It’s a really risky thing for me to say that these are the 22 books I want to read this year when my reading goal is 52 books. I’m historically quite bad at following these lists, even when I say that I have every intention of completing it. My list for last year was objectively a failure as I read none of the books. Will I do any better this year? I think that comes down to the self-discipline I talked about in my 2022 goals.
The main goal for this list is to read books I’ve put off for years and ones I’ve honestly forgotten about. Some of these are literary fiction, a genre I don’t reach for often because I don’t know what to expect and feel like I’m not smart enough to understand. And if I don’t like the book, I’m not pressuring myself to finish it. I’m free to call it a DNF and donate or sell it to a secondhand bookstore so that someone else can appreciate it.
Again But Better
I have the signed special edition or something, I don’t really remember. I know it’s signed because I pre-ordered this in time for that, and then I never touched it. The reviews are this are quite mixed, even Phoebe told me that it wasn’t particularly great. That’s mostly why I put it off over two years. I think I’m mostly picking this up to see how I feel about it since the discourse around BookTubers writing books is still ongoing. At the very least, I’ve supported Christine a little after watching her videos for years.
My friend Liz had an extra copy of this for some reason and gave it to me. I can’t remember what exactly the conversation around this was, but I ended up with the book. At some point, we talked about doing a buddy read that never happened, obviously. From what I gather on Goodreads, it’s kind of a plague story? Not sure how I feel about that amidst the ongoing state of the world, but at least in this version it’s isolated to vision and not everything else.
This is also a translated book and I have enjoyed previous translated works that I’ve read. Hopefully that will be the case for this one too.
We’re going back to 2017 for this one. Two of my friends gave me a pile of books for my 20th birthday and I’ve only read one of them. The other two books are also on this list, so I’ll get to them soon.
Not sure how I feel about this one either because it’s a dystopian and there’s a virus going around. I haven’t read anything dystopian since that genre slowly faded from publishing, and part of me feels like I’ve outgrown the YA take on it. This is the first book in a trilogy, because we all know that’s how the YA publishing industry likes to package their stories. I’m not particularly psyched about this one, but at least if I try it then I can take it off my shelves. Chances of me enjoying this and wanting to read the sequels are currently quite low.
I actually don’t remember buying this, but according to my Kindle purchases, I got this for free. I went through a phase years ago where I scoured the free Kindle deals and downloaded a bunch of them without really thinking through whether I would read them.
Do I know what the story is about? Murder. That’s really all I have from the title. I could look through the synopsis again, but after all these years, I think it’s almost better to go in blind. After all, it survived many rounds of my culling my Kindle downloads, so something about it remains intriguing to me. I’ll trust that part of myself and hope for the best.
In The Vines
I’ve followed Shannon Kirk’s journey as a writer for quite awhile. Her debut novel, Method 15/33, was one of the books I reviewed in the first year of this blog and it was one of the most popular posts back when I was on BlogSpot. Kirk also sent me a physical ARC of her second book back when I still lived in Hong Kong, which was incredibly generous of her.
Though it’s been quite a few years since I’ve read any of her work, I remember seeing this on the Kindle store and buying it immediately. All I really know is that it’s a mystery, and that’s all I’m going to know until I pick this up.
Isla and the Happily Ever After
It’s been six years since I read the first two books in this companion trilogy. I’ve put it off for so long that I don’t remember anything about it other than it being about Isla and Josh. That’s it.
Getting to this is mostly so that I can knock it off my TBR and finally finish the trilogy. The completionist part of me wants to have read everything, and admittedly I am still interested in seeing how everyone’s lives turn out. I know the first two couples will make an appearance again, and I’m curious to see where they are after getting together.
Another Kindle download that I don’t remember but is within the mystery genre. It has also survived several rounds of culling, meaning that it has interested me after years of sitting in my Kindle app.
With a title like this, I can only assume that it’s related to a serial killer or some kind of ghost. Either way, it should make for an interesting read. I think this one is part of a series, so I could continue with it if I enjoy this book.
