BBAW: Let’s talk to Tif!

Tif_1As Book Blogger Appreciation Week continues, I’m thrilled to welcome another awesome blogger to write meg! — Tif of Tif Talks Books! I’m so happy to have discovered her blog, filled with great thoughts on reading and children’s books, especially. Without further ado, Tif, let’s chat!

Meg: You read and review a variety of works, but children’s books seem to be a central focus on your blog, Tif Talks Books. What do you love most about them?

Tif: In the past, I would not have said that children’s books have been the central focus of my blog. I love adult fiction! However, at the beginning of this year, I made a goal for myself to read all of the Caldecott Honor Books and Award Winners. Along the way, I decided to start reviewing more of my favorites and those of my children. It’s grown and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! Nothing beats being able to cuddle up with my kids and a good book, going on different adventures all within the walls of my own home!!

Did you have a favorite book as a child? Why was it special?

I think that my favorite book as a child was probably The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Growing up, I was a very independent little soul and loved how Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny could make it on their own, turning lemons into lemonade. They used their imagination, made everyday activities into an adventure, and truly appreciated the small things in life. I could even be found playing The Boxcar Children in my friend’s loft, making our own brooms, discovering treasures in heaps of junk, and fending for ourselves!

As a bibliophile, one of the things I’m most looking forward to is eventually sharing my love of reading with my (future) kids. You have children—are they following in your footsteps and adopting your reading habits?

From the time that my son was a newborn, he has been surrounded by books. In fact, every night before bed, I would nurse him and read chapter books aloud to him! Who knew that a child of 5 months old had a Harry Potter book (and so much more!) read to him for every month of his life?!?! We have read to him every day since and today, he is one of the few 4-year-old boys that can sit for extended periods of time reading books. He is even often found reading with piles of books next to his bed or sleeping with him!! My second child is still fairly young (she just turned one a couple of months ago). I have carried on the same tradition of reading chapter books during the evening nursing sessions and can rely on a book to calm her down as we cuddle and rock. I only hope that this trend will continue!!

harry_potter_stoneWhat’s one of the books you’re most excited about sharing with your son and daughter as they grow older?

Hands down . . . Harry Potter!!!! I love these books and have read them multiple times!! I cannot wait to share Harry’s adventures with my kids!! It will be like experiencing them again for the first time through their eyes!!

Which contemporary author do you love the most?

This is a hard one because I love so many different authors!!! I think I’m going to go with an author that writes about some very controversial topics that are facing us today. She does her research, presents very real issues via fiction, and attempts to do it an unbiased way, ultimately creating an internal dialogue with myself on my current beliefs. And, she is usually a hit for book club discussions as well! If you have not guessed it yet . . . Jodi Picoult!!!

edgar_allan_poeYou participate in Poe Fridays, a weekly look at the works of Edgar Allan Poe. How is Poe’s work significant to you? Why do you think, like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, it’s become timeless and considered classic?

During my teen years, I had a tendency to gravitate to the darker writers like Poe and Sylvia Plath. I was particularly fascinated with poetry (often writing a lot of it myself as a form of expression!) and firmly believe that it reflected this darker time in my life. Now that I am older and have grown in maturity and taste, I see it for so much more than just something to relate to. Poe was a much more complicated man and author than I initially believed him to be. I appreciate his work, what it did for the horror genre and literature in general, and to be honest, am fascinated with his life and his way of expressing himself! (My background is counseling psychology and I tend to be intrigued easily by human behavior, particularly those who use art as a way of expressing themselves and how in turn, it reversely affects them.)

Poe has become classic simply because of his boldness in writing and his diverse talent! He could genuinely write horror, love stories and poems, stories with with and humor, and you cannot forget that he is the one that inspired the one and only Sherlock Holmes!!

When you first began Tif Talks Books, did you have a particular plan for your blog? Did that plan change over time?

When I began Tif Talks Books, I had no idea that there was a whole book blogging community out there! I started it strictly for myself as a way to keep track of my books, share my thoughts and have a way to refer back to them, and maybe even share my recommendations with others that were close to me. I would randomly get emails from acquaintances asking me for recommendations because they knew that I was a bookworm! After about a year and a half, I began to discover other book bloggers out there and learned that there were others out there just like me!!

Has my plan changed? Not really! I still blog to keep track of my books and to give my recommendations, but I feel that I need to be more accountable because my audience has grown! I no longer write just for myself!! I write to share my love of books and hope to spread of the importance of literacy to others as well!

Since you started blogging about books, do you find yourself reading more—or less?

Less!!!! And, at times, it drives me crazy!!!! I now find myself writing more during my usual reading times!! There have recently been a lot of changes in my life and I’m simply trying to find a better balance. Reading provides me a better release than writing (most of the time!) and with my increased load, I need the increased reading to release my worries and stress!!

You have a great post on your blog called “Books As Bridges,” discussing the ways reading has changed your life and brought others into it. What do you love most about books, and how are you able to share that with others?

Books have always been my safe haven. I can always rely on a book to take me away, clear my mind, learn of new cultures and people, and overall, let me take a break from my busy life! If I’ve had a hard day, I can always rely on a good book being read at the end of the day to soothe me and ease my tension before falling to sleep.

As for sharing with others, I have done so in a variety of ways! I’ve used books as a way to relate to children I’ve worked with in an educational counseling setting (i.e., bibliotherapy). I’ve used books as a way to connect with older students and move beyond the technical issues that usually take place within my meetings with them. And, on a personal level, it has helped me to connect with new friends after moving to a new city/town multiple times!! Plus, after moving a LOT the last few years, I have found that hooking up with my local library is one true way to make a new place feel like home!

What’s one book, of any genre, you think absolutely everyone should read?

I love a LOT of books, so I can think of a lot of books that I think everyone should read! Some examples that come to mind are Harry Potter, Maus I & II, maybe a Picoult or Hosseini novel. However, I think I’m going to go with Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Frankl’s accounts his experiences as a Holocaust survivor and his theory on how to live a better life, a life with meaning. It’s short, sweet, and to the point and can be so very inspiring for a first time read or for those of us that need a reminder in the hard times!