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, and one coming in 2022 is If You Could See The Sun about selling secrets to pay for schooling! 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’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!
We are getting close to wrapping up the year, I’m putting up a video in the next few weeks about all the books I own but still need to read, so my full TBR that I want to try and demolish in 2021 before rebuilding a new collection of books to be read! Today, I thought I would talk about the most daunting and intimidating books on my TBR and why they feel that way to me and possibly why I’ve struggled to complete TBRs I’ve made in the past.
If you want to support me and indie bookshops, use my affiliate link when you next shop and browse my book lists. I have tried to link all of the book mentioned.
The Sight by David Clement Davies: “Morgra knows that one of the pups born beneath the castle holds a key to power even stronger than her own power that could give her control of this world and the next. But the pack she hunts will do anything to protect their own, even if it means setting in motion a battle that will involve all of nature, including the creature the wolves fear the most: Man.” It’s a very fat book, which is my main concern with reading this. I worry that I’ll get half way and hate it, and have wasted God knows how long reading a book I might DNF.
Dead Tomorrow by Peter James: This was a book I picked up as a part of my reading books about my local area theme, “The body of a teenager dredged from the seabed off the coast of Sussex is found to be missing its vital organs. Soon two more young bodies are found. Caitlin Beckett, a fifteen-year-old in Brighton, will die if she does not receive an urgent liver transplant. When the health system threatens to let her down, Lynn, her mother, turns in panic to the internet and discovers a broker who can provide her with a black-market organ – but at a price.” I love watching crime shows but wanted to delve into the realm of reading it. It is quite a chunky book though, so I hope the pacing is good and it’s filled with lots to keep me interested. I also relate to the topic but worry it might be gory.
Black Hills by Nora Roberts: Apparently this is classed as a Romance, Thriller, Mystery so not usually something I go for but it sounded interesting when I picked it up. “Twelve years later and Cooper has returned to run the ranch after his grandfather is injured in a fall. Though his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something – or someone – has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks escalate into heartless killing, the memory of an unsolved murder in these very hills has Cooper springing to action to keep Lil safe. They both know the dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. And now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.” Uh, bit of an odd plot but I’ll have a go.
The Woodpecker Story – I’ve mentioned this before, many times, but it is the story of the Woodpecker platoon of the RAF in World War Two. My great Granddad was the mechanic in this platoon and he died 11 years ago. I can’t ask him any more questions, so I hope this book will one day give me some more interesting information of what he went through during that period of his life. But I’m worried it won’t be enjoyable or about the specific events my Granddad experienced. I talked about this in my 2020 TBR video.
The Body Book: The Law Of Hunger, The Science of Strength, and Other Ways To Love Your Body By Cameron Diaz, this book is about health and learning to love and care for your body based on scientific facts. This is the important part for me, I find it’s close to impossible to find reputable sources when it comes to nutrition and fitness, and I really enjoy Cameron’s work and social media presence, and I feel like this would be a good book for me to continue learning about these things and implement them into my own life. She also has a second book on body science called The Longevity Book. Again, for me, it’s the accessibility factor I worry about and I hope that I’ll be able to understand what it is talking about.
Trans Britain – Another book I’ve mentioned a few times. The history of Trans people in Britain, a topic I don’t know much about and feel I should as a trans Brit. Interviews with different trans people. It’s quite a thick book and even though I really enjoy nonfiction, I do worry about being able to find full books interesting. I mentioned this in my Lockdown TBR video.
Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter – A Memoir by Adeline Yen Mah, who born in 1937 North of Shanghai and the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family. She sadly suffered abuse in her youth from her ‘Eurasian’ step-mother. She eventually moved to England the America to become a physician and a writer. I’m trying to make my reading more diverse when it comes to race and heritage, because it’s very easy to pick up a book by a white British or American author in England without thinking. I’m not sure when I picked this book up, I believe when I was at university, and I’m really interested to get into this one. Almost 300 pages long, it’s an average length. Another popular book with thousands of ratings on Goodreads. Accidentally picking up a very popular book is always daunting for me because I worry it won’t live up to the feedback I’ve already seen.
