I am so excited with today’s Sharing the Shallows! It is my first partners who read QandA! Willaful and I met later on in my online Romancelandia discussions. I often found myself in overcrowded twitter discussions with her and I would see her excellent reviews popping up on several blog spaces. We finally followed each other quite a few years ago and we have since been in practically daily contact with each other which gives me great comfort. We chats about all things readerly, about our bingo reads (ahem!), the occasional other topics, and happily, I think that our romance fiction world view seems to be closely aligned. I have never met her Hub but I am pleased that he agreed to take part in this fab Q&A
Willaful and Hub
Blogger and Husband
Can you describe yourself?
Willaful and her hub started sharing bookshelves in 1986. He introduced her to Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson. (Spider is the only one that stuck.) She introduced him to The Tightrope Walker by Dorothy Gilman and Season of the Witch by James Leo Herlihy. Hub’s magnificent readings of the first four Harry Potter books are probably the only thing that got willaful through about 18 months of 24 hour morning sickness. Though even now his Dobby voice is known to make her throw up.
What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?
willaful: books, 15 hours?
hub: That can’t be right. You read much more than 2 hours a day.
willaful: Okay, 20 hours a week at a wild guess. I read books less often because I also geek a lot. Mostly twitter, and articles and blogs that are offshoots of twitter.
hub: Mostly blogs and twitter, not as many books these days. I can’t even guess at time per week.
What or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure?
willaful: rereads of my favorites from when I was younger (and now that I’m not professionally reviewing anymore I have no guilt about it whatsoever!)
hub: same – reareading things that I found joyful and optimistic and reassuring in the past, particularly SF and fantasy. (Spider Robinson is good for this.)
Do you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?
willaful: In romance, I like dramatic plot lines, like amnesia or revenge. Outside of romance, I enjoy the sort of cheerful, funny stories people used to write in the 1940s, usually about two gals having wacky hijynx. At this point in my life I won’t read stories about torture, children in jeopardy, or anything that reminds me of the current political climate.
hub: I don’t seem to get attached to plot lines particularly; I’m most drawn to world building – settings, characters, history. I like a book that takes me to an unfamiliar place or world or time, and makes me feel as if I live there. I go back and visit books like that regularly and it feels like a vacation – Middle Earth, Deverry, Hogwarts, Heinlein’s future, Sherlock Holmes’s London, Peter Wimsey’s England etc.
Why do you/don’t you use a public library?
willaful: I’ve used public libraries all my life. One of my earliest memories is the Washington Heights branch in New York City. I adore public libraries and it was always my dream to grow up to be a librarian. I use them somewhat less these days because I do so much of my reading by e-reader, but I still think they’re the most wonderful places in the world.
hub: A lot of the impulses that used to draw me to the library – free access to just about *every* kind of information – now draw me to the internet, and so I don’t get to the library as often anymore. but when I’m in the mood to take chances and find something new to me, I love browsing in the library, where my frugal inner voice can never talk me out of a book just because it might be a waste of money.
Do you RUI? If so, what?
willaful: I’m rarely under the influence of anything, but I have been known to forget several pages of books I read while using Ambien.
hub: Very possibly the same answer, but I rarely use bookmarks, so if I’ve forgotten several pages of a book, then I wouldn’t know about it now.
Do you have a favourite reading spot?
willaful: Reading in bed has always been my favorite, but I try not to do it much anymore because my insomnia demands strict sleep hygiene. My current favorite spot is on our living room couch. It’s got very cozy cushioned arms and I can look up and see my nasturtiums. But I think the best place I ever read was poolside on overstuffed lounge chairs at an awesome hotel where we spent our 25th anniversary.
hub: insomnia be damned: bed.
willaful: *omits smartass remark*
willaful: I come from a long line of toilet readers! My mo always kept comic books on top of the tank so one could never be caught without some toilet reading. I’ll say no more because apparently our household habit grosses people out and I don’t want them to stop loaning me books.
hub: Wait, this is a thing? People put down books just because they’re going to the bathroom? Weird.
willaful: Seinfeld made it a thing.
Romance fiction of the Happily Ever After (not the love tragedy) kind – are you a Lover or a Hater and why?
willaful: It’s the best thing ever. Life is full of uncertainty; a reliable happy ending after angst is my daily solace.
willaful: Hub did read a few romances to try and understand what I liked about them, but it didn’t take. (He hated Roarke.)
hub: Actually I liked them okay, but as I said before, the plot isn’t usually the main thing that draws me into a book. As for Roarke, it wasn’t so much that I hated him as that I couldn’t get past his Marty-Atu ridiculousness. and this kind of ties in to my affinity for world building, because it was my questioning of “how did he *get* here?” that ruined him for me. Very few people become handsome jet-setting single billionaire businessmen after starting out as orphan gutter rats, even fewer manage it by age 30, and none at all do so while having apparently infinite free time.
willaful: Well, you certainly *remember* the book awfully well…
What would you give up reading for?
willaful: My husband or child’s life.
willaful: Well, that puts you in a very uncomfortable spot.
hub: I’m thinking, I’m thinking.
Can a romance/crime/super/etc hero be the driver of a hatchback?
willaful: All I’ll say is I have never encountered a romance hero who resembles my husband, the most loving and romantic real man ever, so I think a romance hero should be able to be just about anything.