Elbowlass is Sharing the Shallows

I first met @Elbowlass in Kindergarten. Well our sons’ kindie to be exact. Ours was one of those slow growing friendships. One that starts as parents standing around the school playground being bored. We discovered we both love reading, we go to bookgroup together, we gripe about our sons’ (now former) school, we swap academia stories, I cry on her shoulder, she swats me and says “get a grip” and then, in her ever-so-British ways, offers me a cup of tea and somehow I fortuitously ended up with an absolutely excellent and dear-to-me friend.

Elbowlass eating fish and chips

Can you describe yourself?

I am currently employed in various jobs in the academic world. I am from Manchester in the UK originally and although I have been in Sydney for over twenty five years  I still feel like I am a stranger here in so many ways.

I am @Elbowlass because Elbow the band, are from Manchester and so am I. It’s also a crap name which I like.

Vassiliki and I have such different tastes in reading, music, films and television shows it’s brilliant and amazing that we are still friends. We have a love of cutting through bullshit and a passion for social justice and good shoes.

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

LumberjanesI read most nights before I go to sleep and still occasionally curl up during the day for hours if I have an unputdownable book. I read all sorts of books, graphic novels,  blogs, cartoon books, poetry, gardening books whatever takes my eye. At the weekend I  indulge in the luxury of reading The UK Guardian online which takes me ages. I also have to read everyday as part of my job. Not sure I can add up how much reading I do but it’s a lot.

Ben Aaronovitch's The Rivers of LondonWhat or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure? 

I love all kinds of books but especially  those where the author has a sense of humour or sense of fun in the way they write so Terry Pratchett, Janet Evanovich, Ben Aaronovitch. I really like fantasy/crime fiction books including steam punk novels. [My son] introduced me to the Lumber Jane series which I think is fab but sadly there are no more. I have no guilts about reading.


Janet Evanovich's One for the moneyDo you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?

No favourite story line or plot, just books that make me want to read on because of the beauty of the language, great characterisation, humour or the intrigue. Not a fan of books with gratuitous graphic violence or those hard core sci fi genre books full of ‘I know more than you do’ facts. I have never made it past the first few pages of Catch 22 couldn’t relate to it at all.

Why do you/don’t you use a public library?
I do use the public library, but did even more so when the kids were little. The new library at Dulwich Hill is lovely but doesn’t seem to have many books in it! I buy lots of secondhand books and use kindle too, especially when I am travelling.

Do you RUI*. If so, what?

Nope I don’t RUI because I would fall asleep too soon  and wouldn’t remember what I had read the next day. I enjoy the whole process of engaging in reading too much to not be fully present.

Do you have a favourite reading spot?

I love reading in bed, and on the big sofa in our lounge. In winter I adore reading in the bath with a strategically placed towel by the bath for drying my hands on before turning over a page. Never kindled in the bath though and wouldn’t recommend it.

Toilet reading: 
I don’t take reading material into the toilet when I am making use of the facilities, although I did when I was a kid. It was a sanctuary where I could be alone and wouldn’t get pestered to go out and play with the other kids. I do remember having a ring around my bum when I’d got lost in a novel. Thinking back on it I was such a twit for actually pretending I was going to the toilet and sitting there bare cheeked, I didn’t really need to do the method acting bit.

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

I have no idea how to answer this, romance maybe in the books I read but I don’t necessarily choose Romance books. Having said that I don’t  really mind what the outcome of a relationship is as long as it’s well written and convincing.

What would you give up reading for**?

Sorry I definitely can’t answer this because  I can’t imagine a life without reading. If I had no books I’d read the back of a toilet duck.

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

Of course they can, they can have roller skates, a bicycle and wear bicycle clips or catch the bus – I am not one to judge.

Pennyfarthing illustration

*Reading Under the Influence

**I like stranded prepositions

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