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Today's blogger spotlight is focused on Maggie from Bibliophilia-Maggie's Bookshelf
Maggie is committed to reading, writing and social justice. Her reviews are just the right length. She actively promotes POC in literature and from her I've found a plethora of information (mostly her tweets, seriously follow her on Twitter!) about various events and issues in the YA, adult literature and POC world. We've had some wonderful and enlightening discussions.
1) Please tell us about Maggie's Bookshelf
I actually had two book blogs before this one, neither of which caught on - I think I managed to both over and under-think them, the names were bad (Wordfire and Seshat's Scroll), and they were more like diaries than real blogs. So Maggie's Bookshelf happened because I figured, third time's a charm, and I couldn't go wrong with that name. =) As far as why I've stuck with this one, I like the community aspects of blogging I've discovered, especially when it comes to connecting with other teenage writers and bloggers. I hope my posts and reviews reflect that - I love getting comments, and I love the idea of maybe sharing a book with someone that becomes their new favorite!
2) What 2010 debut book are you most looking forward to? Non-debut?
Ooh, I have such a hard time with questions like these. There are a few books I look forward to, but really, it's more what catches my interest at the time, no matter when it came out. For the debut...I know it was already released, but I think it debuted in 2010, and I really want to read it: Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz really sounds like my kind of book. I'd love to see more YA fiction that explores a teen's sexual orientation, and besides, I've heard it's just plain good. As far as non-debut? It's a no-brainer! I'm dying to read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins when it comes out in August! I'm of the opinion that she should be fined, or placed behind bars, or something, for daring to write the ending to Catching Fire that cliff-hanger-y.
3) What are your top five favorite POC books?
If we're counting adult books, Octavia Butler is my favorite writer ever, period. So her books would trump. But if we're not, then probably the Octavian Nothing books by M.T. Anderson first, and then Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (oops - is that adult? It read like YA), Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples, Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind also by Suzanne Fisher Staples, and Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann in no particular order. Wait, that's six. Love them all anyway. =)
4) Tell us about yourself :)
I'm homeschooled, in high school, and I spend 50% of the average day either reading or writing. I'm very lucky to have supportive (read that lenient) parents who let me do that, but I think it's maybe because they hope to retire on the J.K. Rowling style royalties they believe I'll one day receive. I haven't broken it to them that I don't think I'm that good/lucky, but I hope to become a full-time writer sometime anyway - I'm currently working on a YA sci-fi novel. If that doesn't work out, then I'd like to be an ethnobotanist, which is someone who studies how native people use plants. I'd like to do this in South America, because after all, I'd better be using all this Spanish I'm learning for something! =) I hope I'll always have a book blog, and I hope I never get over the mini-high of getting an ARC in the mail, or a new follower (on the blog, not in the mail). And I hope I can keep reading good books, and find a more diverse cast of characters in them - that's what really makes my day!
5) If you could have dinner with any two POC characters from any book who would it be and why?
Serious dinner or fun dinner? Serious dinner - Octavian Nothing, because he's smart and can play mean violin. I'd probably feel stupid and wish I hadn't quit violin every minute I spent in his presence. And I'd invite Lauren Olamina from Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, because she's also smart and ambitious and interesting, and we'd have a lot to talk about. But just for a fun dinner? Dimple and Karsh from Born Confused. That would be hilarious.
Finally, any advice to those who want to read POC and don't know where to start? Any advice for those just starting to blog?
If you want to read PoC, I don't have much advice, other than read Ari's blog, where you're reading this right now. That's where I find a lot of the books I want to read! =) And maybe go to the library and bookstore, scan covers, and read inside flaps. Read about someone different than you!
When it comes to blogging...hmm. When it comes to blogging, I'm bad at taking advice, so that means I'm probably bad at giving it. I've had to mess around and figure out what works for me! But if you wanted to start a blog, I'd say get a blog, blog a lot, and don't worry about whether or not you sound stupid. Make friends with people, especially on Twitter! (I tweet obsessively @mdesmondobrien). And, REVIEW ALL THAT POC LITERATURE NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE HAVE HEARD ABOUT. I like finding blogs that review books I've never heard of. If I see those books at the library or at a bookstore, I'm ten times as likely to pick them up. So don't just do what everyone else is doing, otherwise blogs like this wouldn't exist!
Thank you so much for having me, Ari!
Don't you just love her?! And did I mention that Maggie is not a POC? She's one of the best examples of a reader and blogger who reads books about POC, she doesn't just read what she knows, she widens her horizons. It's one of the many things that make her fantastic. I also love her sense of humor (I like how she has a serious dinner and a fun dinner). I too, would love to talk to Octavian, his life is truly fascinating. I must read Born Confused! Maggie is a fifteen year old who is going places! I can't wait to see I knew her way back when :) Go visit her blog, Bibliophilia-Maggie's Bookshelf so that you are able to say the same =)