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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
4:11 PM | Posted by Justin941 | | Edit Post
If you didn't love reading and blogging so much, what do you think you would be doing instead?
Well, if I was at least six feet tall with a killer body, I’d certainly opt to be a super-model, but that just isn’t the case. And it’s tough to imagine a lifestyle without the amount of reading I do considering how passionate I am about it. But, hypothetically speaking, if reading, writing, editing, and blogging weren’t such a large part of my lifestyle now, I see myself most likely working in race relations and justice advocacy.
What would you say were your top five inspirations for starting your book blog?
I’ve always been a reader and a writer, whether it be writing in a journal, penpalling, or working on creative prose fiction or poetry, so it seemed like a natural evolution to want to be able to write reviews about books I’ve already read. The idea struck me when I realized I had enough material and wanted to also be able to share it with a wider audience who might enjoy it and find it useful. I love the idea of being able to self-publish in a blogging format—it gives me the creative freedom to share my passion about literacy.
If you had to pick five of the most enjoyable moments of your blogging career, what would they be and why?
I was honoured to be invited to the Random House Blog Fest in February 2012, which introduced me to other bloggers in my community for the first time and to meet some of my favourite authors like Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus) and Ami McKay (The Birth House) in person.
I also really enjoyed covering a month’s worth of work on Asian culture during Asian Heritage Month, which not only allowed me to learn more about my own culture and other Asian practices, but also to further advocate understanding and inclusion for ethnic minorities.
And just recently, I attended my first Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival at Queen’s Circle in Toronto. I loved the exciting buzz of the event: writers, readers, book publishers, and sellers all together in one place celebrating the joy of books. And I was able to reconnect with one of my former creative writing professors and also an author, Susan Swan (The Western Light), and to catch a glimpse of Vincent Lam (The Headmaster’s Wager), which were definite highlights of the event for me.
There’s about a month left in the year and I look forward to reading more books and seeing other great things happen on my blog.
If you could pick five bloggers who have really inspired you, who would they be and how did they inspire you?
I find that David of The Quivering Pen writes articulate and intelligent book reviews on literary fiction and he features a Friday Freebie giveaway every week that features new releases.
I love Laura’s sense of humour of the Colorimetry blog. There hasn’t been a time I’ve read her work and not laughed out loud! I love that. She writes book reviews, hosts a lot of contests, and her sense of humour makes her posts extra entertaining and fun.
I really respect Jean’s ability to host numerous, international book giveaways on her blog, Jean Book Nerd, on a daily basis. How she’s been able to convince authors to provide giveaways for her is inspiring indeed!
I love Giselle’s personality (yes, I’ve met her in person) and intelligent, thoughtful posts on her blog, Book Nerd, about blogging tips, book reviews, and contests. She’s a wonderful advocate for YA books and is in tune with the pulse of the YA community and its book events.
I appreciate Laurie of The Bay State Reader’s Advisory and her effort in remaining active and interactive with other bloggers in the blogging community. She’s one of my most active readers and commenters on my blog and a continually positive, encouraging, and thoughtful influence. She also inspires me to connect more regularly with other bloggers, too, which I would like to do more of in the New Year.
If you could pick five of your reviews, which ones would you say you had the most fun writing and why? (Can include links)
I recently wrote a piece encouraging my readers to join the NaNoWriMo event that I had a great time writing, titled, “NaNoWriMo. No, It’s Not a Weird Animal.” My sense of humour usually plays a large part of my writing style when my posts are meant to be light and entertaining.
I also wrote a piece on “Writer Must-Haves,” a practical and yet, fun jab at what it means to be a writer. I think it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself especially if you’re a writer. We often take ourselves and our writing too seriously—and writing is a serious enough job on its own!
And in much of the same spirit, I wrote a piece on must-haves for the blogger that I think bloggers would get a laugh at!
As for reviews, the ones I’ve enjoyed writing the most, are of course, those pertaining to books that I really enjoyed reading like:
A Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Rest Is Silence by Scott Fotheringham
I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits
If you had the opportunity to interview any author on your blog, who would it be and why?
I would love to interview Canadian author and poet, Michael Ondaatje on my blog given the opportunity. Aside from having had a “crush” on him as a writer in college, I find him intelligent, articulate, and thoughtful in his interviews. The fact that he’s a Canadian literary icon who would agree to be featured on my humble blog would be a great honour.
What is your earliest book related memory?
I remember being readily absorbed in a volume of Poems and Rhymes from my Childcraft Encyclopedia home library when I was eight years-old. I read it through in one sitting! Once I was done, the compulsion to read was instantaneous! My relationship with books and their stories would become a lifelong, love affair.
What are some books from your childhood that really helped fuel your love for reading?
Mmm…I remember reading everything by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and Gordon Korman as a kid. And of course, the classics like Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables. Shortly after that, I went through my Sweet Valley Twins and almost everything by V.C. Andrews and then John Irving phase.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of reading and blogging?
I love hunting for and collecting vintage pieces and readily blame either the possibility of my “past lives” or having an extremely “old soul.” While others seem to gravitate toward the new and the sleek, I find real comfort to items that are a direct link to the past. One of my favourite vintage items that I have at home (and still working) is my rotary phone. Here’s a post I wrote on why I love vintage.
Is there anything else that you'd like to say or add?
Thanks, Justin, for giving me an opportunity to be featured on your blog. I’m so glad to see more male bloggers out there who are passionate about books and willing to share their opinions about them. Keep up the great work! And to all the bibliotaphes: happy reading!
Where you can find Zara:
Labels: Blogger Interviews