BBAW festivities are abound in the book blogosphere and today is the Interview Swap! I have the pleasure of presenting Steph of Steph Su Reads. I’m so glad we got to interview each other, because I had never read her blog before and I absolutely love it.
1. Let’s start with the basics: favorite book, favorite author, favorite genre and favorite series!
Favorite Book: This. Is. Not. Fair. What is with putting the hardest question first? Well, my two absolute all-time favorites arePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. To make things a little more modern, but more recent favorites are: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley,The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Poison Study by Maria Snyder.
It would’ve been much easier to genre-fy that section and simply list my favorite of each subgenre: fantasy, dystopian, realistic, etc. Alas.
Favorite author (to which I am going to add the plural -s):Megan McCafferty, Sarah Dessen, Jane Austen, Robin McKinley. I know I’m kind of old-school, having been reading YA since 2002, with most of my favorite authors being those I read back in those days, and because I have this sort of strict notion that I should have to love at least TWO of an author’s works before I can consider him/her an all-time favorite.
Favorite series: Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series. The woman can do no wrong. Seriously. I’ve loved each and every book in that series, even the ones that others didn’t.
2. Who influenced you most as a reader?
I’d have to say my dad. When my brothers and I were young, my dad would tell us a bedtime story every night. 99% of the time he told the story (in Chinese) from memory, which still impresses me to no end. I learned about the Trojan War from bedtime stories (hahhhh!), along with classic Chinese fables and other fairy tales. When I grew older, my parents brought me to almost every children’s event at the local public library. The rest is history.
3. Where do you read?
I’ve been writing reviews for more than three years, though it’s only been this year that I’ve used a blog. I used to write short reviews, focusing heavily on synopsis and less on my actual opinion. Not anymore, of course. In addition, blogging has made me more aware of my writing than ever. It’s professional, in a way: anything published anywhere, with others reading it, is. And so I learn to choose my words and phrasing carefully, to express exactly what I want to in the best way possible.
Through blogging, I’ve learned the power of words to influence, whether it’s a review pushing you to pick up a particular book, or a well-distributed article that changes the way you think about something. With this community of word lovers, I have felt a subconscious support that tells me I should NEVER give up writing, no matter how my life turns out. And I’ve never felt this way about writing before.
Honestly, there were two reasons. One, I finally got off my bum and made a site where I could post all my reviews. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been reviewing for more than three years, posting my reviews on sites such as YA Books Central and LibraryThing. I began to have this idea of having a “blog archive” where I could store all my reviews on something other than a Word document; little did I know that book blogging is actually an active and growing community, something that could really become a hobby!
The second reason is really, why not? About a month before I started my blog, I somehow stumbled across several of the more well-known YA book blogs (and they’re still some of the best known, for good reason) and thought to myself, I can do that too! The only thing stopping me is my procrastination. Boy, do I wish I had realized there was such a thing as blogging earlier in my life–but now that I’m here I’d like to think I will stay for a long time.
Here’s the thing. I hardly have overlapping groups of friends. I have my hometown friends, college friends, online blogging friends, and no one really knows the other. I don’t loudly advertise my blog when I’m around the people I see often; I don’t quietly advertise either, come to think of it. Those closest to me know about my book blog, but whether or not they actually read it is something I don’t know.
Likewise, my family knows I have a blog (I wrote the URL down for my parents a couple weeks ago–a terrifying moment, because it’s kind of like going up to your parents and saying, “Mom, Dad, I’m being published” and they’re like WHA? cuz they didn’t even know you were so into writing), but how often they read it, or whether or not they even do, is something I don’t know.
8. If you had to live in one book’s world/time/place, which book would you choose and why?
This is actually one of my questions to Lu, so the fact that she turned around and asked me the same thing must mean that I’m either a super awesome interviewer, or I’m so crazy that she wants to inflict on me the same torture I did on her, lol. I’m taking this opportunity to share with you the three quotes I try my hardest to live by:
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Einstein
“Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.” – The Dead Poets Society
“The night has a thousand eyes
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the world dies
With the dying sun.
The Mind has a thousand eyes
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.”
- Francis William Bourdillion, “Night”
Einstein’s quote reminds me to never lose sight of the little things, for it is the details that can sometimes give us the most joy. It doesn’t always have to be something monumental to be important. The quote from the great but slightly weird movie The Dead Poets Society helps me remember that my passion for the arts is just as important as all of my classmates studying to be doctors, lawyers, or policy-makers, for we NEED art as much as we need all of those other things, to have a reason for living.
And finally, Bourdillion’s poem reminds me that everything is worthless unless it is done with not so much love, but passion. If you really care about what you are doing, then your task and your life become that much more valuable. It’s like the prince and the fox in The Little Prince: prior to taming, the fox could just be any other fox in the world, but after the prince has tamed the fox, they are now responsible for each other. Each matters to the other in a way that other princes or other foxes do not. In the musical Wicked, Elphaba and Glinda sing to each other:
“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
We should always strive to find the things or people that change us for good, and hang on to them, constantly developing our relationship with them, because without them–without knowing ourselves in the context of what we’re passionate about–we are not able to achieve our full potential, to truly live.
Thanks so much, Steph, for the fabulous interview! It was so much fun. I hope everyone heads over to her blog and says hello!