It’s August already!

Every month I have plans for blogging at least twice a week and every month I fail. So this month I decided that if I put my aim up on my blog, I will possibly achieve it. So here goes!

What have I been doing:

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 2.52.46 PMEntertainment wise, I bought my husband a record player for his birthday. Our old one died about 5 years ago. We spent several nights driving our kids nuts while we spun some discs and danced crazy parent rhythmless jigs in the kitchen. A fun night had by the two of us. The rest hid in their rooms and cringed. I found my inability to skip songs and to fast forward (unless you want to have the full Chipmunk experience) a throwback to my analog teens. I don’t have a big digital music collection, nor do I stream music but I do use Youtube occasionally to listen to new music.

The image is of my first ever album which I received at the age of 7. She (assumption is being made) has an awesome arse! And check out the lettering on the cover. As my friend Noula Tsavdaridis pointed out – it is the comic sans of the 70s.

On the scholarly front, I attended RAILS 2015. This is the first time I have attended the Research Applications Information and Library Studies conference. Though I feel very comfortable in the broader research areas of popular culture and romance studies, my thesis work (and academic teaching) is in information, knowledge management, libraries and digital information, I have been ambivalent at presenting at library conferences as I spent several years struggling to reposition myself in my own mind. Having worked (and continue to work) as a practitioner since 1989, shifting to a more theoretical, scholarly position has been difficult, as I often would get caught up in the nitty gritty practical work that is ingrained to my core. In my first PhD year, I had not yet managed to grasp those differences so I chose not to attend, last year I was overseas and unable to attend, but this year I presented a paper on Public Lending Rights. It was great to see all the other research that is being conducted, not only in Australia and New Zealand but internationally, in information studies. The first day into the conference I realised I was going to have to reposition my own paper as I was so used to a non-library audience that some of my slides came across a bit Library 101. This was not particularly hard to do. I felt rather happy with my presentation and I was waylaid by many for a quick discussion about the implications of my work. Win!

I was also on ABC 702 a few weeks ago. This particular show was quite different to previous shows I have been on. Usually we get quite a few call backs from people who have interesting ideas to add to our discussion. Linda and I had positioned that day’s discussion around 2 topics:

1. Arguing over books and

2. The RITA’s and Heidi Cullinan’s Fever Pitch.

For the first time, we had no callers at all, however, I had an unexpected spike in my blog stats while I was on air. I usually get some hit rates however this was much higher than I have previously received. I think that this is due to my review of a same sex romance. My guess is that listeners are interested in reading in this area but just don’t know where to start looking for reviews.

I have also agreed to tutor Information Discovery and Analysis again this semester. I’m only teaching the one subject (2 tutorials) so hopefully I will be able to progress faster through my thesis than last semester. But I do get to conduct a lecture in Reference Interviews. My ultimate thesis plan is to go full-time/zero work by June 2016. I want to be able to submit my thesis by 2017 so here is hoping!


What I am reading:

I have a few books on the go at the moment.

Fic: Why Fanfiction is taking over the worldFic: Why Fanfiction is Taking over the World

by Anne Jamison

Fanfiction is one of the few things in this internet driven world that fills me with envy of today’s teens. If I was younger I would be totally across all things FanFic. As a teen, I would constantly write my own stories from favourite movies and favourite TV shows. I have Grease 2 stories (hah! I was such a nerd that as much as I loved John Travolta, I wrote stories starring Maxwell Caulfield), Anne of Green Gables (Sigh! Gilbert) but my absolute favourite was writing my own soap opera with my high school friends. We knew everything that we needed to know – we lived and breathed Days of Our Lives. However, when all things internet had people writing their own TV commentaries online, I was in the midst of my “Black Hole” child-rearing days. I occasionally dabble in reading fanfic of fave movies/TV shows but I have yet to venture into writing it again (I don’t have time!). I am with Anne Jamison though when she says that “fans, it often seemed, were paying more attention and saying smarter things than my Ivy League studens (or, for that matter, than their TA). Plus the fans did it for fun. They enjoyed* attending closely and making arguments based on their observations.” She goes on to say that she wanted to work out how to get her students to do what these fans were doing. For me, it is a slightly different question, but one which is around how do we talk and value the reading (and writing) that is being partaken of by fans. How do we allow it to function on the edge of subversiveness but at the same time encourage people who do engage in fanfiction to identify as readers.

The introductory activity that I run for all my 1st classes is for everyone to tell us about something they have read, watched and played. I’m always broad about what I consider reading (though I am never impressed by the students who say “I don’t read”). Examples are broad from novels to nonfiction, newspapers, twitter and FB feeds, magazines, music, coding, other languages. Yet so few students ever admit to reading fanfiction until after class when one or two might mention their fandoms. I’m hoping to get more understanding through this book.

*italics are the author’s emphasis not mine.

V&A Shoes: Pleasure and PainShoes: Pleasure and Pain by Helen Persson

This is a book that is accompanying the V&A Exhibition in London. There are a series of essays on the role of shoes in society. As a wearer of flat, sensible shoes (so librarian of me), I am keenly aware that I am a pleb. Fancy, uncomfortable shoes are a sign of wealth and not needing to toil nor ever getting your soles dirty. I may not have sore feet, but I also have missed out on some amazing footwear experiences.

I’m just happy that even Barbie is now wearing flats.

That being said, I am quite obsessive in my collection of Camper shoes and I am coveting some Chie Miharas. I will own them one day. I will!



Romancing the Duke/Tessa DareRomancing the Duke

by Tessa Dare

I know. Tessa Dare just won a RITA for this book (woot! wooot!). I was happy that she won as it was my only pick out of all the nominees to win. I am only a chapter into this novel. This is my first Dare novel and so far, I am enjoying her prose and I really love the premise. I will update my thoughts once I have finished reading the book.

I have also finished Dani Collins’s Proof of their Sin which I adored but I am hoping to write a separate post for it later this week. It’s all part of my plan to blog twice a week!


I borrowed the books mentioned in this post from a variety of university and public libraries, with the exception of Tessa Dare’s book which was purchased from a Sydney bookshop.




4 thoughts on “It’s August already!

  1. Hi Vass, Shoes Pleasure and Pain sounds like a very interesting read. It is indeed a sign of wealth, even in a most bleedingly obvious way in some countries; no shoes = no money. I’m shopping on Book Depository tonight instead of

    • Do as I am doing, Ms Erika and save your pennies! Ask your library to buy the V&A book and then you can spend your money on shoes. That way, everyone is a winner!

  2. I so envy you your record collection. I had a brilliant (and very daggy) collection but I gave it away some years ago before I moved house in an effort not to become a hoarder. It is on of my life’s regrets.

    I didn’t have Ripper ’76 but I remember dancing to it on my BFFs twin bed in primary school and having a blast. (I think I may also have been told off by her mum for stepping on her ironing!)

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