Katie D the YoungLibrarian is Sharing the Shallows

Is it peculiar that my earliest memory of Katie D. on Twitter is during a live tweet out of Eurovision where she found a European embassy where she could watch it as it didn’t air on any USian TV. I remember thinking two things. 1. This librarian chick totally rocks! and 2. How is it that this hugely populated country doesn’t air Eurovision!!! (I’m Australia and just a tad obsessed with the competition). Despite this being one of my first memories of Katie D, I had been following her for a while and that is because she is one of the sun-starry gems of a librarian who also reads romance. Birds of a feather!

Katie D.

@younglibrarian

Librarian/romance author (under an alter ego that I only divulge in private/in person communications)

Can you describe yourself?

My Twitter bio says “Librarian. Writer. Knitter. Kook.” Which is all true. I’d also add in award-winning cook/baker and publishing nerd.

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

Books, print and ebooks, are my main reading medium. I honestly have no clue how much time I spend reading because a significant part of my job is actually reading/skimming books in order to annotate them for the library service I work for, let alone all of the leisure reading I do. I would say, minimum, 30 hours per week. Continue reading

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Krystal is Sharing the Shallows

So today, for someone completely different, I have one of my former students taking the shallow plunge and answering my questions. I taught Krystal in both Information Discovery as well as Information Cultures (do I remember this correctly? I am sure she can confirm this). I really enjoyed teaching both of these classes and the whole cohort was fabfabfab. So when you have a fabfabfab cohort, you have lots of standout students, and one of those standouts is Krystal… well, what can I say but that I think she is just awesome. I am so glad she agreed to take part in my shallows.

(PS If any of my other fabfabfab students are reading and want to take part in sharing my shallows – send me an email!)

Aside: Krystal mentions Cracked and as a Mad Magazine fan I concede that though Mad was much more superior in the 60s-90s, however the poor second cousin Cracked just came into its own in the internet age and is now the one that rules. Mad – why you make me so sad 😦

Krystal with her booksKrystal 

@k_a_m_campbell

Budding librarian and marketing assistant

Can you describe yourself:

“I have been an avid reader since childhood, and I’m a big fan of deep-diving into niche or specific topics and learning about all kinds of things- the Titanic wreck, norse mythology, the dogs of the Russian space program, you name it! I recently completed my first degree, studying Communications and majoring in Information and Media. This year I am undertaking Honours! My experiences in life and work are strange and varied- I went to art school, was a legal secretary, worked in an auction house, paid my dues in retail, and I’m currently working two positions in an academic library, redesigning a university website as a marketing and communications assistant, and undertaking my own research as a (fingers crossed!) future academic. Unlike my mother, whose true crime reading choices have resulted in a bookshelf in our house which I refer to as “the murder library,” my preferences are the dark and fantastical.”

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

I would say that I read physical books for any kind of long-form reading: fiction, non-fiction, textbooks, coffee-table books, and especially art books with lots of pictures. Any type of text where I feel that the experience is enhanced by the physical act of turning a page, I tend to prefer books. For shorter things- news, journal articles, online content, I am happy to read from a screen. I would say that I spend a significant amount of time reading, though it’s only recently that I’ve come to accept that I am still an avid reader. I don’t read novels and physical books as much as I used to, due to time commitments, and I often felt like it meant I wasn’t much of a reader anymore. However, in reality the opposite could not be truer- I’ve just finished a degree that relied heavily on reading and literature-searching, and have read and researched constantly for the past three years. For the past year, I have been wading my way into the world of academia in my spare time, writing my own articles and undertaking my own research. I’m even about to begin a research degree. A big part of my adult reading habits was forgiving myself for not reading all of the novels I would like to, and accepting that the amount of non-fiction reading I do still count. Nowadays I’ve come to accept short story anthology books as a convenient answer to my limits on free time.

Cracked Magazine King Kong coverWhat or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure? 

A definite guilty pleasure would have to be listicle articles online. I read them to pass time on trains, or if it’s very slow at the front desk at work. If it’s a quiet day over the summer break you can almost definitely catch me on cracked.com reading about ten ways that my favourite tv show was actually hellish behind the scenes. I can’t even place WHY I enjoy reading them, I just find them entertaining!

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

I’m a BIG lover of tropes in all media, and I spend a lot of time reading analyses of the tropes of my favourite fiction. I love a good storyline about found family, an unconventional group of people bonded over a shared experience and love for each other. However, I am not a big fan of a trope I see in media where the main character is pushed away from their group, or leaves, due to a misunderstanding or betrayal, especially if I know they’ll all be reunited for the finale anyway. I guess I’m a hyper-sensitive flower, but that type of storyline stresses me out!

