Sep 15, 2009

Interview With Emily Wilson of books, the universe, and everything

Last year, my favorite part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week was the interview swap, in which I get to check out a new-to-me blogger and ask them some questions so we can all get to know him or her better.

I signed up to participate again this year, and was given Emily Wilson of books, the universe, and everything. Check out her blog to see what she asked me.

1. What's the story behind the creation of your blog--books, the universe, and everything?

I started my blog almost four years ago, a few months after moving to New York City.

I've been an avid reader and book lover my entire life, but it wasn't until I moved to NYC that I became book obsessed: a bibliophile. I think that was caused by a combination of several things: all the wonderful bookstores in the city, all the fantastic book events in and around the city, and also finally having the time to read more (I had just graduated college and thus had no more homework to clog up nights and weekends).

When I wanted to start a blog, books were the natural core focus - I needed a place to talk as much as I wanted about my passion.

2. What kinds of books do you blog
about, what parts of the universe are you discussing, and how much of everything makes it onto the blog?

I have pretty broad tastes in books - I definitely wouldn't say I like everything, but I like a good variety: contemporary fiction, classics, biographies, food writing, cookbooks, fantasy, graphic novels, kid's literature, kid's picture books, non-fiction, poetry.

I mainly only blog about the books I buy and read, but occasionally I'll post about a book that looks good or has something unusual or interesting about it. Sometimes it's their covers - I love book cover design.

As for the Universe and Everything, I'd have to admit that I don't discuss those as much as I used to. I like to post photos from travels or NYC related adventures, and I like to post photos and recipes from some of the things I bake. If I had to sum up my blog in three topics, those would be it: books, traveling, and baking.

3. I noticed some photography on your site and that you have a flickr page. What kind of camera do you use? And what would be your dream camera?

My camera is a Canon Powershot SD1000, which I bought mainly because it was super small. I wanted to have a camera I could always keep in my purse, so that I'm always prepared to take a photo.

For my next camera, I'd like to get a better camera. Even the newer models of Powershots take better photos, since they have image stabilization. I'm very much an amateur in every way, but I enjoy taking photos and am always trying to get better.

4. Of the books you've read in 2009, which books would you recommend to a friend or stranger and why?

For a stranger, I'd have to select books that I think would have a very wide appeal, so I think I'd go with:

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
Thank You, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet

Here's a list of some of my favorite books read this year that I've been recommending to my friends consistently: (not including the books above, which I've also been recommending)

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenburg
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

5. Have you always been a reader? And what book do you think started you on this bibliophile journey?

I've been a reader my entire life. Both of my parents read to me when I was young, and during my entire childhood they helped keep me surrounded by all the books I could ever want, mainly through frequent trips to several area libraries, and they also bought me quite a few. I had all the Babysitter's Club books. :) There's not a time in my life that I can remember not having a deep love for reading and books.

One specific book that had a huge impact on my love of books was Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It was the first classic adult novel that I picked up on my own and decided to read for me, not for a class. I fell in love with it and it grew my passion for reading in general into a passion for good literature and authors. Not to mention it was the start of my love for everything Vonnegut. :)

6. In the book blogging community what are some of your favorite memes or weekly activities? What do you like best about them and what do you like least?

I'm not very good at keeping up with memes or weekly activities myself, but I do enjoy reading them on other people's blogs. I like Booking Through Thursday, and really should try to participate more. I also like Library Loot.

7. Tell us one wacky aspect of your personality or about any obsessions you might have other than books.

One of my other obsessions is baking. I've been baking a lot this year and love to experiment to find the best recipes for my favorite treats.

I like to share photos and recipes of some of the best things I've made on my blog.

8. Write a six word memoir for yourself.

"Can't go anywhere without a book."

Did you enjoy this interview? Interested in winning Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro? Here's what you have to do to enter:

1. Let me know what you liked about the interview.
2. If you purchase any of the books, using my Amazon affiliate links this week (Sept. 15-19), that's 5 extra entries (just send me an order #/invoice).
3. Tweet, blog, Facebook, or spread the word about the giveaway for additional entries, just leave me a comment about it.

Deadline to enter is Sept. 19, 2009, at 11:59 PM EST


J.T. Oldfield said...

I loved the part about Slaughterhouse Five! I remember reading it in high school "not for school" also.

Please enter me in the give away!


now I'm off to check out this blog in full!

Melody said...

Great interview! I need to check out Emily's blog and I enjoy getting to know her better through this interview.

Please do not enter me for the giveaway as I've that book in my pile. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily.

wow, 4 years is a long time. I admire you. Love the six word memoir.

Great Interview Serena

gautami tripathy said...

Wonderful interview. Good to know a new blogger and her views about blogging.

BBAW: Interviewing myself

Book Chick City said...

