Attacking the To-Read pile

I was doing so well. I posted the 100 Word Challenge on time for a couple of weeks, then BOOM, I just couldn’t get inspired. As an experiment, this week I’m moving the posting day to Friday. We can try that for a little while to see if I can meet a deadline. Publishing mid-week has been a troublesome task.

I have been busy though. I’ve been working on a 2020 reading list. I cobbled together several online book challenges to make one of my own that includes 52 “types” of books – one a week for the year if you don’t want to do the math.

That may be overly ambitious, but I think I can do it. Aside from getting back to reading regularly and thinning out my To-Read pile, I hope it will also spark my atrophied imagination.

I didn’t write the list with any specific books in mind but after I finished I sorted through my books shelves. It appears that I can fulfill the majority of the list from my stacks. If not, I’ll get them from my local library.

The goal is to not buy any new books to mark an item off the list. We’ll see how that goes, there are a lot of weeks left in the year. The titles may change as I go along. You never know what book will call out to be read.

The 2020 Reading List: (with prospective titles/authors included, and no particular order)

Bold type – I own
√ – Currently reading
Italicized – Library books
TBD – To Be Determined

  1. Book written by an Indigenous author – “Future Home of the Living God,” Louise Erdrich
  2. Main character who is a senior – “An Unnecessary Woman,” Rabih Alameddie
  3. Written in 1820 – “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Washington Irving
  4. Story takes place in my hometown – “Niceville,” Carsten Stroud
  5. Set in space – “The Red Planet,” Robert A. Heinlein
  6. Book with POC main characters – “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” Marlon James
  7. Book with LGBT+ main characters – “Priory of the Orange Tree,” Samantha Shannon
  8. Book in a series – “Map of Days,” Ransom Riggs
  9. Written by two authors – “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  10. Published in 2020 – TBD
  11. Published in 1920 – “The Affair at Styles,” Agatha Christie
  12. Written by a blogger – “Storytellers,” Bjørn Larssen
  13. Award winning (Pulitzer) – “The Underground Railroad,” Colson Whitehead
  14. Basis for a movie – “Orlando,” Virginia Woolf
  15. √ A spy novel – “The Secrets We Kept,” Lara Prescott
  16. A book that includes poetry – “Three Things I Know are True,” Betty Cully
  17. Recommended by a friend – TBD (currently accepting recommendations.)
  18. Costs less than $5 – TBD (the vast majority of my ebooks fit in this category)
  19. √ A genre not usually read (nonfiction)— “Quiet,” Susan Cain
  20. An author previously disliked – (I’m thinking maybe a political writer, so many to ‘dislike.’)
  21. A translated book – “The Snowman,” Jo Nesbø
  22. Written by a foreign author – “Homegoing,” Yaa Gyasi
  23. √ Based on a fairytale/folklore – “Monkey,” Wu Cheng’en
  24. Takes place in another country – “The Kishi,” Antoine Bandele
  25. A book with a map – “Dead Man’s Ransom,” Ellis Peters
  26. Based on a true story – “Killers of the Flower Moon,” David Grann
  27. An Indie author – “The Man Who Spoke Snakish,” Andrus Kivirâhk
  28. Debut novel – “Ready Player One,” Ernest Cline
  29. Own but never read – (TBD – hundreds to to pick from… seriously)
  30. Passes the Bechdel test – “Boy, Snow, Bird,” Helen Oyeyemi
  31. About Women in STEM – “Code Girls,” Liza Mundy
  32. A banned book – “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” John Irving
  33. Book originally picked for its cover – “The Library of the Unwritten,” A.J. Hackworth
  34. Author of 20+ books – “Gwenty’s Magic Feather,” Stephen King and Richard Chizard
  35. Written by a 20-something author – “Mysteries of Pittsburg,” Michael Chabon
  36. Celebrity Book Club – TBD
  37. Published in 1982 (year I was 20) – “The Blue Sword,” Robin McKinley
  38. By an author with initial T.R. – any book by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  39. Written by a female author – “The Bards of Bone Plain,” Patricia McKillip
  40. A humorous book – “Furiously Happy,” Jenny Lawson
  41. By a deceased author – “Eaters of the Dead,” Michael Crichton
  42. Bought at a thrift/used book store – TBD
  43. Book with 200 pages or less – “Ragnarok” A.S. Byatt
  44. Book recommended by librarian – TBD
  45. A psychological thriller – “The Death of Mrs. Westaway,” Ruth Ware
  46. Book started but never finished – “A Gentleman of Moscow,” Amor Towles
  47. Should have read in school, but didn’t – “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” Zora Neale Hurston
  48. Prominently features animal characters – “Mort(e),” Robert Repino
  49. Classic novel – “Around the World in 80 Days,” Jules Verne
  50. A book set in Mississippi (20th state) – “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” Jesmyn Ward
  51. A romance novel – “The After Wife,” Melanie Summers
  52. A collection of short stories – “Thirteen Stories,” Eudora Welty

How high is your To-Read pile? What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

12 thoughts on “Attacking the To-Read pile

  1. Good luck! I didn’t love Their Eyes Were Watching God when I read it in high school. But I feel like the experience is probably more positive if you don’t start reading it 36 hours before an essay on it is due.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My “tbr” list on goodreads says 733 … ugh! … but this year’s expectations only stand at 50. Last year my eyes were bigger than my stomach, so to speak, and I fell well below my intention. Good luck reaching your goal! You have such a great area to go enjoy a good book and some sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have at least that many unread books in my house and on my reader. I’m hoping to get close to my goal. I should add my list to my Goodreads account, but that seems like a lot of work right now. (Believe me, I will be lounging on the beach reading this summer.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can feel your pain. For the first half of 2018, I had a project (that I had woven in between bouts of writing) to keep track of how many books, both fiction and non-fiction, I would read for the year. Everything went swimmingly until I bought my very first smart phone that summer and discovered podcasts. My reading cratered for the rest of the year and for most of 2019. Only started to get back into the groove of things with my writing, but it’s gonna be a long journey. Btw, I do my reading via the public library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve returned to my library more now too, especially since I can check out ebooks through Overdrive. It’s given me access to a lot of new releases and it costs me $0.


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