Friday, January 1, 2021

2021 CHALLENGE: TBR 21 in '21 and Mt. TBR Challenges - My Sign Up Post

January means book challenge time! I love planning ahead (some) for books to read in the coming year, especially picking the books from my TBR shelves I want to get through.

Every year I try to do two reading challenges specifically aimed at clearing off my TBR shelves. One is the Mt. TBR Challenge hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block, which aims to read a certain number of TBR books by the end of the year. No need to pick them now, just tally them up at the end of the year. 

The other is a personal challenge I started doing back in 2010 to pre-select a certain number of books each January to get through that year. The number of books corresponds to the year. From 2010 to 2019, I picked twice as many books as the year -- 20 in 2010, 22 in 2011, and so on. Starting in 2020, I went to a single ratio of books to year and picked 20 books for 2020. 

Which is how why I have the TBR 21 in '21 Challenge. Feel free to join me if you want to clear off 21 books from your TBR shelf in 2021!




The books I picked for 2021 are mostly nonfiction because my nonfiction TBR shelves are out of control. I only have four novels and the rest are nonfiction.

I mixed them all up and put them in a basket and will read them in the random order they ended up in - not for any reason, just because. With one exception -- I have to read this book first because it's my book club book for January:

That one didn't make it to the basket because it is already on my bedside table. The rest are here:

Here is the list, in the order I plan to read them:

  • Not Now but Now by M.F.K. Fisher. Fisher wrote about food and almost entirely nonfiction. This is her only novel. The Boss Dog is partly fiction, but mostly memoir. FINISHED
  • Old Filth by Jane Gardam. The three books in this trilogy are the rest of my fiction picks. Gardam's Old Filth trilogy tells the story of the long, complicated marriage of Sir Edward Feathers and hit wife Betty. FINISHED
  • The Florence King Reader by Florence King. King was a prolific writer, mostly of essays and articles, known for her writings about the American South and her acerbic wit. FINISHED
  • Orchids & Salami by Eva Gabor. I got this 1954 memoir for its funny title and glamorous cover: FINISHED


  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau. This is on my Classics Club list. I tried to read it with my ears last year but could not engage with the audiobook. FINISHED
  • Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. A memoir about soccer fandom is not my cup of tea, but I enjoyed the movie, so I'm sure I'll enjoy the book well enough. I'm a Hornby completist, in part because he gave me that word. FINISHED


I climbed "Mt. Ararat" in 2020, which was a goal of reading 48 books from my TBR shelves. I read 52 books that had been on by TBR shelves at the start of 2020. In 2021, I am going to go for the "Mt. Kilimanjaro" level, which is to read at least 60 books from my TBR shelves.

So in addition to the 21 books listed above, I will find another 39 or more already on my TBR shelves. I'm not going to pick those now, I'll pick them at whim. I'll list them below as I read them.

Books Read So Far

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
The Red and the Black by Stendhal 
Billy Bathgate by E. L. Doctorow
Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis
Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan
The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall
Reflex by Dick Francis
Whip Hand by Dick Francis
The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount
The Midnight Line by Lee Child
Charlotte Moss: A Visual Life: Scrapbooks, Collages, and Inspirations by Charlotte Moss
Missing Joseph by Elizabeth George
On The Wealth of Nations: Books That Changed the World by P. J. O'Rourke
Dead Cert by Dick Francis
Obasan by Joy Kogawa
The Wisdom of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton
How They Decorated: Inspiration from Great Women of the Twentieth Century by Gaye P. Tapp
A Faithful Place by Tana French
Consequences by Penelope Lively
The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe
Jeeves in the Offing by P. G. Wodehouse
The Private Patient by P. D. James
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Skios by Michael Frayn
The Purpose-driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by Maarten J. Troost
A Place in the World by Amy Maroney
Twice Shy by Dick Francis
A Little Book of Japanese Contentments: Ikigai, Forest Bathing, Wabi-sabi, and More by Erin Niimi Longhurst
Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King
Jolie Blon's Bounce by James Lee Burke
Bruno: Chief of Police by Martin Walker
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
Mysteries of Pittsburg by Michael Chabon
The Shape of the Journey: New & Collected Poems by Jim Harrison
Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie
Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
The Darlings by Christina Alger
The Choir by Joanna Trollope
Pope Joan by Donna Cross Woolfolk
Noah's Compass by Anne Taylor
A Changed Man by Francine Prose
Split Images by Elmore Leonard
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Holmes
The Theban Mysteries by Amanda Cross
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
BUtterfield 8 by John O'Hara
Building Beauty: The Alchemy of Design by Michael S. Smith
The Incredulity of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton
Funerals are Fatal by Agatha Christie
French Lessons by Ellen Sussman
Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie 
House Made of Dawn by Scott N. Momaday
Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
Past Tense by Lee Child
The French Chef in America: Julia Child's Second Act by Alex Prud'homme
March Violets by Philip Kerr
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
LaBrava by Elmore Leonard
Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh
The Secret of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton
The Scandal of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton


As of December 26, I've finished my TBR 21 in '21 list. See my wrap up post here. I am all set to start my TBR 22 in '22 list! See my sign up post here. If you want to join me for the TBR 22 in '22 Challenge, and I hope you do, sign up on the main challenge page here

In addition to the 22 books I read for the TBR 21 in '21 Challenge, I read 70 other books off my TBR shelves for the Mt. TBR Challenge, for a total of 91 books. SO I met my goal of climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro. I will do a wrap up post for that challenge soon.



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