Me Being Me Is Exactly As Insane As You Being You
This was among the small stack of books my Swedish friends gave me for my birthday. I don’t really remember what this is about, but I think it has to do with the relationship between two brothers? It’s a YA contemporary, and that’s all I really remember about it.
The book itself is a little chonker. Normally, I don’t like reading YA in this size (smaller than a regular paperback but larger than a mass market paperback), but since this was a gift, I didn’t really have a say in it. No one I know has ever read or talked about this, so it’ll be an interesting one to get to this year.
I’m fairly sure that I heard someone on BookTube talk about this once and then never heard about it ever again. The cover is gorgeous and I would love to have a reason to photograph it. If it has anything to do with Egyptian history, like the name implies, I’ll be in for a treat. I don’t know much about Egyptian history outside of the basics about Cleopatra and anything I’ve read in the Bible. Getting to learn something else will be a nice change.
The title implies a kidnapping of some sort, but once again, I have little memory of what this book is about. If you guessed that this was another Kindle download for free that survived my spring cleaning sessions, you’d be right.
This book has one of those covers that gets reused among self-published or indie press mysteries. I’ve seen at least two other books with this exact cover, edited slightly differently, in the time since I downloaded the book. Generic cover aside, I think there’s at least a decent chance I’ll enjoy this one.
Raining Men and Corpses
Cozy mysteries aren’t usually my thing. I find them too mild for my liking, which is understandable because the sub-genre is meant for people who want the mystery without much violence or gruesomeness. The main reason why I kept this on my TBR is because I’m fairly sure it features an Asian main character. That’s not something I see very often with cozy mysteries, so it kept my interest. And if I like it, I know there are more in the series that are already out.
I have a weird relationship with Gillian Flynn books. As the kind of reader who prefers to like the main characters I read about, most of her books frustrate me because they feature intentionally unlikeable characters. But I also feel like her mysteries take ages to unravel because we keep reading long internal monologues that don’t get us many places.
In the case of Gone Girl, I predicted the twist a few chapters in and then had to read the whole book to find out that I was right. For Dark Places, I was so bored by the main character and her troubled past that I didn’t really care about what really happened the night her family was killed. But I bought her books as part of a box set and am left with this. Will I enjoy it? That’s hard to say. But I’d like to at least give it a chance because I know many people say this is their favorite of Flynn’s work.
Shopaholic to the Rescue
Jokes on me, I already read this one. The post was supposed to go up at the beginning of the year, before I started reading anything on this list. But since I didn’t give myself a schedule or deadlines for January, this didn’t go up.
It’s the last book in the Shopaholic series and I just wanted to get it over with. Overall, not my favorite and I think it could have been condensed into the previous book. There are things I’m not pleased with in terms of plot and characters, but I’ll save those thoughts for my full review.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
I’m actually reading this one right now, if I didn’t already finish it last night. I’ve had this for years, before there was even talk about it becoming a movie. After reading Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy, I wanted to give this a try. And then it sat on my shelves for six years and moved across the world with me twice.
Mostly, I’m reading this to see if I want to finish the trilogy in book form. I’ve already seen the first two movies and liked them decently, so I have a vague idea of where the story goes from here. Still, there are differences and more background in the book that I like more and I think it’ll be interesting to continue the trilogy in book form so I can compare them to the movies and see which medium I like better.
The Black Sisterhood Files
There’s a bit of a story to this one. The author reached out to me through Bookstagram and asked if I would consider purchasing the book as part of a fundraising thing for her to get into a particular young writer’s camp. She needed a certain number of sales in order to be accepted and was asking different book reviewers if they would help. It was on sale at the time and she was a sweet kid (14 at the time, maybe?) so I agreed and bought the book.
I think there’s something to do with an all-girl’s school and magic (?) but I’m not really sure. It’s a short book and I think my purchase helped get the author with her goal of getting to the camp. Even if I end up not liking it much, at least I helped out a young writer.
