Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Featured Blogger (13): Cat from Beyond Books!

LOOK! It's BACK! Friday Featured Blogger! For those of you who've known since the first half of the year 2009, you'll remember that I used to do a weekly blogger feature, typically showcasing quality bloggers who I felt deserved a little extra attention, attention that they might not have had already. Sometime in June or so, I started slacking off about that, but I really miss doing them (especially because I like finding out interesting thing about people!) so I'm REINSTATING IT.

And now I'll stop it with the random capitalizations, lest Maureen Johnson thinks I am trying to imitate her writing style.

Cat is the Canadian blogger behind the beautiful Beyond Books. Besides for being a design and photo extraordinaire (have you taken a look at her current blog header?) she is also funny, and leaves me the nicest comments--you know, the kind that I will jump at to respond to. Without further ado...

1. Hey! Tell us about yourself in a few short sentences.

I'm Cat! I'm in my early 30s and I live in the Province of Quebec where libraries do not cater to English readers. So I buy all my books because I can't get anything decent for free at the library. It is truly very sad and one of the reasons I hate living here. Yes, I was born and raised in this Province. One day I will get out. I have a husband, two Finnish Lapphund dogs (11 1/2 & 4 1/2) and I could speak about the dogs forever. Sorry, husband. Heh. I am the secretary to the Dean of a prominant music School in one of Quebec's only English Universities. It's a pretty demanding job and I don't have a lot of free time during the day to blog surf, which I find very sad.

2. Tell us about your blog. When did you start it and why? Where did the name come from? What interesting things can visitors expect?

Oh, it's a long story! But to try and make it short - I have been around on the internets since the mid-90s (yes, I am old). When I discovered blogging back in 2003 I named my personal blog Beyond Elsewhere - a name which included my favourite Sarah McLachlan song "Elsewhere". The many blogs I have had or still have are a variation on that name. I had a wedding blog when I was getting married called Beyond Bliss and when I made the decision to move the book review posts from my personal blog over to their own blog I chose Beyond Books, because I am creative like that and I enjoy themes! That was still long, sorry!

I don't have anything all that interesting on my blog. [Interviewer's note: I beg to differ.] I review mainly YA, urban fantasy, fantasy and some mystery. I'm picky in what I read. I like to escape and not have to think too much about what's going on. I have enough stress and thinking in my every day life! :)

3. What's a book-loving episode from your childhood that you can share with us?

When I was really young, my parents had this subscription thing where we'd get books in the mail. All these Dr. Seuss stories and Disney fairy tales. I remember the books would come once a month (?) and I was so excited to open that tiny box and get the newest book, which my Dad would then read to my sister and me. Those books smelled so good and I loved And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street and The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. And Snow White and the Seven Dwarves! It didn't last long I don't think, but boy was I thrilled with each book that showed up when I got home from school!

4. I love your beautiful banner! Can you tell us how it came about?

Thank you! Even with the backwards copy of Maggie Stiefvater's Lament? ha! Every single blog I have had I have always made sure it was season-related. I love to change up the images for holidays and seasons. I felt the images and colours I had were too wintery and I wanted something much more summery. So I carried a bunch of books out to the back yard, dropped them (I know! So careless with my books!) and took a photo to match the header to the colour scheme. It'll be changed again soon for the fall. So depending on when this gets posted, you may or may not see the summery green!

5. I admire your bravery for being able to drop your books in the name of art. :) Can you name 3 favorite books/series and explain why you think everyone should read them?

First one hands down - L.J. Smith's Secret Circle trilogy. I read them when they were first published in the early 90s and I was an angsty teen who wanted nothing more than to discover she, too, had magical powers. Sadly, I am not a super powerful witch like I have always wanted to be and I gave up trying to light candles with my mind because all I ever got as a result was a migraine. I reread this series almost every summer. My books are well loved.

Second - Polgara the Sorceress (ooh, look, another theme! I like themes!) by David & Leigh Eddings. Technically you should read the entire Belgariad and Mallorean series first by these authors, because this is a sort of companion-type-prequel. But when I discovered it, it had just come out in paperback and I was working in a bookstore and I was drawn to the cover like a moth to a flame and read this one without realizing it was part of a series.

