Books Magazine

Meet Karolina from Bookshelf Reflections

By Mle_vnc @Backlist_Books
A couple of months ago, an email landed in my inbox from Karolina asking if I'd be willing to let her interview me for her blog. Totally flattered, I agreed - on the condition that she'd let me interview her, too! We exchanged lists of questions, and spent (well, I did, anyway) a very long time considering our answers. We've finally finished editing, revising and second guessing them, and are ready to share them with y'all!
You can find my interview on Karolina's blog, and, of course, check out her awesome posts! I particularly enjoyed her post on pet peeves (because she has a lot that are the same as mine), her bookish bucket list, and her reasons that she loves being a blogger and reader.
So spend a little bit of time getting to know this smart, insightful and funny blogger better - I'm sure you'll like her as much as I do (which is a lot, just to be clear)!
Bio: My name is Karolina and I am a 21-year-old Polish/Greek university student living in Munich, Germany. I am three years into acquiring my Bachelor Degree in Law from Greece and two years into my studies for my Diploma in Law in Germany. In another four I will be able to call myself a fully qualified lawyer! In the meantime, I am working as a student assistant in the editorial office for electronic publishing at C.H. Beck Publishing and wasting away my youth by sitting in front of screens 24/7. Enjoy!
   How long have you been blogging and what got you started?
I started blogging when I was eighteen. I had just finished school and moved to Greece for university and I remember my sister sending me a link to a street-style blog of a classmate of hers, which was starting to get some recognition in Germany. I was your typical nerd up to that point, so I wasn’t really into that whole aspect of life. Maybe it was my need to adapt or just a way to do something with my time in a “foreign” country, but I started blogging about fashion that year, emphasising on the style differences between Greece and Germany. Don’t give me that look. I know. It didn’t last long. 
I only blogged for a few months before deciding it wasn’t for me. Blogging about fashion is hard! You need to keep up. But this is what got it all started. Then last year a friend of mine from Greece started her own book review blog. She likes reading and reviewing older books, the classics really. You can find her at Book Review Alley. She hasn’t been very active lately, but she produces quality content. I loved that. I also though it was really difficult, which is why I couldn’t bring myself to follow in her footsteps. Till February this year, that is. 
In January I went through somewhat of a self-discovery phase. I went through twenty books in two weeks, ignoring school and life in general. My only problem was that I didn’t really have anyone to share all of my newest obsessions with. So I decided to start reviewing and blogging about books myself, and have loved it ever since.    
   Do you have any favorite book bloggers who you look to for inspiration or advice?
When it comes to blogging, I don’t really think I am looking for inspiration anywhere. I like my posts to be personal, to not only give insight into the world of books I enjoy per se, but also my very own world and all the little aspects and places of it various books have helped create. I like giving my readers an insight into my mind.
What I am looking for, however, is motivation. I am really jealous of all the people who manage to put time aside every day to concentrate on their blog and the community by commenting on other blogs and posting daily, especially when they manage to make each and every one of their posts interesting and never run out of great ideas! It motivates me to see how dedicated people are when it comes to doing things they love. I wish I was like that. I especially enjoy following Rachel’s posts on Paper Cuts. She has some great ideas and I really like her taste in books. I often find myself nodding along to things she says going: “You got it, gurl!” 
   Since you're a book blogger, let's get down to business and talk books. What genres are your faves?

I used to really enjoy reading almost anything in the parent genre Young Adult as long as there was some plot and depth to the characters. (Well, apart from contemporary romance.) I’ve always been a sucker for a good dystopian. And paranormal? Sign me up! However, recently I have discovered that I tend to find the New Adult genre more appealing. There is just something about all those 16-year-olds running around saving the world without any parent or other authority figure ever intervening or saying something that gets old pretty fast. I do mostly still stick to dystopian societies and paranormal universes, though! I also find the occasional adult read, engaging in serious sexual healing, quite enjoyable from time to time. ;)

   Which are your favorite authors at the moment? Of all time?
Oh, that’s a hard one! I can definitely not point out my favorite authors of all time. I’m a commitment-phobic like that. (I mean, what if I change my opinion next week? Does that mean I can’t divorce them? Ever? Eeek.) But lately I definitely enjoyed the ideas and concepts in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, and I only recently discovered Jennifer L. Armentrout and Richelle Mead. I think both have an exceptionally funny writing style and a penchant for strong heroines. I love that. Lauren Oliver also has a unique writing style I get lost in. And Lynn Raven. I definitely love myself some Lynn Raven.

