Tuesday, September 14, 2010
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.