The “I Dare You” Tag

I saw this tag over on Destiny’s blog @ Howling Libraries, and it sounded like so much fun! As far as I can tell, it comes from HardbackHoarder on YouTube, but if you find the original creator, let me know! And now, onto the tag!

What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Of owned books, that is definitely the most predictable answer:

It’s that time of year again. ⚡️ . #maryreads #amreading #reading #readersofinstagram #books #bookreview #booklover #bookstagram #bookish #harrypotter #gryffindor #sorcerersstone

These are the first books I ever considered my own. My dad started reading them to me when I was seven, and by the time we got around to the fourth one, I was starting to keep them up in my room. When the fifth one was released, we went to the midnight release at Barnes & Noble, and I immediately took the book upstairs with me and left my dad in the dust.

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

I just finished reading The Disasters by M.K. England, and absolutely adored it. Give me queer space teens always. My current read is Wildwood Imperium by Colin Meloy, which is the last in the trilogy and also the second of my NEWTs books! These books are so charming, and if you like woodsy settings, daring adventures, and middle grade, definitely give it a look. My next read is fairly hilarious, since it could be any of the following:

  1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
  2. Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene
  3. Emma by Jane Austen
  4. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

I’m leaving for the Cape for a weekend vacation this afternoon, but I swear that there are reasons to my madness! I always have to have at least one fantasy with me, and Amber & Dusk is on my NEWTs TBR, so I figured that’d be good to knock out. I’ve been vibing with literary fiction recently, and I’ve had that very long title on my TBR for a while, so am hoping to finally get around to both the book and film adaptation of Guernsey. I’ve been buddy reading Austen with my friend, Alex, throughout the year, and our summer choice is Emma. Austen just feels like an excellent beach book, particularly after the last time I brought it to the beach. STORYTIME!

oh my godddddd have this QE meme for P&P because TAN IS ME IN THIS STORY

So, there I am, on the beach, minding my own business. I’m with my friend, Erin, because we’re the definition of beach bums. We’re spread out on a blue blanket that has Sanskrit written all over it. I’m wearing probably a NASA shirt because that’s my aesthetic. Erin is lounging, her book cast off to the side. We’re both wearing sunglasses. Our body language says leave us alone. I’m nearing the end of Sense & Sensibility, and it’s just ridiculous, so I’ve sat up and am reading furiously. (Picture: a gremlin hunched over clinging to a book with goblin hands.)

Suddenly, an older (than me) man, probably in his late 30s/early 40s, trots over to us. He’s carrying a football. I’ve observed up until now that he has no idea how to catch a football, so he goes tumbling into the sand every time he tries to catch it. I don’t know who he is. I’ve been taught, as a woman, to be wary of strangers. I really, really don’t want him anywhere near me, and my face says that.

He stops by us, and goes, “Whatcha readin’?”

I blink at Austen. Erin covers her face because she knows what’s coming. I look up, smile, and say, “A book.”

“Oh,” he says, like that’s a completely novel HAHAHAHA experience. “What is it?” I flash him the cover. He sees the name Jane Austen very clearly. He continues, “Ah, Austen. That’s a mystery, right?”

“It’s a romance,” I deadpan, “But not the kind you’re thinking of.”

He asks us if we want cookies. We decline. He trots off with his football.

NOW LOOK BEFORE YOU SAY I WAS BEING UNCHARITABLE, a strange man walked over to us on a relatively quiet beach, a man who was at minimum a decade older, while we were very obviously reading and ignoring literally everything. And then asked me if Austen was a mystery. Henny (hi jvn), I promise you we’re not compatible.

And why Cassandra Clare? I have read so many Shadowhunters books at the beach, it’s practically tradition now.

What book did everyone like, but you hated?

