Another reading year is done. 2021, like 2020, was a year fraught with challenges. The pandemic continues to rage on and wreak havoc across all parts of the world. The course of time has been altered. Amidst the sea of hopelessness and helplessness, rays of sunshine still broke through. In 2021, I managed to complete 92 books, read my 900th novel, and publish my 300th book review. I have achieved several milestones and I couldn’t be prouder of myself.

I have mentioned time and again that I am a Backlist type of reader. In the past few years, I have tried to incorporate more “new” books in my reading journeys and I must say I have been successful, slightly at least. In back-to-back years, I read at least 20 “new” books. I am also making some sort of catchup this January as I have been reading books published in 2021, books that were left to gather dust because my reading mood constantly changed. Thankfully, I managed to complete all the 12 books I listed in my 2021 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge. I thought I was going to fail because I left the thickest books last! I have also achieved my target of at least 40 backlist books; I read a total of 71, the second-most in a year after 2016. Despite my progress, I still find myself swamped in backlist reads.

So here I am again, joining the 2022 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 2022 Reading Goals and Resolutions; I think it is going to be an annual reading tradition.

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 2022, that means that anything published in 2021 or earlier is fair game.
2. You have to start AND finish the book in 2022. 
3. And that’s very much it!

Everything beyond that is optional and all for fun! Please note that books of any format and of any genre will count. Re-reads will also count. It is also not necessary to own the book.

My Goal and Goal Tracking

My total target for 2022 is 50 books. I want to up the ante. Based on my reading journey in the past two years, I can easily hit 40; but I guess this is because we have been working from home. I think 50 books is still manageable for I am a backlist type of reader after all. Again, for the purposes of this reading challenge, I am enumerating 15 books that I resolve to read no matter what the circumstances may be. Yes, I have also topped up my target from 12 books. These are books published from way beyond and I bought them in 2019 or earlier.

Here’s my 2022 Beat the Backlist challenge list:

  1. THE LITTLE FRIEND by Donna Tartt
  2. A SUITABLE BOY by Vikram Seth
  3. MOON PALACE by Paul Auster
  4. O PIONEERS by Willa Cather
  5. PARADISE by Toni Morrison
  7. SWANN’S WAY by Marcel Proust
  8. THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY by Patricia Highsmith
  9. THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  10. THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS by James Fenimore Cooper
  11. THE ACCIDENT by Ismail Kadare
  13. BRIDGE OF SIGHS by Richard Russo
  14. PALACE WALK by Naguib Mahfouz
  15. FUNERALS ARE FATAL by Agatha Christie

I am setting a lofty target for myself it seems! HAHA. I just hope I could finish all these books. Apart from these books, I am also looking at finishing succeeding books in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. It has been more than three years since I read the first book in the popular series. It is about time to read the rest. This is also going to be part of my 2022 Reading Goal, apart from starting Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time series; I included Swann’s Way in my list above.

An extra feature of the 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge is the reading prompt. Please note that this is optional and is just meant as a guide. I did not use the prompt in 2021 but I still fitted my 2021 Beat the Backlist challenge to the Reading Prompt. Below is the reading prompt in Bingo Format. Going over the prompt, I am already done with “A Book About Books”, “New-to-you Author”.

To help track my progress, I have downloaded the Reading Tracker Spreadsheet:

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.