Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Get to Know The Broke and the Bookish: Interview with Natanya

Hey guys! I’m Natanya, a 19-year-old rising junior double majoring in Comparative Literature (with what I guess is a specialization in French lit) and Sociology. I’ve been reading and writing my whole life and blogging on and off for many years, so book blogging seemed like a pretty natural transition, and I’ve had a great time doing it this last year! (And thanks for bearing with my Margaret Atwood obsession!)

Anyway, here are some things about me…I’ll try not to ramble too much. :)

1. What were some of your favorite books as a child?
My absolute favorite book was The Two Princesses of Bamarre, by Gail Carson Levine, which I have probably read more times than any other book in my life, and I read every other one of her books too. I also loved the Shadow Children series (Among the Hidden, Among the Impostors, etc.) by Margaret Peterson Haddix, though sadly by the time the last couple came out I had outgrown them too much to fully enjoy them. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin was also one of my favorites. I used to read a lot of mystery novels (I was a bit of a Nancy Drew nerd), and The Westing Game was my favorite.

2. How do you balance reading and school/work?
Oy. Well, since I’m a comparative literature major, I actually read a TON of books for school, which makes it even more difficult to read books for fun. While many of the books I read for class are really good, having to read a full novel in 2 days kind of dulls the wonderfulness of what I’m reading, as well as my desire to read anything else. So, in short, I really don’t balance them. I try to read as many books as possible over breaks because I know that I won’t have the energy to read any more than required during the semester. It really sucks.

3. Are there any types of books you WON’T read?
I don’t read trashy romance novels, and I’ve never been very interested in the majority of historical fiction, though it depends on the time period and type of novel. I’m also not a fan of long series. I used to read series when I was younger, but by the end, I’d just get bored with them. In particular, I really have no desire to read any of those really long series of sci fi or fantasy novels. Also, much to my best friend’s chagrin, I refuse to read manga. Maybe I’d like it, but seeing how caught up manga-readers get in that world, I don’t want to find myself never reading anything else, especially because there are SO many books I want to read. And finally, while through high school my reading was split about 50/50 YA and adult fiction, I now rarely read YA. I know there are some very good ones, but I’ve read enough not very good ones that I lost my desire to read them, except on rare occasion when I’m in a reading rut (ie. when I can’t find anything to hold my interest—YA novels tend to be especially good at grabbing my interest, even if they don’t leave me with much to think about afterward).

4. What is your dream bookish job?
I want to be a book editor at a small publishing company. That is both my dream bookish job and my actual dream job. I love reading and editing, so this just seems perfect. More specifically, I want to be at a small publisher in Vancouver, BC, because Vancouver is amazing (the picture to the right is at Stanley Park in Vancouver…so pretty!). I don’t really want to work for any of the publishing giants in NYC or San Francisco…that world really just doesn’t appeal to me, even though they publish plenty of fantastic books. It’s just too businessy. I’d prefer to not work for a corporation if I can help it.

5. Favorite place to shop for books?
I don’t buy very many books (life of a broke and bookish collegiate), but I love small used and independent bookstores. I love the cozy atmosphere, and I love getting lost between the bookcases. Also, there is a bookstore in Seattle that has cats, which is awesome because I love cats. And the first time I went there, the mama cat had just had kittens, which were the cutest little things ever.

Five random things about me:
  1. I love reptiles and amphibians, but my mom never really let me own any, and now that I’m away at school, I don’t live in one place for long enough to have a real pet. I had a couple African Dwarf Frogs during high school (they’re aquatic and are only a little more difficult to care for than goldfish), but I can’t wait until I have my own permanent home so I can get frogs, a snake, a lizard, or something like that.

  2. I was born in Virginia, then spent 2 years in North Carolina, and then moved to just outside of Seattle, Washington when I was 6. My parents are both from New York City, though, and all of my extended family is still in the NY/NJ area, so that is largely how I ended up in New York for college. I’m in upstate NY (Finger Lakes region), which is pretty disconnected from the world, but is absolutely gorgeous, especially right now during the summer.

  3. I have a horrendous memory, which, when combined with my state as an organizational freak, means that I have post-it notes everywhere and set reminders on my phone for everything. My friends kind of like my bad memory, though, because it means that they can tell me the same story multiple times and I won’t remember the first time (and, of course, when I was younger, my friends told me all of their secrets because they knew I’d forget them, which I generally did).

  4. Lately, I’ve been dreaming of working on a little organic farm for the rest of my life. Or at least for part of my life. I’d love to take a year off after I graduate, before starting my “career,” and working on a farm in California. Alternatively, it would be awesome to go live on a kibbutz in Israel for a year, especially because I’d love to re-learn all of the Hebrew I’ve lost after taking 6 years of French.

  5. I decided to be a vegetarian my freshman year of college, and have kept up with it partly just because it seems weird to go back to eating meat, even though it’s been less than 2 years. While I do sometimes miss meat, I’ve eaten so many new types of vegetarian dishes, many of which I probably wouldn’t have tried if I wasn’t a vegetarian!
Well, if you've made it to the end of this massive post, thanks for reading!


  1. My cousin and I would always say that we were exactly like the characters from The Two Princesses of Bamarre. Also, I definitely LOVED The Westing Game when I was young, too. It was one of those books that got passed around a lot in my school. However, did you ever see the TV movie based off it? Not so good. haha.

  2. Yay for vegetarians! *high fives* I'm hoping to become a book editor too :)

  3. Natanya,

    It is so nice to meet you. :) I was a huge Nancy Drew nerd myself. I have all of those books still.

    And Yippiee for working in Canada. Lovely place.

  4. It's great meeting all of you! I also love The Two Princesses of Bamarre and The Westing Game.

  5. Nice to meet you Natanya!

    I have African Dwarf Frogs, they're cool little guys. We named them Jin and Mugen after some anime characters.

    Your dream job sounds awesome, especially to live somewhere so pretty!

  6. Thanks for reading my post!

    @goodaljim - I haven't seen The Westing Game movie, but I'll make sure to avoid it!

    @Sarah - The frog I had the longest was named Bubbah...and then outlived 2 tankmates, who died under questionable circumstances, so I renamed him "Bubbah the Killer." :P

  7. I love to hear about young adult with great aspirations. Your family must be proud of you. I entered your giveaway. Keep it up sounds like you are doing a great job with your life.

  8. Nice to meet you!
    I'm also a die hard Margaret Atwood fan. Her writing is so incredible.
    Also I am very impressed you want to come live in Vancouver. Canada rocks!

  9. I wouldn't mind the frogs or the lizard but I could never have a snake as a pet. I'd constantly be checking to make sure it didn't escape the tank somehow!

  10. +JMJ+

    I can't believe I haven't commented on your interview yet! Well, better late than never! =)

    Your remark about not getting to read for fun because of all the reading you have to do for school reminded me of my own days as an English Lit major. I can think of perhaps one book I read only for fun; the titles which really stand out in my mind are the fantastic ones I had to read. And of course, I managed to rope the leisure book into a bibliography as well, to make it "relevant." =P

    Now I'm wondering: when you say "trashy Romance novels," do you mean all Romances or just the trashy ones? ;-) I used to be a huge Romance reader, and hearing someone say that was the ultimate challenge for me to recommend a Romance novel he could respect. I've since learned better manners, so I won't bombard you with titles and authors names here. LOL!

    Besides, I agree that there are so many books one already wants to read without the adding well-intentioned recommendations of others to the list. If we get to them, then we get to them. If not, well, that's the opportunity cost of reading!


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