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

I definitely used the public library a lot growing up. My mum and I are both big readers, and growing up a public library was a low-cost alternative to spending money we didn’t have on books. It came especially handy for me in high school, though. My school had a large library, but it was mostly dedicated to computers rather than books. I didn’t have the internet at my house until I was almost 16, and getting research done at school meant fighting it out over the computers, or settling for a fairly small collection of books. I spent a lot of after-school time at my local library, finding and printing online materials to take home, or borrowing books to complete assignments. Even now as an adult, I don’t own a printer, so if I need something printed and I’m at home rather than at uni or work, it’s down to the public library for me to print it.

Do you RUI*. If so, what?

I’m more of a “sings loudly under the influence” than a reader.

Do you have a favourite reading spot?

At home, I like to read in my front yard. We have some seats set up, and in the afternoons on a warm day, with the breeze blowing through the trees and my dog pattering around, it’s when I feel most at peace. My dog likes when I read aloud to him- he just thinks I’m giving him attention.

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 _________

I come from a long line of toilet readers. As a careless teen I destroyed many a paperback from leaving them in the bathroom for extended periods. Let’s just say, there’s a reason you won’t find Harry Potter in my bookshelf anymore. And that reason is that they’re all completely wrecked. Order of the Phoenix doesn’t even have a cover anymore.

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

I’m always here for a gooey happy ending. I find that it’s the most delicious type of wish-fulfillment for me.

What would you give up reading for**?

I like to think I have a measured approach to reading where I don’t read so much that it interferes with my life. I honestly don’t know if I would give up reading for any selfish reasons- reading is tied so much into who I am and what I’m doing for a living. It would be hard to be a librarian, work with computers, or do just about any of the things I do without reading! Unless we’re in a situation where you have a knife to the throat of someone I love, but I don’t think you would do that… Unless…

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

I am here for any subversive imagery! I would accept an action protagonist riding into battle apocalyptic forces on a pushbike, out of breath, if it was amusing enough!

Danielle is Sharing the Shallows

When I first started using Twitter in 2009, I found myself meeting people all the time. As the years have passed, the amount of new people I chat with have become less and less over time. Danielle is one of the more recent people that I have met online. We both read romance, we both are librarians and we both blog. Do the similarities end there? Well, read along!

DanielleDanielle

@LibDanielleJ

https://daniellejohanesenmelb.wordpress.com/

Trained librarian and lover of Shakespeare, poetry, romance novels and reading. I’m a Richard III fan girl and wannabe writer. I’ve lived in marvellous Melbourne all my life.

 

 

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

Books but I love news as well – long form journalism is amazing when done well. I read about 4-5 hours per week, which is not enough. I need more time. Continue reading

Fiona and Bert Burless are Sharing the Shallows – a She Reads/He Reads special edition!

Fiona and Bert Burless are my in-laws. I first met them in 1994 when I started dating my husband, John. My first impression of them was that John was in a share-house with his sister and her husband at a time when most people were moving out and away from their families. What was instantly evident was John’s  deep affection for them. This continues to endure and has always been extended to me, too. Fi and Bert live in wine country on a farm with their son. They are involved in their community theatre, in their community school, they regularly drive long distances and aren’t afraid of snakes (they are both amused at my careful scanning of my surroundings when we go to the farm in my active avoidance of snakes. One slithered over my legs while I was sleeping back in 1998!!!!).  Our sons get on really well, with my younger son for years spending a good part of most of his school holidays up at their farm – because Fi and Bert are so fabulous and welcoming to all that way!  And yet, despite our distance (over 2 hours away), out of all our collective 7 siblings, we see Fiona the most (which is saying a lot as I live in the same ‘burb as one of my sisters and just another ‘burb over from another and I see them a lot too). Fi and Bert share with John and me a similar sense of humour,  we are all total sticklers for fact-checking with a very low tolerance for crackpot “science” and, not surprisingly, both of them are really big readers.

Nephew and his big black dog on his verandah reading his book while overlooking a lush, green farm.Fiona and Bert Burless

Bert Burless is a propmaker for the film bizniss. Theatre and TV and Ads included.

Fifi: I am short for my weight: I am young for my age; I enjoy being a mother…mostly; I enjoy being a wife…moistly; I stick my nose into other people’s business; I stick my business into other people’s noses; I am sometimes very passionate about the things I like; I am very passionate about sometimes disliking things. I am known as Fiona, Fi, Fifi, Fifi La Boom, Lucy, Darling and Muuuuuum! Continue reading

Shallow travels in the United States and Canada

This year I will be varying my Saturday posts between sharing of my shallows and pieces that I (may indulgently) write and share. To begin with though, here is a post about my trip to Canada and the US  from last July-August. I completed writing it in early September 2017 but it has sat languishing in my drafts as work, study, illness and family took precedence. When I started writing this post, it was just going to be a short one. A collection of my online postcards (Twitter and FB). Instead, it has turned into a long, rambling epistle. Here are some hyperlinks that may help if you don’t want to read it all. Enjoy! and onward to my Journeys:

In transit to Canada and onwards to Niagara

New York! New York! 

