The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

The New York Times ‘By the Book’ tag

on September 8, 2016

Hi guys! How are we all doing today? Hang in there, it’s almost Friday…

giphy (41)


Today I thought I’d do the NY Times book tag, which the wonderful Sammie at Bookshelves and Biros, and the wonderful Charley at Books and Bakes tagged me to participate in! Please do go check out the blogs of these lovely ladies, pronto.

(The NY Times By the Book Tag was originally created by Marie Berg and you can watch her original video here.)

1. What book is on your night stand now?


I have three books on my bedside table right now – my current read is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (I’m re-reading the entire ToG series in preparation for Empire of Storms, which arrived earlier this week and looks GLORIOUS.)

On top of this, I’m also re-reading The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (because it’s such an awesome comfort read ‘bedtime’ book) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (because Harry Potter, duh).

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


That would have to be Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas. I picked this book up at YALC on a whim because of a three for £10 deal, and I’m so glad I did. This book was outstandingly brilliant. The characters were authentic (and adorable), the story was touching, the sci-fi elements (which I wasn’t really expecting, thinking this was pure contemporary) were intriguing, and the friendship between Olly and Moritz was flawlessly developed (and again, adorable!)

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

If I could meet any living author, obvs that would be J.K. Rowling a.k.a. the Queen of Everything ❤️ but if I could meet a deceased author, I would want to meet Thomas Hardy.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles is one of my favourite books of all time, and I would love to talk to Hardy about feminism, because I believe he was an early feminist. The non-judgemental way he writes (and defends) Tess’s character, and the way he challenges the double standards within 19th century society regarding male and female sexuality makes him streets ahead of his time. This novel had a huge impact on me, and is a book which I believe helped shape me into a feminist.

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


I don’t think there are many surprises on my shelves, as I’ll read pretty much any genre, but perhaps the recipe books I own may be unexpected considering I’m not exactly Star Baker. This autumn I’m planning on doing some cooking and baking to improve my (non-existent) skillz, and this book will be the first port of call on my cakey adventure.

5. How do you organize your personal library?


At the moment, I have my books loosely arranged by genre. I have a horror/thriller shelf, a fantasy shelf, a contemporary shelf, a nostalgic childhood books shelf, etc.

BTW, my Snape and Captain Hook Funkos are standing guard there on my horror/thriller shelf, in case any creepy monsters, psychopaths, ghosts or demons escape from between the pages and eat and/or possess me in my sleep.

6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around yet?


I bought Let The Right One In about 8 years ago when I was at the height of my Twilight obsession, because I wanted more vampire stories in my life. For some reason, I never got around to reading this one, but I’m planning on picking it up this October.

7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t?


Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. I’m not saying this book is bad, but looking back, I think I gave it a more generous review than I would now, because I was so swayed by all the hype. The beginning of this book was incredibly slow, and there was too much exposition. Although there were a lot of things I enjoyed about it as a whole (mainly the romance, tbh), I think this book was way overhyped. In my review, I said I planned to read the next book, but now I’ve kind of lost interest. We’ll see…

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

I am drawn to dark and creepy stories. I love books which have the ability to give me the shivers and/or heebie-jeebies. My favourite kind of books are ones with an ‘odd’ atmosphere – where something feels off-kilter, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

I wouldn’t say there are any genres I steer clear of completely, but I’m not the biggest reader of historical fiction. I guess that explains why The Book Thief has sat on my shelf for about 10 years whilst everyone else in the world has read it but me.

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

I would require the leaders of every country to read a novel from the perspective of a refugee. It breaks my heart that people who are fleeing from their homes for their lives are currently being treated like an unwanted problem, instead of human beings in need of compassion from their fellow human beings, by those in positions of power.

10. What do you plan to read next?

The next book I plan to read is Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas (in my epic re-read of the ToG series), but after that, I’m hoping to get started on Holly Bourne’s new book, What’s a Girl Gotta Do? This is the final book in her Spinster Club trilogy, which has an awesome focus on friendship and feminism. Can’t wait to read this one!

