Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Featured Blogger (20): Adele from Persnickety Snark!

I've envied Adele's writing abilities for a long time, ever since I came across her blog, Persnickety Snark, early last year, when I had almost just begun blogging. Her writing is just so effortless, honest with a perfect pinch of humor. Adele is never afraid of writing about big or challenging subjects relating to YA literature or blogging, and I love her for both her bold fearlessness and her sweet personality (seriously everyone, if you haven't yet talked to her on Twitter, why the heck not?). Today I am extremely fortunate to share the interview I did with her. Welcome, Adele, to Steph Su Reads!

1. Hello, Adele! Why don't you tell us about yourself in a few short sentences.

I am a 28 year old Australian teacher currently working in Japan. I blog, I read, I pick apart movies and travel around Japan quite a lot. I am a contemporary YA nut and quite partial to World War 2 history. My two favourite books are an interesting mismatch - Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Stephen King's The Stand...that pretty much summarises my personality - the romantic cynic.

2. Tell us about your blog. When did you start it and why? What interesting things can visitors expect?

I started Persnickety Snark in January 2009 as a means to gather books for my cash-strapped school library. I would review books and then donate them to the school so my students would have material that a) was less than 20 years old and b) interested them. I don't teach at that school so the blog is about me recommending, spotlighting and promoting titles and authors that I believe are worthy of your dollars.

What to expect? A fair critique of a novel with reasoning. A healthy dose of snark...when warranted. A spotlight on Australian YA and discussion posts that hopefully make people think about anything from virtual book tours to the Peeta versus Gale debate.

3. Describe your reading taste. Any particular YA sub genres you gravitate towards? What calls to you in certain books? Which non-YA genre(s) would you want to read more of?

I am very much a fan of contemporary YA. I love when duel perspectives or a male perspective is done well because that will always make me think that little bit more. I enjoy books with tight editing, realistic protagonists and well rounded supporting players. I like a premise that holds up - no flash for me, I like substance. Romance is always divine, particular if there is a lot of banter and a guy who's a bit of a tool. Love triangles annoy me because I rarely had one guy interested in me at high school, let alone two! Humour is probably the one element that I really respond to, regardless of genre. If the banter or inner dialogue is witty, snappy and a little snarky then you have a fan in me.

4. Followers of your blog may know that you've recently moved to Japan to teach. What's one cool incident that has happened to you so far? What's something not-so-cool? And what is the state of YA in Japan?

Cool incident.....hmmm. I don't like fish but I was out to dinner with an enormous group of parents from my school. Every course was raw fish and I was eating it with a huge smile on my face, choking it down. Then the raw squid came out and by that time I figured why not and downed it. Not pleasant by any means, really disgusting actually but I am very proud of it.

Not-so-cool....almost having a meltdown in the supermarket on day one when I couldn't find margarine. It sounds ridiculous now but I was jet lagged, sick and hadn't worked out that the Japanese sell margarine in boxes (which contain the tubs).

The state of YA in Japan is not something I consider myself to be knowledgeable about at all. In my city, Shizuoka, there are very small pockets of English fiction in the book stores. The only YA freely available is Harry Potter, Little Women and Twilight. When I went into Tokyo I found much bigger selections of mainly best sellers and award winners. I tend to purchase online from Book Depository.

5. Name 3 of your favorite books and why you think everyone should read them.

Jellicoe Road (Melina Marchetta) - complex structure meets exquisite characterisation in a deep and connective storyline. Also, there's a really hot guy in fatigues that you will come to love dearly.

Some Girls Are (Courtney Summers) - a no hold bars approach on girls and how evil they can be. Dynamic, aggressive, and uncompromising, it packs a punch.

Anne of Green Gables (LM Montgomery) - it's a classic for a reason. Also the best girl on guy classroom violence that I've ever read. Reminds me of more innocent times but ultimately is about how kind people can be, if you give them a chance.

