Thursday, 4 November 2010

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours: Tirzah from The Compulsive Reader

Hi everybody! For this week's Everybody Needs Good Neighbours feature I'm bringing you Tirzah from The Compulsive Reader. The Compulsive Reader is such a diverse blog and I love the author interviews Tirzah posts so go and check her fab blog out now!

Meanwhile, onto the questions:

1. What’s the story behind your blog name? Were you just looking for something standard that hadn’t already been taken or did you put a lot of thought into it?

Well, when I started my blog, I wanted to convey that it was a website and a resource for anyone who not only loved reading, but felt compelled to do. I am most certainly a compulsive reader because when I am not reading, I am usually thinking about reading, and not just YA books, but anything. Signs, advertisements, articles, cereal boxes, whatever. So, I named the blog The Compulsive Reader because it not only describes me, but I hope also describes my readers as well.

2. Have you ever reviewed a book without actually reading it – be honest?

No, never. But I have run across more than one blogger who has, and it really grates on me.

People want to read blogs to find out what you think, not a formulated review on what’s popular.

3. What’s your favourite book of the year and the most disappointing book of the year so far and why?

My favorite books of the year—so hard to choose! I read a lot of really great titles that all deserve a mention, but most recently among those was Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. It’s a powerful, powerful book and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. Still can’t. However, it doesn’t come out until October! (note from Carly: Yes, it is November. Yes, I am disorganised and need to sort out my scheduling!)

As for most disappointing...hmmm. I was disappointed with the very hopeless ending of This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer, the conclusion to her Moon trilogy. There wasn’t really a resolution. And I didn’t enjoy The DUFF nearly as much as most people do, but keep in mind these are just my opinions.

4. Are followers important to you? Are you always aware of how many you have and do you ever set goals of how many followers you’d like to have or are you more relaxed?

I suppose the answer to that is yes and no. I am always happy to have followers, and it makes me happy to see when I get new ones. I do check a couple of times per week to see how many I’m at, but the act of attaining more followers has never really been a major goal for me. I know how many people read my blog, and I know I have some very loyal commenters and some loyal readers who’ve only emailed me once to say that they never comment, but they enjoy my blog. So, it goes both ways. Sure, it’s always great to see more followers, but I believe the way to that is improving your blog and keeping consistent with the content.

5. Do you write fiction yourself and, if so, what do you write and is it with the aim of being published or just for fun?

I do. I have a lot of short stories that my friends and mother describe as creepy, and I’ve written longer pieces as well. I do it for fun, but I also hope to get published one day. Right now I’m just working on improving what I have and am figuring some things out.

6. Are you one of these super organised people who writes their ahead of time and schedules them for the week or do you just post as and when you have time to write things?

Uh, yes and no...when I have time, I love being one of those people who has an entire week scheduled ahead of time. However, life usually gets in the way and as I type this I am also simultaneously trying to get today’s post up.

7. What’s your day job? Why do you do what you do? What’s your dream job?

Right now I’m a sophomore in college, and I hope to graduate with an English degree and minors in Spanish and French. I would love to become a children’s book editor.

8. Is blogging something you share with real life friends or is it something you keep private?

My friends and family all know that I do it, though I doubt anyone but my mother reads it consistently, and maybe a few friends check in every now and then.

9. What kind of covers appeal to you? Do you like subtle, unimposing covers or do you prefer them garish and glittery? What are a few of your favourite covers?

Pretty covers. Any sort of pretty cover. It can be subtle, it can be in your face, but as long as it is aesthetically pleasing, I like it. I also really like covers that are creative and go hand in hand with the story, like Ellen Hopkins’ book covers. Some examples or other favorites: A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce, And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman, Everlasting by Angie Frazier, Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marilliers, and the hardcover copy of Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink. (Note: these all American editions.)

10. Can you tell me a few of your favourite blogs and why you enjoy them so much?

I really like because not only does Alea make me feel okay about the amount of books I own (because she probably has more), but I love following her latest crafts and ideas. Another one is my friend Shanyn’s,, because we usually agree on books and I think her website is very pretty. I also really enjoy Presenting Lenore ( because her reviews are always really insightful and I love her weekly cat pictures.

11. What are your pet peeves about other book blogs? No naming names please (well, unless you want to!) but what are the little things over bloggers do that really grate on you?

There is a lot of blog drama, but for the most part I do my best to stay out of it. For me, it’s all about the books and connecting with others. There’s no point in getting bent out of shape about who gets what book and how many followers I have (or don’t have). I did mention that bloggers writing a review they pretended to read makes me upset, and I have zero tolerance for plagiarism.

12. Do you ever vlog? If so, what made you start doing it and do you prefer it to regular blogging?

You know, I did vlog a lot more last year, but now I just don’t do it as often. I started because it became really popular, and I liked being able to hold up the book I was talking about, but it is really a lot more time consuming than most people think. I prefer using words to convey my message.

13. What are a few of your blog aspirations for the next few months? Do you want to hit a certain amount of followers or post a certain amount of reviews?

I’ve been doing my best to post every day this entire year, and I’m not doing a terrible job of it, actually. I want to keep up with that, and I want to get caught up on all of my reviews! For the past couple of months I’ve always been a little behind. But most of all, what I really want to do this month is find a rhythm and figure out how to balance school, work, reading, and blogging! Right now I’m a bit of a scatter-brain!

