Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #15:
Mindy at Propernoun.net (our favorite book-lovin’
forklift-driver wannabe)

h1 March 26th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

There’s been a lot of talk lately in the kidlitosphere about the joy of a renowned blogger giving a rookie blogger some attention, even if it’s just visiting a new site and leaving a comment. When you first step foot into the cyber world of blogs, it’s exciting and a bit of a relief when someone you’ve never even met pops up and says that she or he is paying attention. Well, for us here at 7-Imp — back in August of last year when we first started this venture — Mindy at Propernoun was our very first visitor (who wasn’t one of our parents or good friends or who wasn’t either one of us responding to the other’s post — in other words, our first kidlitosphere blogger to drop by). She knocked on our cyber-door (on August 18th, to be exact — we looked it up), and said in response to Jules’ review of Jimmy Liao’s The Sound of Colors: “I read this one recently too and liked it. It really is a beautiful ode to bravery and imagination. Great review!” Squealing ensued. (And to give credit where credit is due, I remember Kelly at Big A, little a mentioning our blog at her site at some early point, but I do know that Mindy was our First Blogger to Leave a Comment). We had been noticed in the vast space that is cyber!

And noticed, at that, by someone as respected and smart and classy as Mindy. Mind you, this is not the sole reason we love her site (how vain would that make us?). Yet, because of it, we have a special place in our collective blog-heart for her. We admit it.

Back to what makes Mindy and Propernoun so great . . . If you need to know the specifics, you can read here, but suffice it to say that Mindy really knows her stuff — she has an MLS degree; has always had a passion for YA lit; has worked as a YA librarian at a public library; reviews adult non-fiction for Library Journal; has volunteered at a K-8 school in order to give picture books and young children a stronger focus (stating on her site, “I knew fairly quickly that I wanted to work with teens and teen books after library school”); and currently works as a Collection Development Librarian for a book distributor. She recently posted about her job, which truly sounds kickin’, and shared:

In my position at the public library, I did collection development and teen programming, but the focus was very definitely on programming. Now I’ve swung the other direction, and my focus is entirely on books — not just teen books but all levels, which is much fun. I have become much more aware of reviews since I spend most of my day reading them. I’m also more tuned in to upcoming books than I used to be . . .

That’s pretty clear if you visit her blog on a regular basis. Mindy gives us thoughtful book reviews, and you’re guaranteed to get a lot of book thoughts from her. And if you’re looking for an informed, intelligent opinion on upcoming titles (particularly YA), she’s one of your best resources. It’s what she does — and does well (though she sometimes throws in other features for fun, as you’ll read below — for instance, interviews: ProperNoun will be a stop on March 30 for Margo Rabb’s current blog tour). Not to mention, check this out. And this. Excellent. (Note to Selves: Start reading lists like that).

When asked about her blog’s purpose and features, she said:

When I first started, my blog goal was to keep track of the books I read, so my blog is largely book reviews. Eventually my blog goal became about making connections (between books, from books to other stuff, to other bloggers), so I try to include Readalikes, comparisons to other books, links to author info or other reviews as much as I can in my posts. Occasionally I post topical lists of books or commentary on books/reading, and I try to point people to other blog posts I think are especially cool with the “Around the blogs . . .” feature in the sidebar {Editors’ Note: We highly suggest you check out that neat feature} and as the occasional post. I try to include all levels from picture books to adult, but I think my reviews are mostly YA fiction.

We also like her Coming Soon — Not Yet Published feature. And, if you keep up with her blog and pay close attention, you’ll find she has wonderful resources embedded in her posts, such as this link to this Guide to Historical Fiction for Teens (a .pdf file, originally created for the reader’s advisory notebook at the public library where she used to work). And the post in which you will find that link also includes her list of her favorite recent historical fiction titles, including a list of resources for further reading at the bottom. She works hard, that Mindy!