Boston and Upper Massachusettes

Stephenkinglandia *ahem* Maine

Onwards to Quebec and Oh Montreal!

Comparers

Home Continue reading

Shallowreader 2017 wrap up

It is that time of the year that I look back and feel as though 2017 flew by. And I can honestly say that this year did not fly by. This year dragged. It dragged, not in a slow and cumbersome way, but more in the way of falling off the back of a billycart as it hurtles down a hill and your arm is stuck and your body just bump bump bumps all the long way to the bottom of a ledge. This is not to say that it was an all bad year. There were times that the billycart slowed enough for me to smell the daisies and watch the wonder that is our world come together and be great.

Firstly, some personal notes: I started this year with a semester’s break from my PhD. I had some personal issues that I needed to work through and the break was very good for me. I took on teaching Digital Literacies at a pathways college and I reallllllly struggled. I usually engage well with students (I have a teacher satisfaction *ahem is this really a true measure ahem* score of over 4) but I stumbled through the 2 semesters I taught. My score remained high, I loved my subject, my students mostly got through, and my colleagues and workplace were fabbo. But I didn’t find my footing so I have turned down subsequent offers.

I also had a whole lot of out of the ordinary experiences. My fave aunt visited from Greece, as did my Swiss cousins. I saw Sandra Antonelli TWICE!!!, I went to Tasmania for the first time, I travelled with friends, I bought a brand new little car, I got my first ever mani-pedi, I took sedatives to fly (making flights sooooo much more bearable), I went to the US and to Canada where I met Miss Bates and Jessica Tripler and MaryLynne and SuperWendy and Ana and many fabulous American and Canadian reader friends and this just made me incredibly happy (I have had a post about my trip languishing in my drafts for months but I promise I will post it tomorrow!!!).

I returned to my PhD in second semester with a whole lot of writing, peer reviewing, two conferences and two journal papers (one which is still pending). On top of this, my husband ended up in hospital for a week at a time on three different occasions over the space of three months. It was a rather difficult time, and I apologise now, but this has been the reason for my lack of blogging since July. Life sometimes is that hurtle on the billycart moment.

My husband’s health has slowly become better (just as my asthma decided to amp it up, but hey! that’s just another story) and we are back to our summer swimming and sun lovin’ ways. Despite the horrifying politics of the plutocrats and neoliberalists in the world, I actually feel much happier and settled on the eve of 2018 than I did this time last year. I hold on to hope for a kinder world, and I am pretty much pleased with my own lot in life.

 

In this past year, I have had so many wonderful people show me their kindness, their generosity, their largesse, their wonderful sharing ways.

This past year, I looked up a lot and I loved the sky and I loved my city and I loved my family and, just in general, I loved my life. And you can’t really ask for much more than that.

My Year in Reading

This is my first year in a long time that I have mainly read long essays and avoided books. I have reached a critical stage of my PhD that keeps me from engaging too deeply in fictional worlds. This will continue until I finish my thesis. At first, this had me panicking as I feel it is a professional requirement of librarians to read constantly so that they can best serve their borrowers. But I have come to terms with the fact that I will just need to do all my catching up once I have spare time again (haha!). Surprisingly, of the scant 68 books I did read, my top 4 (pfffft! 5 is so last year) were all audio books which is probably an indication of where my headspace is. And another surprise is my lack of romance fiction in my fave books. Sadly, this year, not a single one managed to meet my expectations of a top read. But I also had a surprise favourite read. But more about that at the end of my post.

Of the books that I did read, (for a complete list here is a link to my Goodreads 2017 books) my favourites were:

Angie Thomas's The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas; narrated by Bahni Turpin

Recommended to me by Jessica Tripler, and borrowed through my (now expired) New York Public Library card, I listened to this audio book in two straight days. I was engaged, and crying and saddened and heartened. It took my breath away. I’m not going to even bother with a long review except to say YA meets Black Lives Matter in one of the best, most impactful stories I have read in a long time.

