As part of Armchair BEA's events this week, and to help participants become acquainted, we were offered the opportunity to interview a fellow participant. I had to laugh when I received the email telling me that I'd been paired with Stella - we work together on a group blog, Book Lovers Inc. Despite that, I didn't really know a lot about her. So, I visited her blog and spent some time poking around, getting a feel for her and coming up with questions. As those of you who come around often know, I tend to ask a LOT of questions. :D Stella patiently answered them all, even the ones I marked as optional. As a result, it's a long interview, so I've broken it up into two parts - this first part focuses on Stella the blogger, while part two focuses on Stella the person. Some of the questions fit into either category so I used my judgment. Stella reviews book at her blog, Ex Libris; you can also find her at Book Lovers Inc as The Latin Lover.
Bea: Hi Stella, thanks for taking the time to do this. You participated in last year’s Armchair BEA also, right? What brought you back, why take time out of your busy schedule to do this?
STELLA: As I live outside the US I can’t attend BEA. About this time last year I kept seeing all the posts buzzing with excitement of all those lucky bloggers who were attending BEA, all the preparations, joy at meeting each other face to face and of course all the great books they got, I was sad I had to miss out. So when I heard that some enthusiastic bloggers started a virtual version I wanted to participate to share the fun!
Bea: What made you want to start blogging?
STELLA: My assistant at work told me about cooking blogs and after a few days I wondered if there were blogs where people talked about books. Oh, I had no idea! So I googled it and happened upon tons of book blogs! I debated for about 1 week whether to create one of my own, whether I would have the time and whether I could contribute anything besides so many great blogs, but I wanted so much to talk about books I have read, that I thought, what the hell, I’ll start and we’ll see. And it has been almost 1.5 years since then.
Bea: What is your favorite thing about being a book blogger?
STELLA: The community! The wonderful blogger friends I have made. That I met so many wonderful authors! I never would have thought they were so friendly and approachable! And of course NetGalley is also in my top 10 reasons ;-) lol (Bea here - I agree about NetGalley, so helpful and awesome)
Bea: What is the significance of your blog name, Ex Libris? Why did you choose it?
STELLA: I have always loved Latin. Learned it in high school and liked Latin aphorisms ever since. Choosing a name for my blog was one of the hardest things when I started. I pondered for days and days and then Ex Libris just popped into my head and it was perfect. It sounds classy, chic, smart and unique (at least I think so) ;-) It literally means “from the books”. It was used to say when something was quoted from a book, or to mean that a book was the possession of someone/was from the library of someone. But in respect of my blog I gave it another meaning: when I’m reading I’m completely immersed in the story, I’m in my own bubble where the characters and setting step out “from the books”.
Bea: Have you ever read a book that you just hated? What did you hate about it?
STELLA: Oh yep, had a few of those, especially this last year. I hate it when the author thinks the reader is stupid and breaks down everything and becomes didactic repeating things over and over and especially telling the reader how to feel and what to think. Great authors show us the way and readers decide whether to go along or not. I hate it when there are big inconsistencies in the story, and I’m not talking about a character first having brown then later blue eyes, though that can be jarring, what I hate are holes in characterizations: if a heroine is made out to be someway and then she says or does something completely out of character and in sharp contrast with everything she was before.
Bea: You read a lot of genres, is there anything that you won’t read?
STELLA: Hm.. let me think, before I started blogging I even read a couple of memoirs (though interesting ones, of former Geisha for example), but no self-help books I would say. But reading and reviewing are different. I wouldn’t review memoirs, self-help books, political or religious books.
Bea: Do you have certain types of books that you only read before bed, or a book that is only for when you are out and about or anything like that? Or do you just sit down to read and pick a random book from your reading pile?
STELLA: No, I don’t have different books for different locations. I usually read the same book on the bus, in my lunch break (if I’m not meeting with friends or colleagues) and in bed until I have finished it. But I tend to read several books at the same time (about 3 books simultaneously). However there was one horror I had to review, and though I’m not one to easily scared as I was alone at that time, I didn’t read it at night in the dark, didn’t want any strange noise to give me a heart attack. (oh and of course I only read erotica novels at home, wouldn’t be able to get into the story on the bus or anywhere public *blushes*)
Bea: How many books do you read in a typical month?
STELLA: About 13-16. When I started last year I read about 8.
Bea: What is your favorite bookstore (online or brick & mortar)?
STELLA: Online: Book Depository, love that they ship worldwide for free! In my city: love Libri (www.libri.hu) and Alexandra (www.alexandra.hu), especially their reading corners with armchairs and sofas. But lately I don’t go much there since I don’t buy books in Hungarian.
Ok, that's it for Stella the blogger. Stay tuned for part two, where we learn about Stella the person. :)