Naomi: Can you tell us a little bit about what you do (for a living, for a hobby- whatever your focus of choice)?
GraceAnne: Most of my professional work for the past decade or so has been out of my home office: I review for Kirkus and for Booklist, I do research and writing for various library organizations, and I teach surveys of children’s and teen literature and an in-depth course called “Female Voices in Historical Narratives.”
I also spend a lot of time thinking about food, and its preparation, and cooking. I spend, I suspect, too much time amidst my CDs and iTunes, making playlists and wondering about the connections between medieval madrigals and Bruce Springsteen. I try to visit at least one museum every week: I had a double major in English literature and Art History, and art is as necessary to me as lunch or Vivaldi or Tolkien.
I also function as personal assistant for my son, the sf and media tie-in writer Keith DeCandido.
Naomi: If you could take any of your hobbies and create a job out of them or integrate it into your job what would it be? And how?
GraceAnne: In some ways, I do that. I review baseball books for Booklist. I decided not to review cookbooks, however, so I think about and read about food in other ways. So much of my work takes place where words and writing and technology meet, and that is a place I do love to be.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
GraceAnne: That’s hard. The British Library is gorgeous, and the Seattle Public Library is very odd but very interesting. But the Rose Reading Room at New York Public Library is the most beautiful space to work in. I worked in that building for seven years early in my career, and whenever I am there, I feel like the clouds on the Rose ceiling are shining just for me.
Naomi: Favorite book?
GraceAnne: That’s hard, too! My favorite novel is Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale, an exquisite fantasy about New York City history whose lead character lives behind the stars in the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal. The book I have read most often, though, is JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
Naomi: Blogs we should be reading?
- Unshelved, because we need humor in our lives. http://www.unshelved.com/
- Read Roger. Roger Sutton is the editor of Horn Book, and is acerbic and witty and takes no prisoners and has thought-provoking opinions. If you care about books for children, you need to know what he thinks.
- Neil Gaiman’s blog. He has a bazillion followers, but he writes, he respects his fans, he tells the truth about writing, and he is unfailingly interesting. http://journal.neilgaiman.com/
- This is not a blog, but it is possibly the best thing I have ever written, and I love sharing it.
Ten Graces for New Librarians http://www.well.com/~ladyhawk/albany.html
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
GraceAnne: Remember that you are interviewing them, too. You need to find a place where your particular skills and gifts are useful and honored, and it is difficult to remember that when you are desperate for a job.
GraceAnne Andreassi DeCandido is a reader, a writer, an editor, a reviewer, a teacher, and an Italian-American mama. She’s been several kinds of librarian, several kinds of library editor/writer, several kinds of researcher, and a part-time lecturer in children’s and Young Adult literature online for Rutgers. Food, family, and feminism constitute her belief system. She is devoted to the New York Yankees, her iPod’s huge music collection, and the search for decent and properly made tea in New York restaurants.