I am tagging the following lovely people:

Emily @ RoseRead
Imogen @ Foureyedfangirl
Anne @ Inked Brownies

No worries if you’ve already done the tag/tags aren’t your thing! 🙂

Have a lovely weekend everyone! xxx

29 responses to “The New York Times ‘By the Book’ tag

  1. Loved your choices ❤ And your pig, haha! But this one you already knew… I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it wearing your hat, haha! ❤ ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks dear! Hahaha I’m so glad you liked Piggly Puff’s hat. Which reminds me, did I send you the pictures my mum took of him while I was in France? She sent me a daily picture of him doing something, like listening to my iPod, or eating dinner, and stuff like that. They are hilarious, I have to show you ❤

  2. Anne says:

    This tag is awesome, thank you for including me in it! 🙂 Tess of the d’Urbervilles, now there’s a book I still haven’t read but your description of the author sure sounds like I should :D.
    That recipe book…that’s just divine! I mean, it’s got all 3 major food groups in there you need ;). Have you seen the movie of Let The Right One In? If you haven’t, I can highly recommend watching the original Swedish one. It’s truly one of my favourites (and the violence in it is pretty low key ;)). I wholeheartedly agree with your take on the refugee problem. I saw an author compare them to a cockroach infestation the other week and was like…mkay, I’ll never be reading any books from him anymore from now on! Ignorant bastards. If they were the ones whose home and country was being destroyed, they automatically assume they would be getting some kind of special treatment when it comes to being a refugee. But a refugee is a refugee, and it sickens me to see the attitude of some people towards it. Rant ended! 😉 Thanks again for the tag!

    • mudandstars says:

      You’re welcome! Ooh please please do read Tess of the d’Urbervilles. It’s fantastic! But emotionally harrowing – if you’re the kind of person who cries at books, you may weep. And I totally agree with you about the 3 major foodgroups! I’m not getting my daily allowance of any of these right now because I am trying to slim into a bridesmaid dress hahaaa. I haven’t seen the movie of Let The Right One In but I really want to once I’ve read the book – I’ve heard great things about it. And that description of refugees is appalling! I hate that kind of rhetoric, it’s so damaging. I don’t blame you for not wanting to pick up any more of this authors books. I’ve seen so many newspapers using that kind of language to describe refugees recently too. As you said – ignorant bastards! It sickens me too, and no need to apologise for ranting on this issue – it’s one I feel very strongly about too!

      • Anne says:

        I heard there’s some domestic violence going on in it? I’ll weep depending on the time of the month! Ooh, bridesmaid dresses! I remember I was terrified to eat a brownie last year around this time because I wouldn’t be able to fit into my wedding dress anymore after. As soon as the whole thing was over, I caught up with it. Big time XD. I’m glad to see a kindred spirit on the refugee topic. It’s like everyone has gone insane when it comes to racism again :(.

      • mudandstars says:

        Hahaha aww that sounds like no fun at all – I’m glad you made up for lost time afterwards 🙂 And congratulations on your wedding! The wedding where I am going to be bridesmaid is not until 18th December, so I’m going to just stuff my face with Christmas food afterwards 😀

      • Anne says:

        Yeah, there’s no way on earth I’d fit into that dress anymore now :’). Oooh, that’s still a long wait then! But a winter wedding! ❤ Hahaha, do it! ;D

  3. Ahhhh I have so much love for this tag! It’s definitely one of my faves. I’m reading ToG right now as well! What do you think of it so far? You definitely have to read WADDG? – it’s absolutely awesome. It made me want to make my own Spinster Club and fight the patriarchy lol. I’m so glad you loved Because You’ll Never Meet Me, too. I thought the friendship was perfectly developed aswell – so nice to see a contemporary male friendship in YA! x

    • mudandstars says:

      It is indeed an awesome tag 🙂 Ooh did you enjoy ToG? And are you going to continue with the series? I love the series so much – I read them last year, and am now re-reading all of them in preparation for book 5 which has just come out. I think book 1 is possibly my least favourite, but the series gets better with every book in my opinion!
      I’m glad you enjoyed WAGGD so much – I really want to start a Spinster Club too! I’ve got the book on my Kindle waiting to read, and I’m really excited to start it! I loved the other 2 books in the series 🙂 x

      • I did enjoy it! I thought it was a little slow in places but I’ve got Crown of Midnight on order from Amazon so hopefully I’ll have it within a couple of days. 😊 That’s good to know – I’ve heard CoM is a bit pacier than ToG? Ahhhh they’re so brilliant, I really hope you get to read them too. The characters and the writing are just so funny and on-point right?! Hope you like it as much as #1 and #2 – I think it’s definitely up there. 😊 xx

      • mudandstars says:

        Crown of Midnight is definitely pacier than Throne of Glass, and the stakes get higher with every book. Queen of Shadows was my absolute favourite. I’m glad you enjoyed the first book 🙂 And totally agree with you about Holly Bourne’s books – they’re very relatable and always make me laugh! 🙂 xx

      • I’m definitely finding that to be the case so far! I did find ToG a little bit too slow in places, so I’m glad Maas has changed it up a bit. 🙂 Really enjoying this one so far. Absolutely! Love those books so much. Can’t wait for the novella! 🙂 xx

