Sunday, July 20, 2008

Reviewer Profile: Presenting Lenore

Name: Lenore
Alias: Don’t have one
Mission: I am an evangelist for YA fiction – I think everyone should read it (above a certain age of course). I think a lot of adults just dismiss it as being simplified fiction with paint-by-numbers plot, but YA is really experiencing a renaissance right now and there are so many awesomely talented and creative people working in the genre.
Genres: I review a mix of YA and literary fiction, with the occasional sci-fi, chick-lit, thriller and non-fiction thrown in. That’s what I read, and I tend to review everything I read.
(personal questions below)

What's your occupation by day?
I am a freelance advertising copywriter. It’s a really perfect job for me because I love to write and learn new things. Plus I pretty much set my own schedule and have lots of time for reading books and working on my personal writing projects.

What made you decide to tackle this whole blog reviewer biz?
I like to let a book’s themes stew around in my head for a bit after I finish a book and it’s great to have an outlet for those thoughts. Having a reviewer blog keeps me reading and I love being able to promote books that I loved.

What are your blog's strong points?
People seem to respond really positively to the reviews themselves.

How are you in terms of negative reviews? Are you afraid of posting them? How do you handle them?
I do like to accentuate the positive but I don’t shy away from being critical either. If I don’t like a book, I don’t bash, I just point out my reasons. I may think that whole chapter detailing a cricket match in “Murder Must Advertise” is a snooze, but there are plenty of readers who are fascinated by it.

What are the best aspects of being a reviewer?
I can’t deny it’s cool to get to read books before everyone else, and to have a steady stream of reading material just magically appear in my mailbox. But most of all I enjoy being part of the reviewer/author online community – there are so many who inspire me.

In your opinion, where lies the heart of a good book?
The exploration of the “big ideas” of what it means to be human. And I love a good narrative hook.

What books have blown your mind? Which authors?
My mind is being blown by books all the time. Standouts are books that are original, have great writing and affect me deeply on an emotional level. Books like “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak and “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro. I am so impressed by Scott Westerfeld and David Mitchell. Recent reads that have excited me are Joy of Spooking by PJ Bracegirdle, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart and Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman.

Now for a sneaky question: Which currently-released/forthcoming books are you dying to read? (Question originally by Ambeen)
As a fan of dystopian fiction, I can’t wait to read Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (October 2008) and The Other Side of Island by Allegra Goodman (September 2008). I am also very interested in Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (September 2008), Everything Beautiful in the World by Lisa Levchuk (October 2008), and Lauren Oliver’s If I Should Fall (2010) about a girl who has to relive the day of her death 7 times until she ultimately figures out the life she has to save is not her own. Just such a great concept.

What are some of your other passions and interests?
I love to travel (especially to places with great cultural sites), go out dancing at latin clubs (Merengue is a fave), go on long (leisurely) bike rides, and hanging out with my new cat.

Can you roll your tongue or do other nifty stuff?
I can’t roll my tongue but I can block off my nasal cavity at will. This is a really useful skill because I can keep myself from being tortured by bad smells and I am very good at pretending to be sick.

What music are you constantly tuning in to?
I listen to Tori Amos about 50% of the time. I just never get tired of her music. I also really like Regina Spektor, Youth Group, A Fine Frenzy, and just checking out new music.

What are your favorite movies and TV shows?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my very favorite movies – but the movie I’ve seen the most times is Last of the Mohicans. I had an abridged, illustrated classic of that as a kid and it was my favorite book. I am drawn to literary adaptations, but I try to read the book before seeing the movie. I don’t watch a lot of broadcast TV (except Jeopardy when I can), but I do like to watch DVDs of series like 24, LOST, Prison Break, House, Arrested Development, Flight of the Conchordes, The Simpsons, and quite a few others.

Young Adult or death?
I’ve always puzzled over this question. I mean it is WAY too easy (YA of course!) Shouldn’t the question be no young adult or death? That would much harder to answer. (Steph says: ooo, I like the way she thinks...)


Amee said...

Loved your answers, Lenore!

Wow, I am so happy you thought one of my questions was good enough to use as your own!

Lenore Appelhans said...

Thanks ambeen! It is a great question :)

Linda said...

I'm so proud of you Lenore! VERY proud to be your aunt! Keep the reviews coming!

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

GREAT interview!

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Chapter 1 is online!

Anonymous said...

Great profile!

A little follow-up question- how did you get involved in freelancing? I'm unemployed right now, so I think it would be cool to give freelancing a try, but don't really know how to go about it. Feel free to email me at if you'd prefer to respond that way.

Liviania said...

I love both Eternal Sunshine and Regina Spektor. And those forthcooming books do sound good.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Nice interview Lenore/Steph!! I'm curious about the freelancing thing as Book Chic mentioned.

Oh..the How I Fall (or something...) sounds great. Too bad it's not coming out for quite a bit. I love the idea behind it though, and I really want to read Living Dead Girl as well. It sounds amazingg!!!


Lenore Appelhans said...

RE: freelancing

I had a couple of short term full time jobs at ad agencies before I went freelance so I could build up a portfolio and contacts. Most agencies or clients are going to want to see a portfolio of ad copywriting work before they'll hire you. To get your foot in the door, you could try an internship at an ad agency.

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph