As part of The All Male Review Challenge, I'm featuring some of our male book blogger friends in this new interview feature: The Man Behind the (Blog) Mask. Each blogger answered the same 7 questions so that we can all get to know them a bit better. The men of the book blogging community are interesting, charming, funny, witty, and some of the best all around bloggers! If you like what you read here, be sure to check out their blogs - you won't be disappointed.
My guest today is Adam from Roof Beam Reader!
1) Tell us a little about your blog - when you started, what your focus is, why you do it, etc.
Well, Roof Beam Reader is actually the final re-reincarnation of a string of blogs that I’ve kept for the past 8 years or so. I started blogging in college, just to get my thoughts out of my head and onto “paper,” so to speak. By graduation, though, my personal blog had turned into a creative writing blog, which eventually became a website called Austere Adam. That was the first place I kept my own creative writing plus book reviews, editing services, etc. Finally, about a year ago, I decided that what I most enjoyed (and what I was best at) was reading and reviewing books – so I came up with Roof Beam Reader, where I started to track every single book I’ve read, with a review – and slowly I began to incorporate challenges, giveaways, memes, and all the other goodies that come with standard Book Blogs.
2) Book blogging seems pretty heavy on the females. Do you think being a male blogger has any advantages or disadvantages?
It seems to be a bit of a blessing and a curse, really. As a male book blogger, I find it is more difficult to get other bloggers (and agents/publicists, etc.) to take me seriously and press that “subscribe” button. That being said, though, I do find that once people decide to give me a chance, they tend to be pleasantly surprised, and I think it tends to open up the dialogue a bit more. I’m not claiming to be a pioneer or anything, but as a male book blogger who reviews an eclectic mix of reading material (not just YA or just Classics or just Non-fiction), it does seem to help people realize that men do read too, after all, and they even have something to say about what they read. Who knew?!
3) Do you read a lot of books with male protagonists? Why or why not?
Actually, yes, I do. This is a conversation I had with myself recently, when looking back through my “books completed” list. The majority of books I’ve read do have male protagonists and are also written by males. A lot of this could be because I tend to read a lot of literature, classics, and literary fiction. Classic literature and the Classics (ancient) were dominated by men – as much else was - so it’s not surprising that most of what I would stumble across would be written by men or would feature male protagonists. Do I enjoy male protagonists more? Maybe – I think it’s natural for male readers to identify with male characters and for female readers to identify with female characters. Surprisingly, though, I have found that a lot of female writers have been appealing to me lately. I still love Salinger, Twain, Vonnegut, Shakespeare, and all my other “dudes” – but I also really love Willa Cather, J.K. Rowling, Jane Austen, the Brontes, Jean Rhys, George Eliot, and on and on.
4) Give us three books you consider "must reads."
Oh, no. The dreaded question! Must read for whom? Must read for what reason? See, this is impossible! I will give you three of my favorites from three different genres, how about that?
- Young Adult: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
- This book literally blew my mind and changed my life. It changed the way I saw myself and the world around me – and it helped me connect with myself, deeply and truthfully. I read it in college and very soon started passing out copies to my friends – we were all able to come together over this book, and it’s still something that we share years later. I tend to read this one about once a year.
- Science Fiction/Fantasy: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- This book gave me a new respect for Science Fiction as a genre, and for Science Fiction writers as simply “writers.” It’s like when you hear a heavy metal rock singer strip down and sing a capella for the first time and realize that –wow- this guy has a brilliant voice! I had read fantasy novels/series’ previously that I thoroughly enjoyed, like R.A. Salvatore’s The Crimson Shadow series and Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, but Ender’s Game was something completely new and incredible.
- Literature: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
- Oh, wow. Where to begin? I really should just point you back to my review, as it’s hard to describe brilliance – I don’t want to even attempt it a second time. I loved this book because of its scope, really. It teaches the reader so much about French history – politics, religion, and socioeconomics. It is also written beautifully, by an author who was persecuted and exiled by the very people whose story he went on to re-tell. The book is a hefty tome – it’s long and complicated, but it is also lyrical, moving, and inspiring.
5) If you could be any literary character, who would you be and why?
Ha! Oh, this is an interesting question – and a tough one. I suppose I would want to choose someone who “has it made.” Let’s see – who out there in the literary world has it all: looks, character, money, family... it’s like a “three wishes” question in a more interesting form! Okay, if I had to pick, I think I would choose Huckleberry Finn! Why? He is one of the most noble characters in all of literary history. Sure, he makes mistakes and he says and does some silly and stupid things but, ultimately, he comes to the right conclusions about human nature and friendship. At the end of the book, he leaves “society” behind to strike out West on his own, because he knows he needs to be true to himself.
6) When you're not reading or blogging, what are you most likely doing?
Sadly, if I’m not reading or blogging (or sleeping), I’m most likely working. I work a lot. Too much, if you ask me. It’s the only way to keep my reading and blogging habits financed, though. This is a boring answer, though, so I should throw in that I also love to travel – I’ve been to a little over half of the U.S. states and, though I haven’t been out of the country yet – I do plan to soon. I go to concerts/plays/musicals every now and then, and I visit with my family (parents and sister/brother-in-law) every few weeks. I love to play poker and, whenever I’m home alone, I’m often listening to music and dancing with myself.
7) Share an interesting/weird/random/funny fact about yourself with us.
Hm. Well, I am a bit of a wanderer - partially by choice and partially by circumstances. Since 2006, I have moved 7 times. Yep, that is 7 times in 5 years. Two of those times were across-country (Illinois to California and back again). I hate the whole moving process and, now that I’m relatively settled, I do enjoy having a place of my own – decorating the way I want to, etc. Still, I’m pretty sure I will move around quite a bit again in the future – I love to experience new places, new people, and new environments. I see myself in the Pacific northwest, someday, and perhaps even living out of the USA for a while.
Thanks for sharing with us! You can follow Adam at Roof Beam Reader and on Twitter @RoofBeamReader.