Fortunately I am a Problem SolverTM, and it dawned on me that I still have a couple of boxes left from the mid-autumn unhaul and that I might as well put one of them to good use. Thus I now have space on my shelves again because most of my 2021 TBR is in a box at the foot of the bookcase. The ones I love will go back on the bookcase; the rest will live in the box until the next unhaul. My anticipated five-stars are currently living on the bookcase, because I had lots of space on my shelves and only so much room in the box.


This year’s TBR is extensive because I want to read, at a minimum, every book I bought or received in 2020, plus a few whose arrival dates are a bit fuzzy. The 2020s are the must reads; planned rereads and fuzzy dates associated with those rereads are listed separately and are lower priority; and books I’m pretty sure have been sitting around for at least a year are listed as nice-to-haves but aren’t exactly critical, because if they’ve already been sitting for a year they can sit a little longer. This is, now that I think about it, literally the best thing about books: they don’t expire. Actually this post almost got bundled into my 2020 reading round-up, but then I realized exactly how long the list was going to get and thought better of it. I would’ve started the list sooner but kept putting it off because I was absolutely convinced that I was going to read most, if not all, of the books I bought in November and December. Obviously that hasn’t happened, or I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you right now.

I originally had these in order by title, but then my OCD barged in and pointed out that books by the same author would be separated if I did that, so now they’re listed in alphabetical order by author surname. (Also, if you ever see me whining about how I have absolutely nothing to read, point me to this list.) My usual instinct is to list these kinds of things in the order I want to read them, but if I did that we’d be here all day.

NOTE: These lists do not include the books I am currently reading.

Must Read

  1. The African Trilogy – Chinua Achebe
  2. The Travelling Cat Chronicles – Hiro Arikawa
  3. A Ladder to the Sky – John Boyne
  4. Daughter of Black Lake – Cathy Marie Buchanan
  5. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  6. Aphasia – Mauro Javier Cárdenas
  7. Dragon Springs Road – Janie Chang
  8. The Library of Legends – Janie Chang
  9. Bestiary – K-Ming Chang
  10. Piranesi – Susanna Clarke
  11. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  12. The Binding – Bridget Collins
  13. All Who Go Do Not Return – Shulem Deen
  14. The Death of Vivek Oji – Akwaeke Emezi
  15. Silence – Shūsaku Endō
  16. The Woman in the Water – Charles Finch
  17. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
  18. Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi
  19. The Library of the Unwritten – A.J. Hackwith
  20. The Archive of the Forgotten – A.J. Hackwith
  21. Strange Candy – Laurell K. Hamilton
  22. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts – Joshua Hammer
  23. The Mercies – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  24. Beowulf: A New Translation – Maria Dahvana Headley
  25. The Silence of Bones – June Hur
  26. Black Leopard, Red Wolf – Marlon James
  27. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
  28. Little Gods – Meng Jin
  29. The Stationery Shop – Marjan Kamali
  30. The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune
  31. The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
  32. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things – Jenny Lawson
  33. The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin – Ursula K. Le Guin
  34. The Three-Body Problem – Cixin Liu
  35. The Dark Forest – Cixin Liu
  36. To Hold Up the Sky – Cixin Liu
  37. The Paper Menagerie – Ken Liu
  38. The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu
  39. The Lost Vintage – Ann Mah
  40. Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
  41. Deacon King Kong – James McBride
  42. Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy
  43. Echo North – Joanna Ruth Meyer
  44. A Secret History of Witches – Louisa Morgan
  45. Harrow the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir
  46. World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments – Aimee Nezhukumatathil
  47. A Promised Land – Barack Obama
  48. Becoming – Michelle Obama
  49. Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell
  50. The Housekeeper and the Professor – Yōko Ogawa
  51. The Memory Police – Yōko Ogawa
  52. There There – Tommy Orange
  53. Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why – Alexandra Petri
  54. The Forgotten Kingdom – Signe Pike
  55. A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II – Sonia Purnell
  56. Eartheater – Dolores Reyes
  57. Blindness – José Saramago
  58. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab
  59. Space at the Speed of Light – Becky Smethurst
  60. An Unkindness of Ghosts – Rivers Solomon
  61. The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart
  62. The Book of Eels – Patrik Svensson
  63. The Color of Air – Gail Tsukiyama
  64. Vinegar Girl – Anne Tyler
  65. Kristin Lavransdatter – Sigrid Undset
  66. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong
  67. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration – Isabel Wilkerson
  68. Braised Pork – An Yu

Lower Priority

  1. Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
  2. A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson
  3. The Curse of Chalion* – Lois McMaster Bujold
  4. Paladin of Souls* – Lois McMaster Bujold
  5. The Hallowed Hunt – Lois McMaster Bujold

* My plans did not originally include these two, but I just got them in hardcover and I was planning on a buddy read of The Hallowed Hunt anyway, so why the hell not?

Nice to Have

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden
  2. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  3. House of Salt and Sorrows – Erin A. Craig
  4. Frantumaglia – Elena Ferrante
  5. The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde
  6. Legally Correct Fairy Tales – David Fisher
  7. The Familiars – Stacey Halls
  8. The Odyssey – Homer
  9. The Age of Orphans – Laleh Khadivi
  10. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories – H.P. Lovecraft
  11. Death Need Not Be Fatal – Malachy McCourt
  12. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  13. Look at the Harlequins! – Vladimir Nabokov
  14. Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
  15. The Snowman – Jo Nesbø
  16. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
  17. The Words – Jean-Paul Sartre
  18. A Dictionary of Maqiao – Han Shaogong
  19. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

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