Angela Carter’s books of Wayward Girls and Wicked Women, I’ve read one or two short stories from Angela Carter and I know she’s of the Gothic Literature genre, which is intimidating enough by itself. I think this is also an anthology book with multiple writers, but it’s short so hopefully even if I find it’s not for me, maybe I’ll manage to get through it. This is from my Collective Lockdown Book Haul post.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, I’m still working on my GoodReads Challenge of 2020, I have three books left to read. Check out my video where I talk about this. I’ve also taken a look through my books at which ones have less pages and see if I can bash out a good chunk of my reading early in 2021, I may write a post on this too as it may be a helpful post for anyone looking for some shorter reads! Let me know what you think! What’s a book you want to read but are most intimidated by?
If you follow my YouTube Channel, you know I’ve been participating in a slower paced National Novel Writing Month challenge. For full details, watch this video I made at the start of the month! I wanted to talk through an update here, because I have no other post ideas for a start, but I also wanted to remind you of my channel and tell you to check out some videos and my NaNoWriMo writing streams (all saved and archived, available to view again if you wish) and join in before the month is finally up.
With 10 days left, I have 2 more streams on the channel scheduled (subscribe and turn notifications on to get the alerts) I have been keeping up with my word counts. I aimed for 100 words a day for the 30 days, 3,000 words over all by the end, but also let myself have the flexibility of catching up if I didn’t write for a few days. Won’t lie, I have not written every day and each of my writing streams have been catch up streams. I have managed to write roughly 500 words each go, so now I’m at 1,500 (hopefully 2,000 by the time this goes up as I plan to have a stream earlier in the day) and I am pretty pleased with myself and the ability to sit down and write when I set down an hour and a half for streaming.
This has opened up my eyes to possibly doing this more often, either with editing or writing other things, maybe even reading or studying? I see people do most of these on YouTube and didn’t really get it before. The more I think about applying for a Masters the more I think using this streaming system will be handy for my focus and motivation. While writing personal statements? Writing and editing the submission pieces? Whenever I actually start the course, reading streams for course books or studying streams for essays etc. A side of University and the internet I didn’t know existed when I was last at uni and might actually be a beneficial study hack!
I know it must sound a bit barmey but I think it’s the accountability of people being on the stream and recording yourself live to stay on the channel. It’s like being able to study with people at the library, or dedicated class time. It helps me feel like I have accomplished something if at the end of an hour and a half I have 500 words added to my WIP. It reminds me of being in Uni doing my Bachelors, writing to a deadline. The deadline here is the end of the month, but there’s no grade depending on my perfectionism. It’s all just about getting the words down for a first draft. I think this is something I’d like to incorporate into my YouTube Channel more often. Maybe a couple of times a month? I’m not really sure, but It’s working out almost twice a week, once every five days. Maybe I’ll set up a schedule? Honestly, who knows. This is all very new and a big experiment and kind of exciting. It has a similar feel to the virtual writers retreats I have done before, but there are more people involved in those, I hope my streams will grow to be something of this size. I’d also like to go to a real like writers retreat sometime, I had my eye on Ruckus Retreat run by a YouTuber I met a while back at a small book event. Sadly all of that has been put on hold because of Covid, but it has been nice to see more web based organised events popping up like Underrep’d Writers Fest.
As a chronic procrastinator, I’ve had to constantly find new ways to work around it and figure out techniques that help me focus. I am diagnosed dyslexic, I talked about this a little very early on in my blogging journey, but I am pretty sure I have something else going on that I am not entirely comfortable discussing at this time. My physical disabilities also impact my abilities to work and study and have given me barriers I had to learn to tackle and work with. Chronically fatigued and brain fogged can make ‘doing the words’ hard to do. If you know me in person, you know I often struggle remembering the names of things and we have to do a mini game of charades, and I’m useless with names, I made a tiktok recently joking about my habit of binging shows and having next to no idea what any of the characters are called even when it’s 6+ seasons long and 22 episodes a series. I talk a lot about these kinds of barriers in my recent video, and how chronic illness can often make me feel like I can’t do anything I want to do. (cw: mental illness talk, suicide ideation, lots of crying, discussion of some medical trauma)
Will I be doing this next year? I’m not sure, but it’s not a no. I may do another more chill version of NaNoWriMo like I’ve done this year, or just incorporate the habits I’ve picked up this month year round, maybe I’ll set out to complete my WIP or another novel within the month. Who knows, the possibilities are endless right now. I have definitely learned some new skills and a new appreciation for taking time out of my week to talk to people and write my story. Finding an enjoyment in writing again has been really important.
That’s all from me for now. Subscribe to the channel to keep up with this particular journey, I hope you join in for some livestreams.