Thursday, 13 September 2018

SR Behind the Pages (1): Interview with The Bookish Lady Amany Elzarka

SR Behind the Pages is a simple THANK YOU to the Bloggers, Instagram superstars, Artists, and Aspiring authors around the world, whom in need of a applause for their outstanding efforts. We will be having interviews to concentrate on their works within 17 questions or less - may be more. 

Today I would love you to welcome one of my favourites Bookish Ladies and fellow Neil Gaiman fan,  Amany Elzarka.

Hello, Amany It is really great to have you as a guest on Seraphina Reads, can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, It’s my pleasure to be featured in Seraphina Reads. There isn’t too much to say about myself I guess. My name is Amany Elzarka. That means the colour blue in English which happens to be my favourite colour too. I’m 25 years old Born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. My passion is all about art and literature.  

You are an avid reader and awesome bookworm, still, Can you tell me the story behind your book blog? And What really pulled you to start a book blog?

I wouldn’t call it a book blog just yet. It’s an outlet where I express my love and passion for books, reading and everything that comes with that package. I started using my Instagram account to document my interests in a series of pictures and book reviews. What got me into starting my own blog is that I follow a considerable amount of book blogs in which I personally like. And somehow I fell into the habit of using my phone and books and things started flowing together. 

To the book's questions, how did you become a bookworm, who or got you into reading? 

I first started reading when I was a kid. I didn’t fancy watching television a lot. When I was a kid I used to rely on my imagination mostly and it is how I picked up the habit of talking to myself out loud if that makes any sense. Anyhow, I used to read children books i.e. (goosebumps series, Mickey issues and Agatha Christie) those kinds of books and any books I found lying around the house.  And it’s when I realized how books can envelop you and open portal to endless worlds. For a while though I went through a rough patch reading wise for several years then I picked it up again on my own in college and I have to give some credit to “Dr Ahmed Khaled Tawfik” who helped me a lot with his easy and intriguing books to get back on track and ever since it’s been going pretty well.

We all have favourite lists, so who are your favourite authors?

I’m so glad you said authors and not books! It’s the hardest question any avid reader receives. I have a wide range of favourite authors “Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Bukowski, Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace, Lemony Snicket, Raymond Carver,..” and the list goes on.

Also, I have some favourite local authors in the Arabic literature section: Bahaa Taher, Radwa Ashour, Ghasan Kanafani, Ibrahim Aslan, Ezz Eldin Shokry Fishere.

Which book - series or stand-alone -  you will never ever read?

Twilight and 50 shades of Grey Series, most of the YA books and the self-help books.

Which do you prefer hard copies or electronic copies?

Any decent bookworm will choose hard copies and paperbacks hands down.
Yet, I do e-reading when I have to. There are so many books I wish to read and they are never available in local bookstores here in Egypt. Hence, sadly e-books. But Paperbacks all the way indeed.

What is the first book that made you cry?

It’s hard to remember the “first” book that made me cry. However, I recall Sylvia Plath’s book “The bell jar”. That is some sad sad book! Also “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed which is such a beautiful raw read.

If you could bring 3 fictional characters to life, who would they be?
  • Mr. Wednesday “Odin” from “American Gods” By Neil Gaiman. Cause he’s too darn funny and plenty resourceful.
  •  Dexter Morgan from “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by jiff Lindsey. Because he’s my favourite serial killer and obsessively neat which satisfies my nerve wrecking OCDs.
  • Oscar from “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” because he’s got such a big warm heart and too smart for his age I’d like to have him around.

In your opinion, who is the most annoying fictional character of all time?

I would say Midori form “Norwegian Wood” by Haruki Murakami.  I found myself appalled by everything she did and said I wanted to skip her parts in the book. She was too immature and foggy in the head and although this might’ve served the plot quite nicely I still disliked the character so much.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors - dead or alive -, who would they be?

I have always believed in the old saying “Never Meet your Idols” because for the most part authors or celebrities are never what you expect them to be and that wrecks the image you’ve built in your head. Yet if I get to have dinner with 3 authors I’d never pass such an opportunity! So I guess I would meet Neil Gaiman because he always gets these weird brilliant ideas in his head and he likes to share it with an audience. Donna Tart the author of the book I’m currently read “ The Goldfinch” she’s got some rich background in art and quite a knack for painters and the stories behind their work and I’d like to spend an evening discussing that. Lastly, David Foster Wallace, I’d love to have dinner at his house and play with his dogs and talk about music and his depressive period before he writes his biggest hit “Infinite Jest” shamelessly.
If you could tell your younger reader self-anything, what would it be?
I’d tell her to hang on the care-free life we all once had when we were younger and make the best of it. 
What are your favourite literary journals, blogs, and Bookstagram?
My ultimate favourite bookstagram account is @oosterbook, her choice of books is always impeccable and her reading pace always impresses me. Most of her book choices are on my TBR-List. She also does beautiful book reviews I enjoy watching. 
What other book bloggers are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better book blogger?
I try overcoming my introverted self the best I can, so I reach out to book bloggers whenever I see fit. The blogs help me widen my view of reading options, good reviews help tickling your interest in books you didn’t know before. I’m such a picky reader that it’s hard for a review to pick my interest but some book bloggers manage to do so. 
Can you please share with us the posts or photos you consider as your bookish pride and glory?

A post shared by Amany Elzarka (@amanyelzarkaa) on

Have you ever considered writing your book? If so, can we know a little about it?
The mere idea crossed my mind I can’t deny. I’ve been into journalizing for over 4 years now, I write frequently. I thought of writing a 5 chapter short story called “Last Moving day” but never completed it yet. I published 3 finished chapters on my Tumblr account and hopefully I find a way to finish the remaining two chapters or pick one of the endless drafts I have.

P.S. If you would like to read her work, here are our favourite selection:

We would not want to appear as book nerds, but do you have other hobbies than collecting every book you love and telling the world about it?

If I’m not reading I’d either be binge-watching a good show or talking to my cat. If those count as hobbies.

In the end, We pray that we were not silly or annoying people asking you crazy questions. Indeed, we loved having you here and we would say "stay for dinner but would be virtual with pixels for dessert"! 

It’s been a real treat doing his interview with Seraphina Reads and I’ve always read similar interview for bookstagrammers and book bloggers and never thought I’d actually be featured in one. So thank you and I hope other people enjoy reading it as well. 

We are delighted to make you the superstar because such a wonderful reader should be cherished. 

Amany Elzarka
A bookish lady with love for cats, make sure to follow her over the social media 
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