Featured Book Blogger is a monthly interview series highlighting amazing members of the book blogging community.
This month’s featured book blogger is Lory from Emerald City Book Review. Lory started blogging in 2014, is a former elementary school teacher, and now serves as managing editor for the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.
Welcome, Lory! First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are some of your interests outside of blogging?
Reading and writing have always been my main interests, but I also love music (I sing in an a capella group), and working with fiber (spinning and knitting). I enjoy cooking and baking, too, but I have to do those as part of my job AND for my own family, so in my spare time I like to do other things.
Give us some insight into your psyche. What is your Myers-Briggs type?
I’m definitely an introvert! I did the test many years ago, but I can’t remember what my other scores were.
How did you discover the book blogging world and what made you decide to start a blog of your own?
It wasn’t a very conscious decision, I have to say. During a winter vacation when I was housebound and had some rare extra time on my hands, I came across some blog posts while web surfing, and thought, “That looks like fun.” So I started ECBR, using Blogger at first, because it was so quick and easy to set up and use, but then almost quit after a month because large numbers of followers did not instantly materialize. However, I kept plugging away, and eventually did find those connections that I was looking for. I live in a somewhat isolated area, so I really value having what amounts to an online, worldwide 24/7 book club. I’d say that’s my main reason for doing it.
I hate it when people ask me what my favorite book is–such an impossible question! So give us your top three…or ten.
Choosing even ten is hard, so I’m going to answer with three of my favorite authors instead – all of whom I find somewhat undervalued in today’s literary scene.
- Robertson Davies – His novels are full of so many of the things I love: art, drama, and music, folklore and myth, playfulness and humor and a sharp wit, but also a sense of wonder. One of the best storytellers of the twentieth century, in my opinion, and not honored enough for that.
- Ursula K. LeGuin – Beautiful, thoughtful writing, rich in imagination and generous of spirit. Yes, sometimes she writes about other planets and magic and space travel and dragons, but it’s her way of exploring the human condition, and she does it brilliantly. I have nothing against Bob Dylan, but I can’t help wishing she had won the Nobel this year.
- Diana Wynne Jones – Again, if you dismiss her as “only” a children’s fantasy writer, you’re missing out. I do think that her stories will be enjoyed most by people who love other fantasy literature, because she plays a good deal with its tropes and traditions, but she’s also one of the most wildly inventive writers I know. And funny, and smart, and wise. How I miss her.
Time for some either/or…
Mac or PC? Definitely Mac; I bought the original model in college and have gone through many others since. There’s a family joke that we should have kept all our old Apple hardware (dating back to the Apple II) and opened a museum.
Print or ebook? Both. Print is better for serious study, electronic for travel and convenience.
Cake or ice cream? Ice cream. Summer wouldn’t be summer without it.
Dystopian or historical fiction? Historical — dystopian is usually too scary for me.
Witty short story or epic novel? I adore long novels. If a short story is good, I always want more…and if it’s not good, why bother?
If you could share a meal with any famous person, living or dead, who would you pick and why?
I always shrink from this question because I can’t imagine any famous person would welcome me taking up his or her valuable time. But if I can imagine myself suddenly becoming a witty conversationalist…I would love to meet Helene Hanff (author of 84, Charing Cross Road) for a New York City meal, a tour of her beloved city, and lots of bookish talk.
If you could visit any country in the world, which would you pick and why?
I want to go to Greece, especially Crete and Delphi. I want to experience the sites of the old myths and mysteries, which so many writers have described.
What are some of the best 2016 releases you’ve read so far this year?
If you could pick three books you think EVERYONE should read, what would they be and why?
I couldn’t make that claim for fiction, because people’s tastes are so different, and I wouldn’t want to force even the greatest classic on anyone. But here are some nonfiction books I’ve read this year that bring up issues I find it important for everyone to know about, and that are beautifully written (and in one case, drawn) as well:
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (Our broken criminal justice system and its horrible abuse of black people)
- Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (End-of-life-decisions, elder care)
- The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Graphic memoir from the perspective of a girl growing up during the Iranian Revolution)
Lightning round! Name your favorite…
Song: Agnus Dei, from the Mass for Four Voices by William Byrd.
Movie: The Wizard of Oz…a favorite from childhood.
TV show: Er, I don’t own a TV… I think the last show I watched regularly was Northern Exposure. That was a long time ago!
Podcast: Book Lust with Nancy Pearl, except they sadly stopped updating it on iTunes for some reason.
Comfort food: Fried potatoes in any form (potato chips, French fries, hash browns…)
Fictional crush: This is a surprisingly hard question. I like a nice romance in fiction as much as anyone, but what’s satisfying is to see the partners who are right for each other get together. If I imagine being with one of them myself (e.g. Wizard Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, Gen from the Queen’s Thief series), I know it would be a disaster. Maybe I haven’t found my true fictional mate yet? I’ll keep looking!