Saturday, June 21, 2008
Goodness abounds out here in the land of the blog (goodness, thy name is Miss Em, Melissa Walker, Little Willow, Jenn, Toby Bloomberg, Grete, Keris Stainton, Ink Mage, Miss Erin, and, oh, you know who you are), and I remain astonished (grateful) that we who love books find one another, and, also, that those who love books so often love them out loud.
Take Tasha, for example, the thoroughly talented force behind andanotherbookread.blogspot.com. You might think that her blog—rich with author interviews, reviews, and contests—would consume her full time, but the thing is: She's still in high school. You might think, well, then, okay: She's a steeped-in-literature English buff, but math is actually her thing, and, oh yes, she doesn't just play piano, she teaches it. She's in about a million clubs (just for something to do, I suppose), and she may well race at Indy and swim the English channel on alternate Sundays, but she didn't have the time to fill me in. Tasha's been generous beyond measure with me. I wanted to learn a bit more about her.
This photo, by the way, is not of Tasha, but of a beautiful doppelganger I snapped at the Devon Horse Show. You can, however, find Tasha this weekend in the Philadelphia Inquirer, and that's because the equally dear writer Karen Serfass took the time to interview her for a story about young adult novels and HOUSE OF DANCE. Innumerable thanks to both of you, for caring.
Tasha, you began book blogging in December 2007. But: You're a student. But: You have a million homework assignments to take care of. But: Blogging as frequently as you blog is an enormous responsibility. What made you decide to start your own blog? Did you want to fill a perceived gap? Leave a mark? Open the door to conversation?
For me part of the joy of reading is being able to share what you read and let others enjoy it. Where I live there is none of that. Not many of my friends enjoy reading and find it a task when it is assigned in English class, but me I love every minute of it. Starting a blog enabled me to tell the world what the books I was reading were about and then what I thought about them. In a way this was like opening the door to many book related conversations. Through commenting and email I've been able to pass along recommendations and discuss books with other readers and even a couple authors, which I think is just the coolest thing! Now that I've created a blog, I love how it has given me that push to actually contact some of my favorite authors and opened my eyes to new books that I never would have tried would it not have been for a reviewer friend suggesting it or me or receiving it in the mail. Creating my blog has definitely opened so many doors and I love each and everyone of them.
Tell us a little about you as a student—what subjects you love, what activities you are involved with.
Well I am a total math and science geek. Math makes complete sense to me in every way. I love that everything falls into place and everything just works together. I mean this past year I took three math classes...I know I'm totally weird!! I also love science. It fascinates me how everything works and I'm always one to wonder why. Needless to say it too fits me perfectly. Since I'm a total bookworm you may think that I love English, but actually it's my least favorite subject at this point in time. Honestly my biggest miff about English is that it's so subjective. I am definitely the type who likes right and wrong answers, not answers in the middle, which is why English just doesn't work out for me. As for activities there is never a dull moment in my life. I participate in a bunch of clubs and swim for my school. In between all of that I teach piano, take piano lessons, and of course read!!
How long have you loved the feeling of a book in your hand? What is the first book you remember loving?
I have loved that bookish feeling for as long as I can remember. My mom tells me that she's read to me from the day I was born and I have always loved it. I even remember (with the aid of my parents' stories!) being two and having the chicken pox, but still adamently protesting that I wanted to go to the library!! See I was 2 and sick and was still determined to read as many books as possible! The first book that I really remember loving is Good Night Moon. I think my mom had to have read that book to me at least twice a night if not more. I was enthralled with the story. I also remember loving the Erneste and Celestine books as well as Richard Scary. Now I have so many favorite books (House of Dance is totally in one of the top spots!!) that it's hard to even list them all. At one point I had a designted shelf on my bookcase just for favorite books, but now it seems I have too many favorites and they are now just scattered amongst my other books!
Can reading really change a life? Has it changed yours?
Reading can definitely change a life. It can take you on an adventure to another world or teach you a new way of life. It can open your eyes to new things and help you relive others. It is truly amazing and I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would be like without reading and books. Reading has definitely changed my life. Through reading I have learned about faraway places and places close to home. I have learned what it would be like to be rich and famous and what it would be like to live with nothing. I've even found within the last couple of months that even TV can't catch my attention like reading can. There is just so much more you can imagine when you read, unlike TV where it's imagined for you.
What makes a book outstanding in your eyes? Are there books you begin but cannot finish, or does every book intrigue you at some level?
For a book to be outstanding it has to capture me and whisk me away to a new place. The characters have to feel real and they have to show me their story. I also love it when the author is able to pull emotions out of me so that I'm not just reading the book with a straight face. Many books make me laugh, but there are few that make me cry. Those that make me cry I will always remember because if they made me cry (which takes a lot) means that the book was truly amazing. I also love a book that will make me think. I recently read The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson and I loved how it really made you contemplate what life could hold for us in the future. I always try to finish a book even if it's major sucking!! I think it is only fair to the author who has put their time and effort into creating the book, to finish the book. Hey I have come across some great books that I was so unhappy with at the beginning which turned out to be a really good.
What sort of post-high school career do you imagine for yourself?
I have the rest of my life pretty much planned out!! That's just the kind of person I am. Since I was five years I have always wanted to be some kind of doctor. At one point I wanted to be a vet, but then I realized I wanted to help people more. Now I know that I definitely want to be either a pediatric surgeon or a neonatologist (like Addison on Grey's Anatomy). I have always loved little kids and think it would be the neatest thing to be able to give them a second shot at life or just keep them strong. As for where I actually want to go to college I have no idea what so ever!! I think I have a list with about nine or ten schools on it including UNC Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Duke, and so many others!! I honestly don't know where I'll end up as next year I'm going to the North Carolina School of Science and Math which will open up so many doors for me that who really knows what will happen in two years time! All I know is there will be school, lots and lots of school:)
If you were to write any kind of book, what would that book be?
Hmm.... There would definitely have to magic in the book. Don't get me wrong I love realistic fiction, but I have always loved, loved, loved anything that has to do with magic. I also love historical fiction so the book would definitely have to combine the two. I think combing the two would create a spectacular book -- granted I'd have to have the talent to actually write it! One question Beth.....if I ever write a book will you help me?!?!