Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA: Work the Network

Today it is time for the Armchair BEA interview swap! Here are the details from the Armchair BEA website:

This is the day for the ever-popular blogger Interviews! Participants did have to sign up for the interviews in advance, so if you missed the cutoff, our “alternate” topic is an invitation to write a post highlighting some of your favorite book blogs and bloggers - share the love!

Before I introduce you to my interviewee, I also want to mention that I have been interviewed by Chris over at the main ArmchairBEA site alongside three other international bloggers, and by Rebecca at Kindle Fever.
Lucky we were organised otherwise this could have been a very hectic day! As soon as I have the links I will add them to this post.

Without further ado, meet Julie from Manga Maniac Cafe

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m a bean counter by day, and an unrepentant reader by night. If I’m not at work, chances are you will find me with a book in my hand. Besides reading, my other love is chilling with my horses at the barn down the street.

What started you on your road to Manga loving?

College started my love for manga. Once I started taking advanced accounting classes, I didn’t have the attention span to read my preferred fantasy novels, but I found that comic books worked well as a substitute. Because they are published in installments, it’s easier to consume them in short chunks of time, which was perfect for when I needed a break from studying.

I have read a few graphic novels over the years - Kaoru Mori comes to mind - but really not that many. Is there a particular series or novelist that you would say is must read for people who aren't familiar with the genre.

Oh, EMMA was a good series to start with! It has great characters and a wonderful, forbidden romance. Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara is another moving series, and I think I was so emotionally invested in it that I cried every volume. Kekkaishi by Yellow Tanabe is a fun action series, and again, it focuses on the relationships between the characters. There are so many good manga series out that it would take an entire blog post just to touch on some of the best!

There is a big trend at the moment for successful mainstream novels to be turned into graphic novels/manga. Diana Gabaldon, the Twilight books, Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harris and the list goes on and on. What do you think of this trend?

I like it, and I hope that more women start reading graphic novels because of it. My only concern is that I don’t feel that publishers are marketing them correctly to their intended target market. They are on the pricey side because most of them have been hardcovers. And I’m afraid that they will over saturate a niche that isn’t for everyone. Over saturation is one of the things that killed the manga industry in the US (arguably, piracy is the other major factor); I hope that doesn’t happen with these.

We actually starting blogging at around about the same time - nearly 6 years ago for both of us. What keeps you blogging? What has changed, and what has stayed the same?

I think I keep blogging because I don’t really have anyone to talk to about books. I like talking about books, and since I don’t have anyone to listen to me, I talk with my fingers instead. What’s stayed the same? Blogging is hard work, especially if you try to keep any kind of schedule with your posts. I think that social networking has made it easier to get your blog out there, and I would be lost without Twitter. There are also so many free tools now to make blogging easier.

I saw a few posts about ebooks on your blog. How is the growth of ebooks good, or otherwise, for manga/graphic novels?

I think that most of the comic book/graphic novel publishers are late to adopt a digital format for their titles. There are too many delivery methods for digital content; there’s Comixology, and most publishers have their own dedicated application for reading their books on electronic gadgets like iThings. I think that digital comics are still too expensive, and the reading experience is still too clunky. I believe that if the comic publishers don’t get this figured out quickly, they will continue to lose readers to pirate sites, and we all feel the pain when the market erodes because readers just give up on legitimate sources of obtain their comics.

You don't only read manga. What else do you like to read?

I like to read pretty much everything. I love fantasy novels, and have been waiting years for the next book in George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. I enjoy YA and MG, and dystopian and post-apocalyptic are favorite genres. I like books about zombies, which is totally surprising, because I can’t stand watching horror movies. I am not so fond of non-fiction, and I usually avoid classics, but I am open to almost anything else!

Tell us about the last book you finished, the book you are currently reading, the book you are planning to read next, and a favourite recent read.

The last book that I read was OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy, and it was a great read about a young girl who is exposed to discrimination for the first time.

I am currently reading Flawless by Lara Chapman. I really like it so far. It’s about accepting yourself, has lots high school angst, but is told with a great deal of humor.

