Iwona is Sharing the Shallows

Most people who know me also know that I adore my reading group (to call us a book group would really be a stretch). We have been going for 16 years, we are a theme based group so as to cater to everyone’s reading proclivities and we all have a genuine affection for each other and all our different reading quirks. Iwona is the first of the reading group to share my shallows. Of all our group, I think Iwona and I are possibly the most diametrically opposite in our reading choices . But as with all of us, these differences fade into obscurity as the main thing is, that as bookish friends, we meet for the opportunity to talk about our reading…and our lives…and to break bread….

Iwona Chrzaszcz Iwona 

Occupation:

Applied Sciences

Can You Describe Yourself? 

50+ Inner West resident

Easter European background

Liberal in believes (not Liberal the party!!!!!!!) and no religion

Post graduate education in applied sciences

Married
1 son

 

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

Ebooks – 10hrs per week, blogs/online news etc – 4hrs per week

What or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure?

Ambitious, intelligent fiction

Do you have a favourite storyline or plot?

No

And do you have one you will not read?  

Romance/sci fi/ violent sex

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

Don’t need it for my needs. Everything is online or on my phone.

Do you RUI*. If so, what?

No.

Do you have a favourite reading spot?

Lounge room

Toilet reading:

A) never do it

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

The truest of haters. Plots predictable. Bent to create ‘sexy’ stereotypes of smart/irresistible/heart larger than life/ gorgeous women and macho heros, maybe misguided but fixed right by the heroine. Hate stupidity with which heroines fall into a heap at a sight of some macho man

What would you give up reading for**?

For an instance? Many things like going to the movies, out to eat, to catch up with friends… For good? Nothing

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

Only a crime hero…

IT IS BACK! ShallowreaderBingo 2017!

Having taken a long, too hot to blog so January did not happen, Summer holiday, ShallowreaderBingo is back!

My teeny weeny change for the year is that I will no longer be posting at the beginning of the month but I will be posting the sheet with only one week to go until the end of the month. So all that reading can’t be planned! I have made one concession though, with her permission, I am including SuperWendy’s TBR challenge as one of the squares.

So enjoy and start posting your Bingo hits as soon as you can!

Shallowreaderbingo: Row 1: Sweet Nectar of Glory; One Beating Heart; February; Tomato Sauce; Scratching. Row 2: Black; I wrote a letter to my mother; Beta; Uncup Me; Yeeha Cowbow! Row 3: Suck it! ; Happy Dance; Beauty; Kind; Bad Hair Day Row 4: 23; That Would Be Grand; Octopus; Hot Hot Hot Hot; Self. Row 5: New To You; No Lycra; Loving; Adonis; Pure.

MerrianOW is Sharing the Shallows

I first met @MerrianOW over on Twitter as part of the always amazing Romancelandia book tweep discussion circle many years ago. I have been fortunate enough to meet her in person in Canberra, Sydney and in Melbourne and her thoughtful online conversations are matched equally in person. We share a love for E J Oxenham and her Abbey Girl series and she is expert in finding those hard-to-find retro romances for me. This is her second guest post in my shallows having written about romance genre captivity narratives and Australia many years ago.

MerrianOW photograph@MerrianOW

Occupation: Dreams and hobbies

Can You Describe Yourself? 

I’ve read all my life finding solace and comfort and affirmation and new ways of thinking through my books. The online world of readers is a gift of connection and laughter that is a continuing gift from books. I was an Army Officer for nearly a decade and then a Social Worker, all the time dealing with increasing ill health and disability, including surviving two brushes with cancer. I have spent many years volunteering as a health consumer advocate and working to improve the care of people with chronic illness. I love living in the inner west with all the people out and about to chat to on the bus. I spend my time in op shops looking for things to craft and books to read and vintage clothes to wear. Every day deserves an outfit and a new book and a cuppa with a friend.

 

What is main reading & time spent reading?

Books, especially indy ebook published romance stories, science fiction and fantasy. I read lots of long form non-fiction online at blogs and I am adventuring into podcast listening. I often find things to read via links on Twitter. There are at least two newspapers a day in the mix too. My reading these days is pretty much all online and I use laptop, tablet, and phone interchangeably. Books from the library tend to be non-fiction. When I’m well I probably read around 6-8 hours a day, unwell it will be a couple of hours only but I read everyday, rain, hail or shine. Continue reading

Just a tad hot, the TBR and Nancy Mitford love

I can’t help but start this post with Oh My God! But there is a lot of “hot searing burn holes through your skin” heat in the sun at the moment. So much heat that it is near impossible to function. I truly mean this.

We have had months of hot nights where the temperature rarely dips below 27C and the days are just awful. “How awful could it be?” I hear you ask.

Sweating man fanning himself

Well, 45C for three days running is pretty fucking awful.

My car temperature hitting 48.5C (a friend’s reached 52C only half an hour from my home!) is pretty fucking awful.

road which is on fire

When animals en masse are dropping dead out of trees, it is pretty fucking catastrophic awful. Poor bats. Continue reading

Kat Mayo is Sharing the Shallows

As I am posting this on the day of my 21st anniversary, I chose to share my shallows with the only person other than my husband with whom I go on date nights – Kat Mayo. Kat Mayo changed my world around. She was my borrower (and now my friend) but like no other. We first met when she was borrowing picture books but we bonded over romance fiction. She pushed me to join the online book conversations in forums, on Twitter, on Goodreads. She pushed me to attend romance readers conventions and she pushed me to write a blog. She calls me a prude as I blanche at some of the conversations I end up having with her, and we plan excellent date nights where we sit talking and talking all night about our favourite books. Despite not yet being on one of her podcasts, she is one of my favourite readerly people. 

