John of Dreaming in Books has only been blogging for a couple of months, but already he's made a great impression on the blogosphere. He is very friendly, honest, and open with all his writing, and his enthusiasm for YA books is nearly unparalleled! You should also check out his fantastic blog post, He's Reading WHAT?! The Ins and Outs of a Guy Who Reads Romances, which is unapologetically honest and real.
I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to ask John a few questions for my Friday Featured Blogger post, in which I interview a blogger whom I admire, like, etc. So welcome, John, to Steph Su Reads!
1. Tell us about yourself in a few short sentences.
My name is John, and I am proud to be a male teenager who loves to read. Oh, and I’m gay, too. But that’s another story. I’m currently a high school student (finally a sophomore, for those of you who discriminate against freshmen) and I’m a major geek. If I’m not reading, I’m probably at marching band practice (mallet percussion – vibraphone. Look it up on Wikipedia if you don’t know what it is) or at theater practice. I have the innate ability to be dramatic onstage and off. ;) I live with an annoying family, and two lovable Labs. Mix my obsessive-compulsive texting of Brent from Naughty Book Kitties in there, and you have my life.
2. Tell us about your blog. When did you start it and why? What interesting things can visitors expect?
Dreaming in Books….how did I start it? Well, a week before I officially started the blog, I met and became fast friends with Brent from Naughty Book Kitties. He was very…persuasive in telling me I should make a blog. So I did. I’m an aspiring author with a lot of time to fill and bookshelves that ache to be crammed with books…so making a blog seemed to make sense. Reviews would give me writing practice, and reading with more motivation would be fun. I never expected to get as many people reading it as I have.
So far, aside from the usual book reviews, contests, and interviews (currently slated for one with Angela Morrison, and guest posts from Lee Bantle, Janet Trumble, and Hayden Thorne, for those that are interested), I have three features that are my babies and hold a lot of my blog love. For Fans of Friday…which I do when I read a book that I really, really love, and feel like sharing read-alikes with – on a Friday, no less, because we all like an easy going Friday. Dreaming News and Reviews, which is where I tell you about stuff that I and my affiliate have done that would be of interest, events that authors I know personally are doing, and upcoming reviews and features. What My TBR Doesn’t Know is my newest feature, and it caters to the books that I don’t want to review on my site, but feel like flaunting anyway. =) Those books usually being adult novels like Harlequin Blaze (one of my favorite lines).
San Franciso, Paris, and Venice.
Gay Pride and shopping, Hot French boys and Shopping, Hot Italian Boys and Shopping, along with amazing city scapes and a large amount of rude tourists. Plus, I have a few people I want to shove into the canals over in the Venice side of things. And hit with bagettes on the French side of things. And throw in front of the street cars in the San Francisco level. :)
4. Name 3 favorite books and why you think everyone should read them.
Only three? You’re killing me here, Steph. Ugh, fine. (I’m gonna cheat and make on a tie – HAH)
This is THE historical romance in my opinion. We are given the story of a strong woman who gets what she wants when she wants it, or does whatever she can to get it. Such a strong feminist ideal – hell, Scarlett gets married three total times in this book! Considering it’s all amidst the American Civil War, an era were divorce was not looked upon lightly, is huge. Also, Rhett Butler is extremely sexy. *melts into puddle of fanboy goo*
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Gay author? Check. One of the most understated villains in classic YA literature? Check. Kick-ass writing and a plot that would make anyone’s head spin? Check check. This book confused the hell out of me when I read it in sixth grade, but it changed my life. Maguire has a writing style that is just so…yummy. I want to take his words and lick them off the pages like melted Godiva chocolate. Elphaba is probably one of my favorite literary heroines of all time, right up there with Scarlett, and her story would bring anyone to tears. *Side note* The musical is amazing, and even my mother liked it. That says a lot. About the musical and my mother.
This book is – AH. I read it last summer and fell in love. I know everyone thinks Geishas are just Japanese whores. Makeup, hairstyles that represent the un-popped cherry, and the selling of one’s virginity to the highest bidder tend to cause such misconceptions. Golden entranced me from page one, and this book was by far one of the best. He managed to make such a relatable heroine with an astounding love story. The Japanese connection got to me, too. Japan is just awesomesauce. Tied with Wicked for my favorite contemporary novel.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne Shirley brings back countless memories for me. Between these books and a television series marathon on PBS one Thanksgiving, I was a sucker. I have always been a fan of the strong, plucky heroine, and Anne was one of YA’s first and finest. Not to mention her romance with Gilbert Blythe. Who knew a regular old schoolboy from Prince Edward Island could make me swoon?
Libba Bray. Or Libba Bray. Maybe Libba Bray. Did I mention Libba Bray? If I didn’t, then Libba Bray. That woman is the funniest piece of authorial awesomesauce ever. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy is one I’d recommend to anyone and everyone, and even her cover blurbs are fun to read! We’d eat…I don’t know, pizza. Nothing fancy, but nothing grungy. Maybe make up a few stories about the salt and pepper shakers, and how the salt is cheating on the pepper with her lover the hot sauce bottle. Normal stuff.
6. Vampires or werewolves? Zombies or unicorns? Gale or Peeta?
WHY DO YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE THESE THINGS?! Can I pick fallen angels? Please? Until there is a gay vampire or werewolf I’m kind of stuck between them.
Unicorns all the way! I haven’t even read Rampant yet and I love them. Hehehe…killer unicorns.
*ducks and hides*
DON’T HURT ME!!
I’m trying to borrow them…but my friend has memory loss and forgets to hand them to me. I want to read them so baaaad!
"Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. Gay anthem, and for a romantic, I totally get what she’s spilling in that song. Plus, that music video is the shit. I wanna be sold to creepy guys and then kill them off in bed after singing in French! Who doesn’t?
8. What is something you would like to change about the state of YA lit and/or the world's perception of YA?
More genre LGBT lit with romance romance romance! As a gay teenager I cannot get enough romance between two boys! And you know what stinks? There isn’t enough. Everything is big and literary like Sprout or David Inside Out. Give me something like The Vast Fields of Ordinary: light hearted and lovely. Right now, I only have a few authors that give me this fix. Hayden Thorne is a biggie. But she’s stuck in a small press because big publishers won’t publish the work due to a ‘lack of audience’. Genre LGBT lit needs to get into the spotlight, so that teenagers all over can read a book where the gay person is the hero, and where coming out and falling in love with someone of the same sex is no big deal.
Books. Duh. If we are talking non-book related presents, I’m big on cute, little things. Romantic things. I’m a big softie when it comes to that stuff. Stuffed animals…like bunnies. OMG bunnies. Sorry, I thought of the bunny metaphor. Hehehe…bunnies. WOOPS. Getting off track here…So, yeah, cute stuff. And chocolate. Mama likes her chocolate.
10. 2 interesting things about yourself that can spark conversation.
Well, I’m gay. That always sparks a lot of conversation – though it depends on who I tell. As to something that sparks a lot of conversation…Hm. Oh, well, there is the fact that I know pretty much every major Harlequin romance line, and I love to read adult romance books in general. LGBT or regular ones. ;)
Thanks for sharing your answers with us, John! Do check out Dreaming in Books - John is a great updater and loves posting thoughtful and varied content. :) Happy weekend, everyone!