Aziz AnsariModern Romance written and narrated by Aziz Ansari

Our whole family is a big fan of Aziz Ansari. We first saw him as Tom Haverford in Parks and Rec and since have watched him doing stand-up comedy and in his own show Master of None. Since I was looking for an audio book that would appeal to both my husband and me for our long drive through Maine to Quebec, I went with this one. I thought it was going to be a celebrity attempt at fiction, but instead I found an incisive sociological  study into the modern dating habits of people in the 21st century. It was funny and informative and I highly recommend it.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride written and narrated by Cary Elwes (and a host of other actors from the movie)

Back in 1987, my friend Kathy and I went and saw The Princess Bride at the movies on the strength of Robin Wright who was a favourite of ours on Santa Barbara, an under-appreciated snarky soap opera. We loved the movie. I have been proselytising about it ever since. It ended up being my litmus test for the guys I was interested in dating. And thankfully, even though he was doubtful and cynical about the weirdo girlfriend who attended Barry Manilow concerts and watched Princess movies, once he watched it, Husband absolutely loves it too. As do our sons and our whole household is built on the quotes from this movie. So it was without hesitation that when I saw the book at my library, I borrowed it. I read the first chapter and enjoyed it, but then life got busy and I returned it unread. While I was on holidays, I downloaded it and discovered that it was infinitely better. Narrated by Cary Elwes who played Wesley/The Dread Pirate Roberts, in the movie, he also had all the other actors narrate their contributions, as well as Rob Reiner. The making of the movie sounds wonderful, it feels as though everyone just loved being there. Behind the scenes seems to be as good as the actual movie. It was such a delightful, fun listen that I think all fans of the movie must get this audiobook.

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright; narrated by Pamela Dillman

My all-time favourite kids author is Elizabeth Enright. The first book I ever read by her was The Saturdays, the first of The Melendy Quartet – a family of four siblings, Mona, Rush, Miranda and Oliver living in New York City in the early 1940s (the book was a contemporary publication at the time) with their father and their housekeeper/nanny Cuffy. The kids decide to pool their allowances and each Saturday one of them gets to have a New York City adventure. I ADORED this book as a kid and have reread it many many times. So when I saw that I could borrow an eaudio copy, I did not hesitate. I downloaded that baby in a zzzzzzip! My delight in this family and their Saturday adventures continues. Time has not withered this story. Pamela Dillman’s narration is lovely and lilting, though I always thought that the family’s surname was MElendy not MeLEndy (Dillman’s pronounciation).  Another excellent listen!

I need to acknowledge all the wonderful responses from friends and family who have taken part in Sharing the Shallows. When I first thought of it, I decided I wanted to do a year’s worth of posts. I drew up my list of 52 people and I am still slowly working through it. As it stands, I have posted 38 responses. The weeks that I didn’t post were usually due to ill health or travel restrictions. I have decided to continue posting until I get 52 responses. So far, very few people have said no, and most people have been so incredibly gracious with their thoughtful, funny, irreverent look at their reading. I am thanking all the people who have shared my shallows this year. I looked forward to receiving all your emails; I loved reading them; they all made me laugh.

With complete and utter sincerity, you have given me my absolutely favourite reading for this year. You have all been way more interesting than the books I read and enjoyed. You are all tops. Those of you who have contributed and those of you who have read along. You all have blood worth bottling and you are all my hatchback heroes and heroines.

 

 

 

GrowlyCub is Sharing the Shallows

GrowlyCub is another of my Twitter reading friends whom I first met when I started tweeting in 2009. Apart from her savvy romance fiction knowledge, I found GrowlyCubs tweets about her cats, life in the US and her subsequent move to the UK, always engaging. I have really felt the difference since she has moved as the timezone differences highlight why I have fewer Twitter from the UK. We still, occasionally cross paths, and I especially enjoy her photos from her historical romps and dances around grand homes.

GrowlyCub beanie with Putney's The Rake and The ReformerGrowlyCub

@growlycub

Translator, currently working for a localisation quality assurance company for games in London aka I play games for a living which can be way less fun than it sounds lol

Can you describe yourself?

GrowlyCub is a Jill-of-all-trades who is interested in many subjects from history, language and architecture to science like genetics and evolution, which made it hard to settle to any one career because there is always something else new and exciting going on that needs to be explored. She has two and a half degrees (Academically Trained Graduate Translator from Germany, a Master in Arts of Teaching Foreign Language and a half degree in biology/genetics from two US institutions), has worked in business, international education, taught foreign language to American college students, bred and competitively showed Maine Coon cats in CFA and TICA and worked in a museum before returning to her original career as a translator.  German, with Croat blood on her mother’s side, she moved to the US in 1998 and stayed for 17 years before relocating to London in 2015 where she had planned to settle for life until Brexit made that impossible.  GrowlyCub is currently evaluating countries for future permanent residency and would love for people who read these pages to tell her why or why not she should consider theirs. 🙂 Continue reading