And we must add that she also put in some serious Cybils time, serving as administrator for the Non-fiction (Middle Grade and YA) category and panelist for the YA Fiction category. As for the latter, do you know how much reading those panelists had? Yeesh. Pat on the back for Mindy there. Here’s what Jen Robinson, administrator for the YA Fiction category, had to say about Mindy’s work: “Mindy was a joy to have on the Cybils young adult fiction nominating committee. She was organized and always prepared. Her thorough experience with the genre helped the group to successfully sort through some 80 nominated titles.” Kelly Herold, co-creator of the award, said: “Mindy was one of the first volunteers for the Cybils. And, she took on the most difficult category — Middle Grade and Young Adult non fiction. She worked tirelessly in getting together volunteers in for the judging and nominating panels and was never frustrated with members on her committee. She’s patient, smart, and well organized. We at the Cybils LOVED working with her.” And Becky (at the LiveJournal Book Reports) worked as a nominating panelist with Mindy as her administrator in the Non-fiction (Middle Grade and YA) category and stated, “Mindy was a delight to work with . . . Her librarian skills blazed bright as she hunted down copies for us to read and kept us organized with an email group, several online spreadsheets and databases (complete with codes!), and deadlines.”

As for her blog’s title, “it’s really pretty random,” she told us. “It seemed like every play on words that involved the word ‘book’ was already taken, so I brainstormed random ideas for a domain name. I thought ‘Propernoun.net’ sounded cool, and I’ve always been a bit of a word nerd, so it seemed appropriate. It seemed easiest to call the blog by the domain name because then people wouldn’t forget how to find it.” (She even created a “What is a proper noun?” page, since some people end up at her site looking for some noun info. Now, that’s one way to deal with unintended visitors to your site, eh?) . . .

So, yup, if it’s not already clear, Mindy is a distinct voice in the kidlitosphere landscape, and we love her site. And we had fun learning more about her, too — we especially love that she’s such a big music fan, as we are. (Again, just when are we going to have our big kidlitosphere conference so that we can all meet and hang out?) . . . Without further ado, here she is . . .

7-Imp: What do you do for a living?

Mindy: Well, I always say I’m a librarian, but that can be confusing because I don’t work in a library. I work as a Collection Development Librarian for a book distributor, which means that I help librarians choose books for their libraries. My background is in public libraries, where I’ve worked in various capacities.

7-Imp: How long have you been blogging?

Mindy: I started book blogging on livejournal back in 2003, and I’ve been at Propernoun.net since 2005.

7-Imp: Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?

Mindy: I started as a way of helping myself remember what I read. My early reviews ranged from a few brief sentences, like “Humorous teen romance. Fun read for girls. Would recommend” to overly long, overly personal reactions to some of my favorite books. Since I’ve moved to Propernoun.net, I’ve tried to stick to a system for my reviews, including a “booktalk” kind of paragraph, especially for the YA fiction, along with a bit of personal reaction and as much info on awards, readalikes, etc. as I can. That kind of info comes in handy when I want to booktalk the title a few months later or when someone asks about a particular book. I have a horrible memory, and it helps to have all this information written and saved. Some time during the last two years, I discovered the kidlitosphere, and I just love that there are all these people who love kids/YA books as much as I do. It’s been great to get more involved in such a friendly community.

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

Mindy: This is a tough question! There are so many great blogs . . . Lately I’ve been especially infatuated with The Miss Rumphius Effect with her thematic book lists. I always take something I can use from her posts.

7-Imp: What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and blogging?

Mindy: I’m really into music. Well, listening to it anyway — my husband is the musician in the family. There is a great local music scene in Minneapolis-St. Paul, which is one of the reasons we really like living here. I’ve been into zines since I was a teenager, reading them and making them. Also my husband and I just bought a fixer-upper of a house, so my newest hobby is home improvement!

7-Imp: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Mindy: People who don’t know me in real life may not know that I have a congenital limb deficiency, and I wear a Captain Hook style prosthetic arm — though I’ve posted a few times about my special interest in books that deal with disabilities, so perhaps everyone already knows that. Another interesting factoid about me that comes up occasionally is that I homeschooled from 7th grade through high school, which resulted in me starting college a bit early. I went directly from my undergrad to library school, so I had my first professional position at the age of twenty-one, which was probably too young for me to have that kind of responsibility. Fortunately, the library where I worked as a YA librarian was great about helping me to grow into the position, and it turned out to be an exceptionally valuable experience. Particularly rewarding was that I got to know a homeschooling family in my community who became regulars at all my YA programs.

