The Goucher community loves to read,
and I want to keep talking about it.
1. Who are you and what are you interested in?
I’m Jen Schiller, a 2010 alum and former library worker. I just finished my Masters degree in Theatre Studies, and now I’m looking for a big-girl job. My absolute passion is writing (my BA from Goucher is in creative writing), I’m a three-time winner of National Novel Writing month and I love throwing together staged readings of my plays with the very talented people I call friends. This summer I’ll be hosting at least one writers retreat with some of those very talented people.When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading, watching television or movies, or playing any of a variety of video games. I’m also an entertainment blogger for International House of Geek, where I write about everything from the Muppets to Doctor Who to Dragon Ball Z. I had an awesome internship last summer at Kotaku writing video game news.
I’m also a dramaturg, which means I sit around in theatres and help contextualize shows for the directors and cast. It also means I’m always interested in new research. Currently, I’m working on two major projects, one related to Harry Potter and the other about the new Doctor Who series. I love sinking my teeth into a new research project.
The short list of my interests related to all that jazz includes (but is definitely not limited to) early 20th century history, comic books, young adult fiction, classic science-fiction, fanfiction, American musicals, British television, tea, Disney (not just the movies. history, philosophy, technology, etc.), anime, and…well…the list goes on.
When I get my butt back into gear, you can read all about it on my personal blog, theempirestrikesforward.
I try to switch back and forth between fiction and non-fiction. I just finished Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury, so I have to decide what to read next. My boyfriend is really into Patrick Rothfuss, so he stuck The Name of the Wind into my purse the other day, but I also want to finish the Hunger Games trilogy.
My next non-fictions are going to be Chicks Dig Timelords, an anthology of essays by female fans of Doctor Who and American Eve, Evelyn Nesbit’s biography.
Rainbow Brite and the Big Color Mix-Up is the book I learned to read on, so probably that one, since it opened the door for every other book I’ve ever read. Since then, though, I’d have to say Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block (which was also the book I had donated to the Goucher library when I graduated) and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which were the first books I read that are almost entirely character studies, and that’s how I like to write.
The Hobbit was when I stopped exclusively reading crappy teen drama and started challenging myself with classics. I was in the seventh grade. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead was the first play I read that made me want to write theatre of my own, and The Fervent Years, which is a book about the Group Theatre, helped shape my philosophies about what theatre should and shouldn’t be.
Other than every book I’ve mentioned so far, I guess as an advocate for young adult literature, I’d recommend Looking for Alaska, by John Green. He’s such a smart author, and Alaska is a great example of complex, thought-provoking young adult fiction. I also can’t stress enough how much I enjoy Beowulf (technically not a book, I know) and The Canterbury Tales. But seriously, read Rainbow Brite and the Big Color Mix-up. The metaphors are amazing.