Guest post – Bina

When I first saw Bina’s avatar, a guy’s picture and a girl’s name, I was intrigued. And then there’s her blog name, ifyoucanreadthis which always makes me want to come up with a clever ending (still working on that one, but maybe you can help). I had seen her comments here and there on the blogs I visited but not until recently have I really started to get a closer look at what she writes. It turns out I missed some great posts because she reads a lot of books I haven’t read but want to – Life after Life by Kate Atkinson being one of them (maybe next year!). So when I asked her to be my guest for this last month of the year, she graciously agreed and these are her answers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Thank you, Bina, for answering them.

1. Who are you?

Hi! My name is Bina and I’m from Germany. Currently, I’m finishing my thesis in the field of Cultural Studies. When I get away from the desk, I love going out for dinner and a movie, running and popping by my parents to play with the cats. This year I’m also trying to bake the tastiest bread. #Reallifegoals

2. Why do you blog and what is your blog about?

I started blogging ages ago, just to have a place to collect my thoughts about the books I read. Though most of my friends read a bit, I couldn’t subject them to the intense bookworm life I aspire to. So, now I take it out on all of you, the book blogging community is the loveliest corner of the web. I don’t really read one genre particularly, though mysteries are my comfort genre. I also like to keep the blog pressure free. Meaning you’ll often have to deal with rambling and unedited posts, but I need to keep it apart from thesis writing.

3. Favorite books/authors/genres.

I love mysteries, especially cozy crime by Agatha Christie, some social justice nonfiction and a lot of what I read falls under the very general umbrella ‘fiction.’ This year, I’ve really gotten into sci-fi and fantasy and discovered the amazing Nnedi Okorafor – Binti was a favorite of mine this year. But basically, give me diverse literature with strong female characters, and I’ll read anything.

4. Kindle or paper book?

E-books aren’t my favorite way of reading, but the last couple of years I’ve used my Kindle frequently. This year I joined an e-book flatrate service just to have a wider selection of books available and have been getting a lot of use out of it. It means reading on the tablet, which strains my eyes a bit, but with a badly stocked library and small budget it’s worth it. Though my first choice will always be the real paper book!

5. Three things you learned from a book.

I learned that it’s okay that book love sometimes leaves a book in tatters (Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman), I learned to make my own sourdough starter (Das Brotbackbuch by Lutz Geissler) and learned more about how the wave model of feminism makes invisible the contributions of Women of Color (No Permanent Waves by Nancy Hewitt).

6. Best book to take with you on a desert island.

The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. Amazing world-building and each book takes you on a long journey. Also, finally available in one huge tome!

7. Best book to use as a doorstop.

I have a huge copy of five Daphne Du Maurier novels in one book. But I like it too much to put it on the floor.

8. Favorite quotes.

“Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity for our existence. It forms the quality of light from which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.”

(Audre Lorde)

“It doesn’t matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.”

(Jo Walton)

“The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of
education or a lack of verbal interest is just a fucking lunatic.”

(Stephen Fry)

9. Three tips for bloggers.

1. Comment on blogs you like.
2. Respond when people comment on your blog.
Those are most important, I think, interaction makes you part of the community. Lurking, sadly, does not.
3. Have fun!

10. Best/worst blogging experience.

Oh there’s been so many good ones! Meeting good friends early on and keeping in touch through all the changes in the blogging world (Remember, Vishy?). Hosting a read-along with JoV of Bibliojunkie). Every. Single. Comment!
I haven’t had bad blogging experiences really. Sometimes I had to take a break from blogging because of my workload. That sucked a lot.

11. What are you most passionate about?

Social justice, family and friends, chocolate.

12. Last book that made you cry.

I try not to read books that are likely to make me cry. Still haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars. But one I read this year was so perfect and beautiful, I did tear up: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.


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15 Responses to Guest post – Bina

  1. Yaaay! It’s Bina this time. Thank you, Delia. 🙂

    Bina, hello from fellow-stalker. 😉 I am a fan of your blogs, and like Delia said, you read books that we don’t even know that exist. Thank you for introducing me to some lovely authors. And, I promise to read ‘Binti’ soon. 🙂

    Also, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ didn’t make me cry. Books like ‘War Horse’ and ‘The Storied Life of AF Fikry’ made me shed buckets of tears. But not that book. 😉 So, go for it. 😉

    I love all the quotes that you have chosen.

