12 backlist books i’m hoping to read in 2021 (and a notion template!)

Hop in, traveler!

I hope you’re doing well, even if 2021 doesn’t seem better than 2020 for now. This is why I decided to focus on the good side and to give myself some achievable goals for this year.
I already wrote about my 2021 reading goals in a previous article, but for today, I wanted to focus on some books to put on top of my tbr. These 12 books will be my top priority for 2021. I chose to focus on backlist books, meaning books that came out before 2021, as I already focused a lot on 2021 upcoming releases I wanted to read.

Related: Ursa’s special logbook: 2020 recap + 2021 reading goals

But enough chit-chat! Scroll down to discover the 12 backlist books I am hoping to read in 2021.

Julie Berry

It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields. [ read more ]

In 2020, I had already set my eyes on this one. I love Greek mythology, and I love to see its gods in more modern settings. And as I am reading A Thousand Ships, by Natalie Haynes (a book focusing on the women of the Troy war), I find myself wanting to read books about Greek mythology. Plus, I heard great things about Lovely War: consider me having really high expectations about this one!

Mason Deaver

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school. [ read more ]

I Wish You All The Best is a book I have wanted to read for several years. And as Mason Deaver released a novella with these same characters back in December, I decided that 2021 was the best time to finally get to read it!

Erin Morgenstern

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them. [ read more ]

I heard some things about The Starless Sea, some good, some bad, but I never really got interested in the book in itself. And then, some weeks ago, as I was browsing in my favorite bookshop, I stumbled into the French translation and got mesmerized by its beautiful cover (it’s shiny!). I didn’t think twice and I bought it, and I feel like it can be the kind of book that I really like. Now the book is kindly waiting on my shelf and I can’t wait to pick it up and make my own mind about it!

Samantha Shannon

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing. [ read more ]

I read The Priory of the Orange Tree, written by the same author, back in 2020, and I loved it so much — I think that Samantha Shannon is a talented plotter and world-builder, and write really beautifully so. So when I saw that the French publisher that translated The Priory was also taking care of The Bone Season, I couldn’t not go for it! I got The Bone Season for Christmas and it’s been waiting for me ever since, and I am hoping to read it in the first quarter of the year.

Catherynne M. Valente

Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century. [ read more ]

Do you have some books that are laying at the bottom of your TBR for so long that you actually forgot that they are here and how they got here? Deathless is this kind of book for me. As I was cleaning my Goodreads To-Read shelf, I stumbled upon it, without any memory of me adding it. I got curious, and I saw that some of my Goodreads friends read it and absolutely loved it — they wrote dithyrambic reviews about it. So I picked it up from the bottom where it was taking dust, and now Deathless is sitting at the top of my TBR. Moral of the story: clean your TBR!

V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see. [ read more ]

I actually read A Darker Shade of Magic several years ago, and I meant to read the following books ever since, but never got to. 2021 is the year I kick myself in the butt: in order to read the rest of the trilogy, I wish to re-read the first book, so I can remember everything. Plus, my discussion with Alison about this book was what made me want to go back to it!

Related: Talk from another galaxy: Alison and A Darker Shade of Magic

Daphné du Maurier

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. [ read more ]

I read Rebecca, by the same author, some years ago and I absolutely loved it — we’re not talking about that monstrous Netflix adaptation that had nothing to do with Daphné du Maurier’s masterpiece. And as I loved one of her books so much, I wanted to try more of her work. I had My Cousin Rachel on my TBR for a while now, so 2021 may be the best time to get to it! Plus, it got a movie adaptation too, so maybe it could motivate me to watch some movie!

Kate Stayman-London

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. [ read more ]

Well. In 2020, I already had an objective of 8 books to read, and One To Watch was one of them. As you can see with it being on this list too, I kind of failed with my previous challenge. But! I really want to read One To Watch (a fat heroine! on a dating tv show! with diverse bachelors!) so I am putting it on my 2021 list too.

Related: 8 books i have to read before 2020 ends

T.J. Klune

Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right? After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. [ read more ]

As I am writing this post, I read 1 book in 2021: The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune, and I loved it so much — its characters, its setting, and most importantly, the author’s way of writing. And as I loved it that much, I wanted to try and read more of TJ Klune’s work. Luckily for me, The Extraordinaries was also in my TBR! I am hoping to love it just as much as The House in the Cerulean Sea: so yes, I have high expectations.

Nikita Gill

Let her be a little less human, a little more divine
Give her heart armor so it doesn’t break as easily as mine
Meet Paro. A girl with a strong will, a full heart, and much to learn. Born into a family reeling from the ruptures of Partition in India, we follow her as she crosses the precarious lines between childhood, teenage discovery, and realizing her adult self.
[ read more ]

Now, 2021 is all about challenging oneself and trying new things. I wrote about it in my previous post, and how I wanted to read more poetry. I found The Girl and The Goddess by chance, one day while exploring Goodreads. And I fell in love with its beautiful cover! I wanted to try to read Nikita Gill for a while now, so 2021 is the perfect opportunity to get to it!

Nina Varela

Impossible love between two girls —one human, one Made. A love that could birth a revolution.
After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, Designed to be the playthings of royals, took over the estates of their owners and bent the human race to their will. [ read more ]

Another genre I want to try is science-fiction. And as my whole Twitter timeline is periodically screaming about Nina Varela’s books, I wanted to give it a try myself. I don’t really know what to expect about it, as science-fiction is not usually my type of reads — especially science-fiction novels that are not written in my native language. But 2021 is about discovering new things and challenging oneself, so here I am!

Maureen Johnson

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.” [ read more ]

I was looking to add a thriller to my list, as it isn’t a genre I read but I want to try. I’m easily scared, so I didn’t want anything too scary. I also love dark academia, so I feel like Truly, Devious is a good pick — unless you read it and it is absolutely terrifying. But I feel confident about it and I hope I’ll like it!

If you’re following me on Twitter, you might have seen me cleaning my TBR these last few daysand if you’re not following me already, what are you waiting for? I love making lists and be organized, and see clearly what I have. So… I made a notion template!

If you’re using Notion an app defining itself as an « all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis… » — then you can use this template. Click the link below, then on the page, on the « duplicate » button. If you use it, please tell me! I’d love to see what you’re doing with it!

This template is just a start. You can add your own tags, display the one you wish. And what I love the most about it is that we can filter our results! Looking for a physical book, a sci-fi one? Just use the filter options!

🚀 portal to the notion template 🚀

Are there any backlist books you’d like to read in 2021?
Have you read some of my choices?

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