(I would also like to mention by faves from the first question of this interview. Read The Stand and see what inspired the creators of Lost - it's incredible.)

6. Alright, I might have to actually check out The Stand now. So what superpower do you wish you could have?

The ability to eat whatever I want and not put on weight....that's lame. I always thought that thought that psychometry would be cool. It's the ability to sense thoughts, feelings or relive events by handling personal items. It's not really a superpower but it would be super cool to have as an ability.

7. What do you think of book-to-movie adaptations? What's your favorite adaptation? Which adaptations are you looking forward to?

This is contentious but I rather adored the 1999 adaptation of Mansfield Park. I think that 10 Things I Hate About You was a fantastic adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew in a YA context. I think the Percy Jackson movie was pretty darned good despite the fact that the book bored me. The Harry Potter team has done a wonderful job adapting JK Rowling's work without being too loyal, they've found a lovely medium. I am excited to see the final two movies.

The idea of a Hunger Games and If I Stay movies intrigue me as I think they could go both ways - fantastic or a big old mess. I think Kristin Walker's A Match Made in High School has television show written all over it.. Teens are a demographic that spends cash and it's great to see Hollywood realising this...finally. (Though casting Miley less would be a step in the right direction!)

8. Hah! I agree with the less Miley! And *adds Mansfield Park to movie wishlist* Now, would you rather date a zombie, vampire, werewolf, faerie, ghost, merman, or some other supernatural creature?

Zombie - bad BO
Vampire - bad breath
Werewolf - bad breath and BO
Faerie - flighty
Ghost - hard to pin down
Merman - fishy

or some other supernatural creature...Cupid...I have no idea...I am into nerds. Though they would like to think of themselves as supernatural, they aren't. I like my geek boys!

9. LOL. Just... LOL. What are some things you just LOVE to receive for presents? :)

A lovely handwritten card always seems to do the trick for me. Shows thought and love and always moves me. I am partial to mac and cheese though....I am in a country that doesn't have it! Books are the best presents, especially if they are highly recommended.

10. And finally, share with us 2 interesting things about yourself that can spark conversation.

I have double jointed thumbs and love to gross my students out with them.
I have yet to read To Kill A Mockingbird...tragic, I know.


Yes, you DO need to read To Kill a Mockingbird! But we excuse you for now because of your highly entertaining answers. For more of that kind of humor and insight, don't forget to check out Adele's blog, Persnickety Snark. She's really one of the best bloggers around in my opinion and deserves a large fan club following. Thanks so much, Adele! :)


  1. I have to agree with her on quite a few points:
    Mansfield Park and 10 Things I Hate About You were just too good! Superb!

    And about presents...books are totally the best! :)

  2. Cool blog I will be coming back to see this blog its got interesting things on it. I have a cuple of web pages, you can check one of them out if you like. have a great day.

  3. I'm a bit of a lurker at Persnickety Snark, and I have to confess to being intrigued by details of Adele's experiences in Japan because I'd really love to go there. So the margarine in boxes thing? Fascinating.

  4. I love Adele! I agree with Some Girls Are being fantastic, and I definately have to find a way to see Mansfield Park. I've always been interested in reading the book.
    I think Adele is so sweet and funny (and snarky.) Thanks for the interview! :]

  5. Awesome interview, both of you! Like Lauren, I'm a bit of a lurker on PS. I really should comment more though, because I really enjoy your posts, Adele :)

    I lovelovelove Jellicoe Road. Some Girls Are is pretty darn amazing too!

    And you are so very brave for trying the squid. My mom tried to get me to eat some once *shudder* Apparently it's delicious...haha.

  6. What a great interview! Thanks, ladies. I also love both Pride and Prejudice and The Stand, and I see no contradiction there at all. ;-)

  7. Great interview and great answers. I'm now off to look at Adele's blog and follow her.

  8. I loved reading Adele's answers :-) I'm already one of her followers but it's great to get to know her a bit better!


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