This year has been… kind of a disaster. Which I’m sure pretty much all of you can agree with. And it definitely affected my reading habits. So it feels like there are more books I meant to read and didn’t than there usually are at the end of the year. Partly because I didn’t read nearly as much as I usually do. Which is fine. It is what it is. If I learned anything this year, it’s how necessary it is to give myself a break and rest. Also, in my mind, this year barely counts, so whatever.

That said, today I’m talking about the backlist books I didn’t get to. I’m still hoping to get to one more new release before the end of the year, so I’ll be doing my post with all the new releases I meant to get to (and didn’t) a bit later in the month. But, for now, here are the backlist books (books published before 2020) that I meant to read this year, but didn’t get around to:

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Last year, I read A Gentleman in Moscow and it quickly became one of my favorite books. I loved it so much. So, this year, I really wanted to read another book by Amor Towles. I’ve heard absolutely amazing things about this one. I’m convinced I will love it, and it’s still pretty high up on my list for 2021.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This one falls more into the “books I meant to finish this year” category. Because I actually got about thirty percent of the way into it. And was really enjoying it. But the rest of my book club was really behind, so I put it down so I could read it before our meeting and have it fresh in my mind. And then we just never met again, so I didn’t finish this. There have been several times this year I meant to just finish it on my own, and I have no idea why I didn’t. But it’s going to be a big goal for January for me to finish all of the books I started this year, but didn’t finish. Oops.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

I absolutely love Tudor history, so it’s kind of surprising I haven’t read this one yet. I’ve heard kind of mixed reviews from people who have similar tastes in books, so I’m pretty curious. I think why it ended up on my reading list for this year was that Obama put it on his favorite books of the year list, and he always recommends some pretty great books. Still high up on my reading list, but there are definitely other books I want to try to get to first. I think I have to be in the right mood for this, but it’ll definitely be the book I pick up when that Tudor history mood hits.

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

I have only every read a short story by Hemingway (maybe I read two of them, it’s been a while). I remember loving it, and then I just never read any more of his work. But I think the reason I might not have gotten to this is because I just wasn’t feeling super excited about it this year. I put this on my reading list for this year, but even then I wasn’t feeling particularly drawn to it, I just have a desire to someday read more Hemingway. So maybe I’ll wait until I feel excited to pick this up.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

If I’m being completely honest, a young adult book about an aspiring rapper is really not my thing. But I loved The Hate U Give so, so much, and really want to read more Angie Thomas. I am hoping this book takes me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. I’m just afraid I won’t like it, because it is so not something I typically enjoy. So, there’s a chance I could love this, and there’s a chance I could not enjoy it (which will be super disappointing). It’s Shrodinger’s book, and I’m just not ready to open that box.

Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier

I read Rebecca for the second time a few years ago, and ended up loving it even more than the first time I read it. But it’s still the only Daphne du Maurier book I’ve read. And I definitely want to read more, so I added this to my reading list for this year. I don’t have a specific reason why I didn’t get to it, it just didn’t happen. I have actually physically picked this up a few times, but it was always during massive slumps (I had a lot of those this year) and reading a classic didn’t seem like a great idea at the time. I want to focus on reading more classics next year, so hopefully this will happen.


Putting together my end of the year posts just makes me more disappointed in how my reading year played out. But I can always read these books next year, because I still do want to read all of them.

Are there any backlist books you meant to read in 2020 that just got away from you? Any of the books on my list that you think I should make a priority for 2021?

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