   If you were stuck on a desert island with only 5 books to read for 10 years, which books would you pick?

Hmmm, I’m not sure. I only really started reading when I was sixteen. At twenty-one, I have only been reading books for five years. How am I supposed to pick five books to entertain me for the next decade? Anyway, I gotta think practical here, right? I think one of my picks would be Der Kuss des Dämons by Lynn Raven. It’s the book that stuck its claws into my back and pulled me into the world of reading and that I keep coming back to time and time again. It’s sweet and nice and it has Lamias in it. Then there would be Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I can just imagine needing ten years to get through that one, so that would be the perfect opportunity to actually get it over with. Any Caroline Hanson book would do for the cold nights I would be spending alone. I’m not sure which one, though. Also, the Bible - in Ancient Greek. I need to read it, and I don’t want to forget everything I spent years and years learning, so that would do. And lastly, I’d take Divergent by Veronica Roth - simply to remind me to stay brave.  

   I totally disagree with the rule, "Don't judge a book by its cover." What's one book cover that would totally make you stop and pick it up if you were browsing in a bookstore?

Meet Karolina from Bookshelf Reflections
I got Under Zenith by Shannen Crane Camp because I saw its cover when scrolling through my blog-roll. I really liked the dark blue shades, and the girl hanging upside down with her hair not being pulled down by gravity really intrigued me. Was she falling? Was that why her hair wasn’t hanging down? Why does the look on her face seem so content? Is she dead? About to fall asleep? Why is she dirty? Is that a root I see there? Is she being buried? Maybe they are burying her alive! What’s going on? Needless to say I kept asking myself many of those questions throughout the book. I really enjoyed reading it and can only recommend it. The cover alone is enough to make it worth buying. Imagine having that on your bookshelf! It’s art.
   Time to fangirl. Which character from fiction would you most want to hang out with for a day? Which author would you most want to have coffee with?
I feel like I am repeating myself and this is going to make me sound like I have no book repertoire whatsoever, but I would really like to hang out with Julien DuCranier from Der Kuss des Dämons. I know. I’m boring you with this book. To my defence, though, it has been five years and he still makes my heart flutter every time he breaks into the principal’s office time and time again to implant his file into the school system to be able to look for the Princessa Strigoja in order to complete his brother’s mission of assassinating her undetected. He also oozes pure hotness and a lot of sarcasm. I need that day to persuade him to forget his revengeful plans and quest to find his brother and come live happily ever after with me.

Then we can go and have coffee with Veronica Roth. Not to fangirl over her. I just really want to ask her a bunch of questions about the ideas behind her trilogy and how at twenty-two she managed to come up with a world that complex. I know, not everyone loved the series and I sure agree that it had its flaws, but I don’t think anyone can say the concept behind it all wasn’t amazing.
   Pick an awesome book/song pairing. Why does this combo totally work for you?
Undisclosed Desires by Muse and the Valerie Dearnborn trilogy by Caroline Hanson. I feel like it could be Valerie singing those lyrics to Lucas. You see, in Hanson’s world vampires are dark. The longer they are dead, the less emotions they experience. Lucas is one of the oldest and most bloodthirsty. He doesn’t show mercy to anyone. But Valerie is one of the last empaths. And the blood of an empath has the power to make vampires feel again. The downside? If a vampire drinks too much, then empaths control not only their emotions, but through them also their actions, making them dangerous to the vampires and thus almost extinct by… being drunk up? 
There’s a fatal attraction between those species, making them almost unable to resist each other. And Lucas has another secret buried in his heart, a memory really, which he will do anything to never have to relive, to never have to feel the pain of that moment again, to never really ever feel again - which drinking the blood of an empath would compromise. But this is all Valerie really wants him to do. She wants to make him feel, to show him that there is still a possibility of good in him, that he shouldn’t deny himself and actually choose to feel – because despite it all, that’s what he really desires. But of course he can’t just kill her, because he needs her for his own plans. So I think the song describes the series perfectly, really.
   What's your favorite movie or TV show based on a book?
I don’t have one. Most of the time I am unaware when a series or a movie is based on a book. Once I see something on-screen, I simply don’t care to read it anymore. It cheapens the experience, when my mind doesn’t have to picture the settings and the characters on its own.

