I am participating in The Estella Society‘s Book Blogger Appreciation Week (from February 15 to 19), and I will use this opportunity to write about my favourite books, bloggers, and introspect about my writing and reading habits.
Day 2: Interview Day
I worked as a journalist for three years. And that little stint taught me that asking interesting questions is an art. To not appear clueless in my interviews, I would stalk the celebrities on every platform, collect abundant information, and almost attack them with a huge array of questions. 😉 I tried practising the same method before interviewing Maureen Eichner for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. After reading her blogs for one whole day, adding her favourite books to my TBR, I gave up. Her blog By Singing Light is beyond awesomeness. I realised that I wouldn’t be satisfied even I manage to gather 25 questions. Each of her blog, presented in a simple, precise fashion, is enlightening. So, I had to stop myself from bombarding her by my obnoxious curiosity, and I asked her 16 questions.
Let me present Maureen Eichner.
1. Tell us more about the name of your blog. Why did you choose this poem of Dylan Thomas’s?
The short answer is that I was looking for a title that came from a poem, that was short and catchy and a bit unexpected. I ended up with this one, because I love Thomas’s poetry (although he had a lot of personal issues) and I had read it fairly recently. These days, I just like the name and the way it sounds — how it fits with what I want to do.
2. What are some of the things you like about your blog? What do you think you would like to change?
I like that I talk about whatever I’m reading — a mix of ages and genres, new releases and backlist. It’s the way I read and think about books, and I’m glad I’ve been able to reflect that. I wish I had better ideas for features and events. Some of my blogging friends are so creative, and I always struggle with that!
3. Have you ever had a blogging slump? How did you overcome?
Oh, all the time! I usually let myself not post as often, or post lighter things/non-reviews. Usually after awhile I read something that I just can’t wait to talk about and that helps me get back into the groove.
4. Name a couple of books that are generally loathed, but you adore. And, tell us why.
Hmmm, I really struggled with this one, for some reason. A couple of authors I wish were more widely known: Sarah Rees Brennan, Y.S. Lee, Kekla Magoon.
5. Give us a list of authors whom you often quote in your daily conversations, and blogs.
Elizabeth Wein, Lois McMaster Bujold, Megan Whalen Turner, Diana Wynne Jones. The list varies (depending on what I’ve read most recently), but those are the staples.
6. Would you please recommend two of your favourite books from each of your favourite genre? (I understand you love YA, SFF… I love children’s literature too. Please feel free to add.)
This was a really difficult choice, so I went with very recent favorites from each category!
YA: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston, A History of Glitter & Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
SFF: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Middle Grade: Wells & Wong Mysteries by Robin Stevens, Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones
7. Do you reread your favourite books? What is the maximum number of time you have read a book, and which one is that?
Yes, for sure! I have to be more intentional about it these days, because there are so many new shiny books, but I love re-reading my favorites. Unfortunately, I didn’t track my reading in middle school, but I’m sure Lord of the Rings or Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword top the list based on how often I re-read those in those years. The Queen’s Thief series (Megan Whalen Turner) is probably edging up there too.
8. What is your opinion on ‘Reading Challenges’? (Like Goodreads…)
I don’t normally participate in them, but I’m 100% in favor of people doing them if they want to! That’s the librarian side of me. 🙂 I have done some 48 hour reading challenges, and things like that.
9. As a library assistant, what is the best part of your job?
It’s a tie between programming (I do 4-5 programs a month for kids in grades 4-7) and giving people book suggestions. I LOVE giving recommendations for people, whether at work or in my personal life.
10. If you were to give one advice to readers, and bloggers, what would it be?
Don’t worry about trying to copy what everyone else is doing, whether it’s reading the hottest release or using gifs in every post. If you want to do those things, then do them! But if that’s not your style, don’t feel like you have to change what you actually want to do.
11. What is the longest you have gone without reading a book?
Uhh, maybe 5 days? That rarely happens — I’m usually working on a book, even if I don’t necessarily finish it.
12. Do you abandon books if they don’t please you?
Yes. I used to be a reader who had to finish every book I started, but I don’t have the time anymore, and I don’t feel like forcing myself through a book I’m not enjoying.
13. How did you become a voracious reader? Did somebody inspire you?
Both my mom and dad were big advocates for us to read, and modeled reading themselves on a regular basis. I come from a family of educators on both sides, and I think a lot of my love of reading came from how much the adults in my life valued and supported it. Apparently, when I was about six months old, we went on a road trip and all I wanted my mom to do was read a board book over and over again. So I guess I was also just born with the reading itch!
14. Tell us about the books that made you cry, and books that made you laugh out loud.
Books that made me cry: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (at 13, lying on our scratchy green polyester couch), Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (for about 3 hours after I finished reading it, I just kept leaking tears), Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow (“I saw a new kind of bird today”), Night Watch by Terry Pratchett (“How do they rise up”), Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien, Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis. I CRY OVER BOOKS A LOT.
Books that made me laugh: Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (laugh and cry on the same page at some points), Me & Earl & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s cold).
15. If you were asked to interview a few authors, whom would you interview? And why?
Probably all of my favorites. I would love to interview both Lois McMaster Bujold and Megan Whalen Turner, for example, since neither of them is very active on social media. I would love to ask Elizabeth Marie Pope why she only wrote two books! I love hearing about different writing processes, so I’d enjoy asking a bunch of different authors about that to see what they say.
16. If you were to send three books to somebody you don’t know, which ones would you send?
Oh, that’s really hard because of course my library training says: “What kind of books do they like? What was the last thing they read and enjoyed? What do they not like?” It’s very hard to answer in the abstract! But I would probably send Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers, Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, and All the Rage by Courtney Summers (for a mix of genre, age, and newer vs. older books).
Thank you, Maureen. It was a pleasure to interact with you. 🙂