Ever wonder about the person behind the blog? I mentioned back in January (here) that I would be starting a Meet the Blogger series. This series will feature some of my favourite bloggers as we go behind the scenes and have them answer the questions!
Next up is Tina and The Team from Trip Fiction!
Trip Fiction is basically one of the coolest blogs ever; do you ever want to escape somewhere? Maybe travel to Egypt or spend an afternoon in Paris? Well, type in your locale of choice into the Trip Fiction database and out pops a book for you to escape in! Super fun concept and amazing for developing diversity in your TBR pile, I always head to Trip Fiction when I feel the need to “get away”.
Keep reading to see what Tina, a member of the team at Trip Fiction, had to say about the world of blogging, her favourite books and reading in general.
Why did you decide to join the world of book blogging?
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog!
We set up the website www.tripfiction.com where we collate books that are strong on location, and creating a blog was a natural extension. It gives us the opportunity to review relevant books, chat about location, run a bi-monthly book club… really anything and everything to do with literary wanderlust.
It has been such an interesting journey, meeting authors, publishers and fellow bloggers along the way, and in some ways the blog has gained a life of its own. But our main focus is always the website where we curate the books that are strong on locale, building a resource for both actual and armchair travellers.
What have been your favourite and least favourite parts of being a book blogger?
Oh, that is quite a hard question. Overall it is really enjoyable, it offers the opportunity to read really popular books, often early if the publisher sends us an ARC copy, and sometimes books that never really make the feature tables in the bookshops – and so often these deserve wider exposure but the money isn’t behind them, or lady luck just hasn’t been around. It is really wonderful to find a little gem, and I think that has probably happened four or five times over the last couple of years.
We have also, of course, had one or two bloomers pass through our hands – these are particularly hard to review because you don’t want to undermine the author but there needs to be absolute clarity that quality is a real issue (whether structure, typos, editing… you name it).
Inevitably there can be times when there is quite some pressure, reading and reviewing a specific book for a deadline. That can be a little daunting and stressful, but generally, with a spreadsheet to hand, we can plan ahead. We now have 6 reviewers working on the blog, all of whom love travel and the notion of discovering a place through the pages of a book. So that certainly takes a little of the pressure off.
What have been your 3 favourite books to review since you started book blogging?
We have been having the discussion here in the office about reviewing favourite reads. Sometimes the books you like best aren’t always the easiest to review, which maybe sounds strange….
However, I will just go with the titles off the top of my head, they will be – there are MANY! So, I enjoyed reviewing The Cutaway by Christina Kovac (set in Washington DC) because the publisher was really involved. It was actually my preferred genre, to be honest. We obtained a piece by the author of her favourite things to do in the capitol and now I really want to visit! That is how powerful the travel and book combination can be. We also had a Skype chat arranged by the publisher with her, together with fellow blogger Joy Kluver and that was a real pleasure.
I loved Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata such a gentle book, searching and intelligent. And I happened to read it in Switzerland, where the book is set, which increased my appreciation of the setting both actual and in the book, a kind of immersive experience.
And I enjoyed reviewing Before the Rains by Dinah Jeffries because it just transported me back to my own trip to Rajasthan. The book is set in the 1930s but it gave so much background to the all the things I saw and experienced; and at some level some things haven’t changed, so it was lovely to re-visit somewhere that is so amazing through the pages of her book
Have you always been a reader? If not, what got you into reading?
When I was growing up, my best friend’s mother was Kamala Markandaya, an Indian novelist, so I guess I was often around the writing process and books. I have always been on the slow side when it comes to reading, and although I am faster now, I could still do with speeding up a bit! (If you saw our TBR pile you would know why this is rather pertinent!). Reading for me has always been a way to relax and immerse myself in another world, indeed in another country….
Now the impossible question…what are some of your favourite books?
Without thinking too hard, my favourite books that come to mind immediately are:
- Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, set in India – a mega-tome that once I got involved in the story, made for a great read. His subsequent book didn’t, however, really grab me.
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden I raced through. I had just been to Japan for the first time and I just loved delving into the life of the geisha.
- The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd is probably one of my favourite all time books. It isn’t that well known but is beautifully written and I just loved it. Again, set in Asia – Peking and Tokyo.
- The Beach by Alex Garland – I read this in my early twenties and became caught up in the psychological breakdown that happened in such a beautiful place. Much like Lord of the Flies by William Golding, which I read at school, group dynamics and how they can go sour and end in death and destruction.
- Brooklyn by Colm Toibin was a delightfully written novel that I read almost in one sitting
- Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum, set in Zurich, and again I read it when I visited the city. All nicey-nice on the outside but the human psyche can play havoc….
There are many more titles I could add of course, these are simply the ones that immediately come to mind. And as I continue reading and blogging I am sure I will soon be adding a lot more books to my all time favourites.
Thank you for having me!
Be sure to visit Trip Fiction on their social media accounts!