This week is the second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and this year is my first time participating in the Interview Swap!
The Interview Swap pairs two book bloggers together so they can interview each other on their blogs, and celebrate Book Blogger Appreciation Week by helping others discover and share new book blogs.
Tell us about your reading background: when did you develop your passion for reading and how has it grown or changed throughout your life?
I’ve always read. I think it started with my first books when I was an infant or toddler. My nana was a big influence in that respect. She always made sure there were books or National Geographic magazines about her house for me whenever I had an occasion to say I was bored. Suffice to say, I’ve been devouring books ever since. It’s probably one of the reasons I love to write—fiction, poetry, articles, etc.
I started out with poetry books and Shel Silverstein as a kid, and then grew into reading Shakespeare and Jane Austen as a 10 year old. I started with the older authors and moved to a focus more on contemporary realm. I’ve always had eclectic tastes when it comes to books, but I have moved away from certain genres, like those bodice-ripping romances.
How and why did you start your blog and how does having a book blog impact your reading and love for books?
Savvy Verse & Wit actually was a blog I started after I had been blogging for about a year on another site. I started it exclusively to talk about writing, poetry, and books, and left the other blog to more personal stuff.
Having a book blog has been enlightening. I knew that a number of books are published annually, but I really didn’t have a concrete idea of just how many. When publishers, etc. began asking me to review books I was elated. But then, I ended up with way more requests that I would have ever expected before I started reviewing my own books and books from the library.
Additionally, since becoming active in the book blogging community, I’ve noticed that bloggers have a strong influence on the books I buy or take out of the library these days. One recent example is when I read about Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas on Life in the Thumb, I knew I had to read this book for the World War II Reading Challenge. I have to say that the book was just as spectacular as the review made it seem.
How is reviewing a novel different from reviewing poetry? Do you take a different approach to each?
Reviewing novels and reviewing poetry is much the same thing for me, only because I try to review each piece from my own writing perspective. It’s really about language for me; in terms of how it is used, structured, and connected to provide readers with a clear picture of the story or poetic theme.
However, reviewing novels takes more time in most cases because the work is lengthier and it has not only characters, plot, scene, etc., but also there are thematic elements that can be addressed. Poetry is often harder to review for some people because they “don’t get it.” But I think that the more experience you have with poems, the better you are at understanding the overall feeling or theme of a poem. Each poem often has a story of its own; there are just fewer words.
What is your favorite independent bookstore?
I don’t currently have a favorite independent bookstore because the closest ones are in locations I don’t get to very often. I really loved Olsson’s Books, but they went out of business just at the start of the recession. I loved their recommendations from the staff, the friendly atmosphere, the chairs all over the store that you could sit in for a lunch break and read. Their rewards program was fantastic.
How do you feel about e-books? Do you have or want a Kindle or other e-reader?
I’m not an e-book fan. As someone who loves the feel of books in her hand, it’s hard to think of that personal library dream involving e-books on a reader or computer. But in addition to that, I work all day on a computer, and honestly prefer not to read that way. I spend more than 40 hours of my week on a computer for work, when I want to relax, I want to curly up with my book on the couch.
Having said that, I do see the benefit of an e-reader on plane trips. It would open up a lot more suitcase space for me to purchase souvenirs and fit in more clothes.
Who are your five favorite authors? What do you love about each of them?
Five favorite authors? Are you serious?! Ok, I will do my best!
- Anita Shreve
- Amy Tan
- Christopher Rice
- Christopher Moore
- Tim OBrien
Anita Shreve does excellent work with multiple POVs, while Amy Tan has her fingers on the pulse of mother-daughter relationships. Christopher Moore’s humor is dark, but never fails to make me guffaw. Tim O’Brien’s cathartic work involving the Vietnam War and its aftermath for soldiers is untouchable. Christopher Rice weaves haunting tales and incorporates gay and lesbians into his work with ease.
Who are your five favorite poets? What do you love about each of them?
Ok, I can’t just name five. Sorry. I’ll give you my top 8.
- Emily Dickinson
- Robert Frost
- William Blake
- Yusef Komunyakaa
- Arlene Ang
- Ted Kooser
- Kay Ryan
- Billy Collins
What do I like about each of them? We could be here all day with this question, but I’ll give some insight on why I like some of those on my list. For instance, I enjoy Blake because even though he is considered a Romantic Poet, much of his poetry has a darker undertone. Kay Ryan, on the other hand, often has lighter and very short poems; I enjoy the economy of her words and how there is almost always a larger theme at play among those few lines. Arlene Ang has some great experimental poetry, which just wows me with its creativity.
How long have you been on Twitter? How do you view the relationship between your Tweets and your blog? Do they complement each other or are they separate entities?
I haven’t been on Twitter very long, but I generally only tweet 5 days a week in the morning. And usually those tweets have to do with posts on the blog, giveaways I’ve seen on my blog and others, or articles about books, authors, etc. I’ve written for Examiner.com or seen elsewhere on the Internet.
(You can follow Serena on Twitter here.)
(This post was brought over from emilyw.vox.com. Click here for the original post and comments.)