Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Forbes Reviewers - #15 Nataliya

Today's guest is Nataliya.

How did you discover Goodreads?
Back in 2010, I was reading a discussion on Patrick Rothfuss's blog, and somebody mentioned something about him being a 'Goodreads author'. The name sounded curious, so I googled the site and 20 minutes later was hooked. I used it for a while for nothing other than cataloging my books until one day I thought - why not just write something about a book I read? And ever since then I got hooked on writing reviews.

What have been your most memorable Goodreads experiences?
I'm unoriginal - it would have to be the cumulative experience of meeting so many fellow book-lovers here and finally being able to experience the amazing community of people who share my love for books.

Name one reviewer not in the Forbes 25 that people should be aware of.
Kris. She writes very well-researched, enlightening reviews of excellent books. There quite a few wonderful books I read that I would not have come across if it wasn't for her.

I want to give another mention to Catie who reviews a lot of excellent middle grade and young adult books - in addition to fueling my addiction to China Miéville! - and therefore is able to point me in the direction of good quality books in those categories.

What was your initial reaction to Amazon buying Goodreads?
Unease. After all, the public 'divorce' between Amazon and Goodreads just last year seemed quite ugly. I love the environment Goodreads created here, and I was feeling apprehensive about possible changes under new ownership. Dislike buttons that exist on Amazon and (hopefully) will never find their way here, commercialized reviews aimed at pushing/promoting the product above all, the possibility that the content we create is now the property of a retail giant.

How many books do you own?
About 100 e-books, and probably 80-100 'dead tree' books. I get many books from the library, and I give my books away easily - I believe in the power of sharing what you love. I have moved several times in the last few years, and so I scaled back on my book collection every time - which is okay since every trip to a thrift store usually leads to several newly adopted books joining my collection.

Who is your favorite author?
I can't name just one - here's the whole 'favorite authors gang':

Just the last 3-4 years I have discovered the books by Terry Pratchett, and he immediately topped my favorite authors list with his dry intelligent wit and the ability to see anything through the prism of his humor-borders-on-extreme-and-occasionally-angry-seriousness fueled imagination and turn it on its head, making me think - and the ability of books to make me think is what I really treasure about reading.

Ever since my teenage years, I have unconditionally loved the works by Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of my favorite book of all time "The Master and Margarita".

Stephen King has been on my pedestal for a decade and a half, too.

And, finally, my most recent discovery (only last year) is China Miéville, the British socialist academic writer of the 'New Weird' whose writing has enriched my vocabulary and whose ability to write in so many different genre never stops amazing me.

What is your favorite book of all time?
Can I give you my top three? Ok, top four?
(1) 'The Master and Margarita' by Mikhail Bulgakov
(2) 'Good Omens' by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
(3) 'Night Watch' by Terry Pratchett
(4) 'The Scar' by China Miéville

What are your thoughts on ebooks?
I love them. They make it easy for me to read in bed with the lights turned off, or sneak quick peaks at the pages during slow work moments, and I love the portability they provide.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing?
I think that it's the double-edged sword. On the bright side, there's the easier way for good authors to get noticed, to get their work out there and make it accessible to the public without having to jump through the endless hoops. On the other hand, it also led to heaps of horrible dreck that readers need to sort through in order to get to the gems. I had good and bad experiences with books by self-published authors, but overall I stick to the traditionally published books since there seems to be a bit more quality control there than in the free-for-all self-published world.

Any literary aspirations?
None. Zero. Zilch. I know my limitations and I know I would not make a good writer. I will leave those who are more talented than I am to do the job.