I was very happy to learn that I had been tagged by Reg from She Latitude to do the New York Times By the Book tag. This is the first time I’ve been tagged to do something, so I’m considering this to be something of a blogging milestone! Marie Berg originally created the tag on YouTube by taking some of the best questions from By the Book and answering them, so these are the questions that I’m going to be answering today.
On a slightly different note, I would really recommend looking at Reg’s ‘book looks’, as they are such a cool idea and look absolutely amazing. Now, onto the questions!
- What book is on your nightstand now?
At this very moment in time? Nothing. I tend to leave what I was reading the night before on my bedside table, and then take it with me the next morning when I leave my bed, and most of my other books have ended up on my desk. However, just beside my bedside table at the moment is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and the book that would be left there because I’m reading it would be Unbecoming by Jenny Downham – I’m doing a little bit of branching out at the moment, and am trying to balance YA with other genres, hence the autobiography and the usual YA fiction.
- What was the last truly great book that you read?
I consulted my list of books I’ve read this year to work this one out, and obviously while it depends on what you mean by ‘truly great’, I think this one would have to go to Girl Detached by Manuela Salvi. I received a proof of this because I won the YA Takeover quiz, and I plan on reviewing it soon, so I’m not going to say too much, but the book definitely deserves this title! It dealt with a very heavy topic, but I was absolutely hooked; I found it very difficult to tear myself away. The content was powerful and I was very invested in the characters, so I really wanted to see what would happen next. This book is definitely an important one, so while it was a tough read emotionally, I thought it was worth it. (Edit: I reviewed Girl Detached here!)
- If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?
This is a very difficult question! I think I can only narrow it down to a top range of authors, and I’d probably choose one who is no longer alive, as I wouldn’t be able to meet them any other way. Shakespeare would be interesting, as would Charlotte Brontë, and many of the feminist writers who wrote about the rights of women, such as Virginia Woolf, Mary Wollstonecraft and Simone de Beauvoir, would be absolutely fascinating to meet.
- What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
The book that came to mind when I thought of this questions was Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. On reflection, that might not be that surprising, as I included in my summer reading list, and said I’d read it when I talked about how I didn’t completely succeed with said list. But still – it’s not fiction, which makes it quite different from what I normally read!
- How do you organize your personal library?
Rainbow order! I actually redid them recently, as originally I put all the series together, and then rainbow ordered what was left, but I decided to go all out rainbow a couple of weeks ago. I took photos along the way, so I might post them at some point.
- What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?
This one for me is definitely Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. I’ve been meaning to read this book for literally years, and I often start it, but get distracted by a new and wonderful release, or some other book, and it ends up back on the shelf. I also haven’t read The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald; again, I managed the beginning a few months ago and got distracted. I really do need to read both of them!
- 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?
I’m actually quite easy to please with books, so I don’t often put something down without finishing it. However, I did get Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe out of the library because it was nominated for the YA Book Prize, and I wasn’t really drawn in by the first few pages. I then read the reviews on Goodreads, and decided it didn’t seem like my kind of book. I also didn’t like Nightwanderers by C J Flood – I reviewed it, and included links to some more positive reviews, but I just didn’t connect with the characters or the story.
- What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
I am definitely drawn to Own Voices books, as I think it’s so interesting to read books that have been influenced by people’s experiences. I absolutely adored Under Rose-Tainted Skies, an Own Voices novel by Louise Gornall, and I’m looking forward to reading If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo too (which I have now reviewed here!). Also, anything by Holly Bourne or Alice Oseman I will automatically want to read. I don’t tend to read masses of fantasy – something has to look really good to catch my eye – as usually contemporary novels are more my thing.
- If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
I’d have to change this to the Prime Minister, as I’m British, and similarly to the author question, I’m going to have to give multiple answers as this question is just too difficult. From a YA perspective, Am I Normal Yet? and Under Rose-Tainted Skies are great at addressing mental health; Radio Silence is amazing for tackling pressure on students (which I later reviewed it here!), and anything by Louise O’Neill is just so eye-opening and hard-hitting that it would be difficult not to recommend it. From a general perspective, I thought A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf was very insightful, and 1984 by George Orwell was fascinating at showing how government can go wrong.
- What do you plan to read next?
This question is easy, as I’ve recently bought Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland, which was one of the October releases I was looking forward too, so definitely that! (Also maybe I should read those books I mentioned earlier that I haven’t read but really should!)
Wow, this has ended up being pretty long! Also, there are loads of tags on this post as I’ve tagged all the books and authors mentioned for future reference.
I’m going to nominate some of my favourite book bloggers for this tag:
- Amber from The Mile Long Bookshelf
- Hannah from Stars and Above
- Georgia from The Bibliomaniac –> her answers are here
- Lucy from Queen of Contemporary
- Bex from My Shelf and Myself –> her answers are here
- Lottie from The Spectre Days –> her answers are here
- Liv from Liv’s Wonderful Escape –> her answers are here
(Although if you think this is the kind of tag you’d like to do, then I’m tagging you as well!)