BBAW: Interview Swap -- Part 2

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Through a course of events I won't get into, I ended up with two partners for the interview swap and I am introducing you to both. This time I introduce you to Jenn from Picky Girl. She reviews both books and films! Thanks for stopping by Jenn!


1. Tell us about your blog!
I began my blog as a way to get back into writing and to start (hopefully) interesting discussions about the books I love to read. I blog about all sorts of books, anything from classics to mysteries to literary fiction to romance. In fact, this week I am posting a couple reviews of romance novels at the request of my best friend.

2. Now, you also review films, right? Tell us about that.
This one actually made me laugh because I started off intending to blog about film quite often but realized I don't watch movies all that often. Or I watch them once they are out on DVD and feel silly reviewing something most have already seen. However, my brother lives in New York and has written a couple reviews for me. I love it when he does that as he has such a different, refreshing approach.

3. How long have you been (book) blogging and what made you decide to start blogging?
I have only been blogging since February 2010. I teach and really enjoyed classroom discussions of books but wanted discussion about personal reads as well. I also missed writing and felt as though if I ask my students to analyze and discuss books, I should be willing to do it as well. I had found a few blogs and Iliana at Bookgirl's Nightstand convinced me.

4. I read that your favorite books is Jane Eyre. Tell us why this is your favorite book.
I first read Jane Eyre in fourth grade and have read it over a dozen times since. At first, I didn't know words like "rendezvous" and "hors d'ouevres" - in later years, I heard them and couldn't believe I had never figured those words out. However, even in fourth grade, I loved the story. I loved Jane. She is strong, independent, stoic when need be but still is intensely emotional. She is passionate, headstrong, and willing to take flak for being a bit different. I identified with her in a lot of ways, and I love the love story. I'm not a romantic at heart, but I felt so much for Mr. Rochester. I've read a lot lately criticizing him as a character and criticizing women who like his character, but for me, Mr. Rochester is it. I'll always love him a little bit, I think. (OMG, I cannot believe I just admitted to that. And that I used 'OMG'.) Do yourself a favor and read it - not because you have to but because it's worth it.

5. What are your favorite books of the year so far?
Favorite books of the year? Wow. Favorites are tough for me. I'll go with favorites of my reading year not favorite books out in 2010. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers blew me away. It is such a quiet novel, but I enjoyed it so much and found so much to think about. That's what makes a favorite for me. I enjoy books that, after setting them down, I still come back to again and again and that teach me a little something. Push by Sapphire is another. It was uncomfortable and ugly but boy, did it make me appreciative of my life. It also made me want to do something for those who don't have the option of reading like you and I. The Known World by Edward P. Jones was another to top my list. I keep a list on the left sidebar of my blog with all of the books I've read in 2010. I've enjoyed most.

6. What about favorite movies of the year so far?
As for favorite movies, I am woefully uninformed since I never go. Maybe I should change the title of my blog. I do have some favorites, though. Sherlock Holmes is fantastic. In fact, I have re-watched it several times, which is a testament to its worth. Full disclosure: Robert Downey, Jr. is unbelievably sexy, but still - the directing was stellar. I thought Guy Ritchie did a fabulous job. I am keeping my fingers crossed for another. It also made me want to read the entire Sherlock Holmes catalog. I also re-watched Rebecca, the 1940 adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's novel, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I know a lot of people rave about this book, and although the movie switches things up a bit, it's still fabulous.

7. Do you have a favorite film of all time?
Jenny! You are killing me with all these favorites. I feel so guilty picking them, but just for you, I will. Or, at least, I'll give you my top three. 1. Bringing Up Baby, the 1938 slapstick comedy directed by Howard Hawks and starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. I've loved classic film since I was a girl, and Cary Grant.... he just tops them all. He began his career as an acrobat, and this film utilizes that very well. Love it, and the zaniness of it. It makes me happy, and that is what I require of a movie. Hmmm. Ok, maybe I'll stick with that one alone. I have other favorites, but this one hits on all pistons for me.

