Today's Friday Featured Blogger is McKenzie, the prodigious high school student who runs the new but already brilliant YA book blog The Book Owl. McKenzie's also writing reviews for other review sites such as Teens Read Too because the authors and publicists snatched her up quickly, knowing that she's got a way with reviews. Read on to learn more about McKenzie!
1. So! Tell us about yourself in a few short sentences.
Hey there. My name's McKenzie (aka The Book Owl.) I'm a sixteen-year-old girl who loves reading and writing. I live in the gorgeous Northwest with my family and our 13 sheep. I live in the middle of nowhere, really. I'm about 25 miles from the nearest big city. When I'm not reading and doing loads of schoolwork (bleh), you can find me playing soccer, lacrosse, or volleyball.
2. Tell us about your blog. When did you start it and why? Where did the name come from? What interesting things can visitors expect?
I've just recently started my blog. August 6th to be exact. I started my blog because, after reading so many books, I could never keep books straight. I couldn't remember if I'd read the book or not, or if I even liked it. That's where the blog came in. I'd thought about it for a while, and I decided I'd start one, simply to keep track of books I've read.
The name, The Book Owl, came from the fact that I read day and night. I've really grown to love blogging; the atmosphere is so wonderful. I've yet to meet someone I didn't like.
Hmmm, favorite school assigned readings... I'd definitely have to pick Animal Farm [by George Orwell]. That was one of the first assigned readings that actually made me feel a ton of emotion. By the end of the book I was so mad at those stupid pigs! It put me in a terrible mood, but it really made me think about how something like that could happen. I also enjoyed Watership Down [by Richard Adams], although it's been a long time since I've read it.
4. How did you come to love reading? Was there anyone in particular who influenced you?
Reading has just always been a part of my life. I've been reading nonstop ever since I learned how to. No one in particular has influenced me, but there have always been teachers encouraging me never to stop.
5. Name 3 favorite books and why you think everyone should read them.
5. It actually isn't that hard for me to pick three of my favorite books. These ones have really touched me and made an impact on me.
Memoirs of a Geisha [by Arthur Golden]: This book is so enthralling and has such a profound impact on everyone who reads it. I've never felt the same way about books after reading this. Memoirs was really the first book to introduce me to what true, beautiful literature is. And I'll never settle for anything less because of it.
A Northern Light [by Jennifer Donnelly]: Although maybe not as well known, it is still simply stunning. The way the words flow and move together is amazing. This is the only book that I've ever actually stopped reading just to pronounce a line again because it was so eloquent. Plus, you'll learn new words while reading this because of the main character's obsession with words.
6. That's a great variety of beautiful and interesting books. I love A Northern Light as well. Now, if you could have dinner with 3-5 favorite authors, who would they be, and what would you ask them?
I would invite J.K. Rowling, Jennifer Donnelly, Arthur Golden, George Orwell, and Charlotte Bronte. I don't think I would have anything particular to ask them, besides "Are you happy with your book(s)?" I would much prefer to talk about whatever came up and have a casual conversation about many things.
7. What are some your guilty pleasures?
This is easy. My guilty pleasure is Lost, the TV show. I've watched the 1st season three times through (once on TV, once with an old friend, and once with my best friend and her family) and the 2nd season 2.5 times through (my best friend and I are almost done watching it.) That show is simply amazing. It's so complicated and confusing. But that's what I love most about it. I rarely see what's coming. It's really fun to watch episodes again to see what hints and clues I missed the first time around.
8. Complete this sentence: If I didn't spend so much time reading, I would...
If I didn't spend so much time reading, I honestly don't know what I'd be doing. I'd have way too much free time, and I wouldn't know what to do with myself.
9. What are some of your favorite YA blogs to read? Were there any particular bloggers who helped you while you were getting started on your blog?
Besides your blog, I love The Book Butterfly and Tales of Whimsy. There weren't any particular bloggers who helped me out, but many commented on posts and were very encouraging. Those people make me want to blog.
10. Ooh, I'll have to check those 2 blogs out, thanks! What are some things you just LOVE to receive for presents? :)
Books, obviously. I love unique gifts as well. One of my friends just bought me an antique wedding ring, I believe. I haven't actually received it yet, but she hinted at it. I enjoy wearing rings, the wilder the better, so those always make great presents.
11. And finally, name 2 things about yourself that can spark conversation.
I took karate lessons for seven years, and I'm a first degree black belt. That one always gets one of two reactions: the scared, eyes-wide look, or the (not) humorous "Oh, I won't mess with you then." You wouldn't believe how many times people have reacted that way. Get some new material people. :P
I've hyper extended both of my knees as well. My right one two times, and my left one once. And I'm only sixteen. (That's weird to say, as I just turned sixteen about a week ago!) All three times have been because of soccer. Now my knees creek when I move them in certain directions.
Ooh, another karate person. I like. :) Thanks for answering my questions, McKenzie! She's currently very busy right now with school (hey, I can relate to that as well), but consider stopping by The Book Owl to drop her a comment!