Friday, 3 September 2010

Interview questions for bloggers

These questions were given by the author of the blog: Of the Fallen. You may see the article here

1. Without giving anything away, what can you tell readers about your blog?

My blog was first conceived to post reviews of books, which have not yet seen Portuguese translations. There are still many good titles that have no place in our publishers, especially historical romance and science fiction.

2. What can you tell readers about your future themed review months? Are there any sequels in the works?

September will be mainly a Portuguese-themed month. Throughout the year I’ve read lots of books in English, yet I feel I keep reading good books, so I decided to take a risk and read new authors. October will be the Translated-literature month and hopefully November I will start dedicating myself to science fiction and steampunk.

3. What do you feel is your strength as a blogger/reviewer?

My reviews are never biased or based on my own opinion. I have a mental list full of points, which a book should match:
- Story;
- Narrator - more important than some people think;
- Grammar;
- Style of writing - too eloquent, or too sloppy;
- Themes, Symbols

If a book has a good story, a good point of view, is masterfully written and approaches solid symbols and themes I don’t see why I shouldn’t say wonders of it.

4. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give the younger you concerning your blogging/reviewing career?

Do not ONLY give your opinion. Just because you didn’t enjoy a book, it doesn’t mean a book has to be poorly rated. Through the Internet I’ve seen many people terribly reviewing grand titles. If you don’t feel a connection with the characters, it’s all right. Not every book is written to please you in particular. So search to write something broader and not only: “I didn’t like this book, because the main character irritated me.”

5. What was the spark that generated the idea that drove you to start your blog/reviewing career?

I won’t say reading is like breathing to me. I’ve learnt to enjoy reading in faculty and started to enjoy the process of dissecting a book. Also most people especially in Portugal review books only in Portuguese (translations, etc), which leaves a big slice of literature to be read or reviewed. Reviewing some anonymous books is something worthwhile and almost like a service to a future audience.

6. Were there any perceived conventions of blogging/reviewing that you wanted to twist or break when you set out to start blogging/reviewing?

Mainly the idea that a book you don’t enjoy, is not a poorly written book. I want to write reviews based on general lines instead of being personal. When I read “Love in the times of Cholera” personally I didn’t enjoy it. I saw a great book with magnificent characters, but I didn’t feel anything for it. Did I rate it as a bad book? Of course not. I admit I enjoyed reading “Hush, hush” by Becca Fitzpatrick, but literary is not a big deal, why should I rate it high, when I know it’s just a good light book?

7. In retrospect, is it safe to say that the online blogging/reviewing world wasn’t quite ready for your blog/review column? Blogging/reviewing was dominated by powerhouses such as Wil Wheaton, Dave Itzkoff, and Harriet Klausner at the time. Looking back, was your blog/review column too avante-garde in style and tone?

My blog is not famous, so I’m not worried with that part.

8. Many bloggers/reviewers don’t read within the blogging/reviewing field. Is it the case with you? If not, what bloggers/reviewers make you shake your head in admiration?

I read many blogs, it’s nice to see what other people think of some books I haven’t read yet.

9. Honestly, do you believe that bloggers/revieers will ever come to be recognized as veritable critics? Truth be told, in my opinion there has never been this many good blogs/online review columns as we have right now, and yet there is still very little respect (not to say none) associated with them.

If they do their job right, I don’t see why they shouldn’t earn some respect. If you treat your blog in a serious way, then you should earn some respect. If you do it as a hobby or as something you just do it personally it will depend.

10. How would you like to be remembered as a blogger/reviewer? What is the legacy you’ll leave behind?

I, sometimes, still enjoy reading some reviews I wrote some time ago, especially the “Wide Sargasso Sea” one. I want to write not only beautifully, but also straight to the point. If a book is bad, it is bad, yet if a book has some enchantment I feel I have to write properly.

11. Do you ever worry that your blog articles/reviews are being misinterpreted? Ever ball up your fists, shoot steam from your ears and yell, “But you just don’t get it!” while reading a comment to a review? Even if they don’t get it, is that opinion still wrong?

If other people don’t agree with my reviews, I’m fine with it. I didn’t’ say wonders about “Daughter of Blood” by Anne Bishop and someone said that she or he loved it and I perhaps didn’t get the book. Of course I answered quite politely and argued that, on a literary level “Daughter of blood” is a poor book. The characters are not as mean as they look like and it just looked like a prefatory. Yet if people search throughout the internet almost everyone enjoyed it. But enjoy is different of being a good book.

12. If you take a reviewer like Adam Roberts, as his ramble-y, engaging reviews of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series and put them up against some of the reviews found on, you’re going to find people who appreciate one or the other. Many of those reviews on are written by what we’re calling ‘bad readers’, but there’s certainly an audience (a very large audience), who appreciate those ‘you’ll love this book if you loved ‘Book X’ or ‘Movie Y’. Are Roberts’ reviews objectively better? Would Joe Blow at the grocery store, who only chooses his novels solely on cover art think so?

I think it’s easy to see if a review is to be taken in consideration or not. There are lots of people on amazon or at goodreads that write reviews, others just write opinions. If you read: “Great book. Solid characters and the author really developed a new world or described the Victorian times perfectly.” Or like sometimes I read “Terrible choice. I really didn’t get the book at all.” It is clear which review I will take in consideration. And also I’ve read some great titles, which were chosen by the cover art. It is also the main reason why I haven’t read yet “A game of thrones” by George R. R. Martin.

13. Given the choice, would you take a paid review or column for an online or print publication, or a Book Blogger Appreciation Week award? Why, exactly?

If I was invited, why not. After four years of analyzing books since “Das Nibelungenlied” until Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” I don’t think I would do a poor job. It is a passion for me to write, whether reviews or fiction.

As repostas estão em inglês, mas penso que ninguém terá dificuldades.

1 comment:

  1. Gostei bastante das respostas e achei muito interessante a diferença entre opiniões e críticas. Eu sou das que escrevo opiniões porque não estudei Literatura e por isso não me sinto capaz de dissecar os livros, aliás sempre foi o meu problema nas aulas de Português. Hoje em dia tento informar-me um pouco mais sobre o contexto em que surgem determinadas obras, mas ainda assim não me considero crítica porque tenho realmente consciência de lacunas no que à Literatura diz respeito. Mas gosto de ler críticas extensas e que analisam de forma mais aprofundada a escrita, as motivações do autor, já que é assim que vou aprendendo a ver com outros olhos os livros. :)