Friday, May 25, 2012

Guest Reader Interview: Twelve Questions with Lauren Ladner

As you may have deduced, Lauren Ladner is related to me. She is my thirteen-year-old niece. I can attest that she has been an avid reader since the beginning. My fondest memories of her toddler-dom was watching her carry more books that she could hold, then, dumping them on the floor in front of me before she plopped down into my lap, demanding, "Read!" It's no surprise. Both of her parents are intelligent humans and avid readers, so in a way, she was born and groomed for it. She's my favorite person to book talk with because she's always got a thoughtful and fresh, untainted perspective. And we read a lot of the same books. From the mouths of babes, right? Well, she's a brilliant, well-read, and a mature young lady. And I'm not saying that just because I'm her aunt -- her teachers think so too. Here's what she had to say.

M: What authors (or stories) do you return to again and again? Why? 

Lauren: I return to the stories and authors that leave me with a sense of resonance. They make me feel like a changed person. I consider myself a reader who will read anything. I will give anything a try, and am not afraid to read new kinds of books.

M: As a reader, what do you expect out of the author and the story you are reading?

Lauren: I expect a good story (which isn't as easy to come by as you think). If it got published, it should be a good story. I expect the author to move the story along and not get too caught up on one thing.

M: What makes you pick up a book or author you've never read before?

Lauren: One of two things: #1 Cover. I don't like it if it has a face on the cover. The only book that I will buy if it has a face on it is a book that is part of a series I already own. #2 Recommendation. If it is recommended to me I will normally pick it up, if only to try it.

M: With so many books to read, why do you choose the books you do?

Lauren: Mostly by the genre and the cover. I keep myself (in personal, non-recommended reading) inside a fence of things that I like. I will hardly ever read friendship and family books, and I usually keep myself inside the Paranormal/Science Fiction romances.

M: Film before book, or book before film? Why?

Lauren: Book before film. That way, I can imagine the characters MY way.

M: List the five books that stick with you and tell why they do.

Lauren: The Tale of Desperaux sticks with me because Desperaux's undying love for Princess Pea, a girl he can never have, touches me in a way. Also, the death of Gregory made me so upset. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a SUCH a good book. It stays with me because Edward has such a good character arch. He starts out clueless and conceited, and finishes, although several years later, as a selfless, new rabbit. You just need to read Stolen. When I finished reading it, I was emotionally exhausted. Just... go and read it. Unwind stuck with me because the way Neal Schusterman narrated and pulled off the whole thing. It was amazing.

M: What makes a book disappointing to you?

Lauren: If the main character or another favorite character of mine dies or gets everything he/she wants.

M: If you are reader of different genres, what attracts you to each and what does each give you the others don't?

Lauren: I’m attracted to Science Fiction because, to me, I believe it is a future of our world that is indeed possible. Each Science Fiction book that I read gives me a new perspective on what our world MAY be like in a future I will not be here for. I’m attracted to Thrillers because they make me feel like something is always just around the corner (which it usually is). Thrillers are the kinds of books that I could stay up all night reading. I adore Romances. While I may not enjoy straight-up romance, I enjoy romance peppered with science fiction or paranormal things. Romance keeps me coming back because I to believe in a perfect romance like the ones in books and movies.

M: Does the Internet (Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads), book reviews (Blogs, Amazon, and B&N), or any media buzz influence your desire to read a book? How or how not?

Lauren: It does not. Spending a large amount on social networking sites is not something I usually indulge in. I usually hear about books through word of mouth or by seeing an enticing spine on the bookshelf.

M: Do author blurbs, cover jackets, and awards seals matter to you when choosing a book to read?

Lauren: Very much so. I usually don't pick up a book if I don't find the cover jacket or blurb very enticing. If there is an award seal on the cover that usually ups the likeliness of me picking it up.

M: How has the eBook revolution changed the way you read and how you buy books?

Lauren: It has not changed me at all. If anything, it makes me buy more books. It makes me think: "I'll show all those e-Bookers how good REAL books are!"

M: What does reading give you in your life that nothing else can?

Lauren: A world that is better, newer, and (in a way) nicer than ours.

Lauren Ladner is a 7th grader and honor roll student at Ocean Springs Middle School in MS. She enjoys reading, astronomy, and cooking. She’s also a Mathlete and a piano student. She hopes to one day read every YA book that her aunt owns, but since her aunt keeps buying them, it proves to be a much bigger challenge that one might think.

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