There are so many, we could be here for a year, so I’ll just name five off the top of my head:

  1. The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky. I JUST finished reading this, so it’s right at the front of my “why did I waste time on this” books. It was violent, full of rape, and made me feel both helpless and hopeless at the same time, so naw.
  2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. This didn’t surprise me in the slightest because I gave Tithe two stars (oh look, this is a two for one) and swore I’d never read a Black book again, but Erin bought me this because faeries. I didn’t like it, and I’m really still not sure why I ended up reading The Wicked King, but TWK was so fucking good that it’s all good now.
  3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber. This book is AWFUL. My review is so long because I could not stop being like WHY and WHAT and STOP the entire book. The concept? Excellent. The execution? Not bad. The characters? Get them so far away from me. The writing? No and no and no again. I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not I’m continuing the series, and I just literally cannot stand the idea of it, so probably need to unhaul this.
  4. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I like book one, and that’s it. I spent FIVE GODDAMN YEARS that I will never get back convincing myself to keep going with this series, and I HATE it. Books two-twelve are frustrating at best, and book thirteen made me want to set it on fire.
  5. Since we’ve already talked about one classic I love, let’s talk about one I literally cannot stand the sight of: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. And I live outside of Salem, so I’m supposed to like him, but you know what, the writing in this book is just bad, and Hawthorne was full of himself.

I feel like I may have just ostracized myself. OH WELL.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

I actually literally just went through my shelves and removed a bunch of physical and Goodreads books that were on my Want to Read that just, you know what, nah. Most of them were classics because if I don’t already own it, it’s pretty likely I’m never going to read it. However, I do still own both Anna Karenina and War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and I keep telling myself I’m going to do it one day, but am I? I mean, I got halfway through Ulysses by James Joyce this March, so at this point, anything is possible.

What book are you saving for retirement?


That book is a monster, and though I got 300 pages into it this March, it took me all month and it was seriously detrimental to the rest of my reading that month. I do want to finish it this year, though, so I’m thinking about either picking it up again in November or December.

I am Deceased. This is not true, but it’s good to know he made people of his time want to pull out their hair, too.

Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?

I will never read the last page. In fact, I often flip to it to see the exact page count, and I cover it so I won’t accidentally see anything.

Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

Never a waste! I will someday have an acknowledgements page to write, and I can’t wait for that day because there are so many people that I want to thank for helping me along the way.

Growing up, I went to Best Buy, FYE, or Newbury Comics every single Tuesday to get new music releases, and I would spend the entire car ride home ignoring my mom so I could read through all of the CD sleeves. That’s honestly how I found new bands. The ones I liked would thank their friends, and then I’d go listen to their music.

(did I just age myself with that anecdote?)

Which book character would you switch places with?

This is so hard.

No, it’s not.

Image result for samwise gamgee and rosie cotton gif




Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (place, time, person?)

Oh yeah. Okay. Take it back to high school, so probably 2009? Nope, 2010, so the summer after I graduated. I was supposed to go to Warped Tour with a friend, and the long and short of it is that due to technical problems, our tickets didn’t come through, so we never ended up leaving the house. I was disappointed, but she was always a burst of sunshine, so she said we should have an adventure anyway and go to Rockport. I’d never been, so I said sure, sounds like fun.

It was the start of a lifelong tradition. I don’t speak to this old friend anymore, but I remember the day we spent together there so clearly. There’s one picture, in particular, that I immediately think of whenever I think of that day, but since I don’t speak to her anymore, I’m not going to drop a random picture of her here, so instead you can have 2010 Mary:

Yikes. I, uh? Make this face every time I get a new Maggie book?

Now, 2010 was back in the days when preordering wasn’t really a thing, and release dates were definitely out there in the world, but not really paid attention to because social media was limited to, like, Facebook? So tiny teenager Mary had no idea that the sequel to Shiver was coming out LITERALLY THAT DAY, so when I stumbled upon a copy of Linger in Toad Hall, I was beside myself. Now, every time I pick it up, I think of Rockport, I think of that friend, I think of Toad Hall (rip), and I think of that beautiful summer day.

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Not really interesting, but I sometimes like to hunt for books instead of just buy them online. So after Sam Roth read Rilke in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, of course I was also going to read Rilke, so I started searching for a collection of his poetry. I eventually found the Edward Snow translation at Toad Hall in Rockport, which had both the German & English and seemed like a solid bet. This was after months of poking around bookstores, though, so I always think of that final day fondly.

Unwinding with my favorite poet, @jolieteaco’s Wonderland tea, sandalwood incense, and desert rose selenite. . Again the woods smell sweet. The soaring larks lift up with them the sky, which weighed so heavy on our shoulders; through bare branches...

