what Enneagram is, but now the librarian in me means I’m going to check it out after I finish these questions! I’m back and according to a quickie online version, I’m the Reformer- which could be accurate.Q&A with #BookBlogger Catherine of @GilmoreGuide - Her Favorite Books + More!Click To Tweet
How did you discover the book blogging world and what made you decide to start your own blog?
Oh boy, if I had a bridge I might burn it with this answer. I was working in the private equity world and it was so brutally, soul-suckingly focused on money and numbers that I knew I needed to find a creative outlet. I had a lifestyle blog at the time and put a few book reviews in it so decided to go all in. I’ve been a voracious reader my whole life; I have book journals/lists going back to the 1980s. Such a geek- why didn’t I come up with Goodreads myself?!
I hate it when people ask me what my favorite book is–such an impossible question! So give us your top three…or ten.
- Forty Rooms by Olga Grushin
- Sophie’s Choice by William Stryon
- Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
- Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
- Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
Time for some either/or…
Mac or PC? Mac
Print or ebook? Print
Ice cream or cake? Cake. Cake. And cake.
Fiction or nonfiction? Fiction
Short story or epic novel? Epic novel
If you could travel back to any period in time, which would you choose and why?
It’s hard to pick just one! Can I say anytime before there was much of a historical record? I’d be fascinated to see what really happened with strong women like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Henry’s wives Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, some of the Indian rani in the early days of British rule, and Celtic Queen Boudica. Or, the time of Shakespeare because…did he write all those amazing works or not?!
If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go and why?
Costa Rica- for its natural beauty, beaches and the fact that it has no standing army. They use that money to fund education which is why their literacy rate is 98%. They also have a thriving middle class. Possible retirement location!
Tell us about some of the best books you’ve read so far this year.
Rich People Problems for its over-the-top take on wealth. Dead Letters because I thought I got the twist and was wrong not once or twice, but three times. I just finished Goodbye, Vitamin and fell in love with it–touching but humor filled novel about life with a parent with dementia. I found my doppelganger in Graham, the main character in Standard Deviation, a hilarious novel about marriage and parenting. Last but not least, a YA thriller called The Takedown which I thought was wonderfully clever and tipped over the mean girl trope.
What new books are you most looking forward to in the second half of 2017?
Oh, there are lots! Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The Golden House by Salman Rushdie, Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta, The Burning Girl by Claire Messud, Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin and Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan and The Good People by Hannah Kent.
If you could pick three books you think EVERYONE should read, what would they be and why?
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog because it is such a beautiful statement about the incongruities of life and it will break your heart.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates- because of where we are right now. I thought I understood, but no way. Eye-opening.
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf/Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood- again, these times. As a woman, we’ve taken the gains of the 60s and 70s for granted, but what’s happening to healthcare and PP now will disproportionately affect women. Very scary.
Lightning round! Name your favorite…
Song: Lady Gaga “Born This Way”- great energy and positive headspace
Movie: Out of Africa
TV show: Six Feet Under for drama and Parks & Rec to make me laugh. I’ll re-watch both whenever I need escape
Comfort food: Sugar- in virtually any form
Celebrity crush: I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but I think Dwayne Johnson is incredibly charismatic. It’s not the looks, it’s the humor, intelligence, and kindness. Same thing with Idris Elba.