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

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Rain Merton is Sharing the Shallows

Earlier this year, I had the absolute good fortune of having travelled to Montreal, Canada for a readers’ meet-up. There were many people I had already met online over the years at this meet-up but there were some I had never crossed paths with – and I need to ask…how on earth had I never met Rain!? We met on our first day walking around Montreal and spent the weekend having conversations on everything – education, plagiarism detecting software (and the detrimental effect on student outputs), Eastern Europe, women’s issues, politics, food, and, of course, romance fiction. I am so glad that I got to meet Rain.

Rain's black catRain Merton 

@RainMerton

Can you describe yourself?

Rain Merton has moved halfway across the world thirteen years ago and never regretted it once. In those past thirteen years, to keep with the pattern, Rain has moved across Canada twice, acquired two post-graduate degrees, two children, and, most recently, two kittens. Rain writes queer romance when not teaching college students, and prefers the personal pronoun “they.” Find them on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RainMerton), instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rainmerton/) or—very sporadically—FB (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012107086345).

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

Blame it on too much time in grad school, but I am a greedy and fickle reader when it comes to reading for pleasure. I usually have anywhere between five and ten books and audiobooks going at the same time, because I like to read in a variety of genres. There’s always at least a couple of romances in there, because they are my constant soothing companions. I read non-fiction, too; sometimes it’s life writing, other times narrative nonfiction for topical research, other times still it’s theory (aka my grad-school love).

I used to be a big news junkie, especially in grad school, as my research area is contemporary literature and cultural studies, but these days the news are overwhelming, so I filter them through social media. Continue reading

Kit only from Bookgroup is Sharing the Shallows

It is the second Saturday of the month, and once again, a member of my bookgroup is sharing today’s shallows. I met Kit when our bookgroup started over 16 years ago. Always funny, always foodie and always insightful. Like me she is the only other bookgroup member who would bring her son along to our meetings from a young age. Our bookgroup topic today was “crafty” and Kit won the most-tenuous-link-to-the-topic award with her book on the gut. A-ha. That’s the way she rolls.

Kit

I am a mother, a carer and sometime banker, originally from Melbourne, but diehard inner westie (Sydney). I live a very vanilla life with lots of irregular influences.

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

I’m ashamed to say facebook but with links to loads of good news sites and a really interesting friends group who post articles and thoughts I would never see otherwise. I also have several books next to my bed that get read sporadically.

What or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasureKerry Greenwood's Devil's Food

Kerry Greenwood – Corinna not that 20s bird or Kurt Vonnegut

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

Unhappy endings or not the way you think its going to go. Pretty much happy to read anything but am using the patented Vassiliki method of reading the first chapter and if it hasn’t grabbed me, give up. I do struggle with “the classics” but keep revisiting them in case I’ve got grown up enough to enjoy them.

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

We used to go when Ben was little but I think I was trying to be a “good” mum. Once I went back to work that pretty much went by the wayside. I think we were fortunate to be able to buy loads of books so did that instead.

Do you RUI*. If so, what?

Not really, my only vice really is alcohol and then my eyes get too fuzzy.

Do you have a favourite reading spot?

My new wiz bang office chair with all the levers or bed, occasional weekend magazine in the bath slightly soused (the magazine not me, keep up people!)

Toilet reading: 

Yep, but usually only magazines or Sudoku, occasionally phone. I don’t really see why this is an issue, long got over the bodily functions hysteria.

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

Sorry Vassiliki but ew, I guess I was lucky enough to have this IRL so made me want to puke in books, also couldn’t stand the predictability – will they, won’t they, well of course they will.

What would you give up reading for**?

Oh geez, daughter of a book editor and publisher, don’t think I could – new ideas, hilarious jokes, bits of the world you would never see, how could you give that up. Even if I was blind I’d get talky books.

Gene Kelly dancing wearing white socks and black shoes

 

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

Sure as long as they don’t wear white socks with dark pants

*Reading Under the Influence

**I like stranded prepositions

 

DrScrabblette and DrFriendless are Sharing the Shallows – He Reads/She Reads Special Edition!