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

Not really. I gift books to people all the time, but they’re always new copies. I sometimes hand off copies of mine that I no longer want to friends that do want them. I did, however, receive an early 1900s edition of Dante’s The Divine Comedy from a friend who was moving to California and needed to downsize his books, and it’s absolutely stunning.

also the Comedy is gay, fight me

Which book has been with you most places?

Hands down Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I thought about tossing out another TBT photo, but it’s a bad one, so instead have this aesthetically pleasing winter one:

Every single year, when it starts to snow, I read my favorite book in the world. 🐺❄️ @maggie_stiefvater #shiver #wolvesofmercyfalls #maryreads #seventhtimeandcounting #amreading #readersofinstagram

I’ve reread this every winter since it’s release (with one or two years missed), and it’s been in countless locations with me because of that.

Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

The two years is so specific, and if you think I’m going to remember how I felt about something seven years ago, you’re off your rocker.

What did I even read in high school? All I can remember are the ones that I liked. I seriously don’t think my mind changed about any of them, so STORYTIME!

I read about two chapters of A Passage to India by E.M. Forster and hated it so much that I asked my teacher if I could go to the restaurant in Salem that had the same name and write a review of their food for him instead of reading the rest of the book. He was a shitty teacher, so he said yes, and I never finished it. I should probably give it another chance, though.

Used or brand new?

It depends. Most of my books are new, but most of my classics are used. I find a lot of my classics at flea markets or are gifted to me from other people’s collections, so they’re usually old editions and fairly battered. But almost everything else is purchased new.

September Story Challenge! Day 8: childhood. . My mom always tells me about this memory she has of me. I was around four, and she’d taken out A Little Princess, the movie, and let me watch it downstairs in our old basement. She came running down the...

also ps if you eye-spy an old A Little Princess ANYWHERE, @ me and I will give you almost anything for it

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

This is so oddly specific? And no?

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Is anyone surprised I chose a Samwise gif? IF YOU ARE, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION.

They are far and few between, but I like all of the Lord of the Rings movies better than the books, and I like certain aspects of Never Let Me Go better (except the scene in Kazuo Ishiguro‘s book where the main character rocks the baby/pillow and sings to it, that just about destroyed me).

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

No, because no one except hobbits fucking eat in books. Watch. Now that I’ve said this, you’re going to notice that all of the characters ever should probably die of starvation. It’s DUMB.

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Probably my friend, Alex.

This is us at the Boston stop on the King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo tour. She generally likes the same books as me, so we exchange book recs A LOT.

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

I have been scarred (and scared) by Stephen King more times than I’d like to count, and so when Joe Hill’s Horns got adapted into a movie that starred Daniel Radcliffe, I had this moment oh god no I don’t want it.

My Joe Hill collection is coming along nicely. Only two more to buy, and one of them I’ve already read. Got Strange Weather and NOS4A2 in the mail today as a reward for teaching so much in the last month, and now I can’t decide which to start first!...

Wow, this is so not a good representation of my Joe Hill obsession. I also own, and have read, all of the Locke & Key graphic novels, and I have Full Throttle preordered. I’ve read Heart-Shaped Box, but I didn’t really like it, and someone loaned it to me, so I’ll probably only buy it eventually someday so I can have a complete Hill collection.

Seriously, I am terrified of Stephen King. I’ve only ever read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by him, WHICH ISN’T EVEN SCARY, and I’ve got Carrie slated for October, which I am only reading because I love his son dearly, and I want to give the father a shot again.

After watching the movie for Horns, I gobbled the book right up, and I have been a huge Joe Hill fan ever since. So, outside my comfort zone is adult horror.

And I’m actually going to tag people! (Shocking, I know.) Mostly because I’m super curious about your answers, I’m tagging Holly @ Nut Free Nerd, Way Too Fantasy, Margaret @ Weird Zeal, Emer @ A Little Haze Book Blog, annnd The Orangutan Librarian! Obviously feel no pressure at all to do it, but let me know if you do so I can check out your post!

And if I didn’t tag you and you want to do this, TAG YOU’RE IT!

