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 Kim Ukura from Sophisticated Dorkiness. Kim was one of the original book bloggers that inspired me to start a blog of my own. At the time, it didn’t seem like there were a whole lot of book bloggers regularly covering nonfiction books. Nowadays, in addition to writing her own blog, Kim is also a Book Riot contributor. She also writes Book Riot’s True Story newsletter, which covers nonfiction books.
Welcome, Kim! First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are some of your interests outside of blogging?
I live in the Twin Cities area with my sister and our two cats, Hannah and Merlin. Right now I’m between full-time work, so I’ve been enjoying a pretty relaxed summer. I’m like do to crafts, crocheting and cross stitch for now, but I’m hoping to get more into hand-lettering and watercolor painting this fall. I also recently joined my local YMCA, so I’m trying to get to more group fitness classes there. In the spring and fall I like to hike or walk outdoors, and this summer I started to get into kayaking. I also watch a lot of television, a mix of dramas and comedies, really anything with good storytelling.
Give us some insight into your psyche. What are your Myers-Briggs and Enneagram types?
In Myers-Briggs, I’m usually an INFJ – “The Advocate” – which is one of the rarer personality types. Basically, I’m a super introvert, but also like connecting with other people and taking steps to help make the world a better place. The last time I took an Enneagram test I was a 1 – “Perfectionist” – which seems to match pretty well too.
How did you discover the book blogging world and what made you decide to start a blog?
I started my blog when I graduated from college back in 2008. I was an English major and felt like I was really going to miss talking about books with people once college was over. One night I sat down at my computer and Googled “book blog community” which led me to Dewey, the 24 Hour Readathon, and the rest of the amazing (but at that time, relatively small) book blogging community. I think I’ve kept blogging since then because of the community – it’s an amazing gift to have found some of my best friends through our shared love of reading.Q&A w/ #BookBlogger @KimtheDork - Her favorite books, blogger origin story, + more!Click To Tweet
I hate it when people ask me what my favorite book is–such an impossible question! So give us your top three…or ten.
Ugh, so hard! I’m going to punt this one a little bit and point readers to my Instagram account, where I just got finished with a project where I posted 100 book reviews in 100 days using the hashtag #100daysofbooksbykim.
I got to include a lot of my favorite books in that project – The Magicians by Lev Grossman, This Life Is in Your Hands by Melissa Coleman, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie… I could go on for a long time!
Time for some either/or…
Print or ebook? Print… ebooks are convenient, but I love the feeling of finishing a print book putting it on my bookshelves.
Ice cream or cake? Ice cream!
Fiction or nonfiction? Can I pick both? My blog is known for nonfiction, but I still love to read fiction.
Happy or tragic ending? Happy ending, but only if it doesn’t feel forced.
Short story or epic novel? Right now, short story. My attention span has been short all summer.
If you could have any superpower, what would you pick and why?
Teleportation. I would love to be able to instantly go wherever I want to be and to be able to take people with me.
If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go and why?
Italy. A blogging friend just got home from an amazing trip there this summer, and her photos gave me such wanderlust.
Tell us about some of the best books you’ve read so far this year.
My unexpected favorite book of this year has been Portage by Sue Leaf. I picked the book up at a bookstore while on vacation in Northern Minnesota and fell in love with it. In the book, Leaf writes about the various canoeing trips she’s taken throughout her life, from long trips as a college student with her future husband, to short day trips close to home with her four children. It’s a book about nature and wildness and persistence and relationships – I just adored reading it.
Another favorite is A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. The book follows a young magician named Kell who is able to travel between worlds, from his own London to four other Londons that are set right on top of each other. Magic is a dangerous force in every world, and Kell’s actions end up putting himself and those he cares about in great danger. A Darker Shade of Magic is the first in a trilogy that concluded this year, and I thought they were all super satisfying reads.
What books are you most looking forward to this fall?
On the fiction side, I’m looking forward to Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. In nonfiction, I’m excited about Code Girls by Liza Mundy and nervous about What Happened by Hillary Clinton.
If you could pick three books you think EVERYONE should read, what would they be and why?
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman, because it’s a book that taught me a lot about empathy and the complications of cultural understanding.
Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Katy Butler, because it’s a really smart, nuanced look at medicine and what we should be thinking about as we age.
And Evicted by Matthew Desmond, because it’s an incredible piece of reporting on an issue – eviction and housing insecurity – that I didn’t know enough about but that has a huge impact on people living in poverty.
Lightning round! Name your favorite…