Beat the Backlist

I have followed NovelKnight for years now, and I have always wanted to participate in the Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge, but it always felt too intimidating for me as a mood reader. I have decided that 2021 is the year! I want to get through some of the books that have been on my TBR for way too long and that I am really excited to read.

The Beat the Backlist reading challenge is designed to help you tackle all the books you keep meaning to read and still haven’t. The guidelines are simple:

  1. The book must be published in the previous year or earlier (for the 2021 challenge, anything published in 2020 or earlier counts).
  2. You have to start and finish the book in 2021.
  3. And that’s it!

Click the link at the top of this post if you want to learn more about how to participate in the Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge. There are two prompts list, one with 52 prompts and the other with 24. I thought I might as well go in and I am going to see how many of the 52 prompts I can complete.

Some of these I cannot plan in advance, but I thought it could be fun to share some of the books that I have in mind for a few of the prompts.

more than one author


I adored My Lady Jane, so I cannot believe that I haven’t continued on with the series, which is written by three authors. I know they have a new series coming out in 2021, so I need to get caught up!

it’s on a ship! 


The Devil and the Dark Water was one of my most anticipated novels of 2020, but I just don’t think I am going to get to it this year. Pretty much all I know about it is that it takes place on a ship, so it is perfect for this prompt!

purple cover

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You Should See Me In a Crown received a lot of buzz this year and I kept meaning to pick it up. Also, look at all that purple on the cover!

non-human character


2021 is the year that I will continue on with The Murderbot Diaries. I adored the first two books and wanted to catch up with the series this year but you know how I am with series!

cover with your country’s flag colors


I am Canadian, so my flag colours are red and white. Monday’s Not Coming could not be a better pick for this prompt, and it is also the last of Tiffany D. Jackson’s books that I have to read.

features a carnival or circus

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Akemi Dawn Bowman wrote one of my favourite books, Starfish, and I keep meaning to pick up more from her. I know that the main character in Harley in the Sky is a trapeze artist, so it is perfect!

snake on the cover


I am the last person to read Ninth House? I have had mixed feelings about Bardugo’s books, but I love dark academia, so I want to give this a chance in 2021.

second book in a duology


I read the first book in this duology earlier this year and was surprised by much I enjoyed it. I am curious to see what Hank Green does with this story!

book about bones OR “bone” in the title


Bone Gap has been sitting on my shelves unread for years! I am so intrigued by the premise, so it is about time that I prioritize it.

As I complete these challenges throughout the year, I will also be sharing my recommendations for each of the prompts. I would also love any recommendations that you may have, especially books with lost royalty and that mention pineapples!

Will you be participating is the 2021 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge? Are there any other reading challenges that you will be attempting?

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47 thoughts on “Beat the Backlist

  1. I do beat the backlist every year although I don’t think I’ve ever done the challenges I mostly just keep track of how many backlist books I read and forgetting to update the tracker. lol

  2. Oh I might go and participate in this as well!
    I hope you enjoy the books you’re planning to read!


  3. I think I’m going to try doing this for 2021 .. I also think I might do the A to Z Alphabet Reading Challenge too, but not sure. Good luck and happy reading! 🙂

  4. I’ve done beat the backlist in the past. I’m not sure what challenges I’ll be doing in 2021 yet. Good luck on your backlist tbr!

  5. I hadn’t heard of this readathon before but it sounds like something see myself paarticipating in, so I might give it a chance! I’m sorry I don’t have any recommendations for you for lost royalty or Pineapples (really intrigues on what you’ll end up reading for this one).
    Happy reading!

  6. This is such a cool challenge!! I might join it we will see. Highly recommend A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, I’m halfway through and it really appeals to my science nerd heart <3 There are a lot of flaws to the series but it's so unabashedly full of a love for learning that I Just adore it so much!!

  7. I honestly haven’t even started thinking about my 2021 reading plans. I have participated in this challenge twice before and have epically failed both times but I might try it again next year.

  8. Good luck, this challenge always looks like a fun time! And the books you have in mind are some I’m excited to read as well, so I’ll look forward to your reviews in the new year! 🙂

  9. Ahhh I should totally do this. Honestly this year I read way more backlist titles than I planned to and I’ve totally been digging it. I’ve been reading a lot of series too and I’ve just loved the reading freedom that commiting myself to less ARCs has given me. Part of me feels like ARCs just havent been as great this year bc of publishing issues due to the pandemic, but regardless lately I’ve been more excited by backlist books and series

      1. I feel like last year I read pretty much nothing but ARCs. But there are tons of older books out there that are incredible that I havent read. And not every new release is going to be amazing. I think having less ARCs has really given me freedom to binge read series and find backlist titles that I missed out on when they first came out.

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