Top 10 Backlist Books I Hope to Read This Year

Last week, I talked about some of my most anticipated new releases for this year, but of course, there are a lot of books already sitting on my shelves that I also need to read. Some of these were released last year, some of them long, long before that. I thought it would be fun to follow up last week’s post with another list. This one is about all the books I already own that I’m most looking forward to reading this year.

Maybe at the end of the year, I can come back and see how many of them I read. Hopefully, I’ll actually get to at least some of them.

These are in no particular order.

The Rise of Kyoshi and The Shadow of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee

Last year, Avatar: The Last Airbender received a wonderful surge in popularity because it and its companion/sequel series The Legend of Korra were both finally released on Netflix. With the new influx of fans, I decided to rewatch the series and immerse myself in the world all over again (which I do a lot anyway). While doing that I discovered the existence of these canon novels about the life of Avatar Kyoshi.

Obviously I had to buy them, and I even started reading the first book, but then got distracted by something else and put it down. I haven’t finished them yet, so they’re way at the top of my list to read this year. Fingers crossed that it happens!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

All I really know is that the book’s about a girl (named Addie LaRue, unsurprisingly) that no one ever remembers. The concept sounds similar to a book I read a few years ago, The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North. That’s also about a girl (this time named Hope) that everyone forgets within seconds once she’s out of their sight.

Even though I thought The Sudden Appearance of Hope was just okay, I think the concept behind it is fascinating. I’m hoping V.E. Schwab will be able to take that idea and make it amazing with this book. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, too.

Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang

This is the third book in a trilogy. It’s set in an alternate universe where every person is born with two distinct souls inside one body. Then, when they’re around five years old, they’re supposed to “settle,” one of the two souls fading away for good. Except, for our main characters, Addie and Eva, that’s not what happened.

In the first book, What’s Left of Me, no one except Addie knows it, but Eva is still around. She’s trapped inside their shared mind, but unable to control their movements or speak. And when they discover there’s a way that Eva might be able to move again, she wants nothing more than to do it.

I started reading this series a long time ago, and it’s taken me a while to get around to reading this final book, but I still really do want to finish. I just don’t know when. At this point, I’d probably need to reread the first two books to really understand what’s happening in the third one.

Slay by Brittney Morris

I’ve talked about this book before, but it’s been a while. It’s a YA novel about seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnston, the creator of the secret online role-playing card game known as SLAY. It’s the only place where she feels like she and hundreds of thousands of other Black gamers can truly be themselves.

When SLAY comes into the public eye after a murder over an in-game dispute, the game is labeled racist. Kiera must fight to preserve her identity and protect the game she loves.

Every time I look at this book on my shelf, I think about how much I want to read it. Hopefully, that means I’ll get to it here soon.

American Royals by Katharine McGee

Set in an alternate version of the modern day, this book explores the question of what would have happened if, instead of becoming president, America had offered George Washington a crown instead? And now, over two hundred years later, his descendants still sit on the throne.

Obviously, there are a whole host of reasons why this didn’t happen in real life, but it’s an interesting thought experiment. I love books that play with the idea of how much one change in history could affect our lives today.

Not that I’m really expecting this book to be that deep. Based on most of the reviews I’ve seen, it’s mostly going to be pretty light-hearted, with lots of romance and drama. I’m hoping it’ll be a fun ride.

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

I’ll admit, this one is kind of cheating because I have technically already started reading it. It’s actually my current read, though I started it back at the end of December (yes, I’m slow). So I’m pretty much guaranteed to finish this one in the next month or so as long as I stick with it. But hey, I’m okay with having at least one book on this list that’s basically a given (knock on wood), since I tend to struggle to stick to TBRs like this.

I suppose to add to this I could say that I’d also like to read at least through book four. But that doesn’t really fit with the whole “backlist” idea. I don’t yet own any Wheel of Time books except for the first one and the last one (funny story there).

But anyway, yes, The Eye of the World is a book I’m excited to read this year, and I hope to finish it soon!

Loveless by Alice Oseman

I started reading this last year but then put it down for some reason and didn’t end up picking it back up. Loveless is a book I’ve wanted to read for a while. I was enjoying it when I started reading it in 2020, but 2020 was, well, 2020… so I never actually finished it.

This is a book about a girl who’s never been in love, and she’s starting to wonder if maybe there’s something wrong with her. It’s about asexuality and being aromantic and friendship and growing up and lots of other things. I’ve never read an Alice Oseman book, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about them. This seemed like a good place to start.

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

This is book two in the Lightbringer series, which I started reading at the beginning of last year. I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while and haven’t read it yet. Before I forget absolutely everything that happened in the first book, I need to read this one.

This book is part of an epic fantasy series where the magic system is based on different colors of light. Each color has a different ability, and most people can only use one. Rarer magic users can use two, and even rarer ones can use three or more. Then there’s a person called the Prism, who is able to use all of the colors of light. Normally, there is only supposed to be one Prism at a time.

I enjoyed the first book quite a bit, but I always struggle a little with continuing after reading the first book. It’s really my own fault because I don’t usually like to buy books unless I’m reasonably sure that I will like them. So, when it comes to new series I want to try, I will often buy only the first book and read it. Then if I love it, I don’t have the next book to immediately dive into. Instead, I have to go and buy it or order it online, which takes a while.

And by the time I finally have my hands on the next book, I’m not as interested in reading it anymore. It’s a vicious cycle.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

(Or at least The Fellowship of the Ring, anyway.) I’ve had a big paperback movie tie-in edition bind-up of the entire series sitting unread on my shelves for… a while now.

The biggest reason why I haven’t read this yet is that I’m nervous about the writing. I read The Hobbit years ago and didn’t really like it because of the writing. It’s concerning because people always say that book is a lot easier to get into than the actual trilogy is.

But then again, I was much younger when I read The Hobbit. So who knows, maybe I’ll have no trouble with the writing.

Either way, I really want to at least try to read this series/book this year. It’s just such a massive part of the history of fantasy that I almost feel like I need to read it.


There you go! Ten books I already own that I’m hoping to get to sometime in 2021 (I’m counting the first two I mentioned as two separate entries on the list, even though they were grouped together).

What books on your physical TBR are you planning on reading this year? Let me know down below, and thanks for reading!

I’ll see you next time.

-Ariel

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