BB: Hi Jennie! For any of our readers who aren't already subscribed to The Book Journal or your personal blog Sailboat could you tell us a little bit more about the girl behind the blogs?
Hi, thank you so much for having me! I’m Jennie and I live in the middle of the countryside in Derbyshire. I first started blogging over at Sailboat five years ago, I’ve just recently started writing The Book Journal and I love every second. I’m an introvert, a total dreamer and I have a real weakness for coffee shop atmospheres. I was sorted into Gryffindor on Pottermore, which tells me I should discover some of my inner bravery and spend more time getting stuck into ideas rather than spending too long thinking about them! I love film photography, down-tempo tunes, odd books and vinyl.
BB: Where does your passion for reading come from and what made you decide you wanted to get into reviewing?
I read a lot as a child, but the majority of my teenage years are now referred to as ‘the lost reading years’ and I could probably count the number of books I read during that time on two hands. I’m not sure why I stopped, I guess I was just distracted by MySpace and MSN! Early on in my English degree I took a lot of language modules but a couple of years ago I signed up for a Children’s Literature module on a bit of a whim. My tutor was an absolute delight. It’s not something to be said lightly so I say this very truthfully; she changed my life. Her enthusiasm for literature was contagious and she reignited that love for reading I had when I was a child. I don’t think it ever really left, I had just forgotten about it for much too long.
I think the gift of reading is so wonderful and I really wanted to be a part of the book community online. It’s so welcoming and my list of books I’d love to read has been steadily getting longer ever since I discovered booktube and book blogs. If somewhere along the line I can inspire someone to pick up a book, that would just be incredible.
BB: We're always looking for new titles to pick up, which five books are at the top of your TBR list right now?
Ooh great question! The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell is patiently waiting on my bookshelf for when I have some time to be able to dedicate to it. I’m very much looking forward to that. The Incarnations by Susan Barker is one I’d like to get to very soon as well. I don’t know a lot about it other than a Beijing Taxi Driver is being pursued by his twin soul over a thousand years of Chinese history. Intriguing, right?!
I’m just beginning to explore short story collections because they don’t feel like as much of a commitment as a full novel, and they’re great to pick up during study breaks. The Boat by Nam Le is a collection at the top of my list. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a classic that I have to read at some point this year. It’s one of those books I can’t believe I haven’t read yet, I blame those lost reading years entirely! After just finishing Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche I’m really looking forward to Half of a Yellow Sun. Adiche has such an unpretentious writing style, with a real gift for writing believable speech so I found her first novel to be a really emotive experience.
BB: Just for fun - if you could invite 5 fictional characters to a dinner party who would you choose and why?
Hermione Granger because I would love to be friends with her and I have a feeling she’d have some kind of spell that would help with the washing up, which would be a bonus. Willy Wonka might bring an incredible dessert, hopefully one that won’t turn us all into blueberries. Patrick from The Perks of Being a Wallflower has the best sense of humour and would have us all giggling away instantly. Poirot is such an intriguing man and if he could teach me to be more observant that would be brilliant, as long as there are no mysterious murders around the dinner table of course! And Gatsby because he’s so charismatic and maybe I could snag an invite to one of his incredible parties!
BB: If you could live in any fictional world which one would you choose?
I tried really hard to come up with an answer that’s not the magical world of Harry Potter, but the desire to attend Hogwarts (even though I'm much too old now!) is just too strong!
BB: Finally, which book blogs (other than your own of course!) would you recommend our readers go and subscribe to?
In Her Good Books is my current favourite. Sophie has such a personable writing style and a real knack for increasing my ever-growing tbr list!
Where To Find Jennie Online:
Blogs - The Book Journal | Sailboat
Twitter - @sailorjennie
Goodreads - Jennie May
I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Jennie for taking part in this interview.