BBAW Interview: Steph of Steph Su Reads

bbawinterviewswap BBAW festivities are abound in the book blogosphere and today is the Interview Swap!  I have the pleasure of presenting Steph of Steph Su Reads.  I’m so glad we got to interview each other, because I had never read her blog before and I absolutely love it.

steph banner

n1337130118_30086956_58871. Let’s start with the basics: favorite book, favorite author, favorite genre and favorite series!

Favorite Book: This. Is. Not. Fair. What is with putting the hardest question first? Well, my two absolute all-time favorites arePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. To make things a little more modern, but more recent favorites are: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley,The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Poison Study by Maria Snyder.

It would’ve been much easier to genre-fy that section and simply list my favorite of each subgenre: fantasy, dystopian, realistic, etc. Alas.

Favorite author (to which I am going to add the plural -s):Megan McCafferty, Sarah Dessen, Jane Austen, Robin McKinley. I know I’m kind of old-school, having been reading YA since 2002, with most of my favorite authors being those I read back in those days, and because I have this sort of strict notion that I should have to love at least TWO of an author’s works before I can consider him/her an all-time favorite.

Favorite genre: YA. Oh, more specifically? Hehe. Fantasy and dystopian lit (Lenore and Rhiannon Hart deeply understand the appeal of the latter), though I sure never mind good realistic fiction.sloppy

Favorite series: Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series. The woman can do no wrong. Seriously. I’ve loved each and every book in that series, even the ones that others didn’t.

2. Who influenced you most as a reader?

I’d have to say my dad. When my brothers and I were young, my dad would tell us a bedtime story every night. 99% of the time he told the story (in Chinese) from memory, which still impresses me to no end. I learned about the Trojan War from bedtime stories (hahhhh!), along with classic Chinese fables and other fairy tales. When I grew older, my parents brought me to almost every children’s event at the local public library. The rest is history.

3. Where do you read?

Anyway I can sit! Seriously. I’ll read on a couch, in my bed, outside on one of 370_outdoor_doorthe gorgeous lawn chairs spread across my campus. Just someplace where my arms won’t get tired holding the book or my head up–so no lying down for me.
That picture to the left is of my school, yes. And yes, we do have an awesome Big Chair.
4. How has blogging changed the way you read?

I’ve been writing reviews for more than three years, though it’s only been this year that I’ve used a blog. I used to write short reviews, focusing heavily on synopsis and less on my actual opinion. Not anymore, of course. In addition, blogging has made me more aware of my writing than ever. It’s professional, in a way: anything published anywhere, with others reading it, is. And so I learn to choose my words and phrasing carefully, to express exactly what I want to in the best way possible.

Through blogging, I’ve learned the power of words to influence, whether it’s a review pushing you to pick up a particular book, or a well-distributed article that changes the way you think about something. With this community of word lovers, I have felt a subconscious support that tells me I should NEVER give up writing, no matter how my life turns out. And I’ve never felt this way about writing before.

5. If you had one piece of advice for new book bloggers what would it be?

Really, who’s going to look at your blog if you don’t first look at theirs? For a new book blogger, networking and communication is absolutely key. I’m not really a fan of new book bloggers who mass-email a long list of established bloggers to introduce their blog; I’d rather you leave consistent, interesting, and maybe even intelligent comments on my posts. I DO respond to and then start following the bloggers whose comments I enjoy reading! Words like “great review” are nice, but anyone can say them. Engage me in a conversation that I’d like to continue past a one-way comment on your part, and you’ve got me.

6. Why did you start book blogging?

Honestly, there were two reasons. One, I finally got off my bum and made a site where I could post all my reviews. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been reviewing for more than three years, posting my reviews on sites such as YA Books Central and LibraryThing. I began to have this idea of having a “blog archive” where I could store all my reviews on something other than a Word document; little did I know that book blogging is actually an active and growing community, something that could really become a hobby!

The second reason is really, why not? About a month before I started my blog, I somehow stumbled across several of the more well-known YA book blogs (and they’re still some of the best known, for good reason) and thought to myself, I can do that too! The only thing stopping me is my procrastination. Boy, do I wish I had realized there was such a thing as blogging earlier in my life–but now that I’m here I’d like to think I will stay for a long time. 🙂

7. What do your family and friends think of your blog? Do they read it?

Here’s the thing. I hardly have overlapping groups of friends. I have my hometown friends, college friends, online blogging friends, and no one really knows the other. I don’t loudly advertise my blog when I’m around the people I see often; I don’t quietly advertise either, come to think of it. Those closest to me know about my book blog, but whether or not they actually read it is something I don’t know.

