Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Mini Interview with Moi (2)

Well, I've only gotten two questions from you all so far, but I will go ahead and post them along with my answers.

Question asked in many comments on my Tuesday Thingers post this week:
Why do you have so much cereal?
Well, I really like cereal. I eat it every morning for breakfast. Most of the cereal brands that I prefer, Quaker Oat Squares, Chex, Post Great Grains among others, are not available in Germany. So I buy a ton of boxes while I am in the states and bring it back in my suitcases (along with all the books). And then I have to put it somewhere. That’s where my custom cereal shelves come in. I also beg visitors to bring me cereal when they come. Thanks again to Linda Gerber, Wes, Dad, Sommer, Tracy, Kelly and Steve, Rachelle, Marc, Rob Schneider, JR and many others for keeping me in cereal over the years. P.S. I also really like Almond M&Ms (thanks Jay!)

Question from Beth Kephart:
I'd like to know if there is any review of a book that you would retract if you could—a book that got much better or much worse with distance.
Whenever I read a review of a book that I’ve also reviewed by a reviewer I respect and they have a vastly different opinion, I do second guess myself for a second. I think that’s natural. But I stick by my reviews. At least the ones I’ve published on my blog.

There was a review I wrote on amazon way back in 2001 of Martyn Bedford’s The Houdini Girl which in hindsight may have been a little harsh. I gave it 2 stars. Here it is:

Boy meets girl. Girl moves in with boy the next day. Boy and girl live together until one year later, girl leaves boy. The twist here is that the boy (Red) is a magician and the girl (Rosa) turns up dead before he even knows she's left him. What happened here? And who was Rosa really?

The first part of the book is engaging and we see snippets of Red and Rosa's life together in flashbacks, as well as Red's gradual discoveries that Rosa was not what she seemed. Red makes a sympathetic character, UNTIL we come to the second part of the book, where Red steps out of character and starts acting like a master detective (only for the sake of bringing the plot forward it seems). Red's actions are so unbelievable that the book turns nearly into a farce. Still, I read eagerly on, waiting for the payoff: what happened to Rosa?

Some reviewers have noted that this book isn't easily forgettable, and I'd have to agree. Although I won't be keeping this one on my bookshelf, I did have an enjoyable time reading it.

Well, a couple of months ago, I was e-mailing with Julia Hoban, author of the upcoming YA novel Willow, and she told me how much she had loved the novel and it made me stop and think back. 8 years later, and I still remember the novel pretty well. If I were rating it now, through the lens of nostalgia, I might be more forgiving and bump it up to say 3 ½ stars. In fact, I actually wish I hadn’t given it away now, because I’d like to read it again.

Any other questions out there? Don't be shy! I'd love to do a part 3. Oh, and I'll answer the easy ones right in the comments.


Bookworm said...

Question for you: How long have you had a blog?

Anonymous said...

Okay, I can so relate to the cereal thing even though I don't each much of it. When we lived in France, we would go to grocery stores when we traveled. We found Lucky Charms somewhere and the next time our son talked to his cousin, he said, "I got a box of Lucky Charms." His cousin was totally underwhelmed.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Hi Bookworm!

I started my blog on May 4th, 2007. Back then it was more of a personal blog, though I did talk about books sometimes. I posted my first book review(s) on April 29th 2008:

Book Reviews: Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

Lenore Appelhans said...

Kathy - That's hilarious! I am always checking out grocery stores when we travel looking for American goodies. We found a lot in Iceland, I guess because it is so close to the states.

Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

Okay, the cereal thing makes much more sense now. I do kinda the same thing, but with candy - I'm addicted to Jelly Tots, and they are near impossible to find. So with every trip to the US I bring enough back over the border to stock a department store :)

Kelsey said...

Okay, so you probably post this somewhere already, but I never started reading your blog until the end of this past summer, so (if it's not too personal.) Why do you live in Germany and Kansas(?)?

What do you like best about Germany? (I lived in Germany when I was 4-8 and I never loved much of it, haha)

Would you consider yourself a fast reader, or a average reader who reads a lot? (Weird question, I know.)

Where is your favorite spot to read?

How's Emmy doing? :)

What do you love about blogging so much?

Okay, here's an odd but fun question: If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

What's a book you remember reading a loving a ton when you were in high school?

Liviania said...

I can't stand cereal.

H said...

