Curiosity and Candor: Insight into Another Reader’s Recommendations
Another day, another fantastic interview.
I’d like to re-introduce the new feature on my blog, Curiosity & Candor: Insight into Another Reader’s Recommendations. I introduced this new feature a few weeks ago, and as a reminder, I’m going to be asking authors, reader-friends, bookish family members, and industry professionals 11 questions about books, reading and everything in between. I’m curious, and I want honest opinions.
I’m thrilled to announce that my second Curiosity and Candor segment will feature the one and only Jane Lalonde. Jane is a close friend of mine, and the two of us met while thrusting ourselves into orientation week leadership activities at our university. We both taught in South Korea after school, but it wasn’t until we returned to Canada and started hanging out with our mutual group of friends we became close. Jane is smart, driven, loyal, has a diverse range of interests, and is always up for something new. By day, Jane kicks ass as a Senior Campus Recruitment Partner at BMO Capital Markets, and by night she attends every fitness class you can imagine in the city (including silks— you go girl!), stays up-to-date on her podcasts and new music, makes time for her friends, hubby and pets, researches green beauty and health products, occasionally stalks Sophia Bush’s Instagram, and makes time to read tons and tons of books. (Jane even worked at Indigo a while back, so now you know I’m telling the truth about that last activity).
Since one of our many shared passions is reading (and reading a lot of the same books, for that matter), it was fun to ask Jane the following questions. So let’s get started, shall we?
Curiosity & Candor | Take 2
Featuring Jane Lalonde
KFT: Jane, thanks so much for doing this interview for Write Eat Read Repeat! Before getting to the questions, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your book personality, and a little bit about yourself in general?
JL: Of course! Well I’m a 31-year-old wife and fur mum to Ghost and Oscar living in Toronto. I love drinking coffee, doing Pilates, going on adventures, eating anything in sight! I have an introverted personality and busy brain, so for me reading has always been the thing that gives me focus and slows me right down. I’m a huge fan of YA and there’s nothing I will obsess over more than a good YA series. I find that YA authors are able to make their stories complex and relatable without being too dense. The stories feel so real, even when they’re about magic, warlocks and vampires.
KFT: You know I agree with you, so let’s start with the questions. What are you currently reading?
JL: I just started reading the first book of the Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Angel written by Cassandra Clare. <KFT Note: While at the time of the interview, this was true, however, Jane has since devoured the entire Infernal Devices series. We both loved it>.
KFT: Even though I feel like I know your book preferences inside-out, can you share with our readers what your favourite types of books are, and why?
JL: For me, it depends on the head space I’m in when deciding which book to read next. I love historical fiction, I love stories about families and relationships, I love all types of YA too! Every once in a while, I’ll read something nonfiction like a biography or self-help.
KFT: See, I knew what you’d say! Ha-ha. As a Young Adult fiction fan, which subgenre do you typically gravitate towards? (I.E. YA Fantasy, YA sci-fi, YA historical, YA love stories). Why?
JL: Can I say all of the above? Lately I seem to be gravitating more towards YA Fantasy which is something I never realized I would be into. I’m a sucker for love stories, character development and the worlds that authors can create. It’s amazing how invested you can get into a series and I have a huge appreciation for authors that create multiple series in the same universe like Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas.
KFT: That’s fair. Let’s flip pages for a minute: If you could turn any movie character into a book character, who would it be and why?
JL: All movies now are based on books! I don’t know who hasn’t already been covered….let’s go with Emma Stone from Easy A!
KFT: Interesting! She is a great character. <Sigh> I can’t help but think about poor Amanda Bynes when I remember Easy A. Anyway, let’s get back to books. What is the novel you have reread the most?
KFT: I wish I had that restraint; I love rereading. Can you tell us which character in a book series you have a love/hate relationship with and why?
