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