Today I’m excited to have Book Blogger Monica Fastenau on this month’s Book Bloggers Talk. Monica is the owner of the Book Blog Newbury and Beyond. Newbury and Beyond is a really fun Book Blog with reviews, weekly memes and other fun book stuff. Come and let’s get to know Monica Fastenau.
Tell us a little more about yourself?
I'm a recent college grad, living with my husband in Southwest Florida. I teach private music lessons (piano and voice), play keyboard in my church band, and of course read constantly. I blog about my attempts to read every Newbery book since 1922, and my forays into adult and YA books, at Newberyandbeyond.com.
When did you learn about your passion for books?
I started reading at the age of four, and I've rarely been seen without a book in my hand since. When I was six years old, my parents gave me a clock and told me I was only allowed to read until 10:00 at night, rather than almost midnight like I had been doing (yep, I've been a night owl practically since birth!).
Which book was your childhood favorite?
I have always been a big mystery fan, and when I was a kid, the Bobbsey Twin series was one of my favorites.
Which book (or books) is your favorite right now?
This is such a hard question! But I have a real soft spot for WWII fiction, and I've recently really enjoyed Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and the duo of Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis.
What’s your favorite book genre?
I like historical fiction a lot, but I also love dystopian YA, funny memoirs, and mysteries.
Do you prefer paperbacks or eBooks? And why?
I prefer paperbacks, just because I like the feel of paper in my hands. But I use my Kindle or the Kindle app on my phone a lot, especially for when I have downtime at work or while running errands.
How many books do you read in a week?
Typically three or four. If it's a slow week and I have some fast-paced reads, I can sometimes finish five or six!
Another tough question! But I think I would have to pick Connie Willis's time travel world, as seen in ‘Blackout’, ‘All Clear’, ‘To Say Nothing of the Dog’, and ‘Doomsday Book’.
When did you decide to become a book blogger? And when did you start your book blog?
I started blogging several years ago, just for fun, but I didn't decide to start a book blog until about a year and a half ago.
What do you love most about book blogging?
I love getting my thoughts about a book I loved (or hated) written down and sharing those thoughts with other book lovers.
If you could change one thing in the book blogging community what would it be?
I would love to make it easier to "meet" people and make connections with them. There are so many of us that it can be hard to make close book blogging friends out of such a huge crowd!
How do you plan your time for your blog? And how much time do you spend on your blog?
I try to spend about 45 minutes writing blog posts on my days off, and about 20 minutes on days that I work. I usually post three reviews a week, with the occasional meme or guest post thrown in there, so it's important for me to be consistent.
What is your favorite Book Blog?
I really enjoy Reading the End, and the occasional book reviews on Modern Mrs. Darcy. I also really enjoyed books i done read, though I don't think that blogger is posting anymore.
What do you think is the secret of a successful Book Blog?
I think a successful book blog knows who its readers are, and it knows how to find more of that kind of reader. It takes time and effort and patience to build an audience, but it's not all about numbers. I think a successful book blog is more about building a community of fellow book lovers who want to discuss books with you.
Some book bloggers out there are also inspiring writers. Do you also write?
I don't currently, but I've taken part in NaNoWriMo several times in the past, just for fun.
What would you advise be for beginning book bloggers?
Decide first what your goals are--to have a written record of the books you've read, to meet new book-loving friends, to build a hugely popular blog--and then go from there. It's super easy to start a simple WordPress or Blogger site and start putting your thoughts out there, so write a couple of posts and then tell people about it! Talk to your friends, tweet about it, post links on Facebook. Reach out to other book bloggers through memes or social media. And just have fun with it! If your blog starts to feel like drudgery, it's okay to take a break and come back to it later.
Curious about Newbery and Beyond? Please visit the blog here.
I would like to thank Monica for being a part of the ‘Book Bloggers Talk’.
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