Likewise, my family knows I have a blog (I wrote the URL down for my parents a couple weeks ago–a terrifying moment, because it’s kind of like going up to your parents and saying, “Mom, Dad, I’m being published” and they’re like WHA? cuz they didn’t even know you were so into writing), but how often they read it, or whether or not they even do, is something I don’t know.

8. If you had to live in one book’s world/time/place, which book would you choose and why?Pride-and-Prejudice-TV-miniseries

Ooh, a hard but difficult question! I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to live in Jane Austen’s Regency England. I’d probably enjoy the different dress and proper manners of conduct, but the female oppression shindig would get annoying really quickly. I think I’d rather BE one of the characters from a Regency England novel, because that’s the only way I can guarantee a happily-ever-after life with Mr. Darcy for myself. God knows I’d be, like, Charlotte Lucas or some other unfortunately downtrodden female if I actually lived in that time and place.

9. What’s the meaning of life?

This is actually one of my questions to Lu, so the fact that she turned around and asked me the same thing must mean that I’m either a super awesome interviewer, or I’m so crazy that she wants to inflict on me the same torture I did on her, lol. I’m taking this opportunity to share with you the three quotes I try my hardest to live by:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Einstein

“Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.” – The Dead Poets Society

“The night has a thousand eyes
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the world dies
With the dying sun.
The Mind has a thousand eyes
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.”
– Francis William Bourdillion, “Night”

Einstein’s quote reminds me to never lose sight of the little things, for it is the details that can sometimes give us the most joy. It doesn’t always have to be something monumental to be important. The quote from the great but slightly weird movie The Dead Poets Society helps me remember that my passion for the arts is just as important as all of my classmates studying to be doctors, lawyers, or policy-makers, for we NEED art as much as we need all of those other things, to have a reason for living.


And finally, Bourdillion’s poem reminds me that everything is worthless unless it is done with not so much love, but passion. If you really care about what you are doing, then your task and your life become that much more valuable. It’s like the prince and the fox in The Little Prince: prior to taming, the fox could just be any other fox in the world, but after the prince has tamed the fox, they are now responsible for each other. Each matters to the other in a way that other princes or other foxes do not. In the musical Wicked, Elphaba and Glinda sing to each other:

“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

We should always strive to find the things or people that change us for good, and hang on to them, constantly developing our relationship with them, because without them–without knowing ourselves in the context of what we’re passionate about–we are not able to achieve our full potential, to truly live.

Thanks so much, Steph, for the fabulous interview!  It was so much fun.  I hope everyone heads over to her blog and says hello!

19 thoughts on “BBAW Interview: Steph of Steph Su Reads

  1. Your big awesome lawn chair might just be the coolest thing I’ve seen today.

    I love the quotes that you chose to answer the meaning of life. Such wonderful reminders to keep in mind. (Okay, and maybe I’m a little jealous that those reminders are so well-written, too.) And ack! A “Wicked” quote! <3.

    Great interview, Lu!

  2. I really need to pick up the Jessica Darling books. I think I’d really like them. And those are some wonderful images of you and your dad and Chinese fables and the Trojan horse. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Steph, great answers. Love the questions, Lu.

    Steph, old school?! LOL Then I am ancient. Honestly, I have a child older than you and I can go back decades before 2002. It is just plain funny to me to hear young people referring to a few years past as old school.

    I’ll stop ribbing you now. Thanks.

    1. Susan,

      LOL, we can’t help it! Ten years ago to us really is old school. I know we’ll be looking back at this and laughing at ourselves, though!

  4. Question 9 is great, and so’s Steph Su’s answer. Her blog has been on my radar for a while… thanks for giving me the push to subscribe, Lu! I really enjoyed this interview.

  5. I know my Mum reads my blog occasionally ’cause she follows links to the blogs I follow then tells me what great pieces she’s found. I don’t think anyone in my family reads it though.

    1. Sheila,

      I asked that question specifically thinking about my family and friends. Most of them don’t read my blog, but all my housemates do. One of my housemates even started a blog of her own after seeing how much fun it was!

  6. It was fun to learn of Steph Su.
    I really liked this quote and what Steph Su had to say after the quote…

    {{ “Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
    But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” }}

  7. I completely agree with the advice to new book bloggers. I discover so many blogs just by visiting the people who comment on my posts. If they have something interesting to say, I definitely want to check out their blog and engage them.

    1. Agreed, Lenore! It’s easily one of the best and most challenging things about book blogging. You learn fairly quickly that if you don’t do your part of the bargain to keep up the connections, you’re going to lose them. But it’s absolutely, always always worth the effort!

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