Monday, 30 March 2009

LEXIE - Poisoned Rationality

 

 

I recently send out a shout calling all bloggers to step up to the plate and let their voice be heard about how they started and what’s there opinion on the book industry and i had a whole slew of bloggers wanting to join the fun.

First one up is Lexie, from the blog Poisoned Rationality (you have to read the interview to know the story behind that). I know of Lexie from Ning – A book blogger community and  my first introduction to Lexis was her enthusiastic discussion about the upcoming  “Book Expo America 2009”. I eagerly await her visit to live through her eyes.

Another thing that stands out for Lexie is her site banner, how ingenious is that. She has taken all the words you want to say, all the words that aptly describe probably 75% of us bloggers and made it into a banner that i am totally impressed with.

 

Earlier this week Lexie just finished a Linnea Sinclair Book-A-Day challenge – yeah, I'm not joking, the whole lot – and although Linnea Sinclair was not someone on my radar,  i will definately be getting the books before the end of the month and all because of her reviews.

I have to admit for someone that i made contact with  only recently i am totally fascinated with her style of writing – her reviews are not spoiler, or even standard reviews they are mini commentaries and they so work for me.

As always i have to shut up so my guest can have her say – Please Welcome  - Lexie – Poisoned Rationality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

-1- Firstly you have promoted your site as "Poisoned Rationality, Last Exile Words  and The Reader, Dreamer, Reclusive Seer" - which one do you use most is there a story behind the names.


For this blog I mainly use Poisoned Rationality. Originally when it was my personal blog I had it as Last Exile Words, but when I made the change to a review blog I thought it would be better if I distanced it from my personal blog over at livejournal.  The phrase ‘Poisoned Rationality’ is something that my ninth grade English honors teacher would often accuse me of when I would argue--loudly--my opinions of books we read and discussed.


Last Exile Words, or shortened to “lexilewords”, is a pun on my name (Lexie), my favourite anime (Last Exile) and my passion (words).  At some point a friend of mine thought it would be hilarious to just call me lexile all the time, so that became my handle for the last five years or so.


The Reader, Dreamer, Reclusive Seer is my jab at explaining myself in a fun but concise way.  I’m of course a reader, been accused of being a day-dreamer and as a child  I wanted to be an Oracle at Delphi (I grew up in love with Greek mythology).

 

-2- Can you let us know what's your specialty reading area and how/why you got into it. (genre, your  reviews, how long you have been reviewing)


If you looked at my shelves I mainly have two genres I center around--fantasy (of any sort) and romance (paranormal, historical, action).  Those two genres ‘speak’ the most to me honestly.  I got into Fantasy because of my dad--he handed me Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall Trilogy at the tender age of seven and I just fell in love on the spot.  I got into romance because of my paternal grandmother--she was a closet harlequin romance reader and gothic romance reader.  After I read through her entire stash I began branching out and picking up regency romances by Barbara Cartland, Georgette Heyer and Sandra Heath. 

I fell into paranormal and action romance by accident because of Buffy and my love of vampires.
I’ve only been officially reviewing for a little over 9 months--most with the romance review site Romance Readers at Heart and then my current blog Poisoned Rationality.  I needed somewhere to get my feelings out about the books I loved (or at least tolerated enough to read) that weren’t necessarily about romance.

 

-3- With work and life in general how much time do you spend on the net and your blog in a day and weekly.

I am fortunate in that my job right now is a flexible schedule--I work as a nanny for a service, so I make my own schedule.  I take online courses to be a paralegal so I’m online quite a bit for that.  Daily on the net?  Anywhere from six hours between personal fun and research and classes.  On my blog?  Depending on things about seven hours a week, sometimes more if I’m fiddling with the layout and such. 

 

-4- What are some of your daily net habits.

 

Wake up check my two mail accounts (gmail and aol), check my personal blog at livejournal, respond to comments on either my book blog or my person blog, scroll the list of blogs I keep track of (all 78 of them XD), check face book (to see what my family is up to), then either go on Skype to chat with friends while researching for my classes or play Tetris while pestering my friends.  There is also a fair amount of checking the fan sub groups to see if my Asian dramas have new episodes out yet or not as well. 

 

-5-Best thing about having a blog..

Interacting with folks who aren’t my friends in RL XD Seriously, its nice to meet people who have an interest in the same books or authors I do.

 

-6- What widget/promotional site or other must have would you say made a difference to your blog.

