I am always thankful to receive blogging awards but bad about passing them on…I think because I always feel awkward about choosing the next set of recipients for fear of leaving out someone. Anyway, the lovely Naomi at Consumed by Ink nominated me for the Liebster Award not long ago and I was intrigued by the set of questions that she asked me to respond to, which I have done below.
Thank you so much, Naomi. 🙂 Naomi writes a very thoughtful and personable blog on Canadian (and other) literature over at Consumed by Ink. I have learned about many great Canadian writers through her. I hope you will stop by and check out her blog.
1. What was your favourite book when you were a child? A teen? Now?
Child – Deenie by Judy Blume
Teen – Petals on the Wind by V.C. Andrews 😉
Now – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
2. What was your most memorable trip?
I would say San Francisco, when I was 9. My cousin was getting married and my mother took me out of school for a week. California was so different from the northeast and my uncle’s home so different from ours. I remembered waking up and seeing mountains. My aunt and uncle also had plush carpeting and a floor-to-ceiling patio screen with sliding door. And my cousin, the one getting married, wore make-up and high heels (unlike my mother). And I got to wear a floor-length dress for the first time and go to Toys-R-Us. And eat meatloaf (for the first time) at my uncle’s diner. Most of all, I started my first journal. My second grade teacher whom I was still in touch with gave me a beautiful red faux leather blank journal and told me it was for me to write about my trip.
3. Have you ever met a well-known author? What was your experience like? If not, which one would you like to meet?
Yes! Junot Díaz earlier this spring, which I posted about here. Years ago when Memoirs of a Geisha came out I also had a chance to meet Arthur Golden at his talk/book signing. One of the people he acknowledged in his book happened to be my Japanese teacher at the time, so I actually had something to talk to him about. He turned out to be very friendly and I didn’t feel as though I was talking to someone “famous.” Last week I went to listen to Khaled Hosseini. He’s a lovely, thoughtful man, but much more reserved than Junot Díaz and Arthur Golden.
4. What is your favourite reading spot?
My bed. It’s not the best reading spot (my bedroom is cluttered) but it’s where I’m most comfortable.
5. Which literary character would you most like to trade places with?
This is a hard one…because every character I remember reading experiences so much suffering! Does anyone have any suggestions?
6. If you could have anything you wanted for your next meal, what would it be?
I think I would choose this Burmese noodle dish that I last ate when I was a kid. We were friends with a Burmese family and I remember liking them so much; they were incredibly kind and gentle people. Every time we visited the parents would serve us this delicious creamy noodle that tasted like coconut. A few years later I learned that the father had died of a brain tumor and somehow we never saw them again.
7. What prompted you to start your blog? How did you come up with your blog title?
I used to write when I was younger but stopped as an adult. When Fred got to school age I decided to write again and blogging seemed like a good way to start. I could have simply written in a journal but I did want an audience and a community. I started and stopped several blogs before settling on “Only You.” Initially I was going to blog about my experiences mothering an only child, until I realized the idea was unsustainable…because, I realized, parenting to me was not about a number. But the name stuck because “only you” could mean my son, or my readers, or myself and, often, all three.
8. Are you an animal person? Which kind?
No. I always worry that this makes me sound like an unkind person but I’m really not an animal person. I appreciate and respect animals (a lot, in fact) but I am awkward around them the way some people are awkward around babies and children.
9. Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? Why?
I am transitioning into a country mouse. I lived in major cities for most of my life, including Tokyo for many years. But I think that extended period in Tokyo really kind of traumatized me as much as it had enriched me. I lived through years of midnight train rides home from work, packed bone-crunching commutes, elbow-to-elbow shopping, and miles and miles of concrete. I now live minutes from nature trails and a lake and all I have to do to be surrounded by green is step out onto our deck. I couldn’t live anywhere else. Cities and countrysides have their own places on each person’s timeline.
10. Do you have a book that you take with you everywhere you go?
No…I just take whatever I am reading at the moment but I am almost always with a book.
11. Are you a multiple book reader, or do you prefer to read one at a time?
I always start multiple books but I am realizing lately that I get so scattered and am unable to finish them. So I guess I am moving back to single-book reading.
I’d like to pass on the award and set of questions below to my friend Rudri who writes a wonderful blog over at Being Rudri. She is a writer and reader who blogs about her journey identifying small moments of joy and overcoming challenges in order to find peace and contentment. Her blog feels like a sanctuary to me and I sometimes like to start my mornings by catching up on her posts with a cup of coffee. Here are my questions for her (and anyone else who might be interested in answering!):
1. Which author’s voice is most compelling to you?
2. Where and how do you get your books – amazon, independent bookstores, library, etc.?
3. Where and when do you read? How long or how often do you read?
4. What genres interest you most? Why?
5. Do you gravitate toward or shy away from difficult and heavy themes, like death, violence, trauma, difficult moral decisions, etc.?
6. Knowing what you know now, what book would you recommend to your 20-something-year-old self? to your 30-something-year-old self?
7. What reading rituals, habits, lessons, etc. have you shared with or taught your child?
8. Is your husband a reader? Does that matter to you?
9. Have you ever belonged to a book club? If so, what was that experience like?
10. What are you most excited to read from your TBR pile this summer?
11. Do you own and collect books, or do you prefer not to have them pile up in your home?
To readers: How would you answer some of these questions? I’m curious!