We all know I’m trying to get through as many books I already own as possible in 2021, but there are a selection of books that I want to read more of this year. This post is all about the kinds of books I want to make some space for on my TBR’s this year. Obviously, we know I love diversity and diverse books/authors of all kinds, so that is a given! BUT I want to specify certain aspects of diversity that I’m really looking to expand when reading. Reading a lot of old books has lead to my reading repertoire being a lot of white, cis, straight, non-disabled writers and stories, and whilst they can be entertaining I feel like I’m seriously lacking in relatable content and interesting takes and spins on old tropes. We already know the writers and books I DON’T want to read, let’s see what I do.
I bought Dumplin’ recently and read Leah On The Off Beat in 2019, but these are some others on my radar: Get it right, Speak for yourself, Fattily Ever After, I’ll Be the One, Undead Girl Gang, One Last Stop, Happy Fat. I’ve chosen to read more literature about fat people and main characters but especially women, because I’ve seen people recently take their first steps into experiencing fat main characters who don’t hate themselves and finding strength from this representation. I could do with a bit more body love, if I’m being honest, and I think these books will help.
The Black Kids is a book I bought recently, I’ve had Want by Cindy Pon for a while and Crazy Rich Asians too, other books I want to read are: Running With Lions, I Love You So Mochi, Ace of Spades, Catherine House, How We Fall Apart, Parachutes, Wicked Fox, Patron Saints of Nothing. I’ve seen a lot of people (white people) reading stories about BIPOC suffering, and while yes there are struggles that come with being BIPOC (just like there are struggles with being queer, trans, fat, disabled…) it is not the only experience. I wanted to try to find stories that weren’t soley about someone’s race and suffering because of racism. The Black Kids is about racism. Want is more about the Sci-Fi world, Running with Lions is about being queer and playing football, Ace of Spades and Catherine House are about the academic pressures and mysteries, and some of the other books are about connecting with family and their culture. I wanted to read a mixture of stories and not fall into the default of a white reader only reading stories of BIPOC suffering rather than euphoria. I hope I’ve explained that right…
There are some genres/themes in general that I want to read more of, some have been included in the above categories but I wanted to add this section for a mixture of Dark Academia, Thrillers/Mysteries and Magical stories that either don’t meet the above criteria, or I am unsure if/how it fits. Honestly, these categories often merge together too!
I boosted my book reading goals from 12 to 50 last year as I quickly demolished books in the two official lockdowns in 2020. With lockdown three hanging over my head with an unknown end date, I’ve been trying to continue to demolish as many books as I can ASAP. this is my second post of 2021 and will be a little wrap up of all the books I read in 2020. Check out my first post of 2021, all about my goals for this year. Don’t forget to go and watch my first video of 2021!
If you would like to support me and some indie bookshops then please consider using my affiliate link and browsing my lists in the BookShop
Biting Anorexia 4/5 stars. One of the better misery mental illness memoirs I’ve come across. I’ve read quite a few on mental illness/eating disorders, and not many of them have the concern of triggering readers or trying to provide a hopeful ending to their books. This one does both, whilst it avoids numbers altogether (calories, weight, etc.) it also have a positive outlook at the end and resources. Plus, it was overall and entertaining and relatable read as well.
Memories of Old Sussex 2/3 stars. I don’t have a lot to say on this. It was interesting to read about some very old history of the area i’ve lived my whole life along with some quirky traditions of the area, some that are still around but some not. It wasn’t super entertaining and I skimmed chapters, but if you’re looking for a book with useful info about Sussex, this will help you. It is also very, very short.
Alice Oseman books, Radio Silence(3/4 stars), Solitaire(2.5/5 stars), I Was Born For This(3.4/5 stars) I read Radio Silence first, which was enjoyable. I liked the main character and her history with the other MC. There were parts that were completely unbelievable and didn’t really fit with the story. Then I read I Was Born For This, I liked 50% of this book (the band half) as I personally find fandoms quite scary and uncomfortable for the reasons shown in this book (which I believe was the whole purpose) again there were some things that didn’t add up or make sense but it did show me I really enjoy band centred stories, so that’s something I’m looking for (if you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments!) and finally I read Solitaire, which was the first book to be written by Oseman at a very young age, personally I could tell. It was the most scattered of the three novels, lots of points throughout the book that appeared to be starting or signalling something and it never got rounded up in anyway. The ending was odd, the stuff with the MC’s family is very odd… kind of unbelievably neglectful considering I read Heartstopper too… something there really didn’t make sense to me. But also I don’t have much to complain about, I bought all three books for 99p each on Kindle.
