Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Finally Read in 2020 That Have Been on my TBR for Ages
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!
This week’s TTT topic is actually Book Events/Festivals I’d Love to Go to Someday. As much as I’d like to go to a bookish event, I just wasn’t feeling this topic so I decided to go rogue and share a topic I have been feeling lately. What has me excited lately is that I’ve managed to knock quite a few older books off my TBR in 2020. I’ve taken part in backlist challenges for the past three years but even with those challenges, I still only manage to knock about 30-35 books that I already own off my TBR each year.
I’m guessing it’s because of the pandemic and just having so much more time to read, but whatever the case, I’ve already managed to knock 31 older books off my TBR and am over halfway through my 32nd. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with that pace since I haven’t cut back on ARCs like I had originally planned to, but I had bumped up my goal to 50 backlist books for 2020 and I think/hope I’m going to crush that goal!
While I’ve been reading the older books, I really haven’t been reviewing them, especially since some of them have been on my TBR for 5 years or more. I did one backlist recap earlier in the year, so with this post, I’m covering everything I’ve read since then. I don’t have much to say about them, but I’ll share a few words and my rating for each.
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Books I Finally Read in 2020 That Have Been on my TBR for Ages
The first two books are science fiction titles that have each been sitting on my TBR for several years now and I’ve had Martha Wells and Becky Chambers on my list of authors I need to try for a couple of years as well. I finally made it happen this year and loved both books. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a fun space opera that features the most delightful “found family”, while All Systems Red features a self-aware security droid who calls itself “Murderbot”, doesn’t like humans, and has hacked its own regulating module. Murderbot fascinated me because, without that regulator in place, it could have easily turned on the humans and killed them all, but instead Murderbot chooses to help them. Murderbot also loves to watch TV shows, which just cracked me up. Such fun reads and I gave them both 4 stars.
Hollow Kingdom is a surprisingly hilarious read about a crow named Shit Turd (S. T. for short) and a dog named Dennis who are trying to stop a zombie apocalypse and save the world. Ten Thousand Doors of January is just a gorgeous and unique read. The worldbuilding is incredible (kind of Narnia-esque with its use of the doors, which I just loved!) and the characters and their relationships and connections are just so wonderfully complicated. The story is filled adventure and danger, history and secret societies, family and love. You name it, this book has it. There’s even a dog named Bad who’s the best boy ever. I rated each of these books 4.5 STARS.
I’ve also breezed through numerous contemporary reads this year. The Royal We and American Royals fed my need for need for all things royal. The Royal We explores the misadventures of what happens when the future King of England falls in love with an American, while American Royals reimagines American History and gives us a monarchy instead of a Presidency. Both were fun reads and I gave them each 3.5 stars. I just finished Love & Luck earlier this week and thought it was a such a fun read. I loved the road trip through Ireland aspect as well as the sibling dynamic between Addie and Ian. Opposite of Always was another great read with a unique storyline. I was a big fan of the time travel element that has Jack in a loop where he keeps going back in time to see if there’s anything he can change in order to save Kate, the girl he loves. Is there choice he can make that ends with her not dying? Stories like that fascinate me since it makes us examine the choices we make in life. I rated both of these 4 stars.
How to Walk Away was my second read by Katherine Center and just like with the first, it was a 5 star, emotional roller coaster of a read for me. I also squeezed in an older Christina Lauren book, Dating You Hating You, and thought it was delightful, everything I enjoy in an enemies to lovers story. I loved the tension between the two rival coworkers and found myself chuckling most of the way through the book. I rated this one 4 stars. The Husband’s Secret was next and while not my favorite Liane Moriarty novel, it was still a compelling read that follows the fallout after a woman opens a letter from her husband that she wasn’t meant to open until after his death. Those kinds of domestic dramas are always entertaining and this book earned 3.5 stars from me. I read The Hamilton Affair after I watched Hamilton on Disney Plus. I thought this historical fiction was a very nice companion piece to the musical and it fills in some gaps in Eliza’s narrative that I found very interesting. I rated this one 3.5 stars as well.
