My interview partner for this year’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week is a new-to-me blogger, Stephanie of Reviews by Lola. She’s 27-year-old and is from Columbus, Ohio. Lola is actually the name of her first dog as an adult and that’s why she decided to use that name for her blog. Get to know Stephanie through her answers to these questions…
First off, give us an introduction of you as a reader – what genres do you like reading and who are some of your favorite authors?
Over the years, I have gotten a great idea of who I am as a reader. I mostly stick to literary fiction and literary mysteries. Blogging has opened my eyes to other genres and I do feel like I have opened up a little more as far as my reading habits go. Pre-blogging, I rarely read YA, but now I do like to add some YA into my reading diet every now and again. I try to keep my mind open to suggestions from other readers and bloggers now because the majority of my reading selections comes from blogs now.
As far as my favorite authors, I do have a few. Nick Hornby was one that I didn’t love until I read The Polysyllabic Spree and its counterparts earlier this year and now I am ready to read High Fidelity now and some of his other books, because the fiction from him that I have read thus far hasn’t been my favorite, although I did love Slam! Another author I count among my favorites is Joyce Carol Oates. I have had some hits and misses with her as well, but when she hits a home run, it is amazing. Blonde and My Sister, My Love were both phenomenal.
One of the things that I love about the book blogosphere is how nice and friendly everyone is. When you’ve been blogging for a while, you form friendships with fellow book bloggers. Who are some of your blogging buddies or favorite bloggers out there?
One of my favorite bloggers is Amanda, from the now defunct The Zen Leaf. I was so sorry to see her shut down her blog earlier this year but I understand her reasons and I am happy to follow her personal blog instead. I will always miss The Zen Leaf though!
I just love the sense of community that you get from other book bloggers and it never fails to amaze me how friendly everyone is. That is why I love community events like BBAW, because it gives me an opportunity to meet new bloggers!
You have to admit, blogging takes a lot of time and effort, do you ever get tired of it? What do you do to get out of your blogging slump?
I had a big slump for the first few months of this year and my blog remained silent for weeks on end. I really wasn’t sure if I would come back to blogging, but the issue wasn’t really the blog but the fact that I had lost interest in reading. I have been a reader my entire life, so it is no surprise that it eventually went away. However, I have always vowed that I won’t push myself to blog. It is supposed to be a fun hobby, and once it starts to feel like a job, then I will have to reevaluate. Now that I have been blogging for over two years though, it is like blogging and reading go hand in hand for me… almost like I can’t have one without the other!
Like you, I love hearing about other people’s favorite books so I’m going to steal one of your questions (I hope that’s okay!) – what are the books that you can’t stop gushing about?
My two favorite books of all time are Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell and The Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. Although they are two very different books, they both involve very memorable characters, which is why they will always remain favorites. Scarlett, Rhett and Ignatius are so real to me and I am always intrigued and amused by the three of them.
As far as this year goes, I have had some very memorable and enjoyable books. I read The Art of Losing, by Rebecca Connell, last month and could not get it out of my mind. Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin was another that really affected me. What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, by Zoe Heller, gave me much food for thought. I feel like 2011 has been a superb year as far as my reading goes, which is really lucky considering how badly the year started off!
Finally, this is something that I like to ask in every interview since I’m based in the Philippines – what are your thoughts about international book bloggers? Do you follow any foreign bloggers?
To be honest, the nationality of a blog or blogger rarely crosses my mind. I usually just find other blogs by word of mouth or I stumble across them, and when I come across a new blog I just browse the past few posts to see whether we have similar tastes. If we do, then I automatically add the blog to my Google reader.
There are two bloggers that I have followed since the beginning of my blog two years ago that are not from the US, so they come to mind first. The first is Jackie from Farmlane Books Blog. Jackie lives in England and has great taste when it comes to books. Occasionally I am disappointed when a book she reviews is not available in the US yet, but it’s a rare issue and certainly not one to dissuade me from her blog! The second blogger is Guatami Tripathy from Everything Distils into Reading, who is from Delhi, India. She has a lot of cultural references in her blog, which I always love, including her beautiful pictures.
Thank you for your thoughtful answers, Stephanie! I had fun getting to know you through the interview swap. I hope the rest of you enjoyed reading Stephanie’s answers to my questions and that you got to know her a little better because of this interview. Feel free to give her blog some love by dropping by to say hi. You can also check out my answers to her interview questions here.