Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 BBAW - Interview Swap with Sakura of Chasing Bawa

I'm sure most of you will agree that one of the best things about BBAW is getting to know so many new blogs (and bloggers!) And, today is one of my favorite days of the week-long celebration because I just love the interview swap. Not only do I find tons of new blogs to add to my reader, but I also feel like I get to know so many of you a little bit better.

This year, I feel extremely fortunate that I was paired with a very nice blogger who also has a beautifully written book blog -- Sakura from Chasing Bawa. I absolutely love her thought-provoking and insightful reviews and I highly recommend taking a look at her blog!

Booking Mama: Could you please tell me a little bit about yourself for those readers who aren't familiar with your blog? And, I just have to ask....but what is the meaning behind your blog's name -- Chasing Bawa?

Sakura: I'm half Sri Lankan and half Japanese and live in London. I grew up all over the world until I came to the UK to study over 20 years ago. Although my background is in the sciences, my two true passions are literature and history. I chose chasing bawa as the name for my blog as it kind of summarises my life. Geoffrey Bawa was Sri Lanka's most famous architect who combined modern and ancient aesthetics while staying true to nature. We spent our holidays in Sri Lanka traipsing around the country chasing Bawa's creations.

Booking Mama: Like many bloggers, you seem to have pretty eclectic reading tastes. Who are some of your favorite authors? And, what are some of your favorite books? Do you have any must-read authors?

Sakura: This is a toughie as there are so many authors and books I love. Let's start with the classics, I like the Brontes (especially Jane Eyre), Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), Dumas, Dickens, Tolstoy (Anna Karenina) and Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment). In contemporary fiction I like Donna Tartt (The Secret History), David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas), Sarah Waters (The Night Watch), Ann Patchett (Bel Canto) and Douglas Coupland (Generation X). My two most recent discoveries are Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible) and Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog). In sff I like Terry Pratchett, Scott Lynch, Steven Erikson, Ian M. Banks, Katherine Kerr and Janny Wurts. I also read a lot of mysteries of which I recommend those by Elizabeth Peters, Paul Doherty, Lindsey Davis, Dorothy L. Sayers, Fred Vargas, Eliot Pattison and Umberto Eco. Because of my background, I also read a lot of Sri Lankan writers such as Shyam Selvadurai, Romesh Gunasekara, Michelle de Kretser and V.V. Ganeshananthan not to mention Michael Ondaatje, and Japanese writers such as Haruki Murakami, Natsuo Kirino, Junichiro Tanizaki and Shusaku Endo. I could go on and on. And I love reading books about books and writers.

Booking Mama: Besides maintaining Chasing Bawa, you also write a column Slightly Peckish for one of your favorite food blogs Umamimart. How do you manage to juggle your work, your play, your reading, and your writing?

Sakura: I write two to three posts a week plus a fortnightly post for Umamimart. If I did more, I would probably burn out so this is just right for me and gives me enough time to find inspiration for my posts. What I find difficult is juggling my reading time with doing all the other things I need to do (such as sleep, write, watch tv and socialise) as well as reading and commenting on the blogs I follow. There are so many amazing blogs out there. How does everyone do it?

Booking Mama:  I'm sure you agree with me that there are so many wonderful books (and authors) out there that it's virtually impossible to read all of them. What are some books (or authors) that you haven't read yet but plan to within the next year or so?

Sakura: I'm planning to read a lot more American fiction next year. I normally read a lot of new American fiction and short stories but thought I'd focus more on the classics so I'm compiling a list (suggestions would be welcome!) I'm also planning to attempt Yukio Mishima's tetralogy The Sea of Fertility, finish David Mitchell's last two books, start China Mieville's The City & The City and finally read Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. Oh, and Tolstoy's War and Peace!

Booking Mama: This is a tough one (or at least it is for me!) What book has had the most impact on your life?

Sakura: This is SO tough. I'll choose Simone de Beauvoir's autobiography, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, which I read as a first year undergraduate student and which shaped the way I think about the choices we have as women in today's world. Beauvoir isn't perfect and she remembers events as she wants them to be rather than what actually occurred but I admire her intellect, guts and vitality.

A huge thanks to Sakura for taking the time to answer my questions. It's always so much fun to make a new blogger friend! And if you want to see my answers to Sakura's question, you can click here. 

15 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Thanks so much Julie for introducing us to Sakura. Sakura, I can't imagine anything more interesting than being half Sri Lankan and half Japanese! What wonderful cultures! Recently we were in Santa Monica and there was a Sri Lankan festival going on that we kind of stumbled into (as I was, as usual, searching for a bathroom!), and I couldn't tear myself away. We ended up staying for so long (although eventually I did have to take a brief time out for the bathroom trip!) Well, TMI - but anyway, it was so great because it is a lot easier to find Greek or Irish or Italian fests, but we feel so lucky to have find this Sri Lankan one! I can't wait to follow your blog and see reviews of both Sri Lankan and Japanese authors!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Half Sri Lankan and half Japanese living in London? How exotic and interesting. Sakura is a new to me blogger..thanks Julie for introducing her to us!

bermudaonion said...

Great interview! I love the way she came up with her blog name!

wordlily.com said...

Really great interview; thanks!

S. Krishna said...

Lovely! Chasing Bawa is already in my Google Reader, but I loved getting to know Sakura better.

chasingbawa said...

Thanks Julie for your lovely introduction and some fine questions! And thanks everyone for your wonderful comments.

Library Cat said...

Very nice interview and I love the blog name and explanation. This is what I love about BBAW interview swaps - all the delightful questions and answers.

bookinglass said...

I enjoyed reading your interview so much. I have been feeling out of sorts with blogging and reading but I love to come back and see such lovely people writing about books.

stacybuckeye said...

Great interview! I love the answer to her last question. Makes me want to read the book.

reviewsbylola said...

Chasing bawa is fairly new to me, but I think it is a fantastic blog!

Jenners said...

What an ambitious reading schedule!!! I'm impressed. And I love the diversity of the recommendations she was able to turn out!

I also enjoyed learning about the name of the blog ... it has a neat ring to it and such a nice meaning.

Heather J. said...

this sounds like a blog I'd LOVE - off to check her out now ;)

diaryofaneccentric said...

Great interview! I just discovered Sakura's blog today, and I love it already.

Amy said...

I love Sakura's blog! Great questions, and great answers. Some authors listed that I love and some I'm meaning to try myself :)

Mystica said...

I hold Sakura responsible for me even starting my blog! I loved the style of writing, the wide range of books read and was encouraged so much whilst reading her blog!