More book tag fun! This one looks like a great way to talk about books but also some general reading habits, which I’m always curious about but somehow don’t end up discussing here very often. Thanks very much to Katie who kindly tagged me– her posts are always great discussion starters, including her answers for this tag, so be sure to stop by her post and chat if you haven’t already!
And now, on to the prompts!
Last Book I Gave Up On:
Gerald’s Game by Stephen King
I actually don’t DNF permanently, but I do occasionally start reading a book that I know I don’t have time to finish or quickly discover I am not in the mood for, and shelve it for a later date. I used to do this more often, but the most recent one, Gerald’s Game, I think has been shelved for about 18 months; none within the last year. I’m on a quest to read all of King’s fiction, and am curious about this one because I think it’ll be more psychologically-focused, which I tend to like more from him than heavier sci-fi. I own a copy and am still interested, I just had another deadline at the time and set it aside after two chapters, always intending to pick it back up.
Last Book I Re-Read:
Last Summer by Sarah Dessen
In recent years I haven’t been rereading much, but I used to do it all the time and would like to do more of it again in the future. I have a bad memory for plot and detail- I typically only remember how much I liked or disliked a book- so rediscovering favorites can be quite fun. Last fall I picked up an old Sarah Dessen novel I used to love (not this one) and it was such a quick, nostalgic, and enjoyable experience that I decided to reread all of Dessen’s books, also picking up the three I’d never read at all. The last one I read was Dessen’s first release, That Summer, which is kind of awful and turned me off the project for a little while, but I’m aiming to get back to her books in February and rank them all when I’m finished.
Last Book I Bought:
The Removed by Brandon Hobson
I’m trying (as I often do, as many of us surely often do) to get my physical TBR under control in the new year by purchasing fewer books. This rarely (okay, never) works out for me in the end but I’m strong in January. I have acquired a few exciting titles from friends, but the only books I’ve actually bought came in my BOTM box at the start of the month, and the one I chose as my January selection was Hobson’s The Removed, an Indigenous contemporary (possibly literary?) book about Native life, grief, and a bit of magic. I’m so looking forward to it and was hoping to fit it in before the end of the month, but even if that doesn’t quite happen it’s still high on my priority list.
Last Book I Said I Read But Didn’t:
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
I don’t think I’ve ever done this exactly, although if someone is talking to me about a classic or very popular book about which I’m fairly informed on the plot/themes anyway, I have been known to let the conversation continue without clarifying that I haven’t actually read the book, so maybe that counts? It’s pretty rare that I’m in this situation so the best I can give here is a guess- it might have been Sense and Sensibility, which I had seen the film for several times but just read for the first time last year. I’ve read most of Austen’s other novels so I don’t mind getting into discussions about her work, but Sense and Sensibility does tend to come up pretty often when Austen is involved and for a long time it was a gap in my reading.
Last Book I Wrote in the Margins Of:
Gutshot by Amelia Gray
I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve written in any book margins, and most of those times were related to college paper assignments. But I also did it once last year in this short story collection to help me keep track of the many stories here (they’re flash fiction length, so there’s a lot packed in). I was buddy reading the book and planning to have a discussion with my buddy reader at the end, and margin notes happened to be most convenient at the time, so I caved to the temptation. It’s a book that I own, and I wrote in pencil, because I wouldn’t mark up a borrowed copy and prefer mine to look clean, though there’s nothing wrong with marginalia. I think it’s a practice that can be put to good use, though it’s not one I tend to use. Typically I use post-it tabs while reading, to mark quotes and make small notes.
Last Book That I Had Signed:
Real Life by Brandon Taylor
I live very rurally and haven’t been able to go to any book signings or author events since my college days, but I do occasionally buy pre-signed books, and this is one of those. I bought two signed books on my trip to New York last year, Lily King’s Writers and Lovers which I picked up from The Strand and Taylor’s Real Life from Books Are Magic. I am actually not certain at this point which one of those two was technically the last; we went to The Strand twice. But this is the one I’ve already read and loved, so it’s the one I’m featuring.