This group of titles were all anticipated reads for me during the year they were released but that I then set aside in favor of newer, shinier releases. I just loved the way Madeline Miller brought so many well known mythological figures to life in Circe, while I gave myself a huge pat on the back for finally making my way through another George R.R. Martin book. A Dance with Dragons was everything I wanted the previous book in the series to be and I’m now back to twiddling my thumbs and impatiently waiting for Martin to finish writing book 6. Both of these reads were 4.5 stars for me. The Starless Sea and Ninth House were also excellent reads. I loved the worldbuilding in each, and while they weren’t my favorite novels by either author, I was still very pleased with them both and rated them 4 stars each.
This last group is a bit of a hodge-podge. The Fountains of Silence is an excellent work of historical fiction by Ruta Sepetys that follows what life was life living under the rule of a Spanish dictator. It featured a time period I hadn’t read much about before and it held my interest from beginning to end and gave me characters I could easily root for. Before I Fall is similar in story to Opposite of Always in the sense that the protagonist keeps reliving the last day of her life over and over again, each time making different choices to see if the outcome would be different. Again, that kind of story fascinates me so I was hooked from beginning to end. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a work of historical fiction that focuses on the life of a Kentucky woman who works as a Pack Horse Librarian. She loads library books onto her mule, Junia, and takes them out to residents who live in the hills of Kentucky. Without her, those folks would have no access to books, newspapers, etc. This fascinated me because I had no idea there were ever librarians who worked in this manner. Like Her Husband’s Secret above, Never Have I Ever is a domestic drama that starts with a book club night gone wrong and is filled with secrets, lies, and lots of twists and turns. Last but not least is Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’. I read this one and watched the Netflix adaptation and just loved everything about Willowdean Dickson and her larger than life personality and her love of all things Dolly Parton. All of these books were 4 star reads for me.
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And there you have it, until the next time I feel motivated to share what older books I’ve been reading.
How are you doing with reading books you already own this year? Have you read any of these yet?
Good job! It feels good to take care of the backlog.. I’m sure I’ll know firsthand eventually ☺️
O recently posted…New Release Today w/ Excerpt and #Giveaway! The Assassin’s Daughter by Shana Vernon @AuthorShanaV
I’ve read and enjoyed a bunch of these – Before I Fall, The Royal We, Hating You/Dating You, The Husband’s Secret, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet! It’s so satisfying to get some of those older books off our lists!
It really is satisfying. I was especially thrilled to finally get through that last George R.R. Martin book.
Reading books from my own shelves that have been lingering there for a while makes me so happy. And is somehow even more satisfying than reading a library book or new release. Kudos for reading so many older books already this year! I wasn’t wowed by The Husband’s Secret and I don’t remember much about it (it’s been years). And Dating You Hating You is still on my TBR.
Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…The Sunday Post #217
Thank you! It really has been satisfying to finally get to some of these that have just been gathering dust for years.
I swear, not much satisfies me more than actually tackling my TBR. Congrats!
Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday post.
Right? It’s surprisingly satisfying.
Great job on getting through so many backlist books this year already. I feel like I’m doing well with reading older titles on my shelves – the pandemic kind of helped with that one. LOL I liked Dumplin’ okay, but honestly, I kind of preferred the movie. I really want to read All Systems Red and Hollow Kingdom so I’m happy to see you enjoyed those!! I own Ninth House so I need to check that out sometime soon.
ShootingStarsMag recently posted…(5 Star Read) The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Dumplin’ movie was really well done.
Wow I’m impressed! You are doing a fantastic job with backlist books. I wish I could say the same for myself (I think I’ve read 1 this year, lol)😁
Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy recently posted…OPIUM AND ABSINTHE by Lydia Kang – Review
I have read a few of these! I have been making a push lately to definitely get some of these older ones off my TBR. Hand in hand with that means trying to be more selective about new releases and not adding every shiny new book that comes out!
Now that is the real challenge. I feel like even though I’ve knocked 30+ old ones off my list, I’ve probably added at least that many new ones, lol.
I read Circe this year and loved it too! I enjoyed Ninth House as well when I read it last year. I couldn’t finish either Before I Fall or Fountains of Silence but I’m glad you enjoyed them.
Jo recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #273
Circe was so good!