DrScrabblette is such a phenomenal woman. She is the first academic I taught for at university and she has since become a dear, dear friend. We talk about everything from reading and culture and information and life and il/literacies and her dog whispering skills and just her incredible ability to connect with every one she meets. Her students love her, and I have to say that this love is highly deserved as she knocks herself out for them. Through DrScrabblette, I have met DrFriendless a few times, and he too is an open and giving person who, despite his chosen pseudonym, is very friendly and always interesting.

DrScrabblette and DrFriendless

University academic and computer wizard, sharing a celebrity dog named Samantha.

Dog leaning on paper and pen

Can you describe yourself?

We started sharing bookshelves in 2006. She didn’t know how to read at all until she was ten. Homeschooled until ten on her Indian grandmother’s fantastic stories, myths, and legends, she has a lifelong obsession with fairytales and retellings. Once she learned to read, she consumed a lot of beautifully illustrated Russian Fairy Tales from Soviet bookstores, Tinkle magazine, Archie comics, Amar Chitra Katha stories, and Mad magazine, alongside tons of pulp fiction and cartoons in Tamil magazines. After completely skipping several phases of reading “chapter books” and YA fiction etc., she read Future Shock at fifteen, and has never stopped reading since.

He misspent his youth reading Enid Blyton, then heroic fantasy, then classics and literary fiction. Then he learnt French and read French classics and “polars” – noir detective stories. He read “The Hobbit” and the first couple of volumes of Harry Potter to his son when he was young, and the son grew up to read Chuck Palahniuk. These days he just reads computer texts, but has aspirations to write when he grows up.

She introduced him to Robert Coover, Indian mythology, and Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, and the son to Ryu Murakami. Both are avid players of tabletop board games, and he loves reading the rules diligently whereas she just likes breaking them. Continue reading

Gabby is Sharing the Shallows

I first met Gabby at the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Sydney in 2011. She was in a group of young university students who were attending and I clearly remember sitting around the hotel foyer laughing with this bright, young woman. And this pretty much cpatures my every meeting with Gabby. Whether we would bump into each other at uni, chatting on Twitter, when we would go out for drinks with friends or whether we were at an author or romance fiction event, Gabby makes me laugh with her funny stories, her chaos life and her all round fab presence.

Gabby sitting holding her coffee. Her face is obscured as she is incognito Gabby @penneclearwater

Incognito: Possible Spy

Can you describe yourself?

Gabby is a mess of human who experiences way too many emotions and can’t seem to moderate the volume of her voice. She loves friends to lovers tropes and has a complicated relationship with a lot of authors that she finds problematic but can’t stop reading. Because of that, she complains a lot but usually does so with a good heart. Gabby used to work in publishing but switched to a job that she can’t talk about because she may or may not be a spy. Shhhhhhh.

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

BOOKS BOOK BOOKS. I used to spend on average 2 hours a day reading which was mainly on public transport. But then people kept laughing at me for not being able to drive so I got my license and it ruined my life. Now I barely scrape in 2 hours a WEEK. Save me. Continue reading

Willaful and Hub are Sharing the Shallows – She Said He Said special edition!

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 

Bookshelf with Willaful and Hub's handsWillaful 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. Continue reading

Paula Grunseit is Sharing the Shallows

Paula and I first met on Twitter in 2009 where we were constantly in publishing and book tweeting conversations. We finally met a few years later and found that we get on in person as well as we get on online. We are both in the library industry, but like ships that pass in the night, we have yet to work together as librarians. Maybe sometime in the future that too will come.
Balcony reading nook
Paula Grunseit

Librarian and author

Can you describe yourself?

Paula is a librarian/reviewer/writer/editor who likes to read a bit of everything. Genre bias really makes her cross.

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

Physical books, online news, literary and other magazines (I prefer the physical items not the e-versions although then there’s my storage issues), selected Google alerts related to libraries, publishing, various online newsletter subs eg from my writers’ centre memberships, libraries, other library and writing – related things that land in my Inbox, Twitter feed and links from Twitter. Not as much time as I’d like to. I’d like to spend less time managing my inboxes! Continue reading