If Only by Melanie Murphy 4/5 stars. One of my first adult novels I’ve picked up and read by choice. I love the concept of this book, the MC’c Granny had a magic necklace that is passed down through the women of the family and shows you alternate lives you could have had. They weren’t always as huge a focus as I was expecting, there were many times the MC just forgot she had this magic necklace which I found hard to believe! But I really enjoyed watching the character grow as well as the surrounding characters.
Raw 0 stars. Worst book I read in 2020 by far. Don’t read it, highly triggering, not much actually writing it was mostly other people’s letters… Blergh.
Lot by Bryan Washington 4/5 stars. Lot is about a young Gay Black man growing up in Houston. CW for sexual assault of a minor. It was a very interesting read, I picked this up super cheap for Kindle, the physical book should now be available. An Own Voices book I would recommend, with an interesting writing style.
Becoming Dangerous3/4 stars. A book of personal essays with the theme of ritual and magic. Not all the essays will be interesting to everyone, I definitely struggled to read the whole things and skimmed a few essays but I think some of them were so reflective of me, or such a different POV that I enjoyed them a lot and do recommend others give it a read if they can.
Divergent 4/5 stars. I’ve been really enjoying dystopian fiction in 2020 and plan to continue reading them into 2021. Divergent was spookily relevant to our world today and I enjoyed it enough that I do want to try and carry on reading this series this year. I’m interested to see how the books go, as the films ended very weirdly and the pacing was everywhere.
Poems of William Blake 1/5 stars. Boring. I don’t want to read classic poetry ever again.
How to Give Up Plastic 4/5 stars. Really great read, remembered to talk about disabled people which I find tends to be lacking in environmental talks! Has some handy work book time tables in as well.
Cemetery Boys 5/5 stars. This was one of my favourite books of 2020! I love the queer/trans representation, the Neuro Divergent representation in Julian, and I loved reading a supernatural book that wasn’t rooted in white paganism. The latinx culture described in this book is beautifully woven into this story, you can tell this is very close to the authors heart.
Fruits Basket Vols. 1-43/5 stars. Eh, I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series. I may watch the new show that’s being made/has been made. But I also don’t think I disliked it enough to unhaul the books. You can check out some of my links for the video and insta post on my full thoughts.
From Baghdad, With Love 3/5 stars. Nice to have a happy ending but CW there is a lot of human and dog death in this memoir. Not something I would re-read but glad I gave it a chance.
Heartstopper Vol. 3 4/5 stars. I always enjoy reading Heartstopper as they tend to be a light and fluffy break from reality, however I feel like there could have been some trigger or content warnings for this, especially for people who haven’t read Solitaire (which, I had not at the time) for Eating Disorders, because even though I am mostly in a stable place when it comes to disordered eating, reading this was triggering for me as I wasn’t prepared or expecting it. I’m not sure what the further volumes will be like, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Chibi Vampire Vol. 1-7 4/5 stars. Another story where I loved the concept a lot. An interesting twist on vampires and how they work. I also love the misunderstanding between the MC and Love Interest, slowly becoming friends, slowly LI being accepted by the family. I would love to carry on reading this series but it was discontinued long ago, it isn’t super easy to access the books outside of Amazon… Watch this space.
Princess Diaries books 1 & 51/5 stars. Book one was lovely and progressive, in a surprising turn of events. The I accidentally skipped three books, read book five and was dreadfully assaulted by a lot of ableist language and ideas which I really didn’t appreciate. I know this is an old book, I don’t really care. It was very uncomfortable to read.
Loveboat Taipei 5/5 stars. I found this book fantastic really. It had vivid imagery, and the general plot was something I could relate to (I talk about this more in my video) and I really enjoyed how the author writes. There were some rather extreme moments that I didn’t fully believe that also lead to characters making up which I found even HARDER to believe. But I really liked the Dyslexia representation, something I can relate to but also interesting to see this from a non-white perspective. I personally recommend it if you love romance and sexual tension.
Hunger Games 1 & 2 5/5 stars. Another old series I started in 2020, but I feel like these books have held up well, if anything they are still relevant today… I’ve actually been seeing memes about the tiers and lockdowns in the UK being referred to like the Districts in the Hunger Games. Funny but also awful. I also love the selection of disabled characters in the books they’ve had so far, just wish they were gayer.
Harry Potter 1-73/5 stars. A series I wanted to read so I could put my own opinions out there on the content. Though parts I loved and felt very nostalgic over, there were a lot of parts that were deeply upsetting to read, especially thinly veiled misogyny, xenophobia, transphobia, ableism, racism… All I’m going to say is, if you continue to read and enjoy Harry Potter, you need to look at it critically and be aware of it’s issues.
