Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BBAW- Blogger Interview with Cass of Bonjour, Cass!

Every year I fall into the BBAW a bit late and think, rats! I wish I'd done an interview.  Well this year I seem to have magically organized myself on time.  I can't tell you how thrilled I was when I got Cass in the draw!  My good friend Amy, of AmyReads, is friend of Cass's and I've heard much about her blog, so it was exciting to finally have an excuse to take a big tour of it, and get to know Cass better.

-Tell me about your blog, how you started ect. 

In January of 2009, I was laid off from my bank job and was unemployed for nine months. In April I found my first book blog, Eva's A Striped Armchair, and I realized that a) the library had lots of books that I could read and stimulate my brain even when I wasn't working and b) there were a bunch of really smart, really great book-loving folks writing interesting things about books on the internet. By July I got up enough courage to start my own book blog, which was and has remained a challenging, engaging way to think and write about the books that I read. 

In the beginning I was reading mostly popular fiction, mostly books that were being widely reviewed across the book blogosphere. I had a very specific idea of what my blog was supposed to be like and I kind of boxed myself in. When I started to get more comfortable, I started reading books that appealed to me more, like LGBT fiction, queer theory, history, mysteries, and literary fiction.

-How did you pick your blog name? Were there any discarded names you almost used?

I was so nervous about what to call my blog. I was stuck for about, um, two weeks, unable to write or begin my blog in any way because I couldn't figure out the exactly perfect title to use. A friend told me to just pick something and get started, because otherwise I would just use my inability to name my blog as an excuse to never do it. Bonjour, Cass! was something I had registered about a year before and never posted on, so I just used that. A major problem with that choice is that, contrary to the understandable assumption, I am not even a little bit French and I am no francophile. I just didn't know what else to use!

That's basically the most boring story of all time. So, let's pretend a magical unicorn greeted me in a forest and whispered Bonjour, Cass to me and then cried magical unicorn tears on my laptop and a little blog grew from the wilderness of the internet. 

-How many books do you read at a time? And have you found that increase/decrease since becoming a blogger?

I almost always have at least two books going at once, one on audio and one in print or in ebook form. I'm a bit more organized about it now than I was before my blog--before I could have four, five, six books in progress at once with no rhyme or reason.

-Do you have any blogging pet peeves?

I wish that folks felt more comfortable about reviewing books with LGBT characters. A lot of bloggers, with the best of intentions, write reviews of books that have major LGBT themed story lines and yet the reviews never mention that aspect of the book because the blogger is worried they won't use the right language or that they'll offend LGBT-identified readers. I wish that I could provide some  reassurance to those bloggers. I wish I could let them know that it's better to mention it, even briefly, and acknowledge that LGBT characters (and real life people!) exist. It's so much more validating.

-What's your all time favorite book?  What's the worst book you've ever read?

My go-to favorite novel is The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780743298902), a tale of a young boy who finds solace in the world of fairy tales, a world much darker than he ever imagined, after the death of his mother. I own four copies of it. It's a thing.

My least favorite novel ever would have to be Nemesis by Philip Roth. It's virulently homophobic and sexist and just awful, awful, awful.

-Do you find co-blogging posts, like your read-alongs with AmyReads, helpful to keeping you motivated and your content fresh? Or do you find it's a challenge on top of your other blogging commitments?
I've had a really hard time keeping up with my blog this past year. I don't get writer's block as much as writer's fear (as evidenced by my inability to choose a blog name), and I'm unable to type any words or write any posts. I'm trying to get back into blogging slowly by waking up a little earlier in the mornings and spending some time reading blogs before getting ready for work. I miss writing about books, but sometimes I just can't.

-Which are your ideal companions while reading? Cats, Dogs, Rodents, or Caffeine?

I've had my cat Gino for about 10 years. Reading is the best when I'm sitting in my comfy arm chair, coffee beside me, cat in my lap, and book in my hands.

-What's your favorite thing/aspect of the blogging community?

I love how passionate everyone is about books and about forming friendships with other people who love books. I think book bloggers are unique among bloggers in the way we connect and support one another's work. It's really quite lovely.

-Tell me one thing that your readers might not know about you. 

I can recite all of the dialogue and sing all of the songs from the 1955 movie version of Oklahoma! It's a skill I'm sure will come in handy one day.

Thanks again to Cass for all her fun answers.  Make sure you head over to her blog today and have a look around!


  1. Wonderful interview!! I am learning so much about fellow bloggers!

    Happy BBAW!! Here is my BBAW: Interview Swap with Emma Cazabonne post.

  2. Definitely need to add The Book of Lost Things to my wishlist -- I love learning what fellow bloggers consider their favorite books of all time! That's a pretty good indication I'm going to love it!

    Great questions and answers -- off to explore Cass' spot next! :)

    1. My husband loves The Book of Lost Things too! I think I may have to pick it up sooner than planned now!

  3. Yeah, sure, a magical unicorn gave me my name too. That's right. ;) I like that answer Cass!

    1. ME TOO! That Magical Unicorn gets around man.

  4. wow! that is pretty impressive - Oklahoma.. Nowadays, I will be glad if I can remember.. well, what was i trying to say again? :)
    fun interview and BBAW has helped me so much already and we are still on day 2...

  5. I got my blog name from a green fairy. ;)

    Whenever I hear Oklahoma! I think of you, Cass. :)

  6. I loved reading this! Great interview and great answers!

  7. Knowing all the words to a musical is definitely a valuable life skill - I couldn't agree more! =)

    1. It should really go on her resume I think.

  8. I love the focus of Cass' blog now, way more intriguing to me - and relevant to my interests! - than the supposedly blogger mold so many of us (myself included) start in.

    Lovely interview!

  9. My blog name is silly, too and there's no good story behind it either. I love this interview. It's always fun to get to know bloggers better.