20 responses to “The “I Dare You” Tag”

  1. haydensister Avatar

    Omg i feel so special ❤

    Now I am going to just send you books where everyone is eating all the time to prove you wrong hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marydrover Avatar



  2. humanprobably Avatar

    That QE meme, dying!
    Samwise is the best, of course, but I will love the books more to my dying day.
    When I was a young kid, I had to read the end of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries before I could proceed.
    I like the acknowledgements! I read them.
    The Dante meme. Crying. Also an illustration from an edition of Dante’s inferno is one of my favorite pictures of all time. Dante is peering at the people stuck in holes with their feet waving in the air and he’s clearly asking if they can check the holes for his lost wallet.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne, ugh, so depressing.
    Brian Jacques’ Redwall series makes me hungry. The characters eat all the time in that. And now that you mention it, at least two of my WIP contain characters eating! Regularly! Apparently I’m in a tiny minority of writers? Tolkien is my childhood love and longtime fave though, so maybe it’s his fault.
    I read Salem’s Lot and was so depressed I’ve refused to read any King since then, even though I admire him as a person and a writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marydrover Avatar

      Right, I couldn’t stop laughing!

      No one eats! It makes! me! crazy! No one sleeps, either. Everyone should just be dead from lack of basic self-care.

      We’ll see how far I get in. I’ve heard he’s a lot different than his son, so we’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. humanprobably Avatar

        I’m working on a book by Ursula K. LeGuin right now (an Earthsea novel) and not only do they eat, they sleep! Now that you’ve pointed it out, I’m going to be watching for ‘basic self care!’ 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. marydrover Avatar

        That is revolutionary!!! I swear, it’s my biggest pet peeve ever in books, so all of my characters frequently eat, sleep, and check in with each other, hahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. humanprobably Avatar

        It just seems like the book feels more grounded and ‘real’ when characters eat & sleep! Even if it’s in the fantasy genre!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. alittlehazebookblog Avatar

    Oh my god this is the most hilarious post ever!! I just cracked up so many times reading it. LOVE YOUR ANSWERS!!! And thanks for the tag. I will definitely do it. This just looks too much fun not to :)))))))))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marydrover Avatar

      The Queer Eye memes for Austen were KILLING me. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. waytoofantasy Avatar

    Thanks for the tag! I love those P&P memes, lol! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marydrover Avatar

      They made me laugh so hard!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Holly Avatar

    Thanks so much for tagging me!! I can’t wait to do this one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Margaret @ Weird Zeal Avatar

    Ahhh thanks for tagging me 😀 These are such fun questions, and I loved reading all your answers. That story about reading Austen in public is hilarious and also very relatable, unfortunately 🙄 And those P&P memes are wonderful!! I really hope you love Emma 😀 Also, I’m with you on liking the LOTR movies better than the books…sorry Tolkien!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marydrover Avatar

      Me too! I’ve heard good things about Emma, and I’m excited to dive into one I have absolutely no previous knowledge about.

      The LOTR books are just great, they are, but the movies are out of this world!


  7. theorangutanlibrarian Avatar

    Curious about wildwood imperium. Glad you liked wicked king! Argh the writign and characters for caraval were SO BAD! I never bothered to finish series of unfortunate events- I dont feel bad about that now. I really enjoy acknowledgements tbh- they’re usually really sweet 😀 Awesome answers! Thanks so much for tagging me! Looks fun to do 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marydrover Avatar

      Wildwood Imperium is so good so far! I’m only about halfway (which is still a lot, considering it’s 600 pages), and I’m definitely liking it more than I did the first two at this point.

      SO BAD! I honestly think I need to unhaul it and move on. Yeah—I’m definitely not recommending ASOUE to anyone. Ever. 😂


  8. […] was tagged by Mary and the Words to take part in the I Dare You […]


  9. The “I Dare You” Tag – Nut Free Nerd Avatar

    […] excited to do the I Dare You tag today. These questions look like fun ones! Thanks so much to Mary @ Mary and the Words for tagging […]


  10. The I Dare You Tag – the orang-utan librarian Avatar

    […] appropriate now we’re in the heart of the *SCARY SEASON*. Thank you so much to the marvellous Mary Drover for tagging me to do this- she’s got such a fascinating blog, with so much on writing, books, […]


  11. cryptomathecian Avatar

    I remember how we used to travel all through Central America with Taipan by James Clavell in our luggage. My wife is a slow reader and it’s a brick of a book.

    Liked by 1 person

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