8. I wrote a post a while back about how I strongly dislike book-to-film adaptations. I've been given plenty of points of view to now see it from another perspective. But what are your thoughts about them?
You can probably already tell my answer to this because of my previous answers. Sometimes I abhor the adaptations. Other times, I think they are genius. For instance, I honestly thought the film for The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan was better than the book. Riordan has such a fantastic idea, but his writing is not what I expected it to be. It doesn't match the idea. He dates himself in a way that J.K. Rowling did not in the HP series. Speaking of HP, I enjoy the anticipation of the films. The books really surprised me all those years ago when I began them, and seeing them come to life is a great pleasure. That is why I think many dislike adaptations. They anticipate certain aspects of the movie and are disappointed, which I totally get. That said, I also took film courses as an undergrad, and I appreciate movies in a new way because of it. For instance, Rebecca, the film I mentioned earlier, does change from the book, but it's still a really, really great movie in its own right. I think sometimes you have to take it as just that, a movie and appreciate it for how well it succeeds in that light.

9. If you could spend time with any author who would that be?
Oh this is tough. I'll come back to it. Wow. I don't know why this one is so difficult. I think I have to answer - Toni Morrison. I have so much I would like to ask her and discuss with her. African-American literature is probably my favorite sub-section of literary fiction, and studying and talking about race and gender fascinates me. I think she has such an interesting perspective on both and would be thrilled to just listen to her.

10. Have you had any experiences meeting any authors in the past?
I have met authors in the past. I met E.L. Doctorow when he came to my university when I was still an undergraduate. He was so interesting to speak with and really, I think, enjoyed being in an atmosphere with students. This past year, I helped steer a committee in charge of bringing a writer on campus to speak to students. We chose Sarah Vowell as our lecturer, and I actually got to spend a good bit of time with her. I have a whole post up about it. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's refreshing to know writers are just people - disciplined people.

11. What do you do when you're not reading, watching movies, or blogging?
Are you kidding? Bloggers do something else? Just joking. I have seen bloggers who have read almost 500 books this year and think, WHAAA? I have to have more balance in my life. Kudos to them, but it wouldn't work for me. If I get too wrapped up in myself, I get down. I live on my own, so I need other activities to pull me outside of myself. I jog at the gym, play with my dog, work on projects around my house. I also have a great group of friends who get together for Wine Night once a week. We started informally a couple of years ago, and now it's a weekly deal. I've gotten a bunch of them involved in salsa dancing, which is another one of my loves/obsessions. We frequently take off on a Friday evening for the salsa clubs in Houston. Other than that, teaching takes up a lot of my time - or rather, the prep work does. Luckily, a lot of that involves reading, so I'm ok with that. I absolutely love teaching college and really enjoy trying to find ways to reach my students and help them to enjoy reading and writing.

Thanks for stopping by Jenn!

7 comments:

reviewsbylola said...

Great interview. I love Jane Eyre but have not read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter yet.

Zibilee said...

Wonderful interview! It sounds like Jen is a really eclectic reader, and I just loved her answer about Jane Eyre. That is one that I haven't gotten to yet, but I am hoping to pick it up soon! I am going to have to check out Picky Girl!

pickygirlfoodfilmfiction said...

Thanks so much for the fun interview! I really did laugh when I asked you to pick out a favorite and you said how hard it was - and that you asked me the same thing like three times! :)

I enjoyed "meeting" you so much, and thanks to reviewsbylola and zibilee for checking me out!

Trisha said...

Being a film and book geek, I love this interview!

softdrink said...

Fu interview! And how great that you were able to meet Sarah Vowell...that had to have been a kick.

pickygirlfoodfilmfiction said...

softdrink - Sarah Vowell was awesome. Her agent made me all nervous that she'd be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable (and she is quite shy), but I really enjoyed talking with her. She likes mystery novels and even gave me a list of some recommendations. It was too cool!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Great interview! I love Toni Morrison as well, so I love that you picked her!

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