Book Blogs (http://bookblogs.ning.com) as well as joining various reading challenges.  I’m kind of behind on some of those, but I’ve kept tabs on some really cool book review blogs because of those challenges.  A community on livejournal, bookish, is also invaluable since its basically a place to post links to my reviews to entice people over.  Plus you’d be surprised by how many agents, authors and PR people are on livejournal!

 

-7- Your blog Banner is in a word 'Something so different" - What gave you the idea for that banner and how much input did you have in actually making it.

 

I made it myself in Paint since I don’t have anything better on my machine at the moment.  I really wanted to have a banner that was both interesting, but also ‘me’.  The first quote, by Jane Yolen, is a quote I used to have plastered over all of my textbooks in high school.  Its from the cover of her short story collection, ‘Sister Emily’s Lightship’ and has always intrigued me.  I knew I wanted to incorporate it into my blog somehow.  Then it got me thinking about all the lovely artwork I have saved on my computer (for icons and such) and BAM I had the rough draft of my banner.  Originally it was just Jane Yolen’s quote, but I expanded it to include other book-related and reading-related poems and quotes I found around the web.


It wasn’t until my sister and friend saw the quotes I had chosen that I realized the poems/quotes I had chosen describe me (and my room) almost perfectly.  The girl in the artwork also could be me any day of the week when I was younger.

 

 -8- .Where do you see your blog in a year from now.

 

I’m hoping to learn some more basic html so I can streamline it a little better.  I really like the blogs that have information on both sides of the page, I think it helps to organize things better (that is information pertaining to the blog specifically vs. information about other blogs).  Other then that I plan on updating the banner a bit (using my sister’s Photoshop program I want to make it cleaner) and hopefully have more Genre/Author-centric specials (such as my recent Linnea Sinclair Book-A-Day) and interview more debut authors!

 

-9-While blogging gives away a piece of our identity - do you feel you have changed since blogging.

 

Some yes.  Before I began to review books for the blog specifically I sort of just typed my thoughts out and let them fly willy-nilly.  I didn’t really think in terms of why I liked a book and how that would interest others.  Now though I take a more unbiased look at a book as a whole.  Though some authors I just can’t help but fan girl over no matter how hard I try.  I also try to keep my reviews as positive as possible.  If I have a REAL problem with a book I won’t review it for the blog period.  I’ll likely post my venting at my personal blog.  I’ve been lucky so far in that the books sent to me I have at least enjoyed quite a lot.

 

 -10-what are some of the no no's for you in relation to reading and reviewing.

 

Almost as soon as I am done reading a book I will write a rough review down.  I’ll then look it over and on a separate piece of paper list all the positives and negatives I mentioned.  If the negatives outweigh the positives by more then half, I’ll re-write the review and follow the same process again.  If after this second time the negatives still outweigh the positives by too much, I won’t write the review.  Authors--new, veteran, what have you--all put so much effort into their writing that I wouldn’t feel right posting such a negative piece.  I didn’t start this blog to hurt people’s feelings and I don’t plan on that ever being part of the equation.  I’m not being paid to do this, so I feel its up to my discretion on what I post and what I won’t post.


 -11- Your blog have a very minimalist look to it - is this a format that works for you and why.


It definitely works for me right now.  I’m still gaining my legs so much of what is on the blog is simply stuff I want to mention or bring to focus.  The contests widgets for instance or the Star Trek movie trailer--I do that because I want to.   In time I hope to re-tool it a little bit as I get more involved in reviewing, but until then I think it suits me fine.

 

-12-  What are some of the more noticeable positives and negative of the book industry over the past few years for you.

 

I like that authors have begun to interact with fans more online--with blogs that has content not just on their books, but also their writing process, their daily lives and things that interest them.  Its wonderful to find out that the writer I’ve admired forever digs the same guilty pleasure show that I do!  Its also a great way to hear about new authors or maybe authors I haven’t read about when the authors I follow post an excerpt or talk about their books.  Also full cast audio book productions.  I can’t stress enough how much I love this concept.  There are very few voices I am willing to listen to read at a slower pace then I read for six hours or more--but full cast audios make the books seem more alive even if they’re something I’ve read a dozen times.


Negatives…it seems like some publishing houses are too keen on reaching a broad target audience instead of focusing on a core target audience.  Its no one big thing, but more of a gradual shift in attitude I think for the bigger houses.

 

 -13- Now to get to the books. Tell me all - the ones that started you off onto the genre, some favourite through the years and looking forward to books.

