Read All Over — Olivia B.

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 Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.
Olivia B. is a slam poet, writer, dancer, aspiring actor and generally strange Vancouverite. A two-time member of the Vancouver Youth Poetry Slam Team and the 2011 Grand Slam Champion, Olivia whiles away the days by spreading ineffable insanity and frightening frivolity amongst unsuspecting civilians.

What are you currently reading? Your thoughts on it?
After hearing little snippets about it from various people over a number of years, I am finally reading Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins. The writing is very quirky, sometimes hilariously profound, and steeped in the essence of ’70s hippie counterculture. I must admit I often have a silly, paranoid, personal-standards-of-political-correctness-gauging mental commentator while I’m reading, but since reasoning with said commentator (“Consider when this was written, my dear!” “Get over yourself a little bit!”), I have found Even Cowgirls Get the Blues to be extremely entertaining.

Photo courtesy of Olivia B.

How do you like your books served up best – audio books, graphic novels, used paperbacks, library loaner, e-reader…?
Argh! Anything but e-readers! I guess I’m one of those bad environmentalists who don’t believe in replacements for having a real, solid book in one’s hands. In certain circumstances I’ll go for an audio book, but for the most part I’m hopelessly devoted to tangible, delicious, ink-and-paper-wasting literature. Mmm.

What book or story impressed you as a child?  Were you obsessed with any particular ones?
I was completely obsessed with Harriet the Spy, along with Louise Fitzhugh’s other stories. Wherever I went, I brought a composition notebook and pencil with me so I could pretend to be Harriet and write down observations–okay, fine, lies–about everyone I came across. Always a sucker for classic fiction, I was also pretty enamoured of anything by E. Nesbit or Edward Eager.

What books have changed your life?
Don’t laugh at me, but I’m going to state the obvious answer for my entire generation here and say “Harry Potter”. Harry Potter is my past, present, and future!

Others are The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones, which is a childhood favourite that has somehow leeched onto my heart; A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs; 1984 by George Orwell; and, to be honest, The Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

I might add that pretty much every book I read changes my life to some degree, even if that’s just because I mess up my sleeping schedule by staying up all night reading…

Favourite Vancouver/Lower Mainland writer?
I don’t know if I have a “favourite”, but right now I’m really excited about lisa b., who is a spoken word poet I discovered through the Van slam scene. I find Lisa’s writing to be very thought-provoking, image-rich, and poignant. I’m a fan.

The one book you always recommend is…
Paper Towns by John Green!

What’s next on your reading list?
Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Your life story is published tomorrow. What’s the title?
Hopefully something incredibly convoluted, abstract and confusing like: Here Lies Olivia B: A Ninja and Pirate of a Gentleman Who Saved a Few Lives During the Zombie Apocalypse and Stuck with Harry Until the Very End.

Photo courtesy of Olivia B.

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