    And, after Delia, you started leaving a lot of comments on my blogs, and made me feel warm and comfortable here. Thank you for everything. 🙂

    • Hello, favorite fellow-stalker! 😀

      I’m so glad we met in the book blogging community! And now stalk each other on all of social media 😉

      So glad I could introduce you to more books, since you made my tbr list explode! Haha yes, you MUST read Binti soon! 🙂 Now, I will have to see whether AJ Fikry will make me cry, I will brace myself! That is interesting, perhaps I can try The Fault in Our Stars, then, after all. If it makes me cry, I will complain to you afterwards! 😉

      And thanks so much, Delia, for asking me to round up your guest post series this year 🙂

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  3. Vishy says:

    Wonderful guest post, Bina! I want to read ‘The Inheritance Trilogy’ and ‘Aristotle and Dante’! I loved your nod to Anne Fadiman 🙂 (That was my favourite essay from her whole collection!) And I loved all the quotes, especially the one on poetry. Stephen Fry’s quote made me laugh! Vox was really wonderful. I am glad we met there. I wish Vox had survived into the new era. I remember the mythology readalong that you hosted with JoV. It was one of my favourite events. Loved the picture of your bookshelf. I will come back and spy on it 🙂 (I notice that you have ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norrell’ in your shelf. Have you read it? I read it last year and it was the longest book that I have read in years. It was quite beautiful – very different from other fantasy novels.) I hope you get to read ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. I loved it when I read it.

    Thanks Delia, for hosting Bina’s guest post.

    • Thanks, Vishy! Yay for ‘The Inheritance Trilogy’ and ‘Aristotle and Dante’, I do hope you’ll love them both, such amazing writing! I’ll probably reread Jemisin’s trilogy next year, it was so good.
      Haha, yes I love that essay, so happy you send me the book, I might have missed it otherwise! Loved the Vox era, sad they discontinued it, but it was wonderful that we all moved on to wordpress 🙂
      Stephen Fry rocks! Also, there is now a coloring book with curses, how awesome is that! Thanks, so glad you enjoyed it! I do miss Jo, hope she will return to blogging at some point.
      Haha, yes I was told the focus of the pic needed to be better so everyone could spy on the titles, spy on! 😉 I did read Jonathan Strange and really enjoyed it, I remember following your reading progress! It took me ages but was so worth it. Have you seen that there is now a mini-series about it? Also, Sorcerer to the Crown is supposed to be a bit like Strange, but with a protagonist of color and way more cool women characters 🙂
      Okay, I will have to give The Fault in Our Stars a try!

  4. Zezee says:

    I hope to start Assassin’s Apprentice next year too and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I’ve heard such great things about those series that I’m curious.

    • Yay! Assassin’s Apprentice looks so good, doesn’t it? I’ll make sure to see how you’re enjoying it! N.K. Jemisin is utter perfection, I adored The Inheritance Trilogy and her new one, Fifth Season, is so good as well. I still have her Dreamblood to read, yay.

  5. Delia says:

    Thank you again, Bina, for being my guest this month.
    You have a lovely bookshelf, and after much spying (you should see my eyes now, I think I need new glasses) I managed to see The Book Thief right next to Jonathan Strange (great books, both, but I liked the former better and it has no footnotes, yay!), something by Sarah Waters (I loved The Little Stranger and Fingersmith and have The Night Watch) and something by Palahniuk (have you read anything by him?) and that’s about it. I love that picture of the witch, it reminds me of Snow White.

    I’ve read Ex Libris because of Vishy, too. That was a really nice book.
    “Sir, you must never do that to a book.” I think I’ll remember this line forever.

    I like all your quotes but the last one is so good it makes me laugh. He’s damn right! 🙂

    Thanks for reminding me of Daphne du Maurier. It’s been so long since I read a good classic, maybe I’ll read some of her books next year.

    • Thanks for inviting me, Delia! 🙂 Haha sorry about your poor eyes! I will have to post some better quality pics of my shelves on instagram so everyone can spy without getting eyestrain 😉
      I loved Jonathan Strange and especially the Bookthief, too! I still haven’t decided if I should watch the adaptation of that one, the book was so good. Yes that is Sarah Waters, her newest one The Paying Guests. It’s such a good book, I’ve read almost all her books and adore them all. The Night Watch is very very good, a bit different than her others in terms of timeframe and backwards moving timeline, but so amazing. Yes I have a few works by Pahlaniuk, not my usual fare, but that was assigned reading (Pygmy and Fight Club)!
      Haha, yes that unforgettable line, I immediately felt bad for treating my books like that, too, she sounded so shocked in the story 🙂 Vishy does recommend amazing books!
      Yay for more DuMaurier, my faves so far are Rebecca, of course, and My Cousin Rachel!

  6. Brian Joseph says:

    This is a great interview.

    I have never visited If You can Read This before but I will do now.

    It is very telling that when we bloggers talk about the experience we tend to put a lot of emphasis on the blogging community and our interactions.

  7. I love the three things you learned from books! Those are awesome!

  8. Priya says:

    I’m seeing this post a little too late, but it is a really good interview. I love the bookshelf, and all the familiar titles in it – Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Harry Potter, The Time Traveller’s Wife and a Salman Rushdie (The Moor’s Last Sigh, if I’m not mistaken – would you recommend it?) It’s fun to stalk people’s book collections and this is so eclectic. Like Jenny, I really like the 3 things you learnt and I also love the quotes (especially Stephen Fry – so quotable!)

    • Hi Priya! Sorry for replying so late! Glad you found some old friends among my shelves 🙂 The Rushdie is Satanic Verses (in German), it’s good but not amazing, I enjoyed his midnights children much more. Hope you’ll enjoy it more 🙂 Haha yes stalking other people’s shelf is awesome!

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