Dark Days by James Baldwin 5/5 stars. Very short read, also very cheap if you want to buy new at £1 or less! Three essays that are definitely a staple read for 2021, there’s basically no excuse not to read this and open your eyes to Civil Rights and Gay Rights Protests of History, written very well by a queer Black man of the time. I plan to read more of his work when I have the money and the chance to browse a bookshop again.
Transformation 2/5 stars. The writing wasn’t great, didn’t seem to have been edited before publishing, I liked the premise of the story: queer merpeople? Mood. But the story fell quite flat and I thought some places the writer could have been more creative with it had just been missed and it was a super white story.
My Mad Fat Diary 3/4 stars. Besides the homophobic and racist comments, it was an enjoyable book. I find it hard to enjoy books that use slurs etc. where the writer/character isn’t from the community the slur is related to. I know this is based in the 80s but I feel like there is another way to do it.
Gossip Girl 1-7 4/5 stars. These were a great time to read, I do plan to continue reading this series I think there are 5-7 more books but they aren’t easy to find second hand! Minimal slurs used in this series and everyone is gayer. I’ll be making a reading vlog for this series that will go up on my Channel later this month so sub to the channel and keep your eyes peeled.
Mediator book 1 1/5 stars. Not anything like I remembered this series being like. There are a lot of problematic things said and used including cultural appropriation. I wanted to re-read the full series but the first book hit so badly that I truly couldn’t and unhauled all of the books I had.
Pretty Little Liars book 1 4/5 stars. This was a lot better than I was expecting, a thriller version of Gossip Girl really in a more rural suburb. Rich white girls coming out my ears, I would REALLY like to read more books about people on an average household income rather than stinking rich and there isn’t often an inbetween. I like that the sapphic romance is canon and I’d be interested to see how this develops and the character of Emily in general, but I also still really love Hannah even in the books. I think Caleb was a character made for the show, so I’m curious about Hannah’s romantic life after boyfriend 1.
I hope you enjoyed this post! I am currently working on reading as many books as possible in January for a video, and my video next week will be about the series of books I started and want to continue/finish in 2021, so I will mention some of the above but go into more details as to why. With a lockdown still hanging over my head, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to leave the house (so far its estimated mid Feb but nothing official) and I’m not sure when I’ll be getting my vaccines, but I’ll keep everyone updated on all of that. It’ll just be a lot of books content, I think! I don’t have a lot to do or talk about. I’m trying to submit a lot of work and for a lot of projects in January so I may make a post discussing that, let me know if you’d be interested in reading about projects outside of my personal ones. I’ve taken a break from doing a lot of stuff, but I want to try and get back into streaming on Twitch again, please follow me there and you’ll be notified when I go live!
Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see from me specifically!
Here’s an update on my goals of 2020, how I did and what I want to achieve this year! Maybe a little about what I’ve learned but I think I discussed that more in my December Goals post where I tried to go for a final push to reach my 2020 goals.
Both goals reached! I did have to hit 300 subscribers twice as my first video post after reaching 300, 5 people unsubbed and took me back under my goal and I had to do another promo push which took another week and a half.
I just wanted to add a little Book Suggestions section!
Check out Wranglestone! Queer YA Zombie Mystery
I think I’m going to be a bit less bothered about my Facebook follow numbers, I’d like them to go up obviously and I’ve found it can be a good source of traffic. TikTik surprised me this year, I accidentally ended up at over 1,000 followers so gave myself an aim of 2k and it carried on growing after that. I mainly want my YouTube and Instagram and blog followers to go up as these are my main creative spaces I put a lot of work into! The algorithms change semi-regularly, it’s hard to keep up as a small creator and hard to understand what is and isn’t working. But I’ll keep pushing as I would love to make this stuff my full time paying job, I love creating so much and sharing my thoughts, it really is a passion for me but it is hard.
I hope everyone had a good 2020! And the best of luck for 2021.
I’ve nearly completed my 2020 GoodReads Challenge with only a few books left to read, but I recently went through my TBR of all the books I own to check their page length to start strong in 2021, or in case I need a bit of help by the end of next year. So I’ll be listing books around 250 pages or less and a little info about them, and then also include some books from my Already Read list to help you guys end the year or start next year strong!