7-Imp: What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/iPod lately?

Mindy: The new Arcade Fire is probably the most listened to CD in my house right now, because my husband is obsessed with it. Near to it are some of my old favorites like The Rentals, Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, Stars, and Papas Fritas. My current favorite CD is actually by some good friends of mine: Pretty Songs About Ugly Things by The Akai {pictured to the left}. I highly recommend giving it a listen. Even if I didn’t know the band personally, it would still be one of my favorite CDs.

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

Mindy: I’ve read an interview recently with Garret Freymann-Weyr, and some of the things she said were fascinating, so I’d love a chance to chat with her. Also, John Green, because I like his blog {link from the image on the left, “Brotherhood 2.0″}. And Jonathan Safran Foer, because Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a favorite of mine.

* * * * * * *
The Pivot Questionnaire:
7-Imp: What is your favorite word?

Mindy: “hello.”

7-Imp: What is your least favorite word?

Mindy: I don’t really like “folk” or “belly.”

7-Imp: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Mindy: Stories, poetry, music.

7-Imp: What turns you off?

Mindy: Negativity.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word?

Mindy: Call me a nerd if you like, but I’m not much of a swearer. I use a lot of “fooey” or “tripe” when needed.

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you love?

Mindy: One of my favorite sounds is the crunching of snow when you walk on it.

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you hate?

Mindy: Any bad sounds that emanate from my car.

7-Imp: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Mindy: I’m always talking about jobs I’d like to try for a day. Eventually, I’ll have to take a month off my real job to try a month’s worth of one day jobs. Things I’d like to try: Forklift driver, Florist, Mural Painter, Editor, Radio DJ, Game Show Host, Locksmith, etc.

7-Imp: What profession would you not like to do?

Mindy: I don’t want to be a bus driver. I’m not even very good at driving my car. I think a bus would be well outside of my skill set.

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

Mindy: “Here’s your To Do list.” I couldn’t stand an eternity of doing nothing. I need projects to keep me busy.

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30 comments to “Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #15:
Mindy at Propernoun.net (our favorite book-lovin’
forklift-driver wannabe)”

  1. Wow, I’m definitely blushing. Thanks, ladies!


  2. Thanks for the tip. A teen lady! I have added her to my bloglines.


  3. i’ve known Mindy for many, many years (note the ANTsan), and i’m so proud of the beautiful professional woman she’s become… i’ll love her even if she doesnt ‘go to heaven’, but stays here with me….. AntSan


  4. Speaking of that heaven question, I love Mindy’s response. I say, bring on the to-do lists, too; otherwise, I can’t get motivated at all.


  5. Oh, Mindy, you’ve made my day. Just when I was convinced no one was reading my blog, you claim blog infatuation. I’m so honored!
    Another great interview, Jules and Eisha. I just love these behind-the-scenes looks at great bloggers.


  6. Yay for another smart Cybils sister!

    (Incidentally, Min, God needs the bookshelves reorganized… I call the picture books…)


  7. Another great interview! It’s great to learn more about Mindy. Loved the heaven answer :)


  8. Mindy has a great blog! Thanks for another great interview.


  9. Thanks for opening up my eyes to the world of Mindy! What an awesome interview–though I was a little disturbed that her fave curse word is “tripe.” Now that’s just gross!!


  10. Thanks for another fine interview, ladies!

    Mindy, I really like your “Around the blogs” feature on Propernoun.


  11. Another great interview at 7 Imp! okay, now I must listen to some Arcade Fire. Ever’body’s talking about that band.


  12. I recently discovered Mindy’s blog and have really enjoyed it. Thanks for another wonderful interview.


  13. Thanks so much, Jules and Eisha, for giving us the chance, through these interviews, to get to know better people we already feel like we know.

    So great to learn more about Mindy, whose blog I’ve loved since I started out, and who was a tremendous asset throughout the whole Cybils process. I don’t think I could have managed being a committee chair and reading all of those YA Fiction nominated titles. No, I’m sure I couldn’t have.

    I especially liked “Any bad sounds that emanate from my car” as a sound to hate. So true!


  14. Yay, Mindy. Great interview, great interviewee.


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