Why ‘octothorp’ (besides the fact that it’s a super cool word)?
Apparently I have a punctuation fetish I’m sublimating – ha! My husband and I have ampersand tattoos because of Y The Last Man (the whole section about ampersands being used to denote partnerships that are collaborative as opposed to typing the word “and” if each person did their own work resonated), I used to post in the early days of the mothership as ellipsis, nearly named my kid Thorn with a plan to get the letter tattooed on me…. I also just love esoteric words and names for things I didn’t know had names. And hey, it kind of fits with our whole godtopus theme.
Your ‘re-read and purge’ plan to clean off your shelves during quarantine is a great one! How many books do you have on your to-be-donated pile so far? How many left in your TBR-R stack?
Like most of my great ideas, the execution is falling FAR short of the plan. I can resist anything but temptation, so there may be a few *cough*dozen*cough* books that weren’t there at the start of CBR. I’m proud of myself that all my books now fit on my bookshelves, so that’s progress. I’d estimate I have about 50 unread books on my shelf, 15 in my re-read to reassess pile, and probably 75 in the send-it-to-hell pile.
You’re a self-described behavioral economics nerd. What sparked your love of this niche field?
I love learning how and why people think differently, and often irrationally! I came to it pretty much the same way I find everything –finding something that I consider interesting and following it down the rabbit hole. When I was growing up my dad would take me to the bookstore every weekend and buy me one book of my choosing; Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point was on the Barnes and Noble featured table when it came out in paperback and the rest is history.
How many chapters do you give a book to hook you before you abandon it?
I’m a never-say-die type: I’ve only intentionally given up on reading a handful of books. They have to be pretty abysmal for me to give up on them, in part because two of my favorite books (The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell) both took a solid hundred pages to hook me – I actively disliked Kavalier at first. I also get a perverse joy out of hate-reading, and my other favorite weirdly specific genre is the failure narrative, so even when things don’t work, I find them interesting.
How many times have you participated in CBR? Has it changed the way you read?
It’s funny, I didn’t realize how early-days – college, so I think 2005-6 – I was with the mothership, but I was following along with the first CBR as a lurker. I only started participating for CBR 10, and as my often diary-entry-like reviews suggest, I sometimes find the act of reviewing the books gives me a different perspective on them for better and worse. I keep comics out of my CBR total in part to keep myself from overthinking them and having books to enjoy just for their own sake.
Were you a reader from childhood, or did you grow into it? Can you tell yet if your toddler is going to be a reader?
Oh, I love you for asking this question. I’ve been reading from age three and have retained a stupid human trick from my early readership. My dad would read the newspaper, and I would sit across the table from him until it was time to get to the comics, when I’d move to the other side to be next to him and we’d read them together. But I may have been slightly impatient and started before he was ready, so now I can read upside down almost as fast as I can right side up. The octolet (IRL nickname: the kraken) seems to be going down the same road, he turned three in March and knows some sight words (and also knows he can buy a few extra minutes before bedtime by asking for “Calvin Hobbes.”)
What’s the wildest/best/most disastrous (your call!) recipe you’ve tried while in lockdown?
Oh man, I made chocolate pudding made with duck eggs – I think it satisfies all three conditions with unusual ingredients, it was absolutely delicious, and it’s disastrous for my hips.