A couple of days ago, I was reading new blog posts from bloggers I folllow and saw I was tagged by the lovely Jess from Book End and Endings to do the New York Times By the Book Tag! This tag was originally created on YouTube by Marie Berg, and I thought it looked like a really fun tag to do.
I’m still relatively new to blogging, and so have never done a tag before, but I really enjoyed doing this. After spending an hour writing enthusiastic answers to each of these questions, I looked at the word count and realised I could’ve written the entire of an English assignment due in by the end of the week. Never mind, I’m still considering it time well spent!
1. What book is on your nightstand now?
Normally, books I’ve read pile up on my nightstand. Even if I just pick up a random one and reread a chapter before I go to sleep, it tends to stay by my bed for at least a month. That means that there are several books on my nightstand at the moment: Dan & Phil Go Outside, Girl Detached and The Bane Chronicles are the ones I can think of off of the top of my head.
2. What was the last truly great book that you read?
Honestly, I think that so many YA novels at the moment are so great, and have such important themes and messages, but I just finished reading Girl Detached, so that would be the most recent. Without going into detail about the plot, it’s a book about prostitution, but focuses on the way girls are groomed to be treated as objects by the men involved, and as the protagonist is fairly unsuspecting of what is going on around her, I found it makes the book really intense and emotive.
3. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?
The first obvious person that comes to mind is, of course, William Shakespeare. Nobody knows exactly what went through his mind when he was writing plays; obviously there are no interviews, but we hardly even have any examples of his handwriting. We have his signature on a few documents, and is believed to have written three pages of an unpublished manuscript of the play Sir Thomas Moore. Personally, I would really like to talk to the mind behind plays such as Othello and Romeo and Juliet.
4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
My shelves are generally quite an accurate reflection of my personality, and my taste in books, so I don’t think it holds many surprises. That said, some may be taken aback by the black, white and red strip across my bookcase that is the Twilight series. Not just the four books, but also a novella of Eclipse, the director’s notebook for the first film, and The Twilight Saga: the Official Illustrated Guide. Yes, 12-year old me was a Twi-hard, and although the calendar is no longer on my wall, and the board game is shoved deep underneath my bed, one look at my bookcase completely gives me away. I guess I’ve never really done ‘casual fan’.
5. How do you organize your personal library?
My room is overflowing with books – I actually have two separate areas in my room dedicated to displaying these books. Along my desk, next to my bed, I have a row of my favourite books out of the ones I own. Half of this row is taken up with The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare, as well as the prequel series The Infernal Devices. This is because this is my favourite series and so I always need it close to hand! After that, in no particular order I have other YA novels I love (such as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda), as well as Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. On my main bookshelf, I have a slightly wider range of books, ones that I have bought or received over many years. A while ago I sorted the shelves into alphabetically order by author surname, so I think that’s more or less how it is organised now. This is also where the majority of series that I own go, so that I keep them all in one place.
6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?
Thankfully, I can say I have read all of the Harry Potter books – twice, and loved them (I actually know multiple people who haven’t, which I honestly struggle to understand). That said, I have never read The Lord of the Rings, which I sometimes feel about embarrassed about, but it’s just not really something I’m interested in reading at the moment. Also, I have not read Pride and Prejudice yet. I’ve seen the film, I’ve even seen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I haven’t gotten around to reading the actual book yet, and as a self-proclaimed English lover, I do feel slightly self-conscious about it.
7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
The most recent book I remember not finishing was Heir of Fire, the sequel to Throne of Glass. This was quite a while ago, but I just remember finding the love triangle too overdramatic and unrealistic, and I just lost interest a bit. Seeing as I’m already part way through the series though, I probably will go back to it at some point. I also attempted to read Fangirl a few years ago, and just didn’t engage with it at all. Again, I might revisit it, as I’ve enjoyed the other books I’ve read by Rainbow Rowell, and it was quite a while ago I tried to read it.
8. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
I will always first and foremost be a fan of a good romance. Almost since I’ve been able to read, that’s been my go to. I’m also often drawn to horrors, and some of my favourite series are fantasies. Generally, I like the books I read to be YA, so that, combined with any of the genres mentioned above makes the kind of story I love. I’m not a huge fan of historical fictions or sci-fi novels, although I have read a couple of these that I’ve really enjoyed.
9. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
I’m British, but I think I’d rather choose a book for Donald Trump (although he technically doesn’t take the title of president until January). I think I’d like to send some Louise O’Neill his way – namely, her second novel Asking For It. For those of you who haven’t read this book, it’s a story that highlights the misogyny in society, and the way it almost automatically holds the victim responsible in many situations of rape. As this book is written in such away that it is impossible to deny its message, hopefully it could help newly-elected Trump to understand that his treatment of women is unacceptable, and has a negative impact on society.
10. What do you plan to read next?
Next I plan to read Birdy by Jess Vallance. I try to go into a book knowing as little as possible about it, but I’ve been told it’s a story about friendship and obsession – a little different to what I usually read, but I’m really looking forward to it!
This might just be my longest post yet – I hope my long book ramblings were of some interest to you!
Many bloggers have been tagged for this, but I’m tagging some others who I think are really great: