You really should read: Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels

Portlander Candy Tan is not afraid to shop for books at the grocery store. As the co-author of a blog and a book dedicated to appreciation and critical analysis of everyone's favorite literary genre, Tan has helped many come out of the closet—the romance-novel closet, that is. In addition, she enjoys popularizing words like "buttweasels," eating Trader Joe's Vanilla Almond Clusters and fantasizing about becoming a trashy novel heroine who drinks raspberry kamikazes. 3 pm Sunday, Oct. 11. Wieden Kennedy Stage.

What's your personal writing ritual?

I put on the music, slip on something slinky, turn the lights down low...and then procrastinate fiercely on the Internet until blind panic over a missed deadline prods me to write.

What are your favorite themes to write about?

Gender roles in romance novels. I loves me some dissection of heteronormativity.

The most beautiful word in the English language is: Calabash ...but only because we stole it from the Spanish, who probably stole it from the Persians.

What authors made you want to pick up a pen in the first place?

It wasn't so much a particular author or work that made me want to blog about romance novels and the romance novel reading experience; it was the reaction people had when they found out I read them.

Fight Club time: If you could fight one author (or critic), who would it be and why?

Michiko Kakutani, but only because girl fights get me hot.

Name a book you think is highly overrated. Be honest.

I'm not entirely sure why so many people wet their panties over Wuthering Heights, because it's always struck me as poorly written melodrama about a couple of dickbags. Yes, you heard it here first: Heathcliff? Dickbag. Catherine? Also a dickbag.

Dream project:

I don't have anything specific in mind, although it'll hopefully include "Lee Pace holding me tenderly in his arms while doing that adorable thing with his eyebrows."

Most recent nightmare:

I had an incredibly gruesome, incredibly realistic dream about an evil book that compelled people who touched it to slice other people up with razors. Slowly.

Your cure for writer's block:

Find a good Internet kerfuffle to dissect. Failing a good kerfuffle, I smash my head repeatedly against the block till bloody. Hey, this way, at least something gives, right?

Pessimistic question: Will you keep writing even after people stop reading?

Yes. Writing is a way for me to figure things out. I'm a really verbal thinker, and I'd write to have a dialogue with myself, even if it's poor substitute for a dialogue with other people.

Cautiously optimistic question: Obama? Discuss.

It'd be beyond excellent if he actually manages to pull off meaningful healthcare reform. Next step: switching America to the metric system. Oh, come on. A girl can dream.

Share one thing you've had to change in your everyday life thanks to our current recession.

At $150 a pop, I've stopped buying new casebooks in law school and have either bought old copies on the Internet, or used the copies put on hold at the library.

Please paste a short paragraph from a story, poem, article, blog post, etc., you're currently working on:

"I don't know what it is about Linda Howard novels that makes me so angry. And it's not just garden-variety exasperation: I'm talking mean. I'm talking gratuitous rage. I'm talking waving-an-oversized-pistol-while-gritting-my-words-out-because-it-killed-my-partner angry. Linda Howard novels bring out my inner Clint Eastwood, except with less taciturnity and more howler monkey.