Lights, Camera, Blog Action!

This is a special feature dedicated to spreading the word about the other great blogs that are out there! I have found a lot of great blogs through such features and I want to be able to share some book blog joy too!

If anyone would like to participate email me at

Today I am featuring Ilona from The Friande. It is a wonderful blog that I have discovered recently who has a very unique approach to her reading and has a wonderful list of books that she is hoping to read before she dies. Classics, popular fiction - a great variety. I hope that you have the time to check it out. 

Tell us something about yourself

Hi, I’m Ilona! I graduated from uni in Feb the day after I turned 20 (which disappointed me, because graduating at 19 sounds that much more impressive), and am now navigating the super exciting world of job-hunting. Like most uni graduates, I am having an existential crisis about what exactly I want to do with my life. Unless that one’s just me…

What was your favourite book as a child or young adult, and why?

I grew up with Harry Potter – being in a family that didn’t have much money meant that I could relate with Harry’s plight from book one. To me, the series was a source of comfort and a representation of the ultimate dream. I relished each page (particularly those describing the feasts), and fervently awaited my acceptance letter to Hogwarts … Oh, who am I kidding? I’m still waiting for that letter.

Why do you love to read?

That’s easy – escapism. Reading has always been so much a part of my life, that, without a good book, I get withdrawals, act twitchy, and start reading the packaging labels on my food. And not because I’m on some weird, lemon-juice diet.

How do you choose your books?

When I was a kid, I pretty much read any book I could get my hands on – regardless of genre, quality or intended audience. I would literally go through a book a day, sometimes more. Although this ensured I had an excellent grasp of spelling and sentence structure, it had a detrimental impact on both my social life (at the time), and my current book-choosing-abilities. The latter effect being, of course, that I am now jaded. Unless I’m in the mood to read something predictable, finding a book is accompanied with a lot of eye rolls and loud, vocal expressions of frustration.

Perhaps to counteract the above, but also to feel a bit more educated than my fellow public relations classmates and/or bimbos, I am now reading my way through the 100 Books You Have to Read Before You Die list. You wouldn’t believe how many lists there are by this name, but I decided on one that didn’t look like a final-year English syllabus. The reading order of the list is dependent on each book’s availability at my local library, and my mood on that day.

If you had to narrow it down  - who would be your 3 favourite authors and what would be your 3 favourite books?

My favourite authors – Oscar Wilde, because he is the master of the social commentary, and we both have remarkably similar views on the importance of aesthetics; Chuck Palahniuk, because he does a mean twist; and J.K. Rowling because I turn to her books in lieu of the ice-cream-tissues-sad movies thing that Hollywood heroines are always shoving down our throat.

I discovered both Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchells through the list, and they are definitely my favourite books at the moment. My other favourite is Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk. When Panic! At the Disco first came out (before all the annoying little emo kids made me loathe to admit my penchant for the band’s music), I was absolutely in love with their lyrics. Until I found out their entire first album was based on Invisible Monsters. My actions henceforth were to hunt down the book, and promptly pass out from sheer exultation.

When and why did you start your blog?

I started about a month and a half ago. My thought process went something like this: I always read; and I’ve been planning on reading through the 100 best books; and the satisfaction of crossing a book off the list isn’t quite enough; and I miss writing; and… oh! I know! I’ll start a blog. Ta-da!

Also, I needed something to put on job applications proving that I can a) write, and b) understand the social media landscape (these being fairly critical, considering I’m applying for marketing/advertising/media positions).

How did you choose your blog's name?

Friandes are little French cakes, and I like eating cakes at caf├ęs whilst simultaneously reading a good book.

What do you love about book blogging?

Most of my friends don’t really read much, so at least this way I’m not subjecting them to my thoughts. To give them credit, however, they do seem to find it humourous when I’m on a tirade against a craptastic book I’m currently reading. I guess what I love about The Friande is that it’s a place of my own, in which I can articulate my weird fusion of literary criticism theory alongside an irreverent attitude towards what most would call ‘untouchable’ books.

What tips do you have to offer to other book bloggers?

I started exploring the book blogging world about two weeks ago, and was surprised at how predominant it was within the blogosphere, as well as its community-like feel. So, me providing advice to other book bloggers would be akin to a wolf enquiring from a sheep on the best way to kill the flock (forgive the macabre simile, I’m currently reading Charles Dickens). Nevertheless, since you asked, I can only suggest the tip I’ve lived my life by – do your own thing, put your personality into it, and don’t feel pressured by the established order of things. 
                                                          *                *              *

I also turn to Harry Potter when everything feels down. When I knew I was going into hospital recently, the first thing I did was get on the phone to the library and book The Philosophers Stone on audiobook. It made me feel so much better! I loved reading your answers, I feel like we have really similar tastes. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is one of my absolute favourites of all time. I re-read it all the time. Can't help myself. Good luck with your blogging, you have an amazing blog already :-)

PS. I don't think you are the only person who has finished uni and has a crisis. There are many of us out there!


  1. Yay! Thank you! I'm sure our love for HP will persevere through all.

    Actually, yesterday I got a volunteering marketing gig with a deaf charity, so my existential crisis appears to be toning itself down... But thank you for the encouragement :)

  2. Hi I am now a follower of The Friande as a result of this very interesting interview

  3. Quick heads up that I mentioned you over at mine (complete with lots of adjectives!)

  4. Very nice interview! And don't worry--you are still very young, you will figure out what to do with your life soon enough....

  5. I too, am a huge fan of thefriande and I wanted to say 'congrats' on being interviewed!


  6. Ilona is hilarious. This interview was great.

  7. I wish I had found blogging at the tender age of 20! And grew up with Harry Potter!! : )

    A lovely introduction and interview. Thanks.


I love getting comments, so please don't hesitate to leave me one!