It’s the second day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week and that means it’s Interview Day! (Some would say that this is the best day of BBAW…and I’d tend to agree.)
Please give a warm welcome to Memory from In the Forest of Stories! Let’s get to know her better, shall we? (I do hope you’ll head over to her blog to see her interview with me as well!)
Tell me about your book blogging background. When did you start? Why did you start?
I started way back in September of 2008 with a blog called Stella Matutina. I was active on the LibraryThing forums then, and a bunch of the people I associated with had either started blogs or were nosing around the idea. I loved the idea of a place where I could blather on at greater length than I felt comfortable doing in an LT review, and where I could be less formal about it. My LT activity took a sharp downturn once I started getting my daily dose of bookish interaction from bloggers instead!
I blogged at Stella Matutina until early 2013, then started In the Forest of Stories in November of that year with a way more casual approach to posting.
You seem to be quite the wanderer. To where would you travel if you could go anywhere in the world ?
I’d love to go back to New Zealand. I lived there for a year, and it holds my heart. I also really, really want to explore the UK at greater length, and see the width and breadth of France, and wander Prague, and tour all the best museums of Italy. And all the manga I’ve read over the last year has left me well-nigh desperate to go to Japan, which I gather would be awkward given I can’t read or speak Japanese.
What is one post that you really enjoyed writing?
My list of Super-Important Life Lessons From the CW is my favourite post of all my posts. It was fun to research and fun to write, and I keep it going by tweeting new and recurring #cwlessons pretty well every time I catch up on the network’s offerings. The CW has so much to teach us about real life.
Is there a book you wish you could read again for the very first time?
Sort of. A few years back, I reread THE MUMMY by Anne Rice for the first time in fourteen years and only the second time total. It made me realize how much I want to read some new-to-me vintage Rice for the first time, but alas I’ve now read all her older books at least twice. It’s been sixteen years since I’ve read CRY TO HEAVEN, though, so I’ll have to squeeze it in this year and see if it gives me that longed-for experience.
If reading was taken off of the table what would your favorite hobby be?
In spring, summer, and fall, it’d be walking. In winter, it’d be making things.
Which science fiction/fantasy book would you recommend to someone who isn’t familiar with the genre?
It depends on what they normally read. If they’re fond of historical fiction and/or iffy about magic, I’d point them towards Guy Gavriel Kay, whose secondary world fantasies and alternate histories are often either low-magic or focused on more human concerns in and around the supernatural trappings. SAILING TO SARANTIUM is a great place to start; rooted in real-world history, with subtle magic and a strong artistic bend.
Robertson Davies writes the sort of fantasy one can pretend is really just general fiction with a bit of weirdness around the edges, so his Cornish Trilogy is my pick for literary fiction readers who want to slowly ease into the idea of genre.
Anyone who’s into BDSM should check out Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books, starting with KUSHIEL’S DART. It’s elegant, sexy, and deeply felt. Her SANTA OLIVIA is a sharp, near-future SF novel with lots to offer thriller readers and people who long for more books about queer women, too.
Karin Lowachee’s WARCHILD (and sequels) is a great pick for anyone who loves military fiction and stories that sensitively examine trauma, and I don’t think it’s too tropey for a newcomer to follow. The heightened emotions offer readers a way into action and setting alike.
Comics can also be a great way to approach SFF. Yoshiki Nakamura’s SKIP BEAT is a contemporary, emotionally-charged manga that allows the reader to view its fantastical elements as metaphor, if they so desire, until it’s quite far in; and even then, it often backs away from the paranormal for volumes at a stretch. And SAGA, drawn and designed by Fiona Staples and written by Brian K. Vaughan, is heavily influenced by audiovisual properties like Star Wars even as it breaks new ground, making it a good choice for people who love SF blockbusters but aren’t sure how they feel about reading the stuff.
Thanks so much to Memory for hanging out with me here and for interviewing me on her blog! Be sure to check her out on Twitter and Instagram.