Feb 16

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: The Interview Day!

Hey guys, welcome to Day #2 of Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Today is the interview day, and I have the pleasure of hosting and interviewing a fellow book-blogger – Sharlene from Olduvai Reads.

She is originally from Singapore, but currently lives in San Francisco. By her own admission, she is a full-time mom, a part-time reader, a part-time writer, and loves to read a wide variety of genres from Classics to Sci-Fi to Fantasy to Non-Fiction. Oh and she loves Graphic Novels too! Some of her favorite authors are – Ursula K Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood, Kage Baker and Anthony Doerr.

As a part of BBAW Interviews – here are my questions to her, and her answers to them.

Have you always been a reader? Which book/series introduced you to reading?

I guess I have pretty much always been a reader! I have fond memories of my mum reading to my sister and I before bed. She would sit on the floor between our two beds and read to us. She also regularly took us to the library and the bookstore. As a kid in Singapore, a former British settlement, I grew up on Enid Blyton, Mallory Towers, the Faraway Tree and all that. My sister and I also loved the Noel Streatfeild series. I think what shaped my more grown-up version of reading was my A-Level literature teacher in Singapore who introduced us to Carol Shields’ The Stone Diaries. And that book will always have a special place in my (reading) heart.

Which are your favorite genres to read? Are there genres you do not reach for/avoid?

I read a relatively wide variety of books. I love comics and graphic novels. I adore fantasy and sci-fi. I also read a lot of contemporary fiction and the occasional non-fiction. But I don’t really read much romance or chick lit. I have tried some, but it’s not really for me!

What made you start a book blog, and what is your favorite thing about book-blogging?

When I first started blogging (a long time ago), my original blog (http://olduvai.blogspot.com) was a very personal one. I was working then for an online news site in Singapore and wrote movie reviews, among other things. I guess my blog then was to er, rant about things. The usual 20-something-year-old rambling thoughts there (or maybe that was just me). It somehow turned into more of a Singapore food blog. Then when I moved to the US, and ate out far less, (I was on a non-working spousal visa, we lived in the suburbs) it morphed into a book blog. I wanted a place to figure out what I thought about all these books that I was reading.  


As a mom to a young child, how do you find/make the time to read, and blog, while taking care of everything else?

It helps that there’s two of them! 😛

Just to backtrack a little, I have two boys, aged 2 and 4. And ever since last year, they’ve been playing together. I still have to break up the quarrels and almost-fights, but generally they do ok, and so I have to just listen out for them sometimes. I am typing this right now in my room while they’re playing lego and running around!

I like to read in front of them. I think (or at least I hope) it will show them that reading is something I enjoy doing, and that hopefully they will continue to enjoy reading as they get older. It also does help that they both attend preschool in the mornings, so that I can do household-y things on my own, and sometimes sit down and blog a bit. I often wish I could blog more regularly, and come up with better ideas, but I try not to guilt-trip about the blogging. I’ll never be a successful blogger, but that’s ok. It’s just a place where I can think about the books I’m reading!

Which is a book you would recommend to everyone irrespective of their reading tastes and preferences?

Oh, that is a tricky question!!

I would like to recommend Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. It was first published in Japanese in 1981 and is considered a childhood memoir, mostly of the unconventional education that Kuroyanagi received at Tomoe Gakuen, a Tokyo elementary school. The sweet innocence of the children, the unusual methods of education, the creativity of the principal and the teachers, it is all very inspiring and very heartwarming. It is set during the second world war, but we only see hints of it through Totto-Chan’s eyes. Unfortunately the cover will make it hard to push onto some people but I think many will be won over by Totto-Chan. I sure was.

Thank you so much for your answers, Sharlene. It was wonderful getting to know you. 

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this post, and getting to know Sharlene, as much as I did. 🙂 You can check out my interview on her blog over HERE.

Lots of Love


  1. Lovely interview. Will look up the recommendation.

  2. This was interesting. And I added to my TBR!
    Obsessivemom recently posted…When I look in the mirror, I see..My Profile

  3. I loved getting to know more about Sharlene –she’s a blogger I first met through food and then through the books. I encourage you to add her to your feed reader.
    Beth F recently posted…BBAW 2016: Day 2: Getting to Know a Blogger (Interview)My Profile

  4. Well, my TBR list just grew a bit. Thanks!
    Katie @ Words for Worms recently posted…BBAW: Interview with Suzi from Whimpulsive!My Profile

  5. Adding books to my TBR pile (as usual for these interviews!!)

  6. Wonderful interview. It was great to know about Sharlene. And I have been meaning to read some Japanese fiction(translated though :-P), I’m adding “Totto -chan:The little girl at the window” to my list. 🙂
    Honey Bee recently posted…Weekend with BeeMy Profile

  7. It’s always so interesting to me to see which books are beloved by people in different countries. I remember the Noel Streatfeild books too!

    Sharlene’s blog is a frequent read of mine but I still learned a few new things about her!
    Lindsey recently posted…Book Bloggers Appreciation Week: InterviewsMy Profile

  8. Thanks so much for the interview Shantala!

  9. I’m loving the interviews and getting to know more about different bloggers. I’m pretty sure that I’ve visited to look at cooking posts. With very interesting food. 🙂
    Kay recently posted…BBAW – About Melwyk – The Indextrious Reader…My Profile

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