      • mudandstars says:

        Ahh so glad you’re enjoying it! 🙂 Are you planning to read them all back to back? I’m re-reading Heir of Fire right now, so one more book to go until I can read Empire of Storms 🙂 And yes – I’d totally forgotten about the novella – it’s set at New Year or something, right? That will be awesome 🙂 xx

      • Haha I wasn’t necessarily planning to but it looks like I’m going that way…I’m about 100 pages into Heir of Fire as I type haha! Eek! It’s always good to re-read the previous books if you have the time/stamina because you always forget so much even if you really enjoyed them! I had to do the same with all of the HP books haha. It is! I think it’s called ‘…And A Happy New Year?’ or something like that. I saw the cover the other day and it’s a beaut – defo one for the shelves! I think so. 🙂 xx

      • mudandstars says:

        Ooh that’s awesome! Sorry I’m so late replying – you’ve probably already finished it by now haha! Hope you’re still enjoying them 🙂 And yes totally agree, I’d forgotten so much, I’m really glad I reread them, even if it did take me a million years! I’ve finally started Empire of Storms and it’s really good so far. A bit of a slow start, but I really love all the detail SJM puts in, so I didn’t really mind. And I did the same with HP too – mainly because I stopped reading them at Goblet of Fire when I was about 9 or 10 because I got scared by the beginning haha. I didn’t pick them up again until Deathly Hallows came out, and I then read all 7 in a week :O :O I didn’t really sleep… haha. xxx

  4. Ahh love hardy!! And the bloody chamber! And because you’ll never meet me sounds so good!

    • mudandstars says:

      Ooh what’s your favourite Hardy novel? I’ve actually only read two – Tess, and Far from the Madding Crowd, but I really want to read more soon! There’s a pub near my office called Jude the Obscure, and so I’m subliminally told most days that I should pick that one up next 🙂 And I’m glad you love The Bloody Chamber too – I haven’t met anyone else who has read this either! The title story was very creepy. I read it for part of my dissertation at uni 🙂 And Because You’ll Never Meet Me was amazing – really recommend it!

      • Definitely Jude the obscure, cos it may be dark and depressing, but it’s also one of the best books I’ve ever read. I also love Tess and return if the native, and far from the madding crowd is wonderful too! Ahh that’s so funny about the pub- as I said I can’t recommend them enough! Ahh cool- after one i read at uni- but no one else reads it on here! It really was!! That’s so cool!!! Awesome!!

      • mudandstars says:

        In that case, I’m sold – I’m definitely going to make Jude my next Hardy! It sounds fantastic! 😊

      • It’s amazing! I hope you enjoy it (although enjoy is probably the wrong word… Maybe I should’ve said i hope it has the same impact on you as it did on me… Although that’s a little mean… Haha maybe I just shouldn’t have said anything!!)

      • mudandstars says:

        Haha, I hope so too – I actually like books which have the ability to break my heart. Is that weird? I’ve just downloaded the free version on Kindle, but I may buy a physical copy if I ‘enjoy’ it as much as you did haha 🙂

      • haha not at all! I’m the same!!! ah awesome! It’s totally worth getting the free version either way 🙂

  5. Lovely answers! I agree, Because You’ll Never Meet Me was such a great read, I loved it, and I loved the friendship in that story. Ohhh and The Princess Diaries, this makes me so nostalgic, I read this series a long time ago, but it’s still on my mind from time to time, it’s such a feel-good series 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      I’m glad you loved Because You’ll Never Meet Me too – it was so heartwarming. 🙂 And The Princess Diaries is indeed the ultimate feel-good series, and so nostalgic! I have re-read it loads of times, it’s so comforting. You should definitely do a re-read 🙂

  6. I am ashamed to say that I had no idea Let The Right One In was based on a book :O I loved the film though – will definitely have to give that a read! I love your choices here – wouldn’t it be wonderful to meet Thomas Hardy! Also if you like odd, atmospheric books you might like Cold Hand in Mine by Robert Aickman (if you haven’t already read it!)! It’s a brilliant collection of eerie short stories – there’s a great vampire story in there, and The Hospice is particularly chilling! Love the blog 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you! 🙂 I really want to see the film of Let The Right One In – once I’ve read the book. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it so much 🙂 It would be amazing to meet Hardy – I’d have so many questions for him! And thanks so much for the recommendation – I haven’t read Cold Hand in Mine, but I’ve just looked it up on Amazon and it looks exactly my kind of thing. I LOVE eerie short stories! Will definitely be purchasing this one soon.

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