I am going to read Are You Going to Kiss Me Now? by Sloane Tanen after that, or maybe a zombie book. I haven’t read a good zombie book in a while, so I am really tempted to go hunt one down. A zombie book, not an actual zombie.

My favorite books this year have been Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin and Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge. They are both MG books, and I couldn’t put them down. I found them both touching and heartwarming reads.

Let's talk about something other than books. You are a passionate horse rider. How long have you been riding? Tell us about your horses, Blondie and Elle?

I have been riding for about six years. It’s something that I always wanted to do, and I have dreamed about owning a horse since I was a little girl, but my parents didn’t have the money for me to take lessons. After my boyfriend kept telling me I wasn’t getting any younger (thanks, dude!), and that if I was serious about riding, I needed to start soon, I finally started taking lessons. Now I own two mares, Blondie (Saddlebred) and Elle (Morgan), and I show competitively. It’s a lot of fun and it helps me blow off some steam. I am so grateful that the BF gave me the push I needed to make my dream a reality.

Thanks so much for asking me such wonderful questions!


  1. I just started reading Keikkashi earlier this week. I need to update GoodReads to show that I'm reading it. I like graphic novels too but haven't really been tempted my many of the adaptations of novels, the two exceptions being The Lightning Thief and Coraline. I tried reading an e-galley of a graphic novel compilation but the formatting was so awful I could barely read the book. I had to reject the book for review because there was no fair way to review it.

    Thursday means it's review time for Armchair BEA. I got the chance to interview via email the owner of Notorious Spinks Talks Books. Come read the review.

  2. Great interview!
    I enjoy reading manga, but I get overwhelmed by the genre at times so I definitely rely on recommendations. I will check out some of the series you've mentioned. Series I've really enjoyed are The Tarot Cafe, Gakuen Alice, and Chibi-vampire.

  3. I don't read manga, so it's interesting to hear from someone who knows so much about it.

    Great interview!

  4. Thanks again for interviewing me!

  5. I am not a manga reader, but my daughter totally is. Thanks for the interview - now off to check out the blog!

  6. I'm not a manga reader either but just started reading graphic novels. I enjoy the classic re-dos. It can be an interesting way to read an old story. Great Interview!

    And yes, Marg your Armchair BEA interview will be up later today!

  7. Fab interview! Manga/graphic novels are great when you don't have as much time. And Emma is a great series to start with.

  8. Well, :P on the you're not getting any younger, lol! Man,the men.

    We have a very small manga collection at our library (also a very small libray) but it is part of the collection I want to build since stepping into my new position there. Will check out your blog.

    Thanks for the interview!

  9. Great interview! I didn't sign up to the interviews (maybe next year!) but instead have listed my favourite blogs since joining the blogosphere earlier this year. Just wanted to say thanks for being an inspiration and for so many great reviews of books that have since been added to my TBR pile!

  10. I've never been one drawn to manga, but I like the way you talk about it ... I do know it's very popular at the high school I was interning at this school year! Now I have a bit of a glimpse as to why :o)

    Also: love the BF-push horse story. That's awesome. And Morgans - oh man, I want a Morgan ever since reading 'Justin Morgan Had A Horse' way back in the day, hehe

  11. I'm actually scared of horses, but I don't know why since I haven't actually really been up to one since I was a kid. Know lots of riders though and they sure are beautiful!

    My interview with you, Marg, and shout out can be found here!

    Rebecca @ kindle fever

  12. Bex, my grandmother is terrified of horses, despite the fact that there have been horses on their farm for more than 50 years. Thanks for the interview questions!

    Rebecca and NotNessie,it is always interesting to hear people talking about a subject that they are passionately interested in!

    Awww, thank you so much Book Gatherer!

    Deb, good luck building the collection and thanks for stopping by!

    Alison, I will be disappointed when I get to the end of the Emma series.

    Thanks Chris!

    BooksNyarn, hopefully you find some manga gems for your daughter!

    Thank you Julie!

    Quirkygirlsread, I haven't really been that sure about where to start either so I will definitely check out some of julie;s recs

    Pussreboots, I am bit torn when it comes to the adaptations. Some are definitely better than others!