Blogger Interview: Hannah Waterman

I am starting a new monthly feature in which I interview book bloggers. This gives me a chance to give back a little, and gives you a chance to discover bloggers who share your tastes and interests. There will be a variety represented here, so sooner or later there should be one who really clicks for you.

I am starting with Hannah Waterman of Reading in the Dark. Hannah found me through the We Read Diverse Books challenge and went on to sign up for my launch team. It’s fun how people find each other on the Internet.

How long have you been book blogging? What motivated you to start?

I first started blogging in 2010, just wanting to share interesting bits of my life with the online world, but it was sort of jumbled and not about anything specific. I abandoned it after about six months. Then in 2013, I started thinking about blogging again. I wanted it to be focused on something I was passionate and knowledgeable about, and nothing inspires me more than a good book.


What makes you decide to start reading a book?

When I was a young girl, I would only read books recommended by my teachers and my family. I know that sounds goofy, but they always recommended such great books! Award winners and personal favorites--there are a few librarians and even more book lovers in my family. And I got really lucky as a child: I never read a book that I didn't like, which fueled my fire to read on. Now, there are a lot of ways I choose books to read. Recommendations from friends and family with similar tastes, reviews on blogs and Goodreads from online friends and authors that I already love, a catchy cover and intriguing description on the book itself, etc.


Do you have preferred genres? What makes you decide to try something outside of your normal reading?

My favorite genre is classic literature, usually British or American, from the 18th to the early 20th century. But I try to read a variety of things. I'm currently a member of a book group that chooses a variety of genres each month, so that helps me to branch out a bit. And a lot of times, I try to find the common ground between my interests and a different genre or book. Right now I'm reading The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis by Thomas Goetz. I've never been a great student of science or history, but part of this book talks about Arthur Conan Doyle (the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories), so that's where I found my link. So far, I'm finding it very interesting!


What do you consider a good read? In other words, what does it take to get 5 stars from you?

Wow, that's a tough question. Okay, well, to get 5 stars, I have to love everything about a book. It has to be something I will go back and re-read throughout my life. I'm looking for something that's well-written, with relatable characters and some real-life application and significance. If it strikes a personal note with me somehow, that helps, of course. I would consider a book I've given 3 or 4 stars a "good read," though. Usually they just have one or two of those elements.


Are you actively trying to promote a particular kind of book, or do you just review whatever you happen to be reading?

I generally review whatever I happen to be reading, unless I don't have much to say about a particular book. Of course, if I'm given a book for the purpose of reviewing it, I will do that. But rather than promoting a certain kind of book, I'm usually doing the opposite: trying to promote a variety of books so we can all broaden our literary horizons together.


What was the last book to blow you away?

Well, I recently read your book, Disenchanted, which was fantastic. But I also really enjoyed The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It was unique and fun, with very interesting characters that drew me in.

Right now I'm reading The Remedy by Thomas Goetz, as I mentioned before. Lots of facts and historical significance--very interesting. I'm also reading You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. I just love her. She's quirky and funny and a great role model for women.