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BBAW: Blogger Interview – Meredith of Dolce Bellezza

September 15, 2009

One of the highlights of BBAW last year was the blogger interviews, so I signed up again this year as soon as I could.  I kept hoping I’d be assigned a new to me blogger, so I was thrilled when my email came and I found out that my partner is Meredith of Dolce Bellezza.  I was even more excited when I looked at her blog and saw how terrific it is!

Meredith of Dolce BellezzaMeredith is married and has one son, who started college this year.   She decided she wanted to be a teacher when she was in the third grade and she’s been an elementary school teacher for 25 years!  Talk about dedicated. Meredith is passionate about children and teaching.  She was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for me.

I noticed you were born in Italy.  Why did you move to the US and how old were you at the time?  Do you speak Italian?

I wasn’t born in Italy, but I have an Italian father by birth. I’ve been raised in the US, but every time I’ve gone to Italy, which is many times throughout my life, I’ve felt such a pull there it’s been hard to leave. I remember crying inconsolably as an eight year old when we had to return to the states. Someday, I hope to live there.
What does Dolce Bellezza mean?
Dolce Bellezza means Gentle (or, literally Sweet) Beauty. I wanted my blog to reflect not necessarily an outward beauty, but one of a gentle, inner spirit as Paul recommends women should have in the New Testament. I also wanted to pull in my Italian heritage, thus the name Dolce Bellezza rather than Gentle Beauty.
How long have you been blogging?
I began blogging in the Spring of 2006.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
Now that’s a good question. I didn’t start out to write a book blog, but a blog expressing myself because I love to write. Then, when I discovered such a wonderful book blogging community, my blog developed more in that direction. Actually, I love to read more than anything!
What do you like about blogging?  Was there a moment when you knew you were hooked?
I like expressing myself, my opinions of books, but more than that I love the sense of community I have blogging with other bibliophiles. There’s always something exciting to learn, or share, from one another. I’m constantly being made aware of books that I hadn’t heard of, or wouldn’t have picked up on my own.
What is your favorite genre of books?
I absolutely love literature. But, i love mystery and thrillers. I love quality children’s books. I have a huge passion for Japanese and Russian novels. In a general sense, you could say that fiction is my favorite genre, with all the subcategories that entails.
What interests do you have besides reading?
I love teaching. I love photography, riding my bike and folding origami.
I noticed that you host the Japanese Literature Challenge.  Can you give us a little background on that?
I developed a passion for origami when I was in second grade and attended a girl in my class’ birthday party. Her mother, Mrs. Chen, folded origami for us, and I was immediately hooked. From there, I’ve discovered the joy of Japanese literature. It’s a whole new genre for me. The style is very different from a Western perspective, in that the focus doesn’t seem to be on plot. Rather, Japanese authors tend to create a mood, or a ‘slice of life’ picture. Often, we have to make our own interpretations after closing the cover. At first, I didn’t like that. But, now I’ve come to appreciate it immensely. After all, I read to be entertained, but also to think.
What advice do you have for new bloggers?

Read lots of blogs. Comment on lots of blogs. Write to the best of your ability.
Make sure you check out Meredith’s beautiful blog, Dolce Bellezza – you’ll be glad you did!
44 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2009 6:06 am

    I really enjoyed reading this interview. To me the Japanese Literature challenge has been both a portal into a whole new world of books for me and a community builder.

  2. September 15, 2009 6:55 am

    This is someone with whom I would like to be friends.

  3. September 15, 2009 7:18 am

    I didn’t even know that there was a Japanese Literature Challenge! Sounds like something I would love though. I’m off to go read Meredith’s blog.

  4. September 15, 2009 7:34 am

    That was a great interview! Italy sounds so good and now I know the meaning of the name of your blog too! 🙂

    I am also doing Jap 3!

  5. September 15, 2009 7:40 am

    oohhh…a new to me blog too. I love the name of the blog.

    Funny, I hated origami in school, it’s great that you love it so much, I always wanted to.

    Great Interview Kathy.

  6. September 15, 2009 8:18 am

    I just discovered Meredith’s wonderful blog yesterday – so what a treat it was to read a bit about the writer behind the blog today. Great interview, Kathy!

  7. September 15, 2009 8:32 am

    This was a great interview and a “new to me blog”. Thanks to both of you.

  8. September 15, 2009 8:38 am

    Fun interview! Thanks for introducing her to us.

  9. September 15, 2009 8:56 am

    Meredith has such a wide range of interests. And all of them fascinating!

    Straight From Hel

  10. September 15, 2009 9:06 am

    Fabulous interview. Definitely a blog I should visit.

  11. September 15, 2009 9:21 am

    Great interview! I’m going to check out her blog now!

  12. September 15, 2009 9:24 am

    Super, super interview! Now I have to go explore this new-to-me blog (and read all about Kathy).

  13. September 15, 2009 9:50 am

    another new-to-me blogger….fantastic. I love BBAW and these interviews. Origami is so cool, but I stink at it.

    Another great interview!

  14. September 15, 2009 9:54 am

    Great interview! I really like Meredith’s blog’s name. 🙂

  15. September 15, 2009 9:59 am

    Very nice interview … and yet another new blogger for me to check out. I’ll be venturing into Japanese literature soon as part of my personal reading project to honor my dad, and I’ve been a little nervous about it but I’m going to be brave. Plus I’m giving a Russian book a try to honor his heritage. I suspect I might find some support over at Meredith’s blog.

