Keli Gwyn
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Meet the Reviewers: Kav at Best Reads

I met Kav when she posted a review of my book on her blog, Best Reads. She has such a fun way of writing a review that I read more of hers, was impressed, and added her site to the Christian Book Reviewers page on my website. I zapped her an email and asked if I could introduce my newfound book-loving friend to you, and she made my day by saying yes.

Kav is a Canadian who has a job any avid reader would love: library technician. As you might expect, she loves to read, having recently developed a love of inspirational fiction. She also enjoys writing, painting funky furniture, cooking Vegetarian meals, and supporting environmental concerns, including supporting local farmers and artisans. And she has a thing for chocolate, especially fair-trade Cocoa Camino and white hot chocolate.

I asked Kav three questions about her reading and review process. After that, you’re in for a treat, because you get to learn three fun things about the woman behind the reviews.

What led you to start reviewing books on your blog? When did you post your first review? What can your visitors expect in the future?

I started up by accident! I worked at a school board central library at the time and I was in charge of the novel studies and literature circles that rotated around the schools. I found I spent a lot of time helping teachers decide on what novel set they wanted to use because there wasn’t an easy system in place for them to browse through. So I had the idea of making up a blog for our sets. Every title had a new entry and I could label them by subject and grade. Made my life so much easier! So, what does that have to do with my starting a blog?

Well, about the same time I started reading Christian fiction exclusively and, since I’m an aspiring writer, I wanted a way to keep track of the books I read and note the strengths that I wanted to emulate in my own writing. Since I liked the way my novel study blog looked, I thought it was the perfect venue for my Christian fiction tally. I had no clue what I was doing though – no idea that you could keep a blog private – so I created my blog for my own use and blithely posted away thinking that I’d go unnoticed in the grand scheme of the bloggersphere.

Only one day somebody posted on my blog. And then I got some followers – new friendly little faces peering out at me every time I logged on. At first I was mortified because my ‘reviews’ weren’t so much reviews as little unformed sentence snippets meant to prompt my memory and encourage my writing skills. But I rallied and started posting actual reviews and ta-da – here I am!

If there’s an aspect of a story you don’t care for, you address it but do so with respect. How do you balance a reader’s desire for an honest review with your heart for the author of the work?

First off, I don’t review books I don’t like, if at all possible. I only review for one publishing group – Baker Publishing through Graf-Martin – a marketing company here in Canada. I’m given an opt in selection of books to review each month so I’m careful to pick titles, author and genres that interest me. Sometimes though, a book and I don’t click but I’m still obliged to review it. When that happens I’m careful to highlight the positives and offer gentle observations about other areas that I had issues with. I also try to coach those comments with ‘me’ sentences, so it’s clear that I’m not criticizing the author but commenting what I personally like and dislike. Hopefully I achieve a balance.

The other books I review on my blog are ones that I have purchased myself. If I love them, I review them. If I don’t love them, I don’t review them. Easy peasy.

When and where do you do most of your reading?

I do most of my reading on the bus…or standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus! I have a long commute to and from work. I’m in transit between three and five hours a day depending on the weather and traffic and if the buses are running on time (which they usually aren’t!) It would be unbearable if I couldn’t be carried away in a story! I also like to read in bed for a wee bit before lights out…and sometimes when I eat because I live alone …well, with my wee laddie Simba (a sheltie) but he’s not known for his stimulating dinner conversation. 🙂

And speaking of my boy-o – this is his picture in place of mine.

I’m terribly camera shy and take horrible pictures to boot – so not a good combination – so I rarely have my image captured. Except on my bus pass which makes me look like an unrepentant hatchet-murderess! Best I don’t scare your readers, so Simba is my stand in. We really look a lot a like – if you shorten the nose, smoosh the ears down a bit and of course mine don’t tip over like that. Oh, and my eyes are hazel not brown. And I wear glasses and Simba doesn’t. His face is black, but mine is white. I’m not as furry as he is either. And my tongue isn’t as long as his. And my nose doesn’t twitch at the faintest scent of squirrel. But other than that, we’re pretty much carbon copies. They do say that people who live together grow in likeness over the years. 🙂

Three Fun Facts About Kav

It must be way cool to spend time in a library and get paid for it. What are three aspects of your job you most enjoy?

Buying books. Reading to kids. Creating bulletin boards.

Painting funky furniture sounds like lots of fun. What’s one of your favorite projects so far?

My favourite project to date was painting an Adriondack chair for a teacher’s retirement gift. She loved Kevin Henke’s picture books so I put all these little mice scurrying around all over it with Chrysanthemum on the back center.

I usually pull old abandoned chairs from the garbage and spiffy them up with glue and paint. Very artsy crafty style. Polka dots and stripes, tons of colours – no two chair legs look the same! Mary Engelbreit is my inspiration.

I also painted a full set of chairs for one of the school libraries I worked in. Each chair was a different book character. That was a HUGE project! Took me all summer!

Chocolate lovers unite! If you won an all-expenses-paid chocolate sampling trip to any place in the world, where would you go, and why?

This is going to sound strange but – Ireland. For a bunch of reasons. First, I was born there and I love the country! Secondly, I lived there for two years after school and rented a flat in an area of Dublin close to a couple of candy factories. The air was permeated with the smell of melting chocolate and my landlady used to bring ends of all the best chocolate bars home at the end of her shift and she’d share them. Blissful sigh. So whenever I think chocolate, I think of Ireland.

Kav’s Question for You

If you were a dog, what breed would you be? And why? Or if you’re not a dog lover – what animal do you most identify with and why?

Keli Gwyn

7 Comments

  • I would love to visit Ireland!! I’m a cat-lover though I like dogs well enough. 🙂 Also, I don’t live alone but I always read when I eat! *grin* Thanks for sharing about yourself! I’ve seen you around cyberspace and it’s nice to learn more about you. 😉

    • Kav says:

      I’ve seen you around too Jessica! Cyberspace is a whole alternate universe, isn’t it? Glad I’m not the only one who reads when I eat. 🙂 I love cats too, but they don’t love me…achooo!

      And thanks, Keli for inviting me over.

  • Great learning about you, Kav! I’m a huge fan of chocolate, too. Dark is my favorite.

    I have a Cocker Spaniel so I guess that would be my choice of breed. Either that or a husky, because I prefer cold weather, lol.

    Great interview, Keli!

  • Kav says:

    Hi Brandi,

    I love cocker spaniels! They have the bestest ears!!!! Brrr to prefering cold weather — but I guess if I had a fur coat as thick as a husky, I might not mind it so much. Just don’t go asking me to pull a sled around town!

  • Ganise says:

    Hi Kav!! =)
    SO happy to see you here!
    This was a great idea, Keli! Kav has a really good blog.

    Now for the question. I don’t really know a lot about dogs. But I like the cute ones!! You know, the small, hairy puppies? They ALWAYS make me grin when I see them (I’m even grinning now as I’m typing this), so I guess we could go with that.

    Thank you for this post, Kav, Keli. I’m glad to have stopped by.

    🙂

  • Kav says:

    LOL — so does that mean you’re uber cute, Ganise? Just like those puppies? Really — who can resist a fuzzy faced pup, right? Not me that’s for sure. Wouldn’t mind having their energy either. 🙂

  • karenk says:

    Keli…thanks for ‘sharing’ kav w/ us…a great posting 🙂

    Kav…love your blog…and Simba, too 🙂

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