Last Book I Lost:
Julius Casesar by William Shakespeare
I’ve never misplaced a book or left one behind somewhere I couldn’t get it back, but I’ve loaned out a few that have never been returned. A few I know are still with my friends and may (probably, hopefully) come back to me at some point, but I’ve completely lost touch with the friend who borrowed my copy of Julius Casesar nine years ago so I’m not expecting ever to see this one again. It’s one of my favorites among the Shakespeare plays I’ve read so far, but obviously it’s been a while since I’ve read it, so at some point I’d like to get a new copy and read it again.
Last Book I Had to Replace:
The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
I’ve not read any books to tatters, so I’m using ‘replaced’ here to mean ‘returned to the library and then was desperate to have a copy of my own on hand.’ In this case I bought as a gift for a friend a popular 2020 release I thought she’d love (Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age) and then at the last minute panicked that she might already have it and I still wanted to be able to give her a book, so I bought The Mercies as a backup gift. Both had been library reads for me that I really liked and could see myself rereading and/or loaning out, so I figured I’d just keep whichever one I didn’t gift. This was the one I really wanted and luckily my friend didn’t yet have Such a Fun Age and really wanted that one, so it worked out perfectly.
Last Book I Argued Over:
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
I don’t argue about books often; if you have a different opinion about me on a book, that is your right. Reading is subjective, and I believe we all bring our own life experiences to the table every time we pick up a book, so we’re never all going to agree and we just need to accept that. The exception for me has been school- I will argue over a book in a classroom debate. Two specific instances have been memorable; the last of those instances featured The Shallows, which I don’t remember a lot about beyond the argument. Essentially, another student believed that since the invention of the internet we’ve been moving toward becoming a totally paperless society and thus it was inevitable and beneficial that our brains would change to process text differently. I believed that there was value in keeping at least some information in hard copies and retaining the knowledge of how to use those texts, in preparation for the what-ifs if nothing else. She was very loud (“No, there’s no need for paper”) and I’m typically a confrontation avoider, but others who agreed with me were keeping quiet and I could see the teacher marking down participation points, so I felt like I had to make my stand. (My other intense book argument was over Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, in which a classmate tried to argue that there was no place for an unreliable narrator in literature. I was more comfortable in that class and like unreliable narrators so that one I jumped into voluntarily.)
Last Book You Couldn’t Find:
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
I’m going to take this very literally- I was looking at my shelves a few weeks back and realized Lincoln in the Bardo wasn’t where I thought it should be. I don’t have enough shelf space so I have to organize first by size, and then as much as I can within that frame I tend to group things by their contents. By genre, sure, but also within that every book ideally has something specific in common with the one next to it. This process is complicated by the fact that I don’t separate my read from unread books (I do not want to be confronted by my physical TBR in that way) and don’t like to know much about books before I read them, so I don’t always know where the unread books should go within my system. As I read them, I shuffle them around to where they’ll fit best. I usually keep this one (currently unread) near Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (the connection being history + magic) but it somehow turned up next to Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch instead. I’ve read neither so I can’t say for sure that there’s no connection between them, but I must not have put it there intentionally because I can’t think of one!
And that’s the tag! Some of these I didn’t think I would have an answer for, so I’m happy to see that I’ve come up with a book for every question without taking too much liberty with the intent of the prompts. Looking back at the covers, this seems like quite an eclectic mix. And it’s gotten me thinking about my reading habits- I really should learn to let myself DNF… Anything here in my answers you relate to?
I’m tagging: Diana, Eleanor, Fatma, Laura, Marija, Rennie, Stephen, and anyone else who wants to join in! No pressure of course, but please link back here if you decide to try the tag because I’d love to see your answers! 🙂
The Literary Elephant