New York Times By the Book Tag

This tag was originally created by Marie Berg on YouTube, but her channel and/or the video appear to have been deleted. I first found this tag on Thrice Read, and loved it so much I had to do it for myself.

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What book is on your nightstand now?

Right now, I’ve actually got four books on my nightstand: The Book ThiefLet’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True MemoirThe Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition, and Five-Star Trails: Birmingham: Your Guide to the Area’s Most Beautiful HikesI’ve actually finished all of these books, but I’m too lazy to go put them on a shelf.

I’ve also got my kindle and a notebook sitting there, too, because I received my very first publisher request to review a book. I’m so excited.

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What was the last truly great book you’ve read?

I finished reading The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women two weeks ago, and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. It’s about watch dial painters in the 1910s and 1920s, who painted with radium paint. It’s about the struggle to make working conditions better for workers across the nation, and set several precedents for working class lawsuits. I’ve got a review written, but it won’t be published until the middle of December. (Maybe I should start publishing reviews twice a week??)

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If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know?

I mean, the obvious answer is JRR Tolkien, because he’s a badass. I’d want to know how he kept everything straight, what his writing process was, how he feels about Christopher Tolkien completing his works after his death (especially since Terry Pratchett was recently in the news for having his hard drive destroyed after his death so his stuff wouldn’t end up completed by someone else, like Robert Jordan’s stuff has been).

On the flip side, I would also be worried about meeting my favorite author. What if he doesn’t live up to my expectations? What if he doesn’t want to answer my questions?!

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What books might we be surprised to find on your shelf?

I’ve got a lot of self-help books because I’m a pretty messed-up person. (Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s true.) I’ve got stuff on anxiety, on depression, on how to get your brain together, on how to speed-read, on all sorts of things that could possibly go wrong.

I guess it’s because I’m an INTJ, and I’m secretly terrified of people finding out that I’m not good enough at what they thought I was an expert at. (I think that’s called Imposter Syndrome. Whoops.)

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How do you organize your personal library?

When I first started, I had two bookshelves, one on either side of my GIANT BEDROOM WINDOW at my parents’ house. I had all of the series books arranged alphabetically by title on one shelf, and all of the single/non-connected books arranged alphabetically by title on the other shelf. As time went on and I bought more books, the series books took over both shelves and I just started trying to find space to fit all of my new purchases so my organization, at the moment, is a disaster. Everything is just kinda crammed on there. I tried to keep books that I needed for school on one shelf, but as I bought more books, everything just kinda got lumped together. (I DO keep series books together!)

And then there are all the books I’ve got that are heaped on the floor…

If I were to have the time to rip everything out and start again, I would organize everything by…hm…author’s last name. Alphabetically from A-Z. It might not look pretty, but I’d be able to find everything pretty quickly.

Another idea would be to organize everything alphabetically by the name of the book (or by the series title if it was in a series). That way, I wouldn’t have to remember the author of the book (terrible person, remember?) and things would be even easier to find!

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What book have you always meant to read but haven’t gotten around to yet?

Is this where I put Fifty Shades of Grey?

KIDDING. COMPLETELY. I wouldn’t pick that up if you paid me. (Well, depending on how much money we’re talking here…maybe…)

I haven’t read anything by Sarah J Maas, and I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding her books in the book-blogging world. Those books sound like I’d be engaging in drama were I to read and review them.

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Disappointing, overrated, or just not good: What book did you feel like you were supposed to like, but didn’t?

I guess the Jane Austen books I’ve been reading for class. They’re just not my style. I mean, I’ve finished all of them, and I’ve participated in all of the discussions but they’re just not for me, you know? My roommate’s a total Jane Austen freak, but I can’t get into them. I can appreciate them, yes, but I don’t know if I’d ever reread them.

There’s also the endings of trilogies. I feel like I was supposed to like Inkdeath, the final book in the Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke, but I didn’t. I felt like it was a cheap way to end the series. Maybe I’m alone in thinking the last book should be better than the first book, but who knows.

OH. And To Kill a MockingbirdI’ve already written a rant about it, so I’m not going to repeat that here. Just know that it’s vastly overrated because she’s a local author and people are super nostalgic for the time period she writes about, despite her characters being overtly racist and terribly written.

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What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you steer clear of?

Fantasy and sci-fi stories of any kind are my weakness. If you take a look at my shelves, you’ll see that they take up the majority of what space I have.

I steer clear of anything overly-romantic. I’m not a fan of romance in books (I wasn’t a fan even when I was in a relationship). It detracts so much from the storyline. Forced romances in books are even worse. If you read a few of my reviews where I’ve talked about forced romances, you’ll see what I mean. (I mean, I can’t think of any off the top of my head right now except for Inkspell.)

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If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

I’m going to go with a book that I read last year for my Gender & Sexuality class, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde. If you’re reading this in the future (hopefully we have a future), our current president is Donald Trump, who has very little respect for women or minorities, particularly minority women.

Lorde’s collection of essays are incredibly powerful, and I recommend them to everyone. If you’re looking for a book that will make you think, this is it.

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What do you plan to read next?

Technically, the next book I have to read is Mansfield Park for my Jane Austen class. Will this actually be the next book I read? I doubt it.

I’ve been asked to review a soon-to-be-published book and have the ARC on my Kindle, so that’s what I’m going to be working on over the next few days. I have a notebook ready for notes and everything! I’m super excited. I’ve never been approached by a publisher and asked to do something for them before!

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Since I wasn’t tagged to complete this, I’m not going to tag anyone else. Feel free to do this tag if you come across it, and be sure to link back to me so I can see what your answers are!

And as always, keep reading.

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