Monday, June 24, 2013

Meet the Shelf Inflicted Staff - Amanda

Today's guest is the notorious book pimp, Amanda.  She also posts at This Insignificant Cinder

How did you discover Goodreads?
Oddly enough, through My Space. I was trying to find something that would display what I was reading on my profile and stumbled upon Goodreads. The rest (including My Space) is history.

What have been your most memorable Goodreads experiences?
The positives have been e-mails from authors thanking me for my reviews, as well as bantering and biblio-bonding with the ragtag band of misfits who eventually became the Shelf Inflicted staff. The negatives have been the trolls, who are apparently legion and skulking in the dark reaches of cyberspace, just waiting for someone to take a poke at Orson Scott Card. On the plus side, it’s fun to verbally swat at them.

Name one reviewer not in the Forbes 25 that people should be aware of.
If you’re looking for insightful and honest reviews about science fiction and urban fantasy, Carol’s your gal. I love how she breaks a story down and thoughtfully evaluates the positives and the negatives. She calls them as she sees them, with no apologies. I’ve dodged many a bad book because of her and discovered many a treasure.

What was your initial reaction to Amazon buying Goodreads?
I believe my initial reaction was, “Holy shit snacks!!!" . . . and then I went back to reading my book. I’m not as anti-Amazon as a lot of people, but I do have concerns with how my data is used and censorship/creative control of my reviews. However, so far, so good.

How many books do you own?
Roughly 1,000, give or take a few tucked away into nooks and crannies I've forgotten about. Fortunately, I'm married to a man of many talents--among them being the ability to build sturdy, kick ass bookshelves to my specifications.

Who is your favorite author?
For fantasy, Neil Gaiman. For modern literature, Tim O'Brien. For all time, Ernest Hemingway (with apologies to Stephanie).

What is your favorite book of all time?

I know that for most readers this is the equivalent of asking, “Who is your favorite child?” But I can say without hesitation: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. It was the first time I read a book that took me into the heart of an experience so utterly outside of the tiny little life I lead. Before that, literature was just escapism or dealt with issues that I at least had a touchstone for understanding. However, O’Brien’s exploration of the fear, the courage, the brotherhood, the awe, and the horror of the war in Vietnam was the first time I read something and thought, "This. This matters." It's not just a story--it's a visceral experience.

What are your thoughts on ebooks?
To paraphrase Community’s Jeff Winger: To me, e-readers are like Paul Rudd. I see the appeal, and I would never take it away from anyone. But I would also never stand in line for it.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing?
I like the freedom it gives writers to put themselves out there without waiting to be discovered, but my experience with reading self-published hasn’t exactly been pleasant. It’s probably given me a better appreciation for what a good editor can do for a writer.

Any literary aspirations? 
Zip. Zero. Zilch.

What is your ideal super villain lair?
It’s not a super villain lair, but I remember that, even as a small child, I thought, “If I ever rule the world, it shall be from Castle Grayskull.” I completely understand Skeletor’s desire for it—that place oozes sinister.


  1. Castle Grayskull - this speaks VOLUMES about you! I'm laughing and amazed at the same time.

    Paul Rudd heh heh.

    1. I also hope for an appropriate time and place to shout out, "By the power of Grayskull--I have the power!!!"

  2. Am now moving The Things They Carried up my list... I own it (AND have the ebook), but haven't read it yet.

    1. Oh, I hope you enjoy it! It's such a powerful, wonderful book.