2020 was a different year in ways more than one. The pandemic happened and the course of time has been altered. Also, over the course of the year, I kept repeating that I am the Backlist type of reader. Although I did read more backlists in 2020, I also read more “new books” than normal. Thankfully, I managed to complete all the 12 books I listed in my 2020 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge. Despite my progress, I still find myself swamped in backlist reads.

So here I am again, joining the 2021 edition of the Beat the Backlist reading challenge. This challenge was brought to life by NovelKnight. Essentially, the challenge is about ticking off older books from your to-be-read list. The books can be of any genre, format, or length. Beating the backlist will yet again form part of my 2021 Reading Goals and Resolutions.


The Rules

The Beat the Backlist challenge has one goal: helping you show your TBR who’s boss. The rules are simple:

1. For a book to count, it must be published in the previous year or earlier. In 2021, that means that anything published in 2020 or earlier is fair game.
2. You have to start AND finish the book in 2021. It is a challenge after all so there have to be some restrictions.
3. And you have to sign up which means sharing your challenge TBR and/or goal somewhere online. This can be in the form of a Goodreads shelf, Tweet, instagram or blog post, YouTube video, etc. Don’t worry if you don’t stick to your initial TBR. It’s just to give you a starting place.

Everything beyond that is all optional and all for fun!


My total target for 2021 is still 40 books. Hitting this target won’t be a problem for I am a backlist type of reader. However, for the purposes of this reading challenge, I am enumerating 12 books which I resolve to read no matter what the circumstances maybe. Most of these books were published from way beyond and I bought them in 2018 or earlier.

Here’s my Beat the Backlist challenge list:

  1. THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Ernest Hemingway
  2. MEMORIES OF MY MELANCHOLY WHORES by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  3. THE BASTARD OF ISTANBUL by Elif Shafak
  4. THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP by Charles Dickens
  5. CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY By Alan Paton
  6. THE BIG SLEEP by Raymond Chandler
  7. VILLETTE by Charlotte Bronte
  8. DROP CITY by T.C. Boyle
  9. COSMOPOLIS by Don DeLillo
  10. GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee
  11. WE NEED NEW NAMES by NoViolet Bulawayo
  12. NAKED LUNCH by William Burroughs

I hope I could finish all the books in this list. How about you fellow readers, what books are you planning to remove from your unread pile? Share it in the comment box or draw your own list, and don’t forget to tag me