Honestly if I were to answer this question completely a whole new blog would have to be opened up : ) Let’s see…first fantasy novel--Harper Hall Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey, first science fiction novel--Andra by Louise Lawrence, and first category romance--The Olive Grove by Jean S. Macleod. 

Favourites?  Daggerstar by Elizabeth Vaughan (looking forward to book 2 White Star due out in April), Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (and all subsequent novels, plus looking forward to Storm Glass in April), Ravenous by Sharon Ashwood (book 2 due out in December!), Acorna by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball, The Girl with Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts, Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier and The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey.

 

 -14- With technology now walking hand in hand with our beloved print book - do you own an e-reader

           A. Nope.  I love the feel of a book in my hands and e-reader’s tend to give me headaches after a while.                
         
           B. What do you think of the ereader /ebook craze: I think its great for people who don’t like lugging around tomes of books on planes/trains/etc (I personally don’t mind).  For casual readers I think this might be preferred since (after the initial cost of the reader) it’s a cheaper way to get books, but not have them lying around if you don’t want to re-read them.


           C. Since the inception of ebook - any noticeable difference in the print book industry.: I’ve seen a lot of readers who are miffed by the fact that say the fourth book in their favourite series is coming out in ebook form, but books 1-3 haven’t yet so even if they are inclined to buy the ebook, its annoying to still have to have the print versions of the other books.


           D. Last book read that you though - it can't get any better than this (Print).--Hmm…The Girl She Used To Be by David Cristofano was actually a lot more enjoyable then I originally gave it credit for.  I’m not a fan of straight fiction--I like to be able to escape reality when I read--but the story moves at a quick pace, I liked the character a lot and it wasn’t overly long.  I can’t think of the last straight fiction book that gave me that feeling.

 

-15- Any tips for new and future blogger.

 

Don’t be worried about receiving books.  Its said so often, but its so true.  If there is a definitive genre you prefer--post reviews for books you enjoyed.  Books from your collection, books you take out from the library whatever.  Be sure to network also--join a reading challenge in your preferred genre, comment on other reviewer’s blogs (more often then not they will then come visit your blog).


I’ve also found that if you e-mail an author that you posted a review of their book, they tend to tell their fans and Agent.   Doesn’t matter if the book is five years old or five days old, if you can find an e-mail/blog address for the author do them the courtesy of letting them know.


Lastly--be honest about gripes you might have with the plot or character depictions, but don’t make it a ‘God I hated so and so because she was so DUMB!’.  Point out what you didn’t like, why it didn’t work for you.  If all else fails--e-mail the author and politely ask them to explain a character’s actions.  Maybe a scene got cut or re-arranged or an author merely didn’t realize it.  Most authors I’ve e-mailed seem to appreciate the feedback!

 

-16- Sneak peek at any future plans for the site or any upcoming events for you, and let us know where else we can find you on the web.

 

My birthday is in April (turning a quarter of a century old…I’m excited!) I plan on having a contest to win three of my favourite books with sequels due out also in April/Early May.  It’ll be the first book in whichever particular series.
My personal blog is http://lotuseyes.livejournal.com .  Most of my personal entries are f-locked (do you really want to read about what weird dreams I’ve been having?), but I keep a running tally of what reviews I’ve done for Romance Readers at Heart on my profile page and a blog entry about what books I’ve reviewed for Poisoned Rationality as well.  If you look to my sidebar on my blog you’ll see other places I pop up (twitter, book blogs).

 

 

 

 

4 Speak To Me:

Lea on 30 March 2009 at 01:25 said...

Hey Lexie:

Great interview, very well thought out questions and answers. I read a number of Anne McCaffrey's books a long time ago. I loved her dragon slayer stories.

If you would like some help expanding your blog to 3 columns I can probably help you.

EH knows my e-mail and my blog. I'd be happy to lend a hand.

Best Regards and good luck with your continued blogging experience.

L

Erotic Horizon on 30 March 2009 at 06:25 said...

Hey Lea -

Dragon Slayer was also some of my first fantasy books and i loved them.


Lexie - drop me a line to contact Lea, i intent to hit her up as well.....


E.H>

Lea on 31 March 2009 at 01:31 said...

Actually, my aging grey matter failed - they were The Dragon Riders of Pern were they not?

Man, I'm dusting off the synapses here! lol

Regards
L

Lexie on 8 April 2009 at 06:51 said...

Lea--it was Dragonriders of Pern :) I keep thinking there is a Dragon Slayers series, but I might be instead thinking of Dragonlance...