New York Times By The Book Tag (English Version)

29 Juil



I had forgotten about this great tag, which was popular on Booktube a while ago! Shame on me!

Those questions are quite interesting, though it’s sometimes been difficult to answer.

As per usual, no disclaimer, apologies, excuses or trigger warnings needed amongst grownups.

Let’s do this!


  1. What book is on your night stand now?

The Tin Drum by Günter Grass. That book is very intriguing, and that’s an understatement! It’s not an easy read, but a twisted, uncomfortable one, as is often the case with magical realism. I regularly have to do some research to make sure I understand the context in Danzig before and during WW2, and I learn a lot!

I’m really enjoying it so far.



  1. What was the last truly great book you read?

I would have loved to answer Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, because it’s considered a masterpiece and I was anticipating that reading experience a lot, but I actually preferred L’Homme qui rit (The Laughing Man) by Victor Hugo, which was amazing and moved me deeply.

homme rit


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

I never try to meet my favorite authors when they’re alive, much less dream of seeing them as ghosts. So, I’ll pass for this one.

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

None at all, if you know me. I’m an eclectic reader, though my shelves are pretty empty nowadays. Which brings me to the next question…


  1. How do you organize your personal library?

I no longer own a decent ‘personal library’, just a bunch of books.

Chambre 1

At one point in my academic life, I was literally living and sleeping in a studio-apartment-turned-library. It was utterly oppressing. One day, I said ‘no more!’, ended my career and sold my academic/scientific library, as well as most of the pieces of literature I owned.

Today, my book ‘stash’ consists mostly of my TBR, scattered on 3 shelves and organized by language (French/English) and size (hardcover/mass market paperback).

The few books I keep are those I TRULY love and plan on rereading.

As for the others, as soon as they’re finished, I either lend them to friends and family, or sell them in secondhand/thrift bookshops.

I daresay that, after being a collector bordering on hoarder, I have no compunction about letting go of books once I’m done with them.

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

I keep postponing the moment when I’ll tackle Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, because it is humongous, the biggest book I’ve ever had. And it’s legend. I mean, what will compare once I’m done with it?

Misérables intégral

But I don’t feel embarrassed about any book I haven’t read yet. There’s just no time to read everything, so it would be pointless to feel sorry or ashamed.

  1. 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?

So basically these are 2 separate questions.

The first one is easy to answer to: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald). What a perfect bore! Seriously, what’s all the fuss about with that book?


As for the second question, I didn’t finish Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, way too weird and ill-written for my taste, especially after Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which were very good.



  1. What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I’m more likely to grab classics, historical fictions or novels with magical realism elements.

Now that I’m getting older, I tend to be more sensitive and to stay clear of horror books, though I did read a LOT of Stephen King and other masters of the genre as a teenager.

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

Apart from his resignation letter? I’d say The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He needs to remember there IS a social contract between him and the people he’s supposed to serve (not rule).



  1. What do you plan to read next?

I try not to plan my next read, simply because it always fails: my mood can change drastically while I’m reading the current book, and I can never know in what state of mind I’ll be once it’s time to move on to the next one.


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