Blogger Brunch – A shot of crime fiction
Blogger brunch – One of the best things about the book world is the lovely bloggers you meet and get to know. On line at events and on blog tours. So we’ve opened up the doors today for a brunch with one of our favourites – Ayoola Onatade. Ayo take it away!
Tell us about yourself and your blog
I am a commentator and avid reader, blogger and critic of anything and everything crime, detective and mystery fiction related. I live in South East London and work as a civil servant with very senior members of the UK Judiciary as my day job. I run and write for the blog Shotsmag Confidential. It is part of Shotsmag.co.uk. I blog about anything and everything crime fiction related. This ranges from being involved in blog tours, Q&A’s with authors, information about crime fiction events (whether or not I am due to attend the event), award nominations and results, call for papers that are crime fiction related, book launches, “news” about crime fiction films, books, television series, book deals, theatre, books to look forward to from publishers and anything else that I can find.
I blog on average about three times a week. Sometimes even more. It depends on what information I want to put up and also if I have the time to do it. I go to quite a number of events each year. There are some over the last ten years that I have gone to on a regular basis. These events are St Hilda’s Crime and Mystery Conference that takes place every August at St Hilda’s College and CrimeFest in Bristol. I have only missed one CrimeFest since it started. In addition I now attend on a regular basis Newcastle Noir. It also looks like Deal Noir is also going to become a regular on my list of events as well. I also irregularly attend Bouchercon, which takes place in a different part of the US each year. I am going to New Orleans later on this year.
Where is your favourite reading spot? Do you eat whilst reading? Listen to music?
I have two favourite reading spots. The first one is lying on my sofa (normally with a drink beside me) and the other place is lying in bed. I hardly ever listen to music when I am reading as I find it a distraction but I can listen to the radio for some silly reason and do often listen to classic noir radio programmes whilst I am reading. I will eat and read at the same time. I mean who doesn’t?
The book that has left a lasting impression on you? What about a booktrail?
Hmm, that is not an easy question to answer. I would have to say that it is Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler. But then again I can think of at least two other books as well that have left a last impression. I haven’t been on a book trail but if I could be on one then it would have to be in Italy. It is one of my favourite places in Europe. However, if I wanted to go on a long book trail then I would have to say the US as long as in both cases the books were solely crime fiction.
What was the most overhyped book you read?
As I generally tend to read books sometimes as early as six months in advance I am not really that affected by over hyped-books. However the one book that certainly falls into that category would be Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. I could appreciate the fact that it was a page-turner but it was certainly in my opinion overhyped. It is clear that was the whole intention and whilst this is only my opinion I really don’t think that it was a well-written page-turner. I am pretty precious about my books and The Da Vinci Code is one of the few books that I nearly threw against the wall.
What do you think is it that book bloggers add to the reading community?
I think that book bloggers add a lot to the community. Most importantly they are passionate about books. Furthermore, because every blogger’s tastes are different you find yourself reading about a wide variety of books. Books that you may otherwise may have missed. There is also the added fact that because of the way in which the broadsheets have cut back on book reviews blogs especially specific genre blogs appear to be the best place to go to about books especially if you want to find out about books that are not best sellers but are still really good reads. Bloggers are also fun to hang out with.
Your reading life in 5 books:
This was the very first crime book I read when I was ten years old.
This book changed my taste in crime novels. I came to realise that I loved noir books and films and the sense of wickedness and danger that they portray.
I read this book whist I was doing my o-levels and it was the first autobiography that I read that did not feel as if it was an autobiography. It was funny, full of interesting information about collecting animals and what fun it was to live in Corfu with a rather eccentric family full of love. It was full of laughter, interesting asides and a sense of humour that made you want to laugh every time you turned a page. I am looking forward to watching the new television adaptation.
It was the first African novel that looked at the social and political aspects of Igbo society and the effects of European colonisation on Africa. Specifically Nigeria in this case. It was also one of the first books written by an African author that had worldwide appeal.
I have stopped at four because I have found it difficult to choose a fifth book. It would be a toss up between T H White’s Once and Future King, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, The Colour Purple by Alice Walker, The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco and Val McDermid’s The Mermaid’s Singing.
The one book I think I have spoken about to various friends (mainly those that are not big crime fiction readers) that I have suggested that they read is China Mieville’s The City and The City.
If you could visit any fictional setting in a book where would it be and why?
It would have to be Vigàta in Andrea Camilleri’s series featuring Inspector Salvo Montalbano. I would be able to indulge myself in some of the glorious Italian food that Montalbano is always eating and feature in the books.
Which literary character are you most like?
To be honest I don’t think I am like any literary character. I know who I would like to be!
Who would you like to be?
Who would you like to marry?
If I had a choice then it would be Roarke who is the incredibly rich Irish American husband of Lieutenant Eve Dallas the main protagonist who is a police officer in J D Robb’s futuristic police procedurals.
Thanks Ayoola -it’s been fun!