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Book blogger spotlight: Trish Talks Texts

Trish Buckley is a teacher-librarian who brings a critical perspective to YA literature. ‘I have been reading YA novels since I was a teenager, so that’s 30-odd years of context, historical reflection and knowledge,’ says Buckley. ‘I treat them seriously. I understand that it takes all sorts of books to appeal to teenagers, so I try not to be too judgemental or cynical.’ She spoke to Books+Publishing for our ‘Book blogger spotlight’ series.

Describe your blog in under 50 words.

At Trish Talks Texts, I pitch my reviews of YA novels to adults who work with young people—so librarians, teachers and of course teacher-librarians. I am passionate about promoting texts to teenagers, and I want to help educators and parents provide easy and affordable access to great books. I also want to build lists, and offer ideas about how to use texts in classrooms.

What makes your blog unique?

I write in-depth reviews and I try to be critical. My perspective is older than the typical YA reader. I have been reading YA novels since I was a teenager, so that’s 30-odd years of context, historical reflection and knowledge. I treat them seriously. I understand that it takes all sorts of books to appeal to teenagers, so I try not to be too judgemental or cynical.

When and how did you get started?

I have always written about the books I read, but I only started publishing when I graduated as a teacher-librarian in 2003; coincidentally this was the early days of social media. Initially, I kept a blog aimed at my students (note to self: transfer all good reviews to new blog), then I moved to writing for others’ blogs (CBCA’s Reading Time and Children’s Books Daily, before deciding to start this new blog, Trish Talks Texts.

How do you find out about new books?

When I worked as a full-time teacher-librarian, the need to stay ahead was paramount, and there are several ways to do this: subscribe to magazines like Books+Publishing and Magpies Magazine, sign up for publisher newsletters, scour catalogues and mailouts and, of course, Goodreads. Now I am fortunate enough to work with Pauline McLeod at Riverbend Books, who provides me with advance copies from publishers so I can assist her with the Riverbend Standing Orders. I have also been a member of NetGalley for five years, and often receive international books that haven’t been released in Australia. I have been able to find some gems, like Emily O’Beirne and Riley Redgate. Both novelists write fresh, original books that stand out from the crowd.

What audience do you reach?

My blog isn’t even one year old yet, and my audience is small, consisting mostly of my loyal followers on various social media. I also network with local teacher-librarian groups and English teachers, and I hope they find my posts useful and illuminating.

What other book blogs do you regularly follow?

Megan’s Children’s Books Daily, of course, and Reading Time, but also ReadPlus provides an incredible range of reviews from picture books right through to older YA novels. There is also an American site called Forever Young Adult that evolved over the years to become an entertaining and mature place for adult readers of teen novels to find other like-minded folks. This seems like a short list, but my addiction to Goodreads keeps me happy because I spend waaay too much time over there.

What has been your most popular post?

I created an extravagant number of posts about my favourite books of 2016. It ran almost all of December. It was a great way to kick off my blog because there was a post every two or three days, and I covered a ridiculous number of books! I have not been able to maintain that level of posting since, but these lists have proved to be well read. The post where I linked all the ‘best of’ lists together has been my most popular post.

What’s your favourite social media platform, and what recent trends in social media have you noticed in book blogging?

I love Instagram because it so visual and so supportive. I believe the latest algorithm change hasn’t benefitted small bloggers like me, but I do love the community I have found. They are all so generous and upbeat. I have also just discovered Litsy and am a bit more anonymous over there, which gives me a freedom to be a little more vocal about tricky issues. The move to YouTube book blogging is huge, and not one I have been part of or invested in. I am so old-school. I love text on a page (or screen), so I am still working my way around to watching and listening, instead of reading.

What are you reading now?

I am about to start Renegades by Marissa Meyer. I have high hopes because I loved ‘The Lunar Chronicles’ series. This is the start of a new duology and is out in November!



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