Tag│NYT By The Book

Created by Marie Berg, inspired by the “By The Book” column in The New York Times Magazine.

You may have noticed a lack of articles on this blog lately (for the past couple of months). Well… I haven’t read anything that particularly made me want to write reviews or anything, so unfortunately I’ve been kind of MIA. You can still follow my Instagram if you want to see me post pictures of every single book I read this year, #marionreads2016.

So, what does one do to breathe life back into a blog? A tag! I’ve seen this one floating around BookTube, so I thought I’d give it a go in written form.

1. What book is on your nightstand now?

Well, if we’re being technical about this: none. There’s plenty of lip balms, hand creams and paracetamol tablets on my nightstand, but no books. But if this question actually means “what am I reading at the moment?”, then it would be The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Stroud.

the golem's eye

I should say, however, that I always keep my Kindle close to my bed… Just in case…

2. What was the last truly great book that you read?

Oh Lord. Isn’t it what’s at the root of the problem of my lack of activity on this blog? Let me consult my Goodreads archives and I’ll get back to you in a minute.

Allright, so it seems that the last book I really loved was Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, which I read in January.

old man's war

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

J.K. Rowling, “Can you write the Harry Potter series from Neville’s point of view? Pretty please.”

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

I have no clue. I regularly try to get rid of anything that I didn’t like or have no desire to read anymore, so at this point I don’t think there’s anything that would surprise you on my shelves. But I don’t know, take a look and let me know if anything jumps to you as “weird” for me to have.

5. How do you organize your personal library?

My main bookcase is divided between read and unread books. And within those two categories the books are in alphabetical order (by author’s last name).
But I have so many books (especially unread ones) and so little space that it has become quite chaotic. On the very top on my bookcase I have a few series, then on another bookcase that I use for my DVD/Blu-Ray collection, there’s one shelf for my comic books and coffee table books (so books on Audrey Hepburn basically), and another for my old French mass market paperbacks.

6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

Moby Dick? I’ve had this one for a while now, I was really excited to read it, and then I heard a lot of people saying that they were bored out of their minds reading it, it’s just very long, and I’m scared of boats… So, you know…
I also own a fair amount of John Steinbeck books —which I really like because I bought them in his hometown in California—, but I’ve only read Of Mice and Men. I really should get to The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden, but they’re just so big and have such a dire subject that I don’t feel like reading them just now…

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 last books I remember DNF-ing were The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford and Petit Homme by Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, and I’m pretty sure I was under 10 years old when that happened. I didn’t even particularly dislike the books, I just put them down and forgot I was reading them (as I child I loved books, but I didn’t exactly read all that much, which doesn’t make a lot of sense). It’s weird, because I remember specifically asking my grandmother for these books, she got them for me, I started them, more than once, but never finished. These books are long gone now, though.

But more to the question: The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu was a pretty big disappointment. I loved The Three-Body Problem, but this one was just impossible to get into. I saw a lot of people DNF-ing it, and I probably should have too, but I don’t like not finishing books, so I struggled through it for two months.

the dark forest

I also tried to read some YA series that people were raving about, and I just didn’t click with them. Like The Chaos Walking trilogy, Divergent, A Darker Shade of Magic, or even Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. That’s why I’m trying to steer clear of YA sensations at the moment, I’m waiting to see if when the dust has settled I’m still interested in reading some of the books I hear a lot about right now.

8. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I guess you could say I’m a sci-fi reader at this point. That’s what I’m most drawn to. I like the fact that it puts me in worlds, universes and situations that are completely different to my own. I guess being an introvert who’s really socially awkward, reading is my escape, it’s what takes me out of my regular boring life, so I want to read about incredible things. And that, to me, is science fiction.

wrap up april 2015

I really don’t want to bash on YA, because I’m sure there is good YA out there —I just don’t care enough to try to find it, but I’m tired of the unassuming girl turning out to be the chosen one, so at the moment I stay clear of this type of YA. Romance also is not my thing. Even when I go to the movies, I’d rather see some action and adventure rather than a rom-com.

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

Which President? Obama or Hollande? … François Hollande is the French Président de la République for those of you not familiar with that name.
I see Obama being down for pretty much anything. He seems like a science and space nerd, so I’d like to buddy read The Martian with him or something.

the martian

As for Hollande… Oh dear… I don’t know and I don’t care really. Maybe a spy novel of some sort, because the scooter incident was really embarrassing.

10. What do you plan to read next?

So many things! But my friend Shari has created a reading challenge, so I’ll try to pick something that fits this month’s challenge. And I should be receiving Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel within a few days, so I might pick this one up when it arrives (you know I’m excited about a new release when I buy the hardback version, because I hate hardbacks, but the paperback release was too far away —June 2017 😮 — and I couldn’t wait that long).

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