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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blogger Fame Interview: Ashley from the Book Labyrinth!

Blogger Fame is a meme that features a lovely blogger once a week. I currently have a lot of entries, once it clears up, I'll add the link to join again.

Today's celebrity is . . .

Name: Ashley
Age: 24
Location: Ontario, Canada
Twitter: @BookLabyrinth

1) Ashley, what inspired you to start your blog, Book Labyrinth?

A: I was inspired by two things, really. The first was simply reading other book blogs. It looked like so much fun, and I saw it as a great community that I wanted to be a part of. The other thing that inspired me was being in library school. Taking a couple of readers’ advisory courses and knowing people in “real life” who had book blogs convinced me to take the plunge. I felt like it would be good practice for being a librarian.

2) What's the meaning behind your blog title?

A: The meaning behind “Book Labyrinth” is simply that I wanted something which sounded good, wasn’t taken already, and reflected a little bit of myself. I’m a horrible decision maker, so I think it honestly took me a month of thinking on and off about what I should call my blog. I finally decided on “Book Labyrinth” for several reasons. First of all, it had ‘book’ in the name, reflecting what the blog was about. ‘Labyrinth’ came about mostly as a way of expressing my love of reading… that a huge maze of bookshelves would be this amazing place for me. Also, ‘Labyrinth’ was one of my favourite movies when I was little, so when I think of the world personally it also reflects my love of fantasy books and films.

3) What is the best and worst part about blogging?

A: I would say that the best part of blogging is connecting with other bloggers and readers. Having just graduated with my MLIS (library school!), I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of people over the past year and a bit who also love reading and books. But that type of thing isn’t really typical… generally, there’s really no one who “gets” your reading obsession like fellow bloggers do.

The worst part of blogging? Probably feeling stressed about making sure you have enough reviews to post, and worrying about what types of things you should post. Also, those moments when you think “I wonder why ____ gets so many comments, but I struggle to get readers?” Self-doubt can strike in any area of life, so it sucks when something fun becomes stressful.

4) Which is your favorite genre to review?

A: I pretty much only review YA books, and of those I definitely prefer contemporary/realistic fiction, especially ones with romance. However, I also love fantasy titles… they’re especially fun to review, I think, because besides the characters and plot you usually also have a whole new world and/or set of customs to reflect upon in your review.

5) What are your top five favorite books of all time?

A: Wow, super hard question to answer!! I’m actually one of those people who don’t tend to have a favourite book, movie, musical artist, etc. So this is really hard! But okay, let me try and make a list. In no particular order….

-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (The whole series, really, but of the first four books this was always my standout favourite.)

-A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (I first read this in school, but I’ve re-read it many times since. There’s something amazing about it, that it still seems magical to me.)

-North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley (This one is recent, but it deserves a lot of praise. The story and its themes are absolutely beautiful, and the writing is so lyrical and poetic, but in a really accessible way.)

-The Giver by Lois Lowry (Another childhood favourite. Perhaps this is the root of my love for dystopias?)

-Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Is it too soon to add this one to my list? All I know is that I adored it: the writing and characters were wonderful. Even if it doesn’t stand up as a favourite, it represents the type of book I absolutely adore.)

6) Who is your favorite author? If you had the chance to meet them, what would you say?

A: That’s also a tough call, but I would probably go with Sarah Dessen. I’d love to chat about her books, but it would also be super fun to talk about pop culture with her. We would definitely have an in depth discussion about how amazing Friday Night Lights is.

7) Do you have any quirks while you write your reviews?

A: Hmm, I don’t think so! Definitely not music, as I’m a person who needs near silence when I write. I guess the only thing that might be a quirk is that I always write my reviews in Google Docs and save them there until I’m ready to schedule the post.

8) If you could make a fictional story come alive, which would you pick and why?

A: I’d love for the world of Hogwarts to be real… I mean, how cool would that be? It just seems like this amazing place. Besides that, I’d love for the characters of the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn to be real. I started reading them when I was little, and I still like re-reading them. Christy and all the characters in those books feel like real friends to me.

9) Currently, which book cover(s) are you lusting over?

-Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker (It’s so striking… the apple is so cute looking, yet you know it’s deeply symbolic as well.)
-Everlasting by Angie Frazier (I just got it from the library… the colours are amazing!)
-Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley (The tones of this cover are beautiful. It’s quite simple, but the sweetness of it interests me.)

10) Which top five blogs do you continually visit?

A: Besides La Femme Readers…
11) If you had to give advice to a newcomer, what would you tell them about blogging?

A: I would tell them to have fun and remember that blogging is a hobby. Connect with other bloggers and do what you love to do. Don’t let blogging become a chore, and don’t over commit yourself when it comes to reviewing books, posting interviews, etc.

