Monica Hanks is a passionate book blogger who has made a home for her love of books at The Readathon. Monica is a book lover, who can always be found with a book in her hand. Her brilliant reviews have led to the development of a strong following of fellow book lovers. Monica also attaches a special rating to each book review to give the book a movie like certification, helping people learn whether the book is suitable for young readers. I love reaching out to book bloggers and giving them a chance to come on the site and do what they do best – talk books. So please enjoy my interview with Monica Hanks…
When did you begin blogging?
I started my blog in April of 2009.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Shattered Lens by Brandon Sanderson, book #4 in the Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians series.
I was little. I remember going to the Book Mobile with my Mom (I’m totally dating myself there), and begging her to let me get a chapter book, even though I was probably too little to read a chapter book.
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be?
That’s a tough one! Each child/YA is so different, but I think the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio is one book that every child should read at some point. The message of the book is relevant to every child everywhere; it’s universal and so important.
Can you remember when you decided to create your blog – what inspired you into action?
I had just finished reading a book that I knew several children in my neighbourhood were reading, and I was disgusted that they were reading it because it had so much adult content in it. This book was not appropriate for children. At. All. I knew that their parents did not know what was in the book, because if they did, the children would not be reading it. Parents are busy and don’t have time to preview everything their children read. So, I set out to fix that. I try to read a lot of the books that are popular in the schools, and I give them a movie-type rating so their parents can look at my review and see if they want their child to read a book with that kind of content.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I worked at Little Caesar’s Pizza for about two weeks while I was in college. It was awful! I can handle a classroom full of first graders, but I can’t handle making pizzas all day!
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
Unfortunately, no. I’d seriously read all day long, everyday, if I could!
What resources have you found useful while running your blog?
Chocolate, a space heater, and lots of books.
I’ve read the unabridged Les Miserables by Victor Hugo at least three times. It is definitely my all-time favorite book! I love the characters, the emotion of the story, and watching the characters grow over the course of the book. The unabridged The Count of Monte Cristo By Alexander Dumas is a close second! I’ve read it at least twice and I love it more every time I read it.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
I probably recommend Wonder by R.J. Palacio the most. Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong is also one I recommend a lot, along with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring blogger?
Be consistent and blog about something you’re passionate about.
What’s your favourite genre of book?
I can only pick one? I’d have to say realistic fiction or historical fiction would be my favorites.
What do you think a world without books would be like?
A world without books would not be a happy place. It would be very real all the time. There wouldn’t be a way to escape from reality for awhile. Knowledge wouldn’t be as easily shared or learned. Bookshelves would stand empty. People would forget the past and wouldn’t as easily be able to dream up the future.
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
At the moment, no. I try and read a broad variety for my blog. Although, I’m pretty sure I’ve read everything by Jane Austen. Twice.
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
I hope not! I have a poll on my blog, and 56% of the people who have voted said their favorite format of book to read is a paper copy. I am one of those for sure! I’m a nerd who loves to hold the book, turn the pages, and maybe even loves the smell of the books.
Humanity needs a good dose of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. They need to be reminded that it’s not all about them, and their problems are most likely miniscule compared to what other people have dealt with. Humanity needs to remember that sometimes doing what is right is hard, but you do it anyway. A good dose of humility and compassion along with finding the positive in even the worst of situations would be a good thing for humanity right now as well.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
When I read Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, I was definitely changed. I realized that I live in a spoiled little bubble, and since then I’ve tried to be more aware of international issues.
What’s the worst advice you hear given to young people looking to start their own blog?
I think the worst advice is to set up your blog about something that may be popular at the moment. You need to blog about something you care about, something you get excited about, not something that happens to be popular, but may bore you to tears
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
Do you really want to know? My To Be Read list is pages and pages long!
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I’d definitely like to read more nonfiction this year. I’ve read a lot of middle-grader/YA books lately (especially fantasy), and I think I need a good nonfiction book to keep me grounded. I’d also like to read more books on improving literacy in schools.