  16. September 15, 2009 10:05 am

    What a wonderful interview. This is a new to me blog so I am off to check it out!

  17. September 15, 2009 10:30 am

    Great interview!

    Come visit my blog, you’ve been Splashed!

  18. September 15, 2009 10:34 am

    I’ve been following Bellezza for awhile now, and she truly is a gentle beauty. She is thoughtful, caring, and does an amazing job reviewing books. I wish I could have had HER as a teaching growing up! And now I know what she looks like and that her name is Meredith! This is great!

  19. September 15, 2009 10:38 am

    Wonderful interview, Kathy. Meridith’s blog is relatively new to me but she endeared herself to me when I learned she reads a copy of Crow Boy to her class on the first day of every school year. It told me she sees her students as children/real people and not just students. Now I’m off to read her interview of you.

  20. September 15, 2009 10:48 am

    It is always good to know another fellow teacher! And I truly love her thoughts on her blog!

    BBAW: Interviewing myself

  21. September 15, 2009 11:35 am

    Excellent interview! I’m always interested in learning what made others start to blog and why they chose to blog about books, etc.. I wondered also about the name of Meredith’s blog, which is very lovely, or should I say, beautiful.

    I also conducted a fun interview with Amanda from The Zen Leaf. I invite you all to stop by!

  22. Carol permalink
    September 15, 2009 11:51 am

    Great interview. I’ll have to run over and check out her blog.

  23. bluestockingbb permalink
    September 15, 2009 12:02 pm

    Hello Meredith! It’s nice to meet you.

    BBAW Interview

  24. September 15, 2009 1:00 pm


    I got to know Bellezza/Meredith earlier this year; she is every bit as gracious, intelligent and beautiful as she appears in this interview. I enjoyed getting to know her that much better through you. And I love being part of her Japanese Literature Challenge. Her description of the distinction between Japanese and Western literature is wonderful.
    This is my first visit to your blog, but it will not be the last. Thank you so much.

  25. September 15, 2009 4:15 pm

    Dolce Bellezza sounds like a great blog that would intersect with a lot of my reading interests. I will have to make some time to stop over and check it out. Great interview!

  26. September 15, 2009 4:27 pm

    Wonderful interview – I’m adding Dolce Bellezza to my Reader. 🙂

  27. September 15, 2009 4:35 pm

    Terrific interview, Kathy! AND CONGRATULATIONS on your win for MOST CONCISE with BBAW!!!! You go, girl 🙂

  28. September 15, 2009 6:27 pm

    Great interview..some good info!! Congrats on you BBAW awards too!!! You go girl!!

  29. September 15, 2009 6:45 pm

    Love the interview and congratulations on your BBAW award!

  30. September 15, 2009 8:06 pm

    Meredith’s blog is one of the first ones I ever read. She’s sweet!

  31. September 15, 2009 8:07 pm

    CONGRATS on your BBAW AWARD!!!!!!

  32. September 15, 2009 8:18 pm

    Teaching for 25 years!! Wow! Very dedicated and I love her blog!!

  33. September 15, 2009 8:19 pm

    Meredith’s blog is new to me, too. Thank you so much for this wonderful interview. Isn’t it amazing how a little thing like a part of a birthday part could affect your life? Thank you for sharing and thank you for all you do for the kids.

  34. Bellezza permalink
    September 15, 2009 8:23 pm

    Bermudaonion, thank you so much for being my interview partner during BBAW. It was great to talk to you before this post, as well as share comments for the past couple of weeks. I appreciate all the sweet things that you said about me here, as well as all the people who came and visited me at Dolce Bellezza. I aspire to be a commenter as thorough as you are throughout the book blogging community.

  35. September 15, 2009 8:53 pm

    You know what’s weird? Even though I know Dolce Bellezza is in Italian, I always think of it as being in Japanese because of the Japanese Literature Challenge. Strange, the connections our minds make!

  36. stacybuckeye permalink
    September 15, 2009 10:19 pm

    I love Italy and would love to live there someday too! Now off to read your interview, Kathy…

  37. September 15, 2009 10:20 pm

    Great interview! I enjoy reading Meredith’s blog and it’s nice getting to know more about her through this interview. 🙂

  38. September 16, 2009 11:51 am

    I love the blog name and the story behind it. Wonderful interview!

  39. September 16, 2009 4:36 pm

    Great interview! It’s nice getting to know new bloggers through these.

  40. September 16, 2009 10:54 pm

    thanks for introducing us to Meredith, Kathy. These interviews are one of my favorite parts of BBAW!

  41. September 17, 2009 12:54 am

    I joined the Japanese Literature Challenge 3 hosted by Dolce Bellezza but didn’t know much about Meredith. Now I do. Thanks for the interview.

  42. September 19, 2009 12:26 am

    I’ve had Meredith in my blogger for a very long time but appreciated getting to know her better.

  43. September 20, 2009 2:05 am

    Great interview! I’ve never read Meredith’s blog, but I’m off to check it out right now.

  44. September 20, 2009 5:55 am

    I’ve been reading Meredith’s blog for awhile now and share her enthusiasm for Japanese literature. It was nice to get to know her a little better here, and I can say that she certainly folds a mean origami!

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