Lisa Guidarini was born in Houston, Mississippi, but grew up in a small, rural town in the 'Amish country' of central Illinois. She received her BA degree in English literature from Dominican University in suburban Chicago. She currently works part-time as the programme coordinator for her local public library district, and also as a freelance writer and reviewer. She is a staff reviewer for Jacket Magazine, and also works for a local independent bookshop in marketing/public relations. Lisa lives with her husband, her three children and one eccentric Jack Russell Terrier. She blogs at The Bluestalking Reader.
Why do you blog? > I enjoy sharing my thoughts with other like souls. I choose this method of 'online journaling' because I'm much more apt to sit down at the keyboard regularly than grab a pen and paper. I'm also less likely to lose the computer than the paper.
What has been your best blogging experience? > I've loved every minute of meeting and communing with others who enjoy talking about books and other mostly bookish topics.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Post often, post honestly, and be kind.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > George Eliot, Virginia Woolf and Margaret Atwood.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune and a Dynasty by Jean Zimmerman, Susanna Childress's Jagged With Love, and re-reading Pride and Prejudice.
Who are your cultural heroes? > All the nameless scribes who ensured ancient literature would pass forward, working without any hope or desire for personal glory.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > William Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust. It has more of humanity in it than anything I've read before or since.
What is your favourite poem? > William Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: 'Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments...'
What is your favourite song? > Simon and Garfunkel's 'I Am A Rock'.
Who is your favourite composer? > Bach. I love the music of the Baroque.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies. We need to remember that, and be humbled by it, far more often.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > It's important to combat any thesis that begins with 'Everyone should believe...'
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. It's a very raw and honest look at the ways we can heal ourselves after sadness, and how important it is to be kind to ourselves.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > I would break down the barriers created by the isolationist policy of our current administration. It might not solve all our problems but it would be a huge step in the right direction.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose? > I'd have to find someone with both an iron fist and a heart of gold, and the wisdom to discern when each was necessary. I don't know of this person in real life.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > I believe that would be the twin threats of ignorance and intolerance, on all sides.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Be true to yourself, and kind to others, but not to the extent you allow them to be unkind to you.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Compassion. Most other things fall into place if one is at heart a kind and compassionate person.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > I detest anything that compromises human dignity or in any way belittles others.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > I would lie in order to save someone's life, or to prevent a circumstance in which someone's well-being could possibly be threatened.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > I worry about the world we're handing our children.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > If I had the wisdom I have today, I'd not have given up on everything I've wanted (that would have been good for me) so easily.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Meryl Streep, ideally!
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > If I've won the lottery, somewhere in Great Britain. If not, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
What would your ideal holiday be? > I'd love to stay in a medieval castle in the Scottish Highlands (fully staffed, of course).
What do you like doing in your spare time? > I greatly enjoy taking my children to various festivals and events locally, either musical or cultural. I also read of course, but that's partly professional as it's mostly for review these days. True spare time is very rare for me.
What is your most treasured possession? > The quilt my paternal grandmother made specifically for me. She used scraps of her own clothing and made a pattern with cats, knowing I loved them.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > I'd love to do something in a similar vein to what I do currently in various jobs, but to have it consolidated into one position that pays the bills more effectively.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Shakespeare, Jesus Christ and Jane Austen.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]