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 @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.
What 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.
Do 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!
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?