#Shallowreader Bingo – June

#Shallowreader Bingo – June

Bingo! I won this month’s #Shallowreader Bingo. Achievement unlocked.

Over at Shallowreader, Vassiliki has been running a monthly reading bingo challenge since the start of the year. Last month, I finally won a round.


I haven’t read many books at all this month, so my bingo card is a multimedia affair, thanks to my addiction to the internet and to Netflix. (And if you’re wondering how I put stars on my bingo card, I used an app called Sketches II.)

A child’s grief

How child abuse became a family business in the Philippines by Oliver Holmes

Tens of thousands of children believed to be victims of live-streaming abuse, some of it being carried out by their own parents

Trigger warnings apply. This isn’t an easy article to read, but it adds some nuances to child abuse that I hadn’t read elsewhere before. It draws explicit lines between poverty and exploitation — which is not a new idea, of course, but the article looks at how child abuse can become absorbed within a family and even an entire community. I was fascinated (though no less saddened and outraged) by the kind of emotional compartmentalisation that some of the children develop, and conflicts between imposing punishment on family members who were complicit in their abuse, and minimising harm to the children who want to stay with those same family members.

Interrupted intimacy

Leslie Odom Jr at the Tonight Show

I was desperate to include a Hamilton reference in my Bingo card, and when I saw this clip of Leslie Odom Jr.’s conversation with Jimmy Fallon, I struck gold! If you don’t recognise the names in the clip, all you need to know is that Hamilton tickets are the most sought-after tickets in Broadway (as in some tickets are going for over $10,000 in the secondary market), Leslie Odom Jr. is a big deal in musical theatre (he plays the antagonist in Hamilton), Shonda Rimes is a big deal in TV, and Art Garfunkel is a big deal in old people’s music.

White Man’s Burden

Maybe This Time by C. P. Santi

Maybe This Time by C. P. SantiThe third story in this romance anthology, Meant To Be, features a Norwegian hero secretly in love with a Filipino heroine (who is also secretly in love with him). Love is a burden! Yay, bingo square!

You can click on the link for my review of the anthology, but this story stood out because for me it provided a twist to the usual trope of the white guy being the unattainable hero, and to extrapolate that to Filipino culture, basically holding up Western culture to be more privileged or desirable. As I mention in my review, in Meant To Be: ‘the fantasy fulfilment required of romance also doubles as transgressive text by very subtly upending the common Filipino narrative around interracial relationships, what it means to be sexy, and how gender roles are assigned when it comes to seeking true love.’ The white hero is secretly in love with the heroine, but he doesn’t assume that just because he’s white or hot or whatever that she’ll automatically reciprocate. And in fact, they spend years apart because he’s not sure that she feels the same way about him.

Pretty in Pink

Game Developer Barbie

Barbie® Careers Game Developer Doll
Source: Mattel

I found this Slate article by Casey Fiedler, which talks about the new Game Developer Barbie, but also goes through the evolution of feminist incarnations of Barbie up to this point.

Game Developer Barbie is wearing jeans, sensible shoes (!), and a T-shirt that is both nerdy and kind of cute. (I think it could be translated as “control-alt-ponytail.”) She has a laptop that is laptop-colored, because women can actually use tech products that aren’t pink. There are no pictures of Ken or fashion magazines around her workspace, just coffee, headphones, flowcharts—not to mention actual programming books (C++ and C#) and action figures (He-Man!). She still likes some pink, of course; this is Barbie, and there’s nothing wrong with pink.

Fiedler also looks at the marketing materials around Game Developer Barbie, and it’s a very interesting insight into the kinds of issues faced by women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), including micro-aggressions that you might miss if you’re not a woman in the STEM field. Equally interesting is how Mattel has reacted each time.


Man sends woman an unsolicited d*ck pic, woman responds brilliantly. Man regrets it.

I think the title of the article says it all. I really wanted to put this against ‘Just the tip’, but I wanted to win more. :D


Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long (Amz | Booktopia)

I was skeptical of the new Julie Anne Long contemporary, but she proved me wrong in a big way. Hot in Hellcat Canyon goes in my Keeper shelf. At some point, I’d like to post a review of this book. It was released in June, hence the bingo square. In the meantime, here’s what I wrote on Goodreads:

Such a fabulous read. Witty banter, flirtation via food analogies & wordplay, a heroine who collects dying plants, a hero who refuses to grovel but brings chicken satay when he finally faces his demons.


Six Degrees of Scandal by Caroline Linden (Amz | Booktopia)

I love Caroline Linden’s writing, but the final book in her Scandalous series was a bit of a dud in the romance stakes. The romance wasn’t terrible, but it was done somewhere during the first half of the book as far as I was concerned. This story is heavily plot-driven and focused on tying up loose ends in the series. [SPOILERS] The hero writes erotic fiction under a pseudonym, and Linden includes scenes where his friends, who publish the stories, are laying out the papers to dry.

I stuffed up this square a bit, because the text describes Bathsheba (the friend)’s ink-stained clothing, but my mind imagined a dust-covered apron. I don’t know. I don’t really pay attention to details in the text — my brain visualises what it visualises. Luckily, a quick search tells me that the story is littered with dust. This is a flashback to the moment when the hero (in their childhood) finds out that the heroine is now betrothed to someone else:

He burst into the drawing room, dusty and disheveled and wild-eyed. “Tell me it’s a lie,” he demanded. “Tell me…” His voice died as she deliberately folded her hands to show her ring.


William Shakespeare: The complete plays in one sitting by Joelle Herr (Amz | Booktopia)

I’m claiming this square by association, because my husband is currently reading this tiny book that provides cheat sheets for Shakespeare’s 38 comedies, tragedies, and histories written.

Where was this book when I was in high school, I ask you???

A photo posted by Kat (@bookthingo) on


This was an easy square as soon as I started watching the new season of Orange Is The New Black. I’m one of those people who picks my heroes and villains early in a story, so I found it strange that when I got back to this show, I realised I couldn’t give a fig about Piper or Alex — for me, they’ve been absorbed into the ensemble cast. One of the most tragic character arcs this season belongs to Lolly, who kills an assassin disguised as a prison guard to protect a friend. But Lolly has paranoid delusions, and it all gets muddled in her mind. [SPOILER] Eventually, the assassin’s corpse is discovered, and Lolly is sent to the psychiatric ward, which in the OITNB is worse than even solitary confinement. She was my favourite character this season.

And those are my bingo squares for June. Can’t wait to see the July card!


  1. Clarence Kozakiewicz says:

    I enjoyed the characterizations, period setting, and many evocative moments, but it reminded me of one of the reasons I read genre fiction because I almost never finish a genre book going, what the hell was that even about?

What do you think?