When a book is turned into a movie, I am usually disappointed by the outcome, so I don’t really have many favourites there either. The last book to movie adaptation I watched, though, was Divergent. I think that was pretty good. I wasn’t in love with the cast (Apart from Theo James, of course. Love you, baby.), but it didn’t stray too much from the book, so that was good. I even noticed some of the dialog being taken from the book word for word, so kudos for that!

   Hardcover, paperback or digital? (You can totally use this as an excuse to rant about the ebook/real book debate.)
I really read all formats of books, which is why I haven’t taken the pledge to only commit myself to the printed word. I do enjoy owning hardcovers. They make for beautiful additions to bookcases. However, they are quite expensive, so if I were to buy hardcovers only, I probably wouldn’t get to read more than two, maybe three, books a month, and that would be a shame.

Back in High School I used to buy all my books paperback. Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing like actually holding a book in your hand, feeling its weight and actually getting to sniff that characteristic smell of pages upon pages of words and worlds. My problem? The spines. I hate it when they break. I always end up reading the book by opening it merely four inches… and that’s just not good for my eyes.

Also, I read a lot on the road, when commuting or on vacations / when traveling. I go through two to three books on an otherwise busy week. So imagine how many books I would have to drag with me when vacationing! I would need a separate suitcase for them. Which is why I bought an iPad and took to reading on it. I take it to university every day (or at least when I decide to show) and when vacationing it allows me to have as many books with me as the 32 GB can carry – which is a hell of a lot more than the flight companies’ 20 kg suitcase limit allows. 
I also love that I don’t have to have the lights on when reading digital copies of books, that I don’t have to worry about shadows, about the book not fitting in my bag, about the pages getting wet or dirty. I don’t have to be embarrassed over reading books with really inappropriate covers in public and don’t have to worry over other people judging my choices in books. Total strangers don’t come up to me in trains anymore inquiring about the book I am reading or wanting to share their opinion about something that happens in the book that I haven’t read yet and totally spoiling it for me… e-books have many perks really. The downside of course? While iBooks might be filling up, my bookshelf at home stays empty. And that’s simply a bummer.
   Other than book blogging, what are you into?

 I enjoy acting a lot, but haven’t really had the opportunity to do so since graduating school. I’m also being told that I am quite good at drawing - give me a brush, though, and my four-year-old niece can paint better than that. But I only engage in those hobbies occasionally. Most of my free time I spend reading books or catching up with episodes of series I watch. I can’t really say I am into drinking with friends, but that is how I usually choose to spend my evenings (or stressful mornings). And on the rare occasions that inspiration strikes, I will vegetate on my bed, trying to put my thoughts into order whilst coming up with the plot to the next bestseller. As you can see I’m not very productive, though. ;) I also enjoy traveling, but my tight uni student budget won’t allow much of it. And I love cooking. I was fifteen, I think, when I started cooking at home. My mom hasn’t used the kitchen since. Also, I make a mean pizza. You should all come try my pizza.

Thanks for the invite, we'll be right over!
That's it for my questions - but if you've got any more questions for Karolina, share in the comments and I'm sure she'd be happy to answer them for you! Huge thanks to Karolina for getting in touch with me - and for agreeing to answer my silly questions!

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