BBAW: Meet Jeanne!

Today’s topic for Book Blogger Appreciation Week is an interview swap.  I’m delighted to introduce my interview partner, Jeanne Griggs.  She has a PhD in English and is the woman behind Necromancy Never Pays. Without further ado:

Tell us three non-book related things about yourself.

1.  I met my husband at college in Arkansas and married him the summer I graduated, 28 years ago.  We vacation with some of our college friends at the beach in South Carolina every other summer, and others come to our house in Ohio from the east coast and even Colorado for the once-every-decade big event of our annual tea and poetry reading.

2.  I quit commuting to an adjunct teaching job at the end of last spring and have reverted to my chronic state of being underemployed at a local college, where I am the Director of the Writing Center.  I’m currently pushing for more administrative hours and to teach a writing course there.

3.  I’m tall (in high school I used to say I was 5’12”) and so no one notices until my weight goes up or down by 50 pounds–I was six months into my first pregnancy before anyone knew for sure.  I started my blog while recovering from a knee replacement (necessary because of an old injury) and I’ve been trying to take some weight off so the replacement will last longer; I’m 40 pounds down.

How would you describe your blog to someone who’s never been there?

It’s where I talk to people about the books I’m reading and the poems I think about from week to week; I hope to find more truths about life from literature than just that necromancy never pays.

You’ve been book blogging for over two years now. Any advice to people just starting out?

Actually it’s over three years now.  I’d say that you should find ways to make sure that your blogging is part of a conversation.  Find at least five or six blogs you check every day to see what that person is up to.  I’ve never been able to get in the habit of using a feed reader, because I’m more interested in what particular people say than I am in reading about particular books or issues.

Has your taste in books changed since you started blogging?

No, but I’ve developed a habit of not mentioning all the trashy novels I read or the books I begin and haven’t finished (I usually finish them eventually, but it can take me years, and then I don’t always want to talk about it because it’s finally OVER).

Has a book ever evoked a physical reaction from you (crying, laughing out loud, etc.)?

Oh, yeah—all the time.  My daughter finds it curious when I sit across the room with tears running down my face.  And I laugh out loud while reading way more than I cry.  One of the stories I know I’ve told on the blog before is about the first time I read David Sedaris’ essay “Six to Eight Black Men” from Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and I literally couldn’t stop laughing—and I was in public!  And I have a big, loud laugh!  And I was embarrassing my kids!

Do you ever judge books by their covers?

Not really.  Sometimes I get intrigued by titles.  One time I bought a book because the cover flap had some story about how, now that I’d touched the book, I was involved in a life-threatening mystery.  I thought it was funny and put the book into the hands of everyone else in my family before we left the store.

What are your thoughts on e-readers?

They’re too expensive for me.  I’d use one when traveling, but am trying not to “lust after one in my heart,” to paraphrase Jimmy Carter.

What book would you like to be a character in?

Since I was eleven I’ve been trying to figure out what character I could be in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, but although I’d like to be, as The Little Mermaid sings, “Part of Your World,” I just don’t see me getting along with Frodo or Aragorn.  I’m afraid that I’m much more likely to be one of the minor characters in Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock, standing around snickering.

What is one book-related thing that you are absolutely, positively passionate about?

That people should not confuse the speaker of a poem with the poet, or what a character in a novel says with what the author of the novel believes.

You’re stranded on a desert island and can take 3 authors with you (the actual people, not their books). Who do you take?

Geez, what I know about most authors doesn’t want to make me socialize with them.  I’m a bit of a misanthrope myself, you know.  I’ve always thought I would have liked to actually meet and get to know Douglas Adams—I did once hear him read from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  So maybe three of the Monty Python writers?  Time would pass pleasantly on the island with them.  I really couldn’t stand being around some of my favorite authors—too earnest, too dramatic, too anti-social, and many of them way too many years dead.

Jeanne also interviewed me, and you can read that interview on her blog. Thanks Jeanne! 🙂



  1. SFP

    Yay for Jeanne! But she would not want to be trapped on an island with late-life Douglas Adams (not that she said she would. This is for anyone else). We went to a so-called reading during that period and he was totally consumed with some website or game or maybe it was both that he was behind and it just wasn’t what would sustain you under even non-deserted island circumstances. The Monty Python writers would be much better.

  2. Valerie

    Great interview, and nice to find your blog. I enjoy Jeanne’s blog, and have for a while. I know one author (actually, poet) who she would not want to be stranded on an island with… Franz Wright 😛 !

  3. Jenners

    I think Jeanne is so interesting … and she’s exposed me to poetry I would not have come across otherwise.

    I like her advice of making blogging a conversation. I do try to do that … but I struggle with trying to have “conversations” with more than 10 or 12 people on a regular basis. There is only so much time in a day. Lately I’ve found myself becoming more of a lurker or an infrequent commenter because of that.

    I like to think of myself as underemployed too … it sounds more flattering!

    Wonderful interview.

  4. Melissa

    I just wanted to thank everyone for stopping by and commenting, and of course Jeanne for providing such great answers! 🙂

    Jenners – I’m more of a lurker myself. It’s definitely something I have to work on!

    Kim – It’s always great to see people who used to work in a writing center. I was a tutor up until last month, then I got hired as an adjunct for the fall.

  5. Carina

    I love what you said about finding a few blogs to follow closely and have a conversation with – it’s something that makes me happier about my blogging, and I’m sad that I don’t have as much time to do this as I would like to most of the time. But there definitely are a few blogs that I follow much more closely than others.

    Also, I’m new here! 🙂

  6. Pingback: BBAW: Future Treasures | The Feminist Texican [Reads]

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