Armchair BEA Day 1

Armchair BEA

We now interrupt our regular programming for a few days of Armchair BEA posts! What is Armchair BEA, you ask? It’s an online conference for book bloggers experiences in the comfort of our favorite chairs. It was created as an alternative to going to Book Expo America (BEA). And I was only joking about the regular programming, because, you know, there isn’t any.

Today’s post is about introductions, so here I go answering some questions from the ABEA organizers.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself: How long have you been blogging? Where are you from? How did you get into blogging?
I’ve been blogging about books for just over 5 years. My first blog focused on outdoorsy activities (mainly running and cross country skiing), but I didn’t find it as interesting to write about those activities as the doing of them. I‘ve also been advised by my doctors not to run anymore due to an old back injury, so I took that blog down. I’m originally from Chicago and have also lived in Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, and North Carolina (twice). My wife and I have lived in Connecticut for about 18 months now. (Sidenote: I’m a lesbian, not a man. I’m getting more review requests addressed to “Mr.” Wolak and just want to clarify.) Anyway, I got into blogging because I love to write and stumbled upon book blogs via Goodreads at a time when my outdoorsy blog writing was faltering. I don’t follow a blog schedule, but I do find blogging about books, libraries, and literary topics to be both easy and enjoyable. I write that even if, after five years, I still don’t feel like I’ve found my blogging style or focus.
2. Why do you loving reading and blogging?
I can’t imagine life without reading. It’s my go-to for everything. It calms me when I’m freaking out, it excites me when I’m feeling stagnant, and in any mood it helps me grow in spirit and deepens my humanity. Blogging is simply a vehicle to share my thoughts and enthusiasm for what I’m reading and book love in general. Being a part of the book blogging community makes me feel like I’m not alone in my bookish pursuits and I’ve met some fantastic people this way.

3. What does diversity mean to you?
Diversity in books and reading means variety, differences, discovering similarities in our differences, trying to feel life from other perspectives and experiences through reading and then talking about what you’ve read. When I hear the word diversity, off the top of my head, I think of gender, sexual orientation, class, race, disability, religion, and nationality. The most immediate categories for me are gender, sexual orientation, and class. These are important to me personally because I’ve felt the negative consequences of the prejudices that swarm around and through these categories in a more personal way throughout my life. Politically I believe these are all intertwined and of equal import in that they are used to systematically benefit some to the detriment of others. When it comes to books I also think diversity in the genre of books you read can be a way to understand issues by approaching them through the different conventions genres offer. For example, including some feminist sci-fi novels if you’re in to feminist theory.

4. What book are you reading right now?
Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Nonfiction: The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen and Hen Frigates by Joan Druett (Both of these nonfiction titles are currently gathering dust on my shelf, but I do plan to get back into them. It seems that when life/work gets busy I drop nonfiction and gravitate towards fiction).
5. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what author would you want to bring with you? Why?
Willa Cather because I find comfort in her compassion for sensitive people and I enjoy the deceptive simplicity of her style.

#ABEAShelfie The bookshelf next to my favorite chair.

LIBRARY LOVE: I blogged about my local library a couple years before we moved here!  Click here to check it out.


  1. I would hate to think of a life without reading too. It is my first go too for a lot of things, but especially stress relief. It is a pleasure getting to know you. I look forward to your posts this week. Happy ABEA week!

  2. I would also like to meet Cather to see what a woman with her outlook, ambition, etc. would have been like in the time in which she lived. Her voice, her way of talking. Although I hope the deserted island is off of Maine not somewhere hot.

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