14. Have you met up with any other book review bloggers? If so, which blogs do they run and where/why did you meet up with them?

I have! Shanyn of actually used to live in my town, so we traded books a lot, and even though she’s since moved away we still try to share what we’re reading. I met Sara of last fall at Ellen Hopkins’ book signing, and since then we’ve been to a lot of events together. This spring and summer I went to two other author signings and met Kristi of, Chelsea of, Katie of, Hope of possibly more? I can’t remember!

15. Can you tell me about a book that you read because of all the hype but were really disappointed by?

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger. I had some issues with the book, all of which are chronicled in my review:

16. Do you do your own graphics for you blog? If not, where do you get your backgrounds etc from? Are you good at HTML or do you find the whole thing a bit of a pain? (Me trying to configure the three column HTML is not a pretty sight)

My blog is powered by Blogger, and Blogger has a lot of really great tools to use to make your blog unique. I have fiddled around with it a lot to get it to be what I want. I want to take a class to learn how to use HTML, but I do know a few things, and I took a web design class once. Mostly, I like to keep a simple, low-key look. I stick with the green because it’s fun, but also because I don’t want to plaster everything with pink and scare off any potential male readers.

17. Do you normally request books you want to review or do you wait to be approached? How long had you been blogging before you requested a book/were approached about reviewing a book?

I began blogging over three years ago, and it was maybe two months into my blogging career before I was approached by a publisher for a review. However, keep in mind that this was back when there were maybe less than 10 other YA review blogs around, so someone starting out right now might find that this will take longer. However, even after I was contacted, I didn’t experience a sudden influx of books. It took months and months and months of networking and blogging before most of my books were provided to me by publishers. And I think I can count on one hand that number of times I’ve requested a book—what I don’t receive, I look for at my libraries, I borrow from other bloggers, or I buy (gotta give back some time!).

18. How do you organise your books? Alphabetically or by genre/TBR list? Or do you just throw them onto the shelves and hope for the best?

I have one huge stretch of bookshelves that take up an entire wall and go from the floor to the ceiling where I keep most of my books. They are sort of organized by genre, but really it is a combination of genre, author, personal preference, and practicality. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to anyone but me.

And then I keep a separate bookshelf for my adult books, books I’ve had to read for classes, and classics. I also have an overflowing bookshelf of books that need to be read, and a corner shelf full of pictures and knick-knacks and books, but it’s mostly just books.

This is, of course, in addition to the piles littering the floor.

19. What are your other passions besides books?

Writing, and I love sewing. My mother and I comb through design magazines for ideas, and we love coming up with creative uses for random things we have and find in antique stores. Recently I’ve been on an apron kick, and have been making a lot of these. I also just taught myself how to knit, which is a lot of fun, and I just bought a bunch of really neat flannel prints for winter, so I’m having lots of fun seeing what I can make.

20. What’s the one fiction genre you just can’t get into and why doesn’t it appeal to you?

Hm, I will read most any genre as long as the book itself appeals to me, but one genre I’ve tried (and failed) to interest myself in is manga/graphic novels. I am a very straightforward, focused reader, and I don’t like to miss anything, so I’ve oftentimes been frustrated while trying to read graphic novels. I want to study the pictures, and I want to make sure I read all of the words, so I end up going far too slow, and I feel as if there isn’t any continuity to it. I never have the patience to make it past page 10.

21. Do you set time aside specifically for blogging or do you just blog when you get the chance?

Once again, this is a yes and no answer. I try to blog every night, scheduling tomorrow’s post, but life inevitably gets in the way, leaving me to blog whenever I get the chance. However, I do try to make an effort to catch up on my blogging Sunday afternoons!

22. What’s your opinion on Twitter and what changes do you think it’s made to blogging? (If you are a Twitter fan do leave your username here so I/others can follow you!)

I love Twitter! I’m @compelledtoread! I joined early on, before Twitter had really become a staple in all of the commercials and before it joined ranks with Facebook, and while I was a little apprehensive at first, I quickly discovered it suits all of my needs perfectly! I follow authors, publishers, review publications, and other bloggers, and it is such a tremendous help to me. I get so many recommendations and it’s where I learn almost all of my bookish news. Whereas before Twitter I was limited to only learning news and such from the publications I had time to read (which was very little to begin with), Twitter and those who I follow have provided me interesting links and bits of information I might not have found otherwise, like a bit of a filter. Many a blog post has been inspired by a tweet.

Not only that, but it’s a great way to get your name out there and meet new authors. I just love it. I may not use it in my personal life, but it is invaluable to me in my cyber/book life. I try to think back on what sort of blogger I was before Twitter, and it’s a rather dim memory!

23. What exciting things do you have coming up on your blog we can look out for?

I always have some contest or another going on, and a signed copy of Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay will be up for grabs sometime soon. I also have some reviews of some really excellent books that I enjoyed scheduled to go up!


So I hope you enjoyed getting to know one of your fellow bloggers a little better! If you're interested in taking part in this feature send me an email at and we'll sort something out :)

1 comment:

  1. This is such an awesome interview; great questions and thanks for introducing me to Tirzah!


Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.