Books I Own and Still Haven’t Read
Witch Child by Celia Rees: 240 pages. a charity shop pick up. YA novel about a teenage girl who loses her grandmother to a hanging because she was accused of being a witch. The MC narrowly escapes this fate but has to hide her identity from here on. I talked about this book in my 2020 TBR video but never got to reading it.
Lord Loss by Darren Shan: 224 pages. I’ve had and kept this book for a long time. I’ve never actually read this. I have a vague memory of reading the beginning but that’s it, so I’d like to pick it up and finally give it a read now that I enjoy spookier stories. I talked in more depth in this post.
The Psychic Case Files: 224 pages. Tony Stockwell is a psychic medium often invited to help in cold cases. Everyone is on it with true crime at the moment, I think this could be a good book to introduce me to the world of reading crime, nonfiction or fiction. (In NonFic TBR post)
Vampyr Legion by Alan Gibbons: 192 pages. “What if there are places where our nightmares live and wait for us? Phoenix has found one and it’s alive. Armies of bloodsucking vampyrs and terrifying werewolves, the creatures of our darkest dreams, are poised to invade our world. After his battle with the evil Gamesmaster in SHADOW OF THE MINOTAUR, Phoenix knows this is for real. As he prepares to enter the second deadly computer game in The Legendeer series, he knows he must win or never come back. It’s kind of like a Jumanji but for supernatural beings. I have a vague memory of reading this and would like to re-read it. I didn’t know this was the second in its series but I seemed to get on with it fine the first time, so I’m not too worried. (Discussed in this post)
The End of Eddy: 192 pages. A memoir about a man who grew up in a village in the North of France, coming to terms with his sexuality in a place that wasn’t very accepting. Apparently very popular with thousands of ratings on Goodreads averaging nearly 4 stars. I was gifted this book at uni for participating in a performance night (mentioned in NonFic TBR post)
The Great Gastby.by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 200 pages. As we are nearly back in our own roaring 20’s, I’d like to give this a read. Dumbass me ended up buying the play version by accident but found a used copy of the novel in the Last Bookstore in LA! I thought the interpretation of the novel into film in 2011 (right??) was pretty cool, plus I love Dicaprio and McGuire and will be imagining them as I read. Plus, I’m not really a Classics reader and the most I’ve read is Shakespeare and Frankenstein. My attempts at reading Austin were futile and I can only hope that Gatsby won’t hurt my brain. tbr books ive had a while blog post
Human Enough: 199 pages. A YA Fantasy about a young queer autistic vampire hunter who has a vampire boyfriend… I talked about this in a video too!
Midnight: 192 pages. A Jacqueline Wilson Middle Grade book. “Violet has always been in the shadow of her mesmerizing, controlling brother Will — by turns delightful and terrifying. Now that Will has learned a shocking secret about his own past, things seem to be getting worse.” This is on my Re-read list for 2021.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: varies from 90-200 pages, I have a pretty short novel at maybe 150. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. It is about a London lawyer named John Gabriel Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde.
Talking as Fast as I Can: 224 pages. The memoir of Lauren Graham, Loreli of Gilmore Girls. A book of personal essays through her life, supposed to be comedic, and also lots of behind the scenes of Gilmore Girls (which is one of my favourite shows as I discuss in this post!!) I haven’t seen Lauren in other roles and I’m not sure I could actually ever see her in one because I truly fell in love with Loreli.
Wishful Drinking: 163 pages. This was a random addition I bought for 99p on Amazon for kindle. This happens semi-regularly that a book I’ve had on my wishlist is discounted so much I find it hard to say no. I read Postcards From the Edge a few years ago, I picked up a copy in a charity shop obviously, and really enjoyed it. I’ve read that this is actually a memoir and even though I was never really a fan of Carrie’s until she died, but I know she is a very interesting lady and can’t wait to learn more about her.
Bridget Jones’s Diary: 288 pages. a little over what I was going for but also, it is in diary format in some places, or uses lists. Mentioned in my Birthday Book Haul.
Ugly Shy Girl: 96 pages. This is a poetry book I grabbed on Hive.co.uk pretty cheap because I wanted to have and read some more poetry. “This twisted tale is about the struggle of growing up in a place where you don’t belong, surrounded by people you hate …and how delicious getting your own back can be.”
Dark To Light: 64 pages. a poetry book, “one woman’s journey through the darkness, madness, loneliness, and despair of manic-depression. The book opens with poetry and prose that express the darker side of the illness. It is in her darkness, however, that she learns she is not alone and that by sticking together with others caught in the same bondage as she, there is both Hope and Light to be found.”
If you want to buy any of these books, check out this link, I’ll be adding lists as I go. This includes an affiliate link.
