adventures, books & creative lifestyle.

New York Times By The Book Tag

new york times by the book uk lifestyle bloggers vivatramp
New York skyline, as seen from my the Empire State on my 2009 trip

I have been eyeing up the New York Times By The Book tag for quite a while now so I thought there was no time like the present to turn my attention to it. 

Pick a question, or a few, or if you're keen all of them, and leave your very own answers below as it'll give me something to peruse whilst I endure abdominal surgery recovery!  

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1. what book is on your nightstand now? 

I have the books from my Try A Chapter challenge, which you should totally go and read if you haven't already, sat on my nightstand. They are: Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl, Frenchman's Creek by Daphne Du Maurier and The Girls by Emma Cline. Whilst the challenge was a hugely positive experience for me, I am now very much aware that I have another 3 books sat on my shelves with bookmarks between their pages. Oops.

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The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters! I waxed lyrical about it in my latest book review post and with good reason. It  had been a while since a book had me audibly shout 'yessssss' with glee once I'd closed the very last page. Exceptional storytelling!

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3. if you could meet any writer - dead or alive - who would it be? and what would you want to know?

I would love to resurrect Daphne Du Maurier in order to pootle around her Cornwall home with her for a day and ask her questions about stories she perhaps didn't get to write. 

I would also, of course, love to meet Patti Smith and watch her go about her day-to-day life. I don't even think I'd ask her any questions. I would just sit, with a mug of coffee, and listen as she relayed stories of her life to me. 

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4. what books might we be surprised to find on your shelves? 

I don't think there's anything you'd particularly be surprised about in terms of shock value as I read an eclectic mix, and I shared a photograph of my Anthology of Erotic Prose in my Britney Spears Book Tag post, so I've decided to pick a book that I have yet to discuss on this blog. 

Susanna Hislop's Stories in the Stars has sat unread on my shelves for a few years now because it's not really something that I think to pick up - perhaps due to its size - but between the pages Hislop explores the night sky's eighty-eight constellations through imaginative stories and beautiful illustrations. Not particularly surprising but a book I haven't discussed that looks pretty interesting, nonetheless. Are you remotely surprised by this choice?! 

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5. how do you organise your personal library?

My personal library is organised by colour. At first, I was worried that it would be a bit gimmicky but I genuinely find it to be a useful way of organising my books as I tend to remember in colour. I do, however, also keep a 'TBR' shelf for a selection of books that I would like to read sooner rather than later. 

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6. what book have you always meant to read and haven't got round to yet? anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

I wouldn't say that I have always meant to read it but for a while now I have been wanting to read Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates because people hold it in such high regard.

With regards to embarrassment, I don't think I really hold any sense of shame for books that I haven't read anymore. If I want to read something, I will eventually. I don't feel the need to read hyped things if they don't sound like my thing, either. 

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7. disappointing, over-rated, 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?

So everybody has a thing for Virginia Woolf, right?! I have yet to discover said thing.  I wouldn't say she is 'disappointing, over-rated' or 'just not good' but I've yet to really be pulled in by her work. I'm definitely not writing her off entirely and I hope to pick up one of her books that I own to see if I can enjoy her more now that I'm not studying her so intently.  I own To The Lighthouse, Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves. I have read bits of each. Which one should I dedicate myself to first? 

The last book I put down without finishing was The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. However, I didn't put it down because it was awful or anything. I just found myself a little bit weary of dystopia, as I was reading a lot of it at the time, so that's something I still need to finish off.

revolutionary road richard yates

8. what kinds of stories are you drawn to? any you stay clear of?

I've shared my reading taste in the past, so do go back and read that post if you haven't already done so, but right now I'm really enjoying slow burning mysteries, place as a character, and a nice bit of dystopia. 

I steer clear of fluffy romance novels, misogo manuals, and most Fantasy. They just aren't my bag.

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9. if you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

I would make Teresa May, our Prime Minister,  read either something really long and really shit or something that would make her buck up her ideas r:e human rights. 

So, any books that fit either one of those descriptions will do.   

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10. what do you plan to read next?

I'm going to read Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters. As I said earlier, I fell head over heels for The Little Stranger and I desperately want to enjoy some more of Waters' masterful storytelling as soon as possible. I'm hoping that this'll be perfect page-turning recovery fodder and help to take my mind off of other things.

What would your answers be? I'm not going to tag anyone specifically because a lot of people have already done it but I'd love to know if you do end up doing this tag! 



  1. Aw man definitely finish The Handmaid's Tale! The ending genuinely knocks you flat and reveals so much about the world that we'd only seen through Offred's eyes. I think it's the last few pages that really earn the book it's accolades. x

  2. Tippling the Velvet is fabulous! I've adored Patti Smith since 1976 and would love to meet her too. I find her endlessly fascinating. All the best for your surgery and a speedy recovery x

  3. such a great tag!


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