Monday, February 02, 2015

Reader Interview: Manga fan AB McFarland

Reader Interviews are where we get to hear from everyday readers, sharing their likes and dislikes and general reading preferences...

A BMcFarland is a Goodreads reader and Manga/Anime fan who also happens to hold a Master's degree in Technical Communication! She also maintaibs her own blog, Coiled to Spring.

How often do you read? How fast do you read?

I read every day, probably 10-50 pages per day. The speed of my reading depends on the difficulty of the text. If I’m reading manga, I can usually read about 200 pages a day and that takes about an hour. If I’m reading philosophical texts, sutra commentaries, or quantum physics material, that’s much slower going.

Favorite authors?

For manga, I’d say Jun Mochizuki (Pandora Hearts) and Ryukishi07 (Higurashi When They Cry). For fiction: Hermann Hesse, Jorge Luis Borges, Günter Grass. I’ve also been enjoying the poetry of Mary Oliver lately.

What are your preferred genres to read for fun? What genres will you NOT read, or dislike reading?

I prefer manga for fun reading, especially those stories which feature gender-bending characters or lots of mindf*ckery. For general fiction, I tend to lean toward magical realism. There’s something compelling to me about taking our mundane, every day world and twisting it in some way that wouldn’t normally seem possible.

I also end up reading a lot of books to my nine year-old daughter, and some of them are wonderful. I especially like Maile Meloy’s books for young people: “The Apothecary” and “The Apprentices.” The pacing in these books is just perfect.

I avoid reading almost anything with raised metallic lettering on the front.

What influences your choice of book to read for fun?

I tend to weigh the time commitment with how much I feel I “need” to read the book(s) in question. As a result, I end up reading whatever feels “important” at that time in my life. So at the moment, I’m reading a lot of Buddhist texts because I recently took refuge as a Buddhist last year, so it feels important to learn as much as I can. I prefer print because it is easier on my eyes and like to see how much farther I have to go in the text.

What's the best book you've ever read?

The Tin Drum by Günter Grass. I enjoyed this because it was full of wacky ideas and characters, and written in various styles, but still managed to convey a deeper message of what it was like to live in Hitler’s Germany.

My favorite manga so far is Pandora Hearts.

What's the worst book you've ever read?

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. This almost isn’t fair of me to say, because I know it’s considered a classic, and I read it when I was twelve so the deeper meanings eluded me. It was a slow, boring slog, even with skipping the 100+ pages on the details of whaling.

What elements make a good story?

There needs to be a certain element of tension, or at least, you need to have a lot of “story questions” in your mind as you are reading it. That’s what makes you want to keep going, to find out what happens. It’s one of the reasons I think the Harry Potter series did so well. J.K. Rowling is a master of planting story questions. Another book that I thought was a really good, simple story is “Pie” by Sarah Weeks. It’s meant for middle readers but it was so compelling that after I tucked my daughter into bed after reading part of it to her, I stayed up that night to finish it, because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened.

What makes you roll your eyes or groan in a story?

I’m more of a cringer than a groaner or eye-roller, but poorly written sex scenes get me every time.

Ever watch movies based on books, or read a book because it's already been made into a movie?

I did that with Lord of the Rings: watched the movies first and then read the books. I thought the movies changed the books in a good way, in order to make them better movies, even though the changes were not true to the books.

There are several books I really hope get made into movies:
“The Familiars” by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
“The Apothecary” by Maile Meloy
“A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole

Where do you like to read the most?
In “The Chair”…a recliner chair in my living room, covered with a blanket and a warm feline. I also read a little in bed, and I read magazines in the bathtub.

If you'd like to share your reading preferences, email Troglodad AT Gmail DOT COM for a set of questions or make your own based on what you see above.

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