I love a good reading challenge! Another thing I love to do is read books that have languished on my TBR for far too long. As a fan of the bloggers who host the Beat the Backlist Challenge, I thought I would love to get involved this year. So this is my blog post encouraging myself (and, of course, anyone else who may be interested), to complete the Beat the Backlist reading challenge in 2021.
This challenge is about reading through your backlist. For 2021, this means reading books published in 2020 and earlier, in an attempt to keep hold of all the excellent books published that aren’t always newnewnew. There are so many cool new releases on a regular basis, it does become difficult to actually make progress on older reads.
Looking back on my reading this year, I don’t think I have a huge problem ignoring older books. Although debuts and new novels are great, they are also often difficult to get hold of, particularly if you’d rather read a paperback and are unable to buy all the books! Despite that, my pile of to-be-read books is literally endless, because I keep adding to it, and if I continue in this fashion it will never finish.
There are a few ways to get involved with this challenge. You can match 52 different prompts for your reading, or 24, if you’d prefer a shorter challenge. Either way, I do think it’s quite a big ask! What I aim to do for this challenge is plan some books to read, and then tick off the prompts like a bingo card. Here’s hoping I get at least 24, because I am setting myself a very low bar for books next year!!
Prompt: more than one author
Book: Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (2020)
Synopsis: Our heroes are back. Kind of. First, the bad news: An ancient evil – you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal – is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.
I read the first book in the Aurora Cycle this year. I think I may have mentioned in a blog post somewhere, but although I had quite mixed feelings towards it, I’d still like to read its sequel. Whether I read the rest of the series will be decided by my enjoyment of this book!
Prompt: dragons or lizards
Book: Sorcery of a Queen by Brian Naslund (2020)
Synopsis: Dragon-slayers don’t expect to survive to retirement age, but Bershad has unexpectedly thrived. Yet this very notoriety may be his downfall.
I reviewed the first book in this series here, and although I temporarily forgot about it until seeing this prompt, I am looking forwards to its sequel! (Don’t worry, that summary is not at all a plot spoiler, considering how fantasy books work.)
Prompt: set in a major city
Book: The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin (2020)
Synopsis: Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five. But every city also has a dark side.
No, I didn’t read the newest book from sci-fi megastar N. K. Jemisin when it came out, yes I will be reading it eventually. I think this is the perfect book for this prompt, being all about how great New York is, from what I’ve seen of reviews.
Prompt: non-human character
Book: The Wicked King by Holly Black (2018)
Synopsis: (from book 1) One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal. As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.
I recently read (and loved) the first book in this series, many years behind every other book blogger to exist I think. This book will count for this prompt then. I mean, half the characters are some sort of elf (well, fairy), so it fits.
Prompt: second in a duology
Book: Call of the Bone Ships by R. J. Barker
Synopsis: Dragons have returned to the Hundred Isles. But their return heralds only war and destruction.
I should really read more books published before 2020, but hey it fits the parameters of the challenge. 🤷🏽♀️ I also reviewed this here, and I am very keen to read it. I kind of like that it’s just a duology rather than a whole series. Rare these days! This does, however, mean I’m going to have to find another book with ‘bone’ in the title. 🥺
Book: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Synopsis: Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back.
McGuire’s Hugo-nominated Middlegame was one of my faves of this year, and I’d like to read more of her writing. This seems like a nice short and sweet place to start!
There are other prompts, such as ‘gave you a book hangover’ or ‘the first line has less than ten words’ that are more dependent on whether or not the book turns out to fit them, but at least I’m prepped with a few!
Is anyone else doing this challenge? What books are you planning to read?