Third - Maria V. Snyder's Study series (Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study). I only just discovered this author in 2009 and she has already reached the top of my list along with Smith and Eddings and a couple of others. These books, though found in the adult fantasy section of most bookstores would fit in well with the YA section too. I would highly recommend anything by this author.

6. What aspects of a book draw you to love it? Is it the characters? The romance? The author's writing style?

First thing that draws me to a book? It's cover. I am a self-proclaimed cover whore. I judge so many books by their covers and generally I am right on. To really make my Highly Recommended list a book has to enchant me with both it's writing style and characters. If I am completely immersed in the world that I am reading about and don't get distracted by the world I am actually living in? It's a great book!

7. What would your dream personal library look like?

Well, it would have English books for one. ;) But a goal of both mine and my husband's is to have a room completely dedicated to books in our next home. We can't quite get away with it in this house, but the next house we buy? I am totally gutting a room and putting in built-in bookcases and a nice comfortable chair maybe next to a fireplace (or one of those fake ones you can buy these days, which would cause less accidental burning down of the house and library). I want big bay windows on at least one wall, with a window seat and books surrounding me.

Not that I have given this much thought or anything.

8. What are some things you just LOVE to receive for presents? :)

Aside from the obvious - gift cards to bookstores! I also like iTunes gift cards (music actually comes before books for me) and office supplies. Yes. You buy me awesome funky pens or sticky-notes and I will likely worship you for the rest of my life.

9. And finally, what are two things about yourself that can spark conversation?

I sing and write songs. Is that two things or one? Not that the conversations that might spark would be all that interesting.

Um, I had the 3rd Finnish Lapphund in Canada. Also, my 11-year old Lappie, Annie had the first ever litter of Lappies in Canada in 2002. Yes, they are a rare breed in North America. ;)

I think I cheated on the numbers there. Sorry. *grin*


Do check out Cat's blog at Beyond Books or @beyondelsewhere on Twitter and say hello! Maybe if you gift her with some funky pens (heck, if you do that, send me some as well, for I love office supplies myself) she'll invite you over to check out the windowseat in her dream library when she gets it. Thank you so much, Cat: that was a lot of fun!


  1. I love Cat! she's hilarious and leaves the one of the best comments :D

  2. Your addition to question 5 about my bravery in dropping books in the name of art cracked me up! Ha! Thanks, Steph! I felt so flattered to be asked to participate in your featured blogger feature! You made my day when you emailed me. ;)

    Oh, and a note - That dog photo is actually one of mine (Annie, the black one) and her brother Dan, who is NOT mine - BUT he was the ring bearer in my wedding. Annie was the flower girl. Dan drove alllll the way up from Memphis to carry our wedding rings. Jinx (my 4 1/2 year old) was our wedding gift! Here is a current photo of my two babies if anyone want to see them. ;)

    Oh! And as of the first official day of Fall I should be changing the blog theme up! ;)

  3. Was very nice learning more about you Cat ! I too appreciate a new pad of paper and a good mechanical pencil and eraser. Oh, and you can NEVER go wrong with an itunes gift card !!! Your dogs are lovely ;)

  4. Lappies!! Great dogs and a great name for dogs. Are they LAP dogs?! Ha, they must hear that joke all the time.

  5. Your dogs look lovely, Cat!

    You are an awesome fellow Whedonite :)

  6. That took me back - I think we had a very similar book subscription for our kids. And my oldest wrote one of his college entrance essays about Green Eggs and Ham as a direct result.

    Those dogs are gorgeous!

  7. Lenore - Well, Jinx certainly thinks he's a lap dog.. but at 50lbs it's a little much for MY lap! ;)

  8. I like Cat's site. It's so neat and beautiful.

  9. Cat's blog is one of my newly found favorites. I'm excited to get a better look into her as a person thanks for sharing :)

  10. It is extremely interesting for me to read the article. Thank author for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I would like to read more soon.


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


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