Stormy Sunday/Kiriaki/Kiri and I are κουμπαρες, fellow bookgroup buddies, loud-mouthed plotters and schemers, I am her daughter’s godmother and we are long-time friends who argue and laugh and sup at each others’ tables. I can’t remember when I first met her. She hovered on the fringes of my primary school life, my Greek school classes, occasional apperances at Sunday School, and in and around our beloved ‘burb – she was there, lurker and talker (she would say that she was too shy to talk but I remember talking, dammit). We went to different high schools and did not see each other again until our late teens when I saw her at one of my best-friend’s homes. That is when we really started talking and talking and talking and talking. We went to church youth group together and the two of us would constantly challenge the priest’s lessons. Aahhhh – poor Father Leslie was like deer caught in the headlights with us. One day he asked us to simplify whatever it was that the two of us were arguing for. We stated that complex ideas needed to be understood in their entirity and that we would not simplify our thoughts. That was the last time we went to youth group but I think it was the moment that cemented our friendship that has been going for over thirty years. When Stormy Sunday opened her first cafe in Sydney, my husband and I bought our home in the same suburb just to be close by. I would see Kiri everyday when I would go walking with my young son. Her laughter rings out wherever she is. She is happy and chatty and always welcoming. Her cafe iterations always are successful due to her deep understanding of people’s need for connection. (her current cafe is no longer near my home, but it is an easy walk from my work). One day, two months after I had my second son, I made a visit to the cafe where Kiri greeted me and announced that I needed at least one night out a month and that she was starting a book group and that I needed to be there at the inaugural meeting. I went to the meeting and people were arguing about which high-falutin literature they would go for their first choice. I was horrified. I couldn’t bear the thought of reading the books they were suggesting. I looked across at Kiri and I think she could sense my fear. I called out that we should have a theme instead of a single book since there was such indecision. Some people grumbled, a whole lot concurred and as it was Kiri’s cafe, she made the call that it was going to be a themed bookgroup. Today, those of us that concurred (plus some more) are meeting up for our 16 year bookgroup anniversary at Stormy Sunday/Kiri and her husband’s Cafe Guilia. It is only right that Kiri gets to Share My Shallows on this rather important day.
Cafe owner, koumpara, friend
Can you describe yourself?
I’m a good balance of attributes I believe. I generally know when to talk and when to listen, when to relax and when to go full throttle. I crave beauty in everything I do and in my environment but not necessarily in my person. I love my job in a cafe because it’s relaxed and ever-changing and because I love to make people feel welcome and happy.
What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?
Books and online articles, either current affairs or more indepth looks at social issues or people.
What or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure?
Erotica – guilty pleasure which is actually hard to find in a library without asking for help which I can’t bring myself to do…Or Anne Tyler who writes about such beautifully, ordinary people that I feel like I’m intruding.
Do you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?
I have no storyline/plot I seek out but just want something that teaches me more about my fellow beings or a place or era. I thought I was tolerant of all plots but recently discovered a deep aversion to the Neapolitan Trilogy and couldn’t at first figure out why. After much thinking, I realised I simply couldn’t relive the dynamics between the two females. I’d been in too many friendships with females where I was dominated and made to feel inferior. Funnily enough, the next book which my lovely husband bought me for Christmas had exactly the same dynamics and I also can’t deal with it.
Why do you/don’t you use a public library?
I’m a strong believer in public libraries. I don’t need to own every book I read nor can I afford to. They’ve always been places I can escape into from when I was a child and deeply yearned to sleep in my primary school library at night surrounded by books whose characters really came to life for me when I was alone.
Do you RUI*. If so, what?
I have never been under the influence ever in my life because I don’t need it. Books and dancing and music are my releases.
Do you have a favourite reading spot?
Our newly built reading nook in our soon to be sold house. I will find another again dammit.
I have never understood how people can read in the toilet. My digestive functions work really well so I move on quite quickly.
Romance fiction of the Happily Ever After (not the love tragedy) kind – are you a Lover or a Hater and why?
I unashamedly love romances and happy endings. I can’t always be happy so why would I begrudge someone else happiness, even if they’re not real?
What would you give up reading for**?
A moot point. Why would I have to give up reading? It makes me happy and harms nobody. I’d cut down if I thought it was distracting me from my family.
Can a romance/crime/super/etc hero be the driver of a hatchback?
They can drive whatever they want. As long as the boot is full of books.
*Reading Under the Influence
**I like stranded prepositions