Kat Mayo hugging a Fabio cutoutKat Mayo @Bookthingo

Occupation: I could tell you but….you know the rest.

Can you describe yourself:

Kat and Vassiliki met across a room of crowded library shelves, bonded over Thomas the Tank Engine books, and discovered a shared love for Jennifer Crusie’s books. Kat reviews books at Book Thingo, and hosts a podcast exploring romance books and their place in literary culture. She loves to kill fairies.

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

Books, emails, tweets, stuff for the day job, and the Google vortex. At least 60 hours, but if we’re talking about reading purely for pleasure, I’d say around 15 hours a week. It will vary depending on how busy life is. That said, if I happen to pick up a fantabulous book, the world just has to work around my need to read.

Melina Marchetta The Piper's SonWhat or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure? 

I rarely feel guilt while reading, and I have too many favourites to answer this properly! My favourite rereads are Melina Marchetta’s young adult books. Her writing just gets into my bones. I have a cherished collection of books by Laura Kinsale, Kelly Hunter and Kathleen O’Reilly. One of the hidden gems on my shelf is an anthology called Out of This World Lover, because it has a funny erotic paranormal romance short story by Shannon Stacey, featuring an intergalactic ambassador who calls an electrician because she thinks they provide sexual services.

Last year, I discovered Wattpad and binged on teen romances — something that traditional publishing is very stingy with.

Oh, and I’ve built a list of books with vomit scenes. It now has so many titles that I’ve branched out to keeping lists that track other bodily fluids mentioned in books.

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer CrusieDo you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?

I love friends to lovers, grumpy/tortured heroes, Titian-haired heroines (yes, I do!), childhood sweethearts, brother’s best friend/best friend’s sister. I also love the reverse harem …. In other words, I love romance tropes. 😀

I probably won’t pick up motorcycle club books, or where the h/h are involved in organised crime. I don’t like incest, although I can tolerate it if the writing is very good. I don’t like infidelity and will probably not read a plot with adultery — and if I do, I would almost certainly read it backwards (from the ending, back to the beginning). (Consensual, happy, non-monogamous couples are exempted. I love the tension of a well-written threesome.) I can’t stand Catholic priests as romance heroes; I find this plot worse than adultery. I’m not a fan of the stripper/prostitute heroine — it’s rarely done well, and frankly, Brooke Magnanti set a very high bar for writing in this space.

I love aristocratic ennui, but not any other kind. Spare me the bajillionaire with boredom issues. No one wants to marry a guy like that.

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

My usual MO is that I use the library religiously until I forget to return books and accrue a fortune in fines, and then I can never go back there again. I’m terrible. That said, now that I’ve been book blogging for a few years, advance copies and Amazon one-click keep me well-stocked with books.

Do you RUI*. If so, what?

I’ll read anytime, anywhere, when I get the opportunity.

Do you have a favourite reading spot?

Not really. I can read anywhere — and I do!

Toilet reading: 

b) Only my own books/phone/tablet/ereader

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

Lover. Life’s too short to put up with shitty endings.

What would you give up reading for**?

My family. World peace.

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

Of course. It’s a travesty that there aren’t more hatchback driver heroes in romance. Especially in new adult. How else will you bring home your IKEA furniture?

grown man riding a Thomas the Tank Engine toy

Mal Booth is Sharing the Shallows

Mal Booth and I are LibraryLand colleagues, he is my university librarian and a Twitter friend, too. We have had many twittversations on matters of libraries, information, copyright and open access, fiction and reading, brutalist architecture and of course, politics (he is after all a Twitter friend!). In real life, we have had only a handful of conversations at industry and uni events. We’ll often walk past each other on the street and on campus where with a barely perceptible nod of the head we acknowledge the intersection of our real and virtual interactions.

Mal Booth portrait

Flickr user: MalBooth (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Mal Booth

University Librarian 

Can you describe yourself:

Mal is unable to play any musical instruments or dance. He is very keen on true crime podcasts and ever so slightly obsessive compulsive. This goes some way to explain his extensive fountain pen, camera and bicycle collections. He has never played a computer game nor completed a PhD. He speaks only one language and remains a fan of the Hawthorn FC. Mal also claims to be a fan of good design but this cannot be verified by an independent authority. In the early 2010s various rumours circulated that he was working at UTS Library but sadly, these too were unsubstantiated. He doesn’t take selfies. You could try the Google. Continue reading

La La Land: dancing, romancing and in-story copyright

/rant

I went to the movies over a month ago. I don’t get to go all that often but when I saw the trailer for La La Land I was instantly enamoured and I knew that I needed to see the movie. I love musicals! I have an incredibly high tolerance for even the ones that make the worst-of list. I love Grease 2, I love Xanadu, I love Mamma Mia and dammit I love The Pirate Movie so much that I own it on DVD.

It takes A LOT for me to hate a musical and the TL;DNR is that I hated La La Land.  It promised much but it delivered little. The hero/heroine (should I even bother calling them this) Seb and Mia were so forgettable that I couldn’t even remember their character names and I had to look them up just to write this post.

And the spoiler is early in this one so look away if you don’t want to know more…

Moulin rouge routine

 

Continue reading