Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #4: Pamela Coughlan, a.k.a. MotherReader

h1 February 5th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

Hey, we’ve been scooped! The Cybils decided to interview MotherReader at the very same time that we did! And somehow we didn’t notice until this moment that the Cybil interviews and our 7ITBB ones start off with the same two questions. Oh well, since we’re fellow Cybilians, I hope Anne and Kelly & Co. aren’t too miffed at us. And really, with the double-interview thing going on, do you need any more proof that Pamela Coughlan truly is the Mother Of All Readers? Can we officially declare this MotherReader Week? Get your Mo Willems tealights out…

What we love about MotherReader: She’s funny. Really, really funny. Her Tulane Readers Theatre post was one of the funniest things seen on any blog so far this year. And she’s passionate about great books, especially of the funny variety. She’s even got a MotherReader Suggests… sidebar on her blog, listing funny choices for every stage of reading, from newborns all the way to adults. She’s also unflinchingly honest about the not-so-great books, and has recently spearheaded a movement to prevent celebrities from misusing their fame to monopolize the children’s lit market: BACA, Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors. Can I get a “Hell Yeah!”?

And when Gail Gauthier pointed out – not unreasonably – that “Getting upset about celebrity authors is like getting upset because it’s hot in the summer or cold in the winter,” MotherReader’s response was “I know that complaining about celebrity authors is a futile as getting upset about the weather, but I’d also write about the cold winter on my blog, so it’s all good.” Yup, reading MotherReader’s complaints about the cold weather would even be funny to us, ’cause she manages to make just about everything amusing and interesting.

{And, Jules would like to add, amen to Mamas Who Read and Think, like MotherReader does} . . .

Here’s what MotherReader herself has to say about her unique contributions to the kidlitosphere:

Five months into my blogging, I issued the 48 Hour Book Challenge, where bloggers read and reviewed as much as they could in two days. It was done in June last year, and I’m looking at early June for this year. I’ve been a contributor to The Edge of the Forest for the last several months and am now on the editorial board. I’ve been invited to post at Reading Moms, where I may feature more mom-centric writing. I’m also known as a bit of a Mo Willems fanatic, though I don’t know why.

And now, without further ado, the interview proper. Oh, no, wait – there’s a little ado: the Perfunctory Curse Word Disclaimer. Remember that we use the Pivot Questionnaire in our interviews. Remember that it includes the what-is-your-favorite-curse-word question. It’s optional for folks to answer, but if they do, we will not edit their responses in any way; yup, we’ll post their responses exactly as they send them to us. Some people might not use “*”s to edit their saucy words. If you’re easily offended, just don’t read that question.

What do you do for a living?

MotherReader: I’m a part-time children’s library assistant, (or as I prefer to say, a common-law librarian) and a full-time mom (two girls, ages seven and ten).

How long have you been blogging?

MotherReader: Since January 2006.

Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?

MotherReader: I started to practice writing and to share something that was important to me, books. I’m still doing it for those reasons, but I also enjoy the community aspect of blogging – the commenting, the dialogue, and the sharing among like-minded people.

Which blog or site would you take to the prom to show off and you love it so much you could marry it?

MotherReader: I’m more about friendship than showing off, so I’d pick my BFF (blog friend forever) Fuse#8. She’s dedicated to her blog, she writes very well, she finds interesting things to share, she gives props to other blogs, she has a great turn of phrase, and she has access to exciting things. Many of the great blogs I love have some of these factors. No one else has all of them. In the non-kid lit world, I love A-list blogger Defective Yeti, because he’s a great and funny writer, and the snarky Go Fug Yourself, for the most continually creative and hysterical writing on the Internet.

What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and blogging?

MotherReader: Well, occasionally I make movies with my husband. That’s kind of fun. Other than that I like hanging with my kids, talking to my friends, and trolling the local bars. (Okay, the last one was a joke) . . .

What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/ipod lately?

MotherReader: Spam-a-lot. In January I went with my college friends to New York City to see the musical. I’ve been playing the Taylor Hicks CD in the car. American Idol is my guilty pleasure. I don’t listen to music much. When I’m alone in the car, I usually talk on the phone or drive in silence, thinking my own thoughts without (kid) interruptions.

If you could have three (living) authors over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?

MotherReader: Kind of like the prom question, I wouldn’t want to go out for drinks with someone just to show off. I’d want to go out with people that I could see as my peeps. So, John Green (have you seen his videos?), Lisa Yee (seems like a total riot), and Mo Willems (duh).

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

MotherReader: After doing the 100 Things about me list and putting little bits of my life into my blog, I can’t imagine what people wouldn’t know about me. But here’s one. Unless I’m actively engaged, I’m like a four year old in meetings. I fidget. I doodle. I rest my chin on my hand. Sometimes it’s all I can do to stay in the room and not scream.

The Pivot Questionnaire:
What is your favorite word?

MotherReader: “Mommy.” It evokes such wonderful feelings for me whether said, read, or heard.

What is your least favorite word?

MotherReader: “Gag.” In fact, I’d say that with the exception of “wag,” and maybe “bag” the “ag” words in general aren’t great.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

MotherReader: People, people who need people.

What turns you off?

MotherReader: Stupid people. I know, it’s like a paradox.

What is your favorite curse word?

MotherReader: “Fuck,” in all its forms. Though I’m partial to “motherfucker.”

What sound or noise do you love?

MotherReader: My kids playing.

What sound or noise do you hate?

MotherReader: My kids fighting.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

MotherReader: Author. (current favorite possible title – An Irony Prone Life)

What profession would you not like to do?

MotherReader: President. The meetings would kill me.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

MotherReader: “Good job.”

13 comments to “Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #4: Pamela Coughlan, a.k.a. MotherReader”

  1. Great interview, Jules, Eisha, and MR!

    MR: I agree about Fuse. She has all those things.
    Also…I totally agree about the kids fighting. I am praying for the day when my 2 stop.

  2. P.S. On behalf of the Cybils–not mad.

  3. Thanks for giving me the chance to share the essence that is MotherReader (now also available in aerosol) with you and the kidslitosphere in general. These interviews are very much fun.

  4. Great interview! Avid MotherReader readers are always glad for more.

  5. I’ve been a huge fan of MR ever since I found out she has the same last name as me. Though, to be fair, I had it first. 😉

    One of my favorite little “MRisms” — and one none of you get to see firsthand — is when she cracks *herself* up, saying, “How can you stand it that I’m so funny?”

  6. This is swell. I interview on my site and have been tryingto figure out my particular questions a la the Actor’s Studio ones you use here (which I think have their origin elsewhere?).

  7. Another great interview, E & J! Keep it up!

  8. Like Kelly said, no prob on the two profiles. It’s MotherReader week in the blogosphere–we all win.

    Great interview.

  9. ug words are almost as bad as ag words, dontcha think? Mug. Lug. Ugggh.

    This interview was decidedly un-ag and un-ug. Fun fun fun. Thanks!

  10. well, thank you, everyone! esp. motherreader for so graciously handling all this unwanted attention.

    bibliochef: yup, james lipton lifted the questionnaire from bernard pivot, a french journalist who used the questionnaire on his show “boullion de culture” or something.

  11. Mother Reader makes a great interview!

  12. I love that FatherReader is such a fan as evidenced by his comment above.

  13. Nadzwyczajnie dobry serwis. Trafne przemyslenia na pewno zaprosze znajomych

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