Books I’ve Read
Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman, a beautiful graphic novel about Charlie and Nick falling in love and having that fluffy rom-com episodic story. See my other posts about these books here and here and my two videos here and here. The perfect mixture of manga style drawings and story telling, with a cast of very British people. Wonderful selection of characters who portray all kinds of different people of our real world. Wonderful bisexual representation with our main boy Nick. A light and fluffy story, even the angsty bits aren’t too angsty and you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside. I’m also very excited for volume three to come out in early February! Book three TW Eating Disorders.
The Georgia Nicolson Series: roughly 250 pages a book. 10 books in the series.
Gossip Girl Series: 225 pages per book, 12-14 books in the series. “Welcome to New York City’s Upper East Side, where my friends and I live, go to school, play, and sleep—sometimes with each other. S is back from boarding school, and if we aren’t careful, she’s going to win over our teachers, wear that dress we couldn’t fit into, steal our boyfriends’ hearts, and basically ruin our lives in a major way. I’ll be watching closely . . . You know you love me,” Check out my thoughts on book one here. A reading vlog is coming in the new year.
From Baghdad, with Love: 264 pages, just over my aim but definitely a short read. “Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman went to extraordinary lengths to bring back to America the puppy his combat-hardened Marines rescued in war-torn Fallujah–called the “most dangerous city on Earth.” That tense journey back to peacetime America was the easy part, they would learn. By the time they returned home, Lava and Lt. Col. Kopelman were kindred spirits, bound by the chaos they had shared in Iraq.”
Dark Days: 50 page book of three essays. Also available super cheap. “White man, hear me! History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. … in great pain and terror one begins to assess the history which has placed one where one is, and formed one’s point of view. … My point of view certainly is formed by my history, and it is probable that only a creature despised by history finds history a questionable matter. On the other hand, people who imagine that history flatters them (as it does, indeed, since they wrote it) are impaled on their history like a butterfly on a pin and become incapable of seeing or changing themselves, or the world.”Check out my instagram post where I talked about my overall thoughts on this book.
Lot: 179 pages. “Stories of a young man finding his place among family and community in Houston, from a powerful, emerging American voice. In the city of Houston – a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America – the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He’s working at his family’s restaurant, weathering his brother’s blows, resenting his older sister’s absence. And discovering he likes boys.”
Queer: a Graphic History: 176 pages and it’s a graphic novel/book. I mention it in my December TBR and my Wrap up video.
Kai Cheng Thom’s Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: 188 pages. A creative non-fiction novel with really beautiful fantasy elements woven in and some sections of poetry, about a trans woman of colour. I spoke more on this book in this post and NonFic TBR post. This book was an interesting one. I won it in a giveaway and I’m glad that happened, because I’m not sure I would have picked it up myself. It’s easy to read and has a wonderful twist on the typical memoir with beautiful fantasy comparisons and descriptions. Also check out my videos recommending it here and here.
Beautiful Music For Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills: 262 pages. This is the first book I’ve read with a trans main character. His name is Gabe and he wants to be a radio DJ and works on a community radio in the dead of night. I do feel like it’s sad and unfortunate that we know Gabe’s dead name in this (because we all know this leads to people dead naming the character rather than forcing them to use the correct name) and there is transphobic related violence later in the book, besides that I enjoyed the book a lot
Rupi Kaur poetry books: 204 pages of short poetry. “Milk and honey’ is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. ‘milk and honey’ takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.” The Sun and Her Flowers.
the witch doesn’t burn in this oneby Amanda Lovelace: 192 pages. I’d call this the political book of insta poetry. This has similar formatting to Rupi Kaur, which makes it accessible and easy to get through, and leaves an echo of each poem’s final line in your mind. It’s also very inclusive feminist art, I’ve not read anything that includes all women in their art and says it so out right. I love the links to witches and magic, it really hit the nail on the head with metaphors and analogies. This book made me feel angry and powerful all at once and fed me motivation to change things. If you’re looking for revolution, this is your poetry book. 2019 wrap up
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan; 200 pages. This may have been my first queer book read. Multi-POV book showing us a selection of different queer boys and narrated by the gay men of previous generations who had died and did not get to live their full life because of AIDs and the laws we had in place in the Western World. It’s a lovely book with a sad overtone because of the narration but something I really enjoyed and have re-read a few times.
Obviously there are millions of books out there that probably meet the 250 pages or below criteria, but this stemmed from making my own list from my own books and I thought including books I have already read would be beneficial. I may continue making posts like this when I have accumulated enough new books. Leave your recommendations in the comments!