Since I set such loose reading goals for 2022 (almost none), it’s taking me a bit to really get into the swing of things. Or maybe it’s because I know that school starts again next week and my schedule will drastically change again then. Whatever the reason, today I’m sharing a post working through some of the books that I expected to read in 2021 and discussing whether or not I still want to read them. These are books which, at the beginning of 2021, I thought would be worth spending a significant amount of time with. They lean toward being literary in nature, so they’re more introspective and tend to be more descriptive than some books. Sadly, with each year I get farther from my English degree, I find myself appreciating this kind of book less, and those with a more engaging plot and sympathetic characters more. I’m finding that it takes more mental energy to really get into them, and I often simply don’t have the time to or want to spend my time in that way these days. Some still sound worthwhile, but others not so much. If you’ve read any of these, let me know what you think of them in the comments!
2021 High Priority TBR Follow Up
The state of this book list would be laughable if my priorities hadn’t changed partway through the year.
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Honestly, don’t ask me why, but for a few years in undergrad I loved Faulkner’s works. They have so much depth, and for a time I loved diving in and creeping through each layer, seeking connections and figuring out how things worked together and what they might mean. Sadly, these days, Faulkner’s novels feel like too much work. The Sound and the Fury is one that a fair amount of people read in high school or a basic college English class, and since it never made it to a syllabus for any class I took, I would eventually like to get around to reading it. This isn’t going to happen while I have something as pressing as grad school going on though. I’m removing this book from “high priority” to “eventually.”
Laddie: A True-Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter
I started this one early in 2021 and enjoyed it for the most part. However, my copy is falling apart and I hesitate to take it out of the room it lives in. When school got in the way of pleasure reading I sat this book down and haven’t picked it up again since. I would like to finish the story sooner rather than later, so I’ll keep it on my “maybe this year” TBR list but not at high priority.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
I may not ever get around to reading this book. When I started working on my MLIS, I intended to borrow an audio copy and listen to it on the long drive to and from weekend classes. However, when COVID made everything go virtual, it meant I didn’t have to take such long drives! There are definitely both pros and cons to this, but one side effect is that I have not put any time into this book and I don’t particularly have the motivation to do so anytime soon. It’s being relegated to my regular TBR list, and I may or may not get to it at a later time.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
So many intentions for classics that I didn’t get to this year. This is one that I was supposed to read my senior year of undergrad, but the professor felt that she ran out of time to teach it well, so we didn’t get to it. Multiple people have encouraged reading this book since then as well. Again, I hope to get to it eventually, but I’m moving it to my general TBR list as I don’t expect to have the brain space for it until at least after I finish my current program.
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The above paragraph about Gilead nearly sums up my relationship with Middlemarch as well. I have a few friends who are very into the Eliots, and have been since we were in the same English program together. Again, it’s one that I truly do hope to read eventually, but I anticipate it will require more attention than I can currently give. It’s going back to the general TBR list.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
In this book overlap my desire to read more classics and the knowledge that my fall 2021 semester included a children’s literature course. That class ended up focusing on new books instead of classics though, so this one didn’t fit within the required reading. However, I think some of the children in my personal life might enjoy this book, so I do want to read it either on my own (so that I can recommend it) or with them sometime soonish. It’s not exactly high priority for 2022, but I do hope that it won’t linger on my TBR much longer.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Here we have the strangest book I have ever come across. I tried so hard to read it in 2021, but had to stop for both my sanity and the fact that school was taking over all of my reading time. At the time I insisted that I would come back to it when I had time, but now I am not so sure. This book is just so weird. Very well crafted, but not an enjoyable story (stories?), and I think I will have to be in a specific frame of mind to tackle it again. I don’t see that frame of mind coming in 2022, at least not in the beginning, so this is being moved to a list equivalent to “I might return to this eventually.”
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Finally, a book that I actually completed this year! The Blue Castle falls far short of Montgomery’s Anne series, but I am glad that I read it so that I can at least have a decent conversation about the book when it comes up. Valancy is an unusual protagonist, but while I enjoyed the traits which made her unique, I felt that her character was underdeveloped and ultimately too simplistic. It’s worth the read if you are a major fan of Montgomery, but not for much else.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
How I ever thought I would have time to read this book in 2021 is a mystery to me. I remember seeing and hearing about it a lot toward the end of 2020, so I think I was influenced by that and became overly enthusiastic. It is a favorite of the protagonist of A Strand of Hope, which was one of my top favorite reads from 2020 (my review here). This is yet another classic that I will read some day, but probably not very soon.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
This is one of my good friend’s favorite books and movies. We watched the movie together once, but admittedly I didn’t completely pay attention since it isn’t a genre I usually enjoy. I am curious as to whether I would enjoy the book more than the movie (a common occurrence). Because of that I intended to read the book and be able to talk about it with her, and I did check it out from the library at one point, but I did not end up getting around to actually reading it. For the moment this is going back to my general TBR list, but it might move up to the high priority one at some point.
You Are Not Your Own by Alan Noble
Of all the books on this list, this is the one that I least expected to still be a “to-read” at the end of the year. Even though this book was released in October of 2021 I really thought that I would read it fairly quickly. School quickly put an end to that thought. I am considering buying a copy so that I can read through it as slowly as I want without fearing that I am keeping another library customer from being able to read it, but I haven’t decided yet. I’ll definitely read it eventually, and it will be moving to the 2022 high priority list.
Discernment by Lauren H. Salisbury
Thankfully, I get to end this post with the second book from this list that I actually did complete! I really enjoyed Discernment very much. This series is a lot of fun, and even though it’s a bit outside my comfort zone, I’ve rated each book highly thus far. You can find my review of Discernment here.
Other Books I Hoped to Read in 2021
These are from a secondary TBR list I kept on Goodreads in 2021 for books I hoped to read “soonish” but which were not as high of a priority. I’m not going through everything on that list, because that would make this post unreasonably long, but I am hitting the high points of books that I still really want to read. You can see the whole list here.
- The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer; DNF from April 2021
- The Bookseller’s Secret by Michelle Gable; DNF from September 2021
- Hope Between Pages by Pepper D. Basham – largely because of a review I read here
- The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper – because I am always drawn to books about the Alcott family
- Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy – because I’m also always intrigued by books that build on the characters and world of Anne of Green Gables
- The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais – because of a review I read here
- Painted Memories (Art of Love #2) by A.M. Heath – because I enjoyed the first book in the series and reviewed it here
- A Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Perry – because I came across it while researching middle grade books for my children’s lit class, and the next Summer Reading Program is ocean themed.
Are there any books you hoped, planned, or simply considered reading last year which you are carrying over to 2022?
Until the next chapter,