My thing I love the most about Armchair BEA is the opportunity that we get to meet other book bloggers and see their blogs that we wouldn't have discovered otherwise. One perfect example of that would be when I was assigned to interview Usagi, also known as "the Witch of Creation," from Birth of a New Witch. I was really excited to see her blog and learn more about her eclectic taste in books! She sure is a creative person, and I was happy to have met her through Armchair BEA.
1. First thing I always ask bloggers; why did you start blogging about books in the first place?
My site originally started out is an archive for my creative fiction that I know will probably not end up being used in my book, and I figured that since I did the occasional review that I might as well use it for that as well when the muse wasn't around. Thus, my blogging for books began and I combined the two sites into one.
2. So what does reading mean to you?
Everything. I've been reading since age 3, and I haven't stopped since then. Since I was bullied a lot as a kid (and a lot of the time, without me even knowing it), it was always a way for me to escape into worlds and make friends that I couldn't find here in this reality.
3. Can you give me some titles of books you always find yourself recommending to other readers?
Oh, there are so many! Seriously. I think my top five include my mentor, Francesca Lia Block's “Dangerous Angels” (the omnibus edition of her “Weetzie Bat” books – it literally changed the way I saw the world when I read it at age 12!), “Brave New World” (which started my love of dystopian fiction at age 14), Murakami Haruki's “Kafka on the Shore” (Just. Plain. Amazing.),
Nabokov's “Lolita”, and finally, Laurie Anderson's “Wintergirls” (not recommended with those uncomfortable and/or triggered by self-harm).
4. You are to be stranded on a deserted island. Pick 5 fictional characters (from books or movies) you would like to accompany you.
Again, with the making me choose. I'd pick Puck from Julie Kagawa's “Iron Fey” series, Witch Baby from Francesca Lia Block's “Dangerous Angels”, Touwa Erio from “Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko” (lol aliens), Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher's “Harry Dresden Files” series, and Cersei Lannister from George R.R. Martin's “A Song of Ice & Fire/Game of Thrones” cycle. I'd especially love to see the interaction between Cersei and Puck. I'd pay anything to see that!
5. If you could read ONE book your entire life, what would it be?
Eep. Again, so hard. Um. Probably John Ajvide Lindqvist's “Let the Right One In/Let Me In” - I have literally read it somewhere near ten times and I still marvel at the things I discover that in which each previous reading I didn't have/find before.
6. If you could pick ONE book that you wish you wrote yourself, what book would that be?
Believe it or not, Milton's “Paradise Lost”. Yeah, I'm kind of a sucker for the classics that way. Either that or Dickens' “A Christmas Carol”. I just love me some Scrooge.
7. Do you have any funny reading habits, or pet peeves about books or reading?
Funny reading habits and pet peeves...hmm. I really cannot stand a lot of traditional YA heterosexual romance (that sounds awful of me to say, but it's true), mostly because it all follows the same plot of teenagers pining for one another with no other plot than that. I love my fiction with bite to it, so anything controversial or untraditional is most definitely going to catch my eye when reading. Usually because the plot is more complicated than girl meets and then chases boy (or vice versa). As for habits, I do most of my reading (a lot with most of my activities) in bed or on public transport. It relaxes me before I sleep, and it also relaxes me while in public, dumbing down the sensory input that often overloads my system and sets off all of my autism alarms, which causes panic attacks in turn.
8. Where is your favorite place to read? What would be your "dream" place to read at?
Aside from bed and public transport, I love reading at coffee shops and cafes. Oh! And at Barnes and Noble. I love curling up in chairs and reading for hours on end. I got kicked out at closing time at quite a few cafes/coffeehouses in Tokyo because I was there for hours and I was the last person there.
9. What were the books you grew up with?
My mother encouraged a lot of early reading with me, so I grew up with a lot of traditional kids' books (I had a particular obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder at some point), but I also read a lot of “new” fiction at the time – particularly Anne Rice's vampire series/spin-offs. I also got called on the carpet at school and scolded for my inappropriate reading choices in middle school since I was the only kid reading a lot of Dickens and Nabokov and no one else was. My mother usually just told them that it was lucky for them that I was reading at all, and as long as I wasn't causing any trouble, to shut their traps. But you know, in a nicer way.
10. On your 'about me' on your blog, you said one of the things you enjoy is learning new languages. What is your favorite language of all time, if you could pick one?
Outside of English, it's Japanese, hands down. There are so many complex ideas that just can't be translated over into other languages but that explain a lot of feelings/ideas that I have within me. I could give you quite a few examples, but again, they don't translate over very well, so it would be a bit moot unless you speak the language.
11. So what does your nickname, "the Witch of Creation" mean?
It's taken from one of my favorite visual novels of all time, “Umineko no Naku Koro ni (When the Seagulls Cry)” - the name that the Golden Witch Beatrice gives to the young Ushiromiya Maria upon making her a witch. Maria has the power to create anything and everything because she has such a rich imagination (and is possibly autistic, but that's up to interpretation), so it makes her almost god-like in her abilities, far surpassing any other witch in the story (including Bernkastel, Witch of Miracles, and Lambdadelta, Witch of Certainty). I've been told my imagination is pretty wild, so thus, I adopted the nickname on the blog.
12. Last but not the least, do you plan to ever go to Book Expo America?
It's definitely on my bucket list, yeah. But I need a more steady job/income before I can even think of going to BEA, and freelance isn't paying too well right now, so I'm content to do the armchair deal until I can actually go there in person.
Well, thanks to her, I definitely have added a couple of book titles on my TBR list! Haha. Go ahead and check her out and her blog as well! And follow her on Twitter.