Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Liebstering - That Works as a Verb, Right?

I am ridiculously bad at jumping in to the spirit of these awards but I was excited to be tagged by the awesome Rebekah over at Wordsmithing and Worldbuilding AND she asked some pretty great (and difficult) questions.  If you haven't checked out her blog before, please do and you will find out that if possible she wouldn't mind being an elf, Autumn is by far the best month, and she's about to be a published author:)!

Here are the questions with my answers:

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what? If not, why?

Only very occasionally and it can't have any words (so mostly classical).  I think it's  an introvert thing and my brain doesn't do well with too many stimuli at once.  

Do you have a certain type of character that you always love/root for? (I. e., the orphan hero, the bad boy/girl with a heart of gold, the loveable rogue). Why do you like them?

I actually really like all three examples provided in the question:).  But to give a less boring answer, I am a sucker for "gray" villains - villains that aren't as bad as they seem or have some depth to them beyond just being eeevvvil.  For this reason, I love books that flip well known stories and tell them from the villain's perspective.  

Has your taste in books changed much in the past ten years? Do you find that you like a certain type of book now better than you did then?

It has certainly changed over the course of my life but in the last ten years?  I don't think so.  At least not too much.  I did start reading romances again after a 15-20 year hiatus.  I've also discovered graphic novels in the last couple years.  And I've kind of dropped off a little in my reading of "important" books and classics - enjoyment has become more important than enrichment, sadly.  I'm getting shallower as I get older. *sigh*  So...I guess my taste in books has changed a bit after all!  Also another big change, though not really related to book content is that I listen to way more audiobooks these days and that helps me read so much more which is awesome.

What literary trope or cliche do you hate the most? Which one really doesn’t bother you?

The thing about tropes is that all of them can be made palatable, at least to me, in the hands of a good writer.  I suppose there are a few that require the hand of a master for me to swallow them. Most of the tropes that bother me are romance related. Alpha Male Heroes in romance. Love triangles particularly with a female character being chased after by multiple hot guys.  Conflict that arises from characters not communicating with each other or withholding some crucial piece of information for irrational reasons.  I really dislike the whole Italian Mafia, Mobster culture so don't like books that a steeped in that.  I joke that I must have been eighty-sixed by the mob in a former life because of how much I don't want to watch or read anything Mafia related.

Name one book that you love that no one else seems to have read. Include a picture and a link so the rest of us can check it out.

Just one? Well I'm totally going to cheat and say check out this Top Ten Tuesday post on "The most underrated books and authors". But to pick just one I'll go with Doc by Mary Doria Russell.  She is best known for her novel The Sparrow which is also pretty darn great but Doc is such a gem and I feel like it was a little more under the radar.  It tells the story of Doc Holliday and a sequel just came out!

Do you prefer contemporary novels or historical fiction? Why?

Historical fiction definitely.  I've never really thought about why actually but I suppose it's because I like history:).  That's not a smart ass answer!  Honestly, I really have always loved history and I like how fictionalizing it allows for a more intimate exploration of the time period.  Also, historical fiction simply feels like more of an escape to me.

If you write (stories, novels, poetry, anything other than blog posts), do you write with the hope to publish, or just for fun?

I don't write any kind of fiction.  I do write quite a bit of general interest and scientific articles for work which leads to....

Why did you start your blog? What keeps you posting?

Well, I started because I wanted a creative outlet and a way to work on my writing. First of all I used to be relatively creative when I was younger but felt like I had lost that skill. Also, as I said, I'm not a Writer (with a capital 'W') but I think in the past I was a pretty fair writer just in general.  Then I went to grad school for Biology and got all the regular writing beaten out of me as I learned scientific writing which is quite different.  It's terse, with no wasted words and all in the passive voice.  Then I became a government employee and in that role, I do a little scientific writing and a lot of morphing scientific concepts or ideas into something the general public may find interesting. Hence, my writing has gotten very very confused and I don't feel like I'm very good at any of it any more.  The blog got started as a way to flex those writing muscles in a formal way.  As I've continued with it, I have enjoyed the more casual writing even more than I thought I would.  I also really enjoy being part of the book blogging community and all the great people I've "met" through it.  It's enhanced the enjoyment and depth of my reading.  That's what keeps me posting:).   

If the internet disappeared overnight, how would you feel? Do you think life would be better or worse, and why?

This is an especially opportune moment to answer this question since I've just spent ten days off in the woods with no internet and will spend much of the next month that way.  I like to think, because I'm old(ish) and have experienced many years with no internet, that I would deal just fine. That said, I would very much miss the blog and how easy it is to connect with others.  I hate talking on the phone so much prefer e-mail as a way of communicating even though I know in many ways it's not as effective. I think it would be very hard to go back to a time before the internet but I think I would adjust.  Would life be better or worse?  I am not not sure I can say because as soon as I think of something that would be better, I think of another thing that would be worse.  I lean slightly towards better only because I think without the immediacy of the internet, the pace of life might slow a little bit which would not be a bad thing.

If you could have tea (or coffee) and a chat with any author living or dead, who would you pick? What would you want to ask them?

Again I'll cheat again and refer you to my top ten tuesday post on this topic but as I said in that post, I actually like to know as little about authors as possible.  If I have to pick just one, it's going to be a little bit of a cheat because his status as an author is only part of why I'd want to meet him; Aldo Leopold.  He is an author and an incredibly eloquent writer.  However, he was also a scientist and is the modern father of wildlife management, conservation biology and restoration ecology. He was living and writing in the first part of the century but he embodied and put into the words the idea that humans are a part of the natural community and not above it so we should stop acting like arrogant, thoughtless asshats.  Umm... but he said it a lot nicer and more eloquently.  I would just like to have a deep conversation with him about how his philosophy evolved and what advice he would have for modern biologists who are facing many of the catastrophes he predicted back in the 1940s.  Finally, I'd like to urge folks not to shy away from A Sand County Almanac thinking it might be technical in nature.  It's not and it has some of the most beautiful essays about nature that you will ever encounter. 

What do you like best about your writing or your blog? Why?

The thing I like most about my blog is probably a reason for it not being terribly popular - it's unfocused.  I don't read or post about a single genre or even just about books.  It's part book blog, part other media (TV, Film) blog, part garden journal.  I like that it's all over the place! 

At this point I am supposed to post some questions and tag some other blogs.  I am not going to tag anyone but will post some questions that I urge anyone to answer one or eleven of in the comments! Because I'd like to know!!

1. What is your favorite genre of book and why do you think you love it?
2. What kinds of Characters do you love the most?  How about hate the most?  What are your representative examples of these character types?
3. What are your top five TV shows? Movies?  Books?
4. Do you judge people based on the books they read even if you think it's not a great thing to do? What kinds of books?
5. If you were in charge of designing a high school reading curriculum what books would be on there and why?
6. What food would be included in a perfect meal?
7. Beach or Mountains?
8. If you could teleport anywhere in the world right now where would you go? (someone needs to invent this technology!)
9.  If you had a time machine where would you go?
10. What do you hope people remember you for?
11. What do you wish someone would invent?

Thanks again Rebekah!  And to all y'all that make blogging so rewarding and fun!

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