[R]evolving Incarnations: A Questionnaire For Passionate Readers-Featuring Jennifer Koe of Quirk’n It

[R]evolving Incarnations: A Questionnaire For Passionate Readers is an interview series done in classic Q&A format. Each entry features one intrepid writer/blogger/artist/creative mastermind as they take on the same 40 reading-themed questions and scenarios. This is the series debut, so be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section!

JENNIFER KOE

Jennifer Koe is a North Carolina based photographer and blogger. Be sure to check out her exquisite blog, Quirk’n It.

  • What book have you always wanted to read, but haven’t? Why? Probably Thomas Pynchon’s, “Gravity’s Rainbow.” It is a modern classic, and I have heard as much bad as I have good, so I would like to find out for myself. However, it feels a bit like taking on “Ulysses.”
  • What is your favourite line or passage from a book? “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”-The Great Gatsby
  • Who do you think is the most underrated author? I think many excellent writers are given little attention these days. Publishing is an industry, and unfortunately, it has become as much about networking, branding, and self-promotion as it has quality and originality. The most underrated author, to me, is the one who has obvious talent and ability, but is too eccentric and lacks the required social skills needed to navigate the current publishing industry. This is why I think self-publishing is great. It gives writers an opportunity to set their own boundaries.
  • What is your pick for the most underrated book? Translations are underrated, in general. I believe a tremendous amount of talent and dedication is required to translate a text from one language into another. I have nothing but respect for those who take on this incredibly difficult yet important task.
  • If you could make everyone in the world read one book, what would it be? Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”
  • Is there a book you wish you had written? Honestly, I do not wish to have written any book besides one I might eventually write myself.
  • What are you currently reading? “Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and rewards) of Artmaking” by David Bayles; “The Ballad of Helene Troy” by Lance Burson. 
  • How many books do you have in rotation at any one time? 2-6.
  • What is the funniest book you’ve read? “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S Thompson.
  • What is the saddest book you’ve read? “Sophie’s Choice” by William Styron.
  • What is the last book you couldn’t put down? “Nothing if Not Critical: Essays on Art and Artists” by Robert Hughes.
  • When you are reading a great book, do you read it all of the way through as fast as possible or hoard it for as long as you can? It really depends on the book. Some books demand periods of rest to process. Others create an impulse to finish quickly. For example, I read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” in a few sittings. It was one of those stories that became more powerful to take in all at once, and the power of it resonated after I finished. However, I needed breaks with Toni Morrison’s “Beloved.” The story demanded me to process certain events and ideas before moving on. That novel took me a week to read, but not because it was any less compelling than “The Road.”
  • What book have you re-read the most? Jiddu Krishnamurti’s, “The First and Last Freedom.” This is not a novel or work of fiction. It is more like philosophy or a spiritual discipline.
  • Who is your pick for sexiest character in fiction? Gatsby, definitely.
  • Approximately how many books do you read in a year? It really depends. I used to read a dozen books a month, for years, and then I owned a bookstore, and read even more. The internet has changed the way I read because I have access to so much free reading material now. I can read articles, essays, and blogs! So, I read fewer books. I do not believe this is a step down intellectually. There are some very good writers and thinkers online. I have read enough where I can determine for myself what is good and authentic. I no longer need the stamp of approval by a teacher, publisher, or famous critic.
  • Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? All of the above and mostly everything in between!
  • If you could swap places with your favourite fictional character, would you? Explain your choice. Oh, none of them! My favorite characters are tragic, immoral, and terribly flawed. There is nothing more boring than a perfect character.
  • What is your favourite literary food or meal? I have never even thought of this! I will have to pay more attention to what people are eating in stories.
  • Where is your favourite place to read? In bed or at my computer.
  • What is your favourite bookstore? City Lights in San Fran.
  • Name six writers, living or dead, you would want as companions on a non-stop, cross-country road trip. Franz Kafka, Rainer Maria Rilke, Flannery O’Connor, William Blake, Denise Duhamel, Walt Whitman…
  • Do you have a favourite and a least favourite genre? There is a special place in my heart for poetry. I do not really have a favorite genre, though. A great book, to me, is one that transcends its genre. It is no longer just “science fiction” or “memoir” but a great book, period. I suppose my least favorite genre is any book that is formulaic and cliché.
  • What is the longest period you have gone without reading a book? I have gone a few months without reading a book, but not without reading. I cannot go a single day without reading or researching something.
  • Name three literary characters you would want as roommates. Peter Pan, Tarzan, and Jay Gatsby.
  • What was your favourite book as a child? “The Boxcar Children.”  (Ed. This novel was written by Gertrude C. Warner)
  • What is your favourite literary city? New York
  • Name your favourite Brontë. Emily.
  • What is your favourite e-commerce site for books? Amazon.
  • What is your favourite pen name? Voltaire.
  • What is your favourite closing line in a book? “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” –Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger.
  • Do you prefer owls or elephants? Owls.
  • Do you have any reading rituals? Bed has to be made. (Ed. I admire her discipline.)
  • Who is your favourite literary couple? Odysseus and Penelope.
  • Who is your favourite poet? Too hard to decide. Can’t do it!
  • What is your favourite poem? The Tiger, William Blake.
  • Do you have a favourite film adaptation? I would have to say, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
  • What book title would make a great band name? “Green Sees Things in Waves.” (Ed. This book of poetry was written by August Kleinzahler.)
  • What is your favourite quote? “What is now proved was once only imagined.”–William Blake.
  • What is your favourite book series? I have not read a series in ages! However, as a teen, I just loved “The Clan of the Cave Bear” series. I may have to reread it now!
  • Finish this sentence. People who read books are…Ahhhsome
    THANK YOU SO MUCH, JENNIFER!
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20 thoughts on “[R]evolving Incarnations: A Questionnaire For Passionate Readers-Featuring Jennifer Koe of Quirk’n It

    • If I had to make my bed before reading…oh, there would be an internal war! I admire that quality, too, but am very glad I do not have to hold myself up to those standards.

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  1. I’m teaching my students the Odyssey right now so I was so shocked to see her favorite literary couple was Odysseus and Penelope. I mean, seriously though, they have this tragically romantic and yet so flawed love. I’m not even sure how I answered that question, but that was a perfect answer. Not that I want to be cheated on with a sexy goddess, but he built her an unbreakable bed….how…the…heck….

    I love this woman and her take on poetry. Could not agree more.

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    • What odd and serendipitous timing! One doesn’t come across mentions of the Odyssey every day.

      Jennifer is one of my favourite bloggers, and the only one I have met in real life! Her photography is exquisite.

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