Random Questions:
  • One book you'd save in a fire? Probably whatever one I was reading at the time. Or I would save my Kobo because that has tons of books on it, plus the ability to easily get more. There’s not one particular book I own that’s more important to me than another. When it comes down to it, a book is just a physical object, and they can always be replaced. The magic of a book is what happens when you read it. I’d rather focus on saving my kitties.
  • Favorite guilty pleasure? Oh… probably Jonas Brothers. And then I feel guilty for feeling guilty, because I don’t think you should apologize for your tastes. But yah, for the amount of flack people get for liking them, definitely Jonas Brothers. I’ve even seen them in concert twice. Ha!
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Hopefully in a full time librarian position. Mostly, I just want to be happy.
  • Judge book by cover or summary? A little of both? I do judge books by the cover, because that’s what makes sense to me. Publishers spend so much money on covers purposely to get people interested in what’s inside. And covers really do reflect genre and content, so it makes sense that people judge books by their outside. However, a good summary would make me overlook a cover that doesn’t necessarily appeal to me, or make me more excited about a great cover.
  • Favorite dinner meal? Probably cashew chicken. Or maybe butter chicken. So delicious!
  • Favorite singer/band at the moment? Probably a tie between Taylor Swift (going to see her in concert next year – super excited!), McFly (they’re not released in North America, but they’re amazing), and the Glee cast.
  • Describe yourself in three words? Introspective, sarcastic, contradiction.
  • Favorite character you'd love to have babies with? Well, I could probably take hours deciding between my favourite literary leading men, but I’m going to make this easy on myself and everyone else and go with the latest character I fell in love with: Etienne St. Clair. I mean, as Sarah Dessen and/or her characters would say: sa-woon! And this is even overlooking his shortness which, while endearing in the book, is problematic for the height potential of our future offspring.
*Where The Blog Magic Happens*

"I have a desk in my bedroom, and this shows the corner of my room with my computer. I must admit that I cleaned up a whole pile of random papers in order to take this picture... I love it when things are clean, yet I am not at all tidy. This picture somehow represents a lot of the things I love: Harry Potter, Beauty & the Beast (those plushies are definitely my favourite things I've bought with Disney reward points), pop culture news (latest EW sitting there), and products from Lush (the black containers)."

Thank you Ashley for this fun interview!
Make sure you visit her blog:


Amelia Robinson said...

Fascinating interview!

Ashley, I can totally identify with what you said about the worst part of blogging. It is so frustrating when I compare myself to other blogs/bloggers. But you're right. It's just a hobby and I'm supposed to have fun. So I'm just throwing myself into it and will do that: just have fun. :)

Google Docs! I should try that. Blogger is really ticking me off when it comes to formatting. I try to add pictures but it won't go EXACTLY where I want it, only close enough. *sigh* And since I'm so OCD, it is enough to give me gray hairs early. XD

Just a quick question. Which book is Etienne St. Clair from? Sarah Dessen is mentioned right afterward but I don't remember a character by that name in any of her books. (Though it's been a while since I've delved into a Sarah Dessen novel.)

Awesome interview! And that is such a cool desk area! I absolutely adore the wallpaper. :)

Merry Christmas everyone. :)

The Authoress

Cem said...

Fantastic interview! I completely agree about the worst part of blogging! I'm prone to stressing out over little things so I'm very often found stressing out about having content and wondering why I don't get more comments etc. Lately I'm trying very hard to not let myself worry about it and just say 'it doesn't matter cause all this is just for fun anyways!' So far it seems to be helping a little...

And I'm kind of jealous of your desk area simply because I don't have space for a desk in my room and sometimes having one would really come in handy! Lol

But great interview! Happy Christmas and happy reading/blogging for 2011! :)

April (BooksandWine) said...

First, I wish Hogwarts was real too.
Second Etienne HOLLA.
Third, if you write it/blog it, people will come, I promise. Especially if you write with the candor you exhibited in this interview.
Fourth, I am now heading over to subscribe to the Book Labyrinth, as I really liked all of your answers and, okay, am won over by your desk area.SO AWESOME.

Anonymous said...

What a great interview. Wow, you ask such original questions Eleni.

Nice to meet you Ashley.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Stressing out and comparing yourself to other blogs really is the worst part of blogging. I've done it to myself a few times over!

And YES!!! to Anna and Sarah Dessen. One of my favorite books and my all-time favorite author :)

the Vintage Bookworm said...

Great interview! :) Love your desk area. I think I have a new blogger to stalk. :D

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

Thanks so much for the lovely comments, everyone! I appreciate you taking the time to read the interview.

Amelia -- Etienne is from 'Anna and the French Kiss', sorry if that was confusing! I was just referencing the "sa-woon" from Sarah Dessen. =)

Eleni, thanks again for interviewing and featuring me -- I really appreciate it. =)

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