Back in the early months of global lockdown, I read The Piano Teacher by the same author. It just so happened that I saw this at a library book sale and decided to pick it up (even though this is technically an ARC copy which makes sales illegal but that’s the library’s problem) since I had the author’s other book. There aren’t many books out there that I know of that are set in Hong Kong and written by someone from Hong Kong, so I wanted to see what it was about.
I feel a little bad that I haven’t gotten around to this one, but I would like to remedy that this year.
The Girl With All The Gifts
Another book that I heard about before it became a movie, I saw this on BookTube and was gifted it among the stack of books from my Swedish friends. At that point, I was already curious about it because I’d read the blurb and found it incredibly interesting. Then I got busy with school, the movie came out and I got spoiled for something, and I decided I needed more time before picking this up.
A few years ago, I had put this on a list of buddy reads that I would do with a friend. Unfortunately, I got so busy with classes and work that I didn’t read the first book in time and we never continued on with the buddy reads after that. Still, this remained a book that interested me and I think I would really like it. At the very least, it’s not the kind of book I’d normally pick up and it’s good for me to be pushed out of my comfort zone a bit.
I’ve heard so much praise for Donna Tartt’s books on BookTube and Bookstagram over the years and never picked up any of her work. I’ve gotten two of her books from different library sales over the past few years, but the sheer length of her writing intimidates me to no end. If I had to defend myself from an intruder with a book, this would be one of the first ones I grab. It’s so heavy that I constantly worry about dropping it when I have to pull it off my shelf.
It’s partly the fact that I haven’t really read dark academia as a genre and this being literary fiction that also intimidates me. I have a small fear that I’ll read literary fiction and realize that I’m not smart enough to understand or enjoy it. So I keep putting this book off. But no more - this will be the year I read it.
The Great Zoo of China
Pretty sure I got this from the sales bin outside Barnes & Noble or during some really cheap sale on an online bookstore. I’d heard about it on BookTube a couple of times when it came out and then never read it. In hindsight, I’m not sure how I feel about a white guy writing about zoos in China that have great secrets, but it’s already on my shelf. Past me needed some better judgement about the books I was buying.
This will be my first Matthew Reilly book, and I suspect it might be my last. He doesn’t feel like the kind of author I’d read more than one book from, but I’m open to surprises.
An English professor told me that my writing reminds her a bit of Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing and that I could learn from her. That’s why I bought this book at a library sale. Three years later, it’s still unread on my shelf.
I’m not sure if I haven’t picked this up because I don’t actually know what this is about or if I’m somehow trying to spite that professor because I didn’t really like her teaching style. Either way, I think giving this a fair shot would be good.
Traces of Guilt
Fun fact, I stole this copy from The Pulse office sometime during my senior year. Well, technically I think we were allowed to take copies for ourselves because there were several in the office for some reason. I thought it sounded mildly interesting and it was a free book, so it came home with me. Does that still count as stealing a copy? Maybe.
(Dr. Arke, if you read this for some reason and I did steal it, I’m sorry)
This is on my list mostly so I can make shelf space. I doubt that it’ll be something I rate highly, but I can always learn something from mysteries since that’s 90% of what I write.
Ahh finally, we’re on the last Kindle download I’ve let gather dust for years. No memory of what this is about either, but at this point, it’s almost more fun to go into my old Kindle downloads blind and see what comes of it.
The cover is also one that I’ve seen on other books, so at least that’s popular? I kind of just want to see what the white lies are and how they play into the story. And if I don’t like it, it was free and I didn’t lose any money over it.
Wow, that’s a long list. I mean, it’s 22 books, but that felt really long.
I’m a little behind my own plan to knock out books on this list. Realistically, I don’t think it’s possible to get through all 22 because my reading goal is only 52 books this year. This list alone is almost half of what I would read, leaving little room for other books that I really want to read.
For some of these, I’m going to get rid of the book if I don’t read it by this year. They’re taking up space on my shelf that could go to other books. Some of these have been on my shelf so long that I’ve moved over eight times since getting them. Feels right to let them go if they’ve gone unread for this long.
Are there any books I should get to soon? Do you have a list of old backlist books that you need to get to?