John Elliott is Sharing the Shallows

Every week this year, I will be asking avid reader friends, family and their acquaintances to share their thoughts about their reading.

My first guest is my fabulous husband, John Elliott. He of the bare feet, witty repartee and deeply loyal and loving heart.

Yes, dammit! He is THE John Elliott in our house.

John Elliott

University Marketing maestro

Can you describe yourself:

John is the sort of man men want to be and women want to be with. A lover, and a fighter, one of the last true gentlemen. He is a man of wit, humour, mystery and honour. He is officer material. He enjoy’s quiet nights in, raucous nights out, romantic walks along the beach. He also enjoys burning stuff, beer and that weird mouth squirt thing that sometimes happens when you yawn.


What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?

Online news. The first thing I do in the morning, the last thing I do at night. I start a lot of books. All up I would spend about 15 to 20 hours per week reading

MAD Magazine - Saturday Night Fever coverMAD Magazine MASH coverWhat or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure? 

I still re-read Mad Magazines from our phenomenal, almost complete collection (we stopped buying not because I grew up but because they weren’t as good), whenever I need a cheer-up. I still find new things I didn’t get before.

Do you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?

We Were Soldiers Once… And Young

I enjoy reading about real, ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances. What would make someone charge to their certain death in a battle? How does it feel to suffer the agony of loss. I have been blessed with a peaceful life so have tremendous respect for those who have not, especially those who volunteered to endure hardship. “We Were Soldiers Once… And Young” by Lt. Gen. Harold Moore and war journalist Joseph Galloway, describing his experience leading soldiers in the Ia Drang Valley in the Vietnam War, is a great example. It isn’t boy’s own adventure stuff, and tries to look at all sides, including discussions with his counterpart in the NVA, it is factual but still personal. I don’t want to read about the glory of war.

I won’t read fantasy. No reason really, apart from the fact it just bores the shit out of me.

Why do you/don’t you use a public library?

I have an advantage of being married to a librarian extraordinaire, so libraries are on tap for me more so than most people. I like libraries because I don’t need to commit to owning a book I might only read once. I also love serendipitous discovery of books from shelf browsing. If I wasn’t married to a librarian I probably would have accrued massive late fees and been barred from most libraries.

Do you RUI*. If so, what?

Beer brings out the storyteller in me rather than the story reader (if I read when drinking I fall asleep).

Do you have a favourite reading spot?

I used to like reading in the car but apparently that’s too risky while driving. I mainly read in bed. If my commute was longer I would read more on the train but I can get a couple of articles in each way.

Toilet reading: 
    a) Never do it
    b) Only my own books/phone/tablet/ereader
    c) Anything goes – library books, friends books, cornflake packets.
    d) I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that I may incriminate myself.
    e) Other _________

Almost anything goes, although I draw the line on friends’ books if I know they don’t read on the toilet. You have to respect their boundaries, and if a stray pube or suspicious smudge ends up between the pages I know they would point the finger at me.

Romance fiction of the Happily Ever After (not the love tragedy) kind – are you a Lover or a Hater and why?

Jennifer Crusies's Bet MeVictoria Dahl Talk Me DownI am lucky enough to live in an HEA (or is it “a HEA”?), and I like feel-good stories about romance. There is enough tragedy around in real life. I find it incredible when some readers look down on the HEA in romance. Romance is fantasy, and I like to picture the couple continuing to be happy, rather than arguing over crippling mortgage payments and freaking out over which school to send their kids. I will always read Victoria Dahl and Jennifer Crusie.

What would you give up reading for**?

Vassiliki – although this is not as romantic as it sounds as I know she would never want me to do that, so it is a safe bet. I would also give up reading for audio books, especially while driving.

Can a romance/crime/super/etc hero be the driver of a hatchback?

Yes but only if it isn’t hotted up. It has to be a standard issue hatchback not one that whines when changing gears. Anything that looks like the driver really wanted the number plate “2HOT4U” is not a hero car.

*Reading Under the Influence
**I like stranded prepositions

7 thoughts on “John Elliott is Sharing the Shallows

  1. This is so good – my nosy nature just died from overdose of inside details….
    Plus. MAD Magazine – I LOVED those when I was younger – the back page picture that when you folded turned into another picture??? SO dang cool!

  2. Any man who can say, and mean it, “I find it incredible when some readers look down on the HEA in romance,” and who actually reads genre romance of his own volition, is romance hero material.

      • It is priceless.

        Non readers, or readers who don’t read romance can be romance heroes (so long as they don’t look down on romance readers, or romance itself), but those who appreciate it? Rare, and worth their weight in gold.

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