As promised, here's my interview with Jennifer Bogart. Her site's at QUIVER FULL FAMILY
1) Jennifer, I know from reading your blog you're a homeschooling mom as well as an avid reader and book reviewer. I have family members who've also homeschooled their children. What is it about homeschooling that makes it so special for both the parent/teacher, and their children?
Even before we had children we wanted to keep them at home with us! Raising and teaching our own wee ones is vitally important, and a major goal for our family. I love seeing the spark of understanding as they grasp new concepts, and listening to them pick up new vocabulary from our read alouds. They are also able to have rich and vibrant multi-age relationships with us as their parents, and with their other siblings. Now that we are Christian’s we believe that one of the most important tasks that our Lord has given us is to disciple and raise our children to love, know and serve Him! When we homeschool our children it makes the task much easier – we can point them to God and His wonders in even the smallest incidents throughout the day.
2) Do you pre-review or pre-read the books you use for homeschooling your children?
Some I do, some I don’t. If I pre-read everything we intend to use, wow, I don’t think we’d ever get any schooling done! Most of the read-alouds we just dive into, and I try to verbally edit as I read if I find some inappropriate content. Sometimes I miss inappropriate content, and then we need to thoroughly discuss what we’ve just encountered. My husband and I do skim through spines, such as history texts that we are evaluating for future use in our homeschool.
3) What kinds of books do you like to review? What are your favourite genres?
Through my blog I review mainly Christian titles, but through my work as a writer for http://blogcritics.org I also review secular titles that pique my interest – children’s books, knitting, poetry and others that catch my eye. I’d love to review more homeschooling books and curriculum, and just this morning I learned that I’ve been selected as part of a group through The Old Schoolhouse that may allow me to offer more reviews geared towards homeschooling parents. I love to review children’s books, and always read them aloud with my little ones first. I also adore Christian fiction that guides readers into self-examination and a closer walk with the Lord, and well-written Christian non-fiction.
4) Do you review any books a publisher/author/friend sends to you, or are there some kinds of books you'd turn away with a "thanks, but no thanks"?
I’m just now coming to the point where I am having to turn down titles that are offered to me. I receive some emails from publicists that don’t require a response, I’m just on their list, and some of those I definitely let slide. There are so many books available to review that unless I am passionately interested, chances are I’ll pass on it. Because I review many Christian titles, I am sometimes put onto the general ‘spirituality’ mailing list for reviews, so I get some pretty off-the-wall book offers in my inbox. I definitely don’t review books that encourage New Age beliefs (been there, done that), because they just wouldn’t be edifying for me. I’m also not a big romance, horror/thriller reader, and am choosey on my fantasy/science fiction.
5) Do you have any formal relationship with publishers who ask you to review their books full-time, or part-time?
I have had one publisher open up the doors to pick and choose from their titles, and that has been a real blessing! I need to get more of their books read! I’m not sure if this counts as a formal relationship though. I have dreams of a Christian publisher offering me a stipend to review books for them full time...ah....bliss.
6) What is your favourite book you've reviewed in the past six months?
Hmmm, I definitely have a few top picks. I’ve only been reviewing for around that long! I’d have to say...oh this is a hard choice, I have around three favourites! Let’s go with A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. It’s the first book in the Mark of the Lion series. I’m a Rivers addict now!
7) Have you ever thought about writing a book yourself?
Of course! Who hasn’t? As a child my family and the schools I attended encouraged me to write. I was pulled from Math for special ‘writing time’ sessions (sadly, I’m still Math challenged), chosen to attend writing conferences for youth etc. Unfortunately this just seemed to push me further from writing, and for years I wrote...nothing. Writing book reviews and blogging has me writing more than I ever have, and is such a high-reward way to write. Pieces are short and focused, so you have instant satisfaction when you’re done! I don’t think I’m very good at waiting for delayed gratification.
My husband thinks it would be great if we could one day write a family memoir of our off-grid, homesteading adventures in faith. Maybe after the children are grown?
8) What genre would you write in, if you could wave a wand and have a book typed up and out of your computer?
I love accurate Biblical fiction, whether it’s written for children and young adults or an adult reading audience. If a book has a strong basis on the historical aspects clearly covered in the Bible and then goes on to add cultural details and richly developed characters, I’m hooked . If I could crank one of those out, I’d be delighted.
9) Who're some of your favourite authors?
I’d have to say Francine Rivers (see above!), Angela Hunt, Jerry Jenkins has shot up to make the list with his recent title – Riven, Dave and Neta Jackson for their Christian biographies for young readers, the Bluedorn family for their wonderful picture books and homeschooling resources, Max Lucado’s children’s books. I still have a lot of exploring to do in terms of authors. I had actually taken a long sabbatical from reading (other than the Bible) after we got saved a couple of years ago. Now I’m busy learning about the many Christian authors and genres available. I’m sure I’ll have many more favourites by this time next year.
10) What books are in your *personal* TBR pile right now?
Personal TBR pile?! What’s that? ;) I do have one actually, but it is even more vast than my reviewing TBR pile. It’s cross-over, because I try to review books I’d normally enjoy in any case, most of my reviewing pile could cross-over into my personal TBR pile in an instant. It would actually be easier to tell you what we’ve read recently from the pile: Stuart Little by E.B. White (what an odd little book), An Echo in the Darkness (Mark of the Lion #2) by Francine Rivers – loved it, working on A Mother’s Heart by Jean Fleming – terribly convicting.
Here are a few titles from my personal TBR pile: The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, Created to Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl, Walking the Bible by Bruce Feller, my oldest daughter has added A is for Adam by Ken and Mally Ham to the up next list for her. It’s a BIG pile, even larger than my review TBR pile! I still buy books for myself and my family. What can I say? I’m a bibliophile, and I think it’s catching!
Thanks for trading interviews with me Laurie, I’m so excited to be a part of BBAW!