April of Good Books and Good Wine is a powerhouse of a blogger. Always insightful, passionate, and entertaining, her blog posts and reviews are ones I always look forward to reading. She was also one of the first non-POC bloggers whom I got to know who was passionate about reading books featuring people of color and spreading the word about those books. I am honored to have her on my blog today. Welcome, April, to Steph Su Reads!
What up ya'll? My name is April, I am from upstate NY. I enjoy bad reality TV (think Rock of Love and Flavor of Love), playing card games in the vein of Phase 10 and Apples to Apples, and of course READING.
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 started my blog in July of 2009. Prior to blogging I was hugely active on Goodreads. I had become close to several people on Goodreads. Kristen of Bookworming In The 21st Century was one of those people. She had posted a link to her blog one day. I checked it out, and was like, hey this is awesome and looks like something I could do. The rest, as they say, is history.
The name Good Books & Good Wine is fairly easy to puzzle out. I thought of the two things I love the most in the world -- books and wine, and thus the name was born. Also, I didn't want to have a name which someone else had, and so after doing some research saw that Books & Wine would be the perfect identity for me.
When visitors stop by my blog they can expect honesty. I am straight up. I'm not going to pretend to like a book because I want to get in good with publishers. They can expect humor, I try to be funny. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I make a ton of videos (and am asking for a FlipCam for Christmas). My IMMs are usually videos, as is this feature/meme I started called Shopping My Shelves. I've also made videos for Banned Books Week.
3. Would you be able to survive without internet?
No way. I use the internet for everything. It's how I talk to my college alumni friends. It's how I get in contact with family. It's how I conduct research on the TV shows I watch (i.e. I looked up Liz Lemon on wikipedia to see if she hooked up with Jack, seriously). Without the internets I would not have Netflix or book blogs or twitter, and that, my friend, is an empty life. Judge away, I'm not going to pretend I am not addicted.
4. Name 3 favorite books and why you think everyone should read them.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster. I love this book so hard. Read this book and you will appreciate the wonderful world around you. You will appreciate just how cool wordplay is. Or see that maybe math isn't quite so lame after all. You'll see that you don't always have to be bored and the next adventure is just over the horizon.
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. I've re-read this book probably three times. It's about this kid who grows up in apartheid South Africa. He learns to stand up for himself against those who seek to keep him down. He becomes a boxer. Read this book if you want your inner-strength affirmed.
Straight-up a lion, as I'm fierce and refuse to let anyone mess with me.
6. What is one quote that you try to always live by?
'Do I dare disturb the universe?' - T.S. Eliot. I love love love this quote and T.S. Eliot. I mean think about it, do you want to just be a lump throughout life or will you go out there and make an impact? And you can 'disturb the universe' in simple ways, like offering kindness to someone who is down on their luck, or standing up for someone whose being bullied. Or by championing an under-hyped book. It's so simple.
7. Is there a story behind your name, April?
Yes. You see, I'm wasn't born in the month of April. I was born in July. However, my parents couldn't agree on a name for me. At first they were going to name me Linda Rose for some dead relatives or something weird like that, but then they were like, nope want her own legacy. And so, they decided they liked the name April, and there you have it.
8. If you had the chance to recommend some YA books to President Obama and Oprah, neither of whom seem to read enough YA, which ones would you tell them to check out?
Looking for Alaska by John Green - for it's style and portrayal of teens
The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie - for the realistic look at impoverished Indian teenagers and because in the pain it presents there is some laughter (I know that sounds a bit awkward, but just read it)
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly -granted this is new and just came out, but the teens in this book aren't vapid happy sunshine teens. They deal with real problems, and Andi, the main character is dealing with some serious business. I think adults should read this to see that teens don't have it easy. They suffer just as much as adults, and are deserving of kindness, not judgement.
9. What are some things you just LOVE to receive for presents? :)
Cash. Books -- especially graphic novels. Electronics. Candy. Jewelry.
10. And finally, tell us two interesting things about yourself that can spark conversation.
I played the triangle when I was in marching band because I wasn't quite good enough to play any other instrument, but still really wanted to be in band.
I've seen every single episode of Rock of Love multiple times. I just can't get enough of Bret Mike.
Thanks, April, for stopping by today! Be sure to check out her blog for loads more of her straight-up, admirable dose of honesty.