The New York Times By the Book Tag

This tag has been circulating on the BookTube having been started by Marie Berg and the questions were just pretty interesting, and I hunted down the New York Times columns which were really interesting so I figured I’d share my answers here.

1) What book is on your nightstand right now?
At the minute, I have Why Nations Fail by James Robinson & Daron Acemoglu which I’m currently on pause in my reading as whilst the contents are really interesting, the writing is a tad unengaging and I’m finding that I need to be reading something engaging after work. Then there’s Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth which is kind of a retelling of the Rapunzel story, so far it’s okay; still mostly scene setting. Then I’ve also got a couple of magazines, Glamour as its one of the only ‘women’s magazine’s’ that I can read without feeling rubbish and then The New Statesman.

2) What was the last truly great book that you read?
‘Great’ is such a massive word! I would say that the last ‘five star’ book I read was So You’ve Been Publically Shamed by Jon Ronson which I thought was just brilliant, and prior to that was probably Animal Farm by George Orwell which is such a skilled satire. Or maybe even Quiet by Susan Cain which was so important in terms of helping me feel good about my personality but is maybe not the best-written book? Who knows-all three are definitely worth a read!

3) If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know?
Argh I don’t know, I tend to avoid meeting authors because I literally don’t know what I would say to them. I’d love to just get all the biting gossip on the Bloomsbury set from Virginia Woolf or talk to Daphne du Maurier about Cornwall or even just meet Harper Lee to find out what was going on about the Go Set a Watchman drama.

4) What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
Whilst this might not be such a surprise now, I have a lot of musical theatre related books floating around. Including both of Stephen Sondheim’s lyric collections/memoirs and a Broadway yearbook. It’s a real love.

5) How do you organise your personal library?

I don’t! Sorry internet.

6) What book have you always meant to read but haven’t? Anything you feel embarrassed to have never read?

There are a lot of books languishing on my TBR shelf, some of which I’ve literally had for about five years which I’m definitely embarrassed not to have read them.

7) Disappointing, overrated & just not good: what book did you feel like you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
I’d say the last book I was really disappointed not to like was probably The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber, because I so wanted to like it. Aside from Why Nations Fail, the last book I gave up on was Nobody Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, which was just a little too quirky for me.

8) What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
I read all sorts of things, anything that just has an interesting premise really sucks me in. I do like multiple narratives and a sprawling time period. And stories with a bit of a gothic vibe.

9) If you could require the president/prime minister to read one book, what would it be?I don’t feel like I’ve read enough important, message books that I feel like political leaders could really learn from, but perhaps We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because I am tired of male politicians just not getting it at all.

10) What do you plan to read next?
I think Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is up next, he’s a favourite author of mine so I’m excited.

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