Oh, I know someone who lives in Turkey, and we have to take her sausages. And ham. And bacon. A lot of meat, basically, so the cereal thing kind of makes sense. Hmmm, questions:
blue or black pen?
Favourite book cover of all time?
What was your best thing about being a teenager?
That's all I can think of right now and I apologise for the strangeness of them =)

Staci said...

Loving your answers and the questions being asked here!!

Do you work outside the house? If so what kind of job do you have?

Serena said...

Lenore: Thanks for explaining the cereal. I never realized when I moved to the D.C. area that some of my favorites would be hard to find. Apparently Cape Cod potato chips are not as popular here as they are in NE. They generally only have the plain kind in the store here, and I adore the flavored ones, like sea salt and vinegar, etc. We recently starting seeing a growth in the amount of Dunkin Donuts here, but when we first moved here I begged friends to mail it for christmas or bring it with them when they always mailed me some, thank goodness!

Linda said...

How many hours would you say you read in an average week?

When are you coming home this summer?

wrigleyfield said...

Do you second-guess yourself when writing negative reviews in general, even if you haven't seen a more positive take from another reviewer you like?

Beth Kephart said...

Okay. All right. So, CLEARLY: My question paled in comparison to the cereal question.

I am such a nerd, such a nerd, such a nerd, such a nerd.....

Color Online said...

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Lenore Appelhans said...

Joanne - It's funny the things we stock up on!

Kelsey - I'll answer a couple of your questions here and a couple later.

I live in Germany because both my husband and my business are here. I am from Kansas because that is where all my family is from. Because I work freelance, I am able to spend some of the year there too.

I am a fast reader.

I probably read mostly in my bed.

Emmy is very spoiled :) She's been getting me up earlier and earlier every morning because she's bored and wants attention.

I love the supportive blogging community!

Lenore Appelhans said...

Liv - Blasphemy!

H - My answers to 2 of your questions now:

Whatever pen is handy.

I think my favorite thing about being a teen was the feeling that there was still so many directions I could take.

Staci - I'm an advertising copywriter and I work freelance, mostly from my home office. But I do go visit my clients from time to time for briefings and meetings and such.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Serena - There is a Dunkin' Doughnuts in Berlin! But not in Frankfurt. We finally got a real bagel place though!

Linda - The amount of reading I do really varies from week to week, but I guess about 15.

I am coming home in late July/Early August.

Wrigley - Actually, it's more the moderately postive reviews that I second guess myself on, especially when other reviewers reviewed the book negatively.

Beth - You are not a nerd :)

Steve said...

Serena - Check out Harris Teeter. The one by my place near Potomac Yards has them. I'll probably go there today or tomorrow and I can report back on the flavors. I think they even carry the Cape Cod popcorn!

Anna said...

Glad to hear the lack of bagels has been rectified. I couldn't live without them!

I have the same experience sometimes with past reviews. I find my opinions about certain books soften over time, the more I read and the more I live, but I'll stand behind my reviews.

Diary of an Eccentric

Carolina said...

I love Chex cereal as well!

What upcoming book are you looking forward to reading?

Have you lived anywhere else other that Germany and Kansa?

Biggest difference between Germany and Kansa (other than the language spoken and the no cereal thing)?

Fave TV show?

Isn't House the best show ever? :D

Lenore Appelhans said...

hey Steve - great tip!

Anna - Yes, a life without bagels is a sad, wasted life.

Carol(ina) - I have lived many places. In order:

North Dakota
Athens, Greece
Quito, Ecuador
Altea, Spain
Fukuoka, Japan

Amy said...

Trust Beth to ask such a fantastic question!

Ali said...

Question: Seeing as he's German and you're from Kansas, I'd like to know the story of how and where you met Daniel.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Ali - Seems like it would be an interesting story, but we actually met at work, here in Germany. I was doing an internship at the same company he was working at and we just clicked. My orginal plan was to stay for just 6 months, and now years later, I'm still here!

Lorin said...

Cereal mystery solved! I made my family bring me peanut butter when I was in Denmark. I really disliked the PB sold there and the American kind was too expensive. When I came back, thank goodness for Ikea as that's the only place I've ever found my favorite candy from Scandinavia - Bilar. Yum.

Kathleen said...

Oh I LOVE cereal!

I eat it at LEAST once a day. I often have it for snack too and I usually eat two bowls worth at each sitting.

I prefer: Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Shreddies, Multi-grain Cheerios, Fruity Cheerios and Lucky Charms.