Great interview! I'm off to visit this blog now as it's new to me :)

Amanda said...

I love her book recommendations and the fact that NYC helped shape this bibliophile. I love NYC.

Never Let Me Go is an interesting bookk. I didn't think I liked it much when I read it last year, but it has stuck with me more than just about any other book from 2008, so I'd love to win a copy.


Okay, now I'm off to check out Emily's blog!

Pam said...

I loved reading about her favourite books. So interesting that she has different recommendations for strangers rather than friends. I haven't read any of them yet!

melacan at hotmail dot com

Iliana said...

Emily's blog is a new one to me so thank you for the interview - just added another blog to my ever growing list of must-reads :)

No need to enter me in the drawing - I have that book waiting for me in the stacks already :)

Wanda said...

No need to enter just wanted to let you know I enjoyed the interview especially the 2nd part of question #5 and of course it's always neat to hear what others are recommending.

Kim said...

Couldn't agree more about The Elegance of the Hedgehog, it's the best book in the last three years, in my opinion (actually, pretty much since Never Let Me Go). Don't enter me in the giveaway since I own the book and would rather it go to someone who hasn't experienced it yet.

Marie said...

Great interview. NYC is just the perfect place to turn into a bookworm!

bermudaonion said...

I did enjoy the interview and I'm wondering why we didn't meet Emily at BEA - she sure sounds like a kindred spirit.

Elizabeth said...

Great interview! Can't wait to go check out Emily's blog.

Rebecca :) said...

Great interview, Serena! I found several books that look interesting. I love her six-word-memoir too. Took the words right out of my mouth!

This blog is a new one to me, too, so now I get to go visit! Yay!

Oh, and please enter me in the giveaway! mycreativeimagination (at)

Jeanne said...

Loved both interviews. I was going to leave Emily a comment, but will learn more about what Vox is before joining it in order to comment.

Heather J. said...

Wodehouse? Spivit? Bryson?! What great recommendations!

avisannschild said...

Great interview, Serena, and thanks for introducing me to a new blog! I love her six-word memoir -- I can totally relate! (I also really like the name of Emily's blog.) Please enter me in this giveaway!

Bunny B said...

I love it that she loves baking and shares it on her blog!! :) YUM!

bunnybx at gmail . com

Bunny B said...


bunnybx at gmail . com

Bunny B said...


bunnybx at gmail . com

Sue said...

I loved her list of book and especially the six word memoir. (I agree.)
Thanks for the lovely giveaway.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Amy said...

What I really liked about your interview of Emily is that she is a New Yorker and so lives near me! I also liked her list of favorite books especially as I am reading Bill Brysons; Sunburned Life now!

Thank you for a great interview!
And please enter me in your giveaway!

Anna said...

Great interview! Emily made me want to read Slaughterhouse Five. That's a book that's been on my to-read list for a while. Off to check out her blog and the other half of the interview.

As for the giveaway, I've added it to my sidebar. Thanks!

Diary of an Eccentric

Amanda said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I love Emily's blog and her baking posts are so delicious looking. I have them all tagged so when I get my baking shoes on I can try out some of her recipes.

nycbookgirl at gmail dot com


Amanda said...

Oh and I just tweeted abou the giveaway. Thanks!

nycbookgirl at gmail dot com

RebekahC said...

Thanks for sharing this interview with the rest of us. I enjoyed it all, but especially enjoyed the book recommendations. I haven't heard of most of them, so will have to check in to them in a bit more.

Ooh, and, yes, please enter me in the draw. I'd love to win this book! I read it a long time ago, but have wanted a copy of my own to reread again and again. I loved it!

littleminx at cox dot net

Misusedinnocence said...

I love the six word memoir. Awesome. :)

Strangelove said...

For me, the best thing in the interview are the recommendations.
You can always be sure to discover something you'll like among them.
It's a pity there wasn't a small personal appreciation for each title though.

carlos_durao AT hotmail DOT com

Rebecca said...

I love how NY made her become book obsessed. I lived in NY for awhile and it did thee same thing to me! Must be something in the water! Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway!

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

Rebecca said...

I tweeted!

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

Paradox said...

Thanks for recommending When You Reach Me. I've heard of it somewhere and it sounds like a great book!

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Mama Hill said...

I love that Emily mentioned Babysitters Club books...that takes me back! In a good way!

ralphandtara at gmail dot com

Claire said...

I also loved what she said about Slaughterhouse-Five, because that's the same book that got me into "real" novels when I was in high school.

thefatesarevicious at yahoo dot com

Literary Feline said...

Thank you for the introduction to Emily, Serena! I was just over at her blog reading her interview with you. :-)

I would love to go on a book shopping spree in New York City. It sounds like a dream come true. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a book I really want to read. I'm glad to see Emily recommends it.

Great interview, Serena and Emily!