Copyright Vicki Tyley (c)
Quote of the day:
"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid."
Franklin P. Jones
- Guest Book Reviewer
Today I am very pleased to introduce a very talented Australian woman who is a freelance writer, interviewer and book reviewer - Anastasia Gonis. Anastasia interviewed me some time back, asking scintillating questions that went to the core of a writer's spirit. The end result was excellent. Anastasia is very professional and highly regarded within the publishing industry. Welcome, Anastasia. Tell us what it's like to be a book reviewer ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BOOK-REVIEWING JOURNEY.
AG: I have reviewed for The Age, Herald Sun, Bookseller & Publisher Good Reading magazine, The Reading Stack, for MEAP and AllWrite! They are the ones I can remember. I have also been reviewing for Buzz Words for over five years.
WERE YOU A GOOD READER AS A KID?
AG: I was a good reader but had little access to books except from the school library. I borrowed a book or two a day and didn’t stop reading until I’d closed the cover.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A BOOK REVIEWER?
AG: My love of books and reading brought me to reviewing. At the time, I was Weekend Manager at a bookstore and had access to all new titles. I found that I loved writing about what I read and found that I was good at doing what I loved.
WHY A BOOK REVIEWER?
AG: Reviewing creates an intimacy with words. I become part of the endless ways words can be used to describe the many sides of humanity; its beauty and its agony.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A REVIEWER?
AG: I enjoy being surprised when I open a book. There is never anything the same between the covers. I love the journey I take as a reader and respect the creation of the writer who has agonized over words and how to present them on the page.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A REVIEWER?
AG: Being critical. I find it difficult to give negative comments.
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A BOOK REVIEWER?
AG: I was a Bookseller, taught English overseas, was a Migrant Teacher’s Aide for several years, and an adult student for six years. During this time I was always a writer.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST BOOKS YOU HAVE REVIEWED? WHY?
AG: I have reviewed so many outstanding books. It’s difficult to choose. I adore picture books many which have moved me to tears: some because of their well chosen text and others with their meaningful illustrations which frequently express more than the words. David Almond’s graphic novels stand out, as do several children’s poetry books with their experimental style and inventive use of language. I love Young Adult and teen books, and I so enjoy reading Chris Priestly as he is full of surprises and… What was the question again?
WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT?
AG: An outstanding collection of poems by Christos Fifis written in Greek titled Where is the Place for a Village? He writes about the Greek migrant experiences in post war Australia.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER TO REVIEW? WHY?
AG: I don’t have a preference. I love all books.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
AG: Read. Read widely from the Classics to comics. There is beauty in every style of language used in every genre. Don’t stick to your favourites. Read everything. Write! Rewrite! And Never Give Up!
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED TIME TO READ WHEN REVIEWING A BOOK?
AG: I prefer very early morning before the sun rises.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE TO READ?
AG: I carry books everywhere. But I must have quiet when I read.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE ALL TIME AUTHOR. WHY?
AG: If forced to choose I’d say David Almond. His writing moves me deeply. But then again it would do an injustice to all the fantastic writers I have read to single him out.
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU AS A BOOK REVIEWER?
AG: I once read: ‘I am part of everything that I have read’. I can’t remember who wrote it.
HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU REVIEWED?
I’d say well over a thousand in my twenty years as a reviewer. It’s hard to give exact figures.
OTHER THAN READING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love the life I have now; all the generous people - writers/illustrators etc., that have shared their stories with me through interviews; writing in every shape and form, being surrounded by books, and creating something new from something old.
DO YOU ALSO WRITE?
AG: Yes. I write poetry, short stories, non- fiction, articles and interviews, most of which have been published.
ARE SOME BOOKS DIFFICULT TO REVIEW? WHY?
AG: I find it difficult with a series where there are many characters and many sub-stories to follow and remember. This happens because there is a gap of time between reading the previous book and the current one. It’s hard to pick up where you left off a year ago, having read or reviewed fifty or more books in between.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
AG: Silence and a good book; being in the company of a true friend.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
AG: My plans are determined by many factors. I have currently accepted the journals of a young woman who died unnecessarily, to be made into a book. I will continue with my interviews, writing and reviewing, while I work on the journals. I also hope to publish a travel memoir I’ve been working on for some years.
Clancy's comment: Mm ... what can I say? If ever you have the opportunity to be interviewed by today's special guest, don't hesitate. Love ya work, Anastasia. - CT!