Introducing Liviana (In Bed With Books)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This isn't actually my door (or my overpainted doorknob), but that silver shine against that sun-hued frame does remind me of a friend I've made over the past several weeks, a young blogger who has been self-christened Liviana. She caught my eye from the get go, for her unexpected reviews—no mere story summaries, no mincing of words, no pretending to like something that frankly doesn't suit. Who, I wondered, is Liviana, and why does she talk about tomatoes in her banner?

One question led to a conversation, led to condolences about hair (we have similarly strong-minded hair, as it turns out), led to help on the days leading to my son's departure for college (don't forget the shelf liners, she warned, and I didn't), led to more questions. Finally it was time to turn the tables and to interview her— to find out how this nineteen year old with enough college credits to be a junior gets her work done, her blog updated, and her future (as a possible editor) in order.

You are an entirely charming, probably precocious reader and writer. When did you decide you wanted to have a blog-public presence, all in the name of books?

Thank you! I owe most of my decision to my ninth grade librarian, who is the sort of lady all readers aspire to be. She introduced me to the world of galleys and ARCs, seeking my opinion about various novels. My sophomore year, some older students started a book club at the high school. Between our sponsor (an incredible English teacher, also the sort of lady readers aspire to be) and her, we were kept in books and went to the ALA Conference in San Antonio. I've been involved with various publishers before I started a blog, as well as reading other blogs, but eventually I just decided to start my own. (Plans are for other people.) It felt like the natural thing to do.

What was the first book you reviewed on your blog, and why, and when? What was your first early favorite blog comment?

I reviewed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling on March 20th of this year. I read through my personal blog and it was the first book on which I wrote a mini-review, so I decided that made it the perfect choice.

I really loved receiving this comment, "Many thanks for the reviews. You remind me that I should put a sex warning on Cerbo en Vitra ujo," from Mary Robinette Kowal, because dude. The author READ my blog. My tiny, just started blog.

You share your blogging powers with a friend. What is it like to share such responsibilities?

It might be different for some bloggers, who only meet online before working together. I've known Deimyts for years, and if he doesn't write a review soon I'll go to his house and steal his kimono made out of a living room. But basically, he knew about my blog and thought it sounded kind of fun, so I told him he could just write on mine instead of opening his own. I gave him some books I thought he might like (which I would've done anyway, since we share books pretty freely) and told him I'd like at least a review a month. Currently he's working on a picture to represent the both of us, which I know will be awesome because he's a fabulous artist and only getting better due to his classes.

What are you studying, as a college sophomore? How does blogging affect the way you think about what you are learning, and what you might do?

Due to testing hours, I'm technically a junior. (So, yay for upper division courses!) I am primarily studying English, but my program allows great flexibility in curriculum. My schedule this semester includes a philosophy section about the nature of knowledge, an intro linguistics course, Chinese history, medieval literature with an emphasis on how Europe viewed its "others," and a biological course focused on AIDS. It may sound disparate, but the courses complement each other almost too well.

I don't know if blogging affects the way I'm learning, but what I'm learning certainly affects the way I read and blog. I always enjoy reading fiction about subjects I'm interested in reality, but the more I learn about the subject the more I'm likely to get annoyed by the author making an honest, factual mistake about some obscure bit of knowledge.

Basically, there are some analytical parts of my mind I can no longer shut off while reading. Not a bad thing, not a good thing, just is. As I write my reviews based on what I remember most about the book, how I perceive a book is very important. As for how it affects what I might do - I've already got the basic idea of what I would like to do, but I am keeping my mind open in case something stirs my passion.

How do you make time for blogging?

I'm decent at budgeting time, and I'm only planning one post a week. One post takes about 30 minutes to an hour, so it's not too much of a strain. The trouble is keeping on top of my TBR pile. I'm assigned 40-70 pages each class in all my classes, so some days I just don't feel like reading more. (On the other hand, I watch more movies. Free videos in the Union Wednesday and Thursday, free video showing in the dorm library, plus free rentals from the A/V library. Perfect for procrastination.)

Do you have aspirations of writing your own book?

Depends on which day you ask me that question. My real goal is to become an editor, but I don't think writing a book and being an editor are mutually exclusive. I write several short stories each year (most of which aren't fit to see the light of day, in my opinion), but most of my writing goes into an epic fantasy series.


Mary Robinette Kowal said...

I found "In Bed With Books" due to a Google Alert on my name, but I subscribed to it because she is insightful and witty. I'm glad to know more about her.

PJ Hoover said...

Epic fantasy sounds awesome!
Great interview!

Unknown said...

A great interview.

I started reading Liviana's blog not too long ago and really enjoy it. I am new to book blogging so am still finding great blogs. I can understand the excitement of having an author comment...Beth Kephart and Melissa Walker all in one day! :)

Liviania said...

Thanks to all of you!

You might have to wait on the epic fantasy - it is epic, and I'd like to work on it as a whole.

I feel loved.

Unknown said...

You can find my review of Eat Pray Love here. I was a little disappointed, but for the most part I liked it.

As for, The Friday Night Knitting Club, it wasokay. Parts were great, others were so-so. The friendship depicted amongst the characters was very sweet and realistic which was nice. I thought this was supposed to be made into a movie but haven’t heard anything about it in awhile.

Serena said...

I already subscribe to "In Bed With Books," and I enjoy reading her blog.

If you are interested, I am hosting a contest for Mrs. Lieutenant by Phyllis Zimbler Miller here:

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