JL: I don’t think a book exists where I don’t have a love/hate relationship with at least 1 of the main characters. There are 2 that stand out to me and I know you won’t be surprised by my choice: Clary Fairchild from The Mortal Instruments series and Celaena Sardothien/Aelin Ashryver Galathynius from the Throne of Glass series. In The Mortal Instruments series, there are so many strong characters like Isabelle, Alec, Jace and Magnus that Clary sometimes fades into the background for me. I find her whiny and helpless when she could be so much more. With Calaena, she’s badass and the glue that holds the series together despite so many other fantastic characters. I have so many ups and downs with Calaena…she makes so many decisions that drive me nuts, is so rash and irrational and also very proud. We have our ups and downs!
KFT: I have to say, I love that when we discuss characters we are passionate about, to the outsider it sounds like we are talking about someone real. And you’re right, I’m not surprised by your choice. Can you tell us a series that you loved reading, but one that isn’t as popular as Hunger Games or Harry Potter? Time to spread the word!
JL: I really loved reading A Great and Terrible Beauty, which is a trilogy series by Libba Bray. It was one of the first YA series I read that started my love for the genre. The series is set in 1895 and tells the story about Gemma Doyle who is shipped off to a boarding school after experiencing tragedy in her family. Without giving too much away (and also I read it a long time ago so don’t remember the details), there’s mystery, magic, visions, other realms and a love story. The characters are much younger than what I read now, but at the time I was captivated.
KFT: Surprisingly, I have never read that one. I’ll add it to my list. What is an upcoming book release you are super stoked for?
JL: I’m super excited about the final book in the Red Queen series and the next book in the Dark Artifices series. <KFT Note: Jane has since read Kings Cage, and as it turns out, it isn’t the last book in the Red Queen series. Lucky us!>
KFT: What is lacking in the YA world right now? What would you like to see more of in the next stories you read?
JL: Hmmm… <pauses> Good question. There’s already so much variety in YA books that I don’t know what else they could possibly write about.
KFT: I know, YA is fantastic at exploring a wide range of issues that we all deal with, not just surface teenage problems. After reading The Weight of Zero and emailing back and forth with the literary agent for that novel, it has recently been brought to my attention that we need more YA novels that touch on mental illness. I think I have mentioned this before though, but I digress… Onto the next question: What is your ideal reading setting? (Place, smells, sounds, etc).
JL: Surprisingly, I love reading on the subway, it lets me zone out completely and forget that I’m commuting. I actually look forward to commuting to work because it means I get some solid reading time in everyday.
KFT: I am so jealous of you and your daily subway rides right now, you have no idea. <For readers who don’t know, I used to take the subway to work, and now I drive. It really cuts into my reading time!> Okay, last question, and this one is going to make you blush: Which character (also indicate the series, please) do you have the biggest not-so-fictional crush on? And would your husband Greg approve of your choice(s)?
JL: <laughs> HA! There are too many to name….Julian Blackthorn (Lady Midnight) and Nikolai Lantsov (the Grisha Trilogy) are my big crushes of 2016. I’m not sure if Greg would approve, but he sure loves rolling his eyes when I talk about them.
KFT: Eeeee! Based on your response, I have some follow-up questions, but I guess I’ll have to take them offline, since we have hit our 11 questions. Thanks so much for enlightening us, Jane. You have read so many books in your life so far, and I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing our love of books over the past few years and am looking forward to continuing that tradition. Is there anything else you would like to add before we part ways with our readers for the time being?
JL: One of the things I love about reading is having people to share it with so find a book club, an online forum or a friend who has a similar interest in books. I have to give huge credit and thanks to you Kelly for always indulging in my obsessive need to discuss fine details, for listening to my many Snapchat recaps and for never letting me down on a recommendation. A true friend is someone you can text at all hours of the night when you are obsessing over the status of a love triangle and just can’t contain yourself!
KFT: Hear, hear Janey. Hear, hear.
That’s it for Curiosity and Candor| Take 2. I’d like to say a big thank you to Jane for her thoughtful, playful answers that were right up my alley. I could talk about books with you for hours on the daily, Jane! Thank you for all of your recommendations. Readers: If you have any YA recommendations for fangirls like Jane and I, please drop me a line!
If you missed the first Curiosity and Candor interview with Gavin, check it out here. Also, don’t forget to check back next week for a new book review, and the following week for another C&C feature. Stay warm and happy reading!