Wow, you’ve been doing great on the backlist! I’ve been working on my backlist as well, but the past few weeks I’ve been once again distracted by shiny new books, so I need to find my backlist momentum again 🙂 The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet is one of those books that has been on my TBR for ages as well, glad to hear you liked it!
Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads recently posted…Bookish Activities I Wish Were More Common
It’s so hard to resist the shiny new books. I keep telling myself I’m going to request less ARCs every year and it never seems to happen, lol.
I really need to read All Systems Red sometime.
My TTT .
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It’s a very entertaining read and a quick one too. I think it’s actually considered a novella.
Great list – and we have several books in common which I got to over this year so far (mainly in lockdown lol!) and I really enjoyed The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet!
Michael @ The Book Lover’s Sanctuary recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Book Events/Festivals I’d Love to Go
Right? If nothing else, lockdown was great for my reading goals, lol.
I love this! I have read or plan to read some of these. I tried Beat the Backlist Challenge last year. I am trying to read at least 3 books I own a month this year. And in addition, I do at least one Kindle freebie a month for my Thrifty Thursday meme.
It’s a good feeling to read them
Anne – Books of My Heart recently posted…Spells for the Dead by Faith Hunter
It really is a satisfying feeling. Of course I’m sure I’ve added tons of new books so my TBR is still just as long, but at least the titles are newer, lol.
Wow, you’re rocking it with the backlist books! I loved THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK and THE HUSBAND’S SECRET. I also liked THE FOUNTAIN OF SILENCE, although it’s not my favorite of Sepetys’ books. I love Joshilyn Jackson (I actually mentioned another book of hers on my list today), but NEVER HAVE I EVER isn’t my favorite of hers.
Susan (Bloggin’ ’bout Books) recently posted…A Splishy-Splashy Top Ten Tuesday List
I definitely need to read more by Joshilyn Jackson. This was my first book from her and I’ve heard some of her others are even better.
Great job making \so much progress on your tbr! Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.
Wow, you are doing great on the backlist titles! There are several here that are on my TBR as well, notably The Starless Sea, Circe, All Systems Red, and The Ten Thousand Doors of January. I loved The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet when I finally read it last year, but that’s the only one on your impressively long list that I have read.
Thanks! All of the ones you mentioned are really good and if you’re looking for a quick read, All Systems Red is considered a novella and I flew through that in less than a day.
I see some of my favorites on this list, so I am happy your finally got to read them. YEAH! I bought Dating You Hating You ages ago. I think I will have to read that one when I read CLo’s newest release.
Sam@wlabb recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: I Thought That Was a Sentence!
Dating You, Hating You is such a fun read. I hope you love it!
Wow you’re doing great! I love Murderbot and Long Way. Glad you enjoyed both! And Love and Luck and Circe are high on my list to read. Circe especially I just love the sound of.
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Circe is so good. I studied mythology in college so I was familiar with some of the characters the author introduced but she just has such a wonderful way of bringing them to life and humanizing them.
I just finished reading Ninth House too and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what’s next. 🙂
Lauren @ Always Me
Lauren @ Always Me recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Fictional Bookstores & Libraries I’d Love To Visit
Look at you powering through your backlist, Suzanne! I’m so impressed and also embarrassed to say I haven’t gone far enough into my blacklist this year unfortunately.
verushka recently posted…Gathering Dark: a killer, a thief, a crime boss and a cop walk into a bar….
I’ve failed on so many of my other goals this year so I’ve been pushing really hard on this one.
Kudos to you, Suzanne, for getting it done!
Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café recently posted…High Noon by Nora Roberts
I loved Ninth House and The Fountains of Silence but ….coudln’t read Troublesome Creek. The writing just wasn’t it for me.
Sophie recently posted…Hands Down by Mariana Zapata Review of a book I so wanted to love but fell short
Sorry to hear Troublesome Creek didn’t work for you.
I loved reading through your thoughts on these, Suzanne! I especially loved that you enjoyed Hollow Kingdom. I thought that was so much fun too!
Thank you! Yes, Hollow Kingdom was surprisingly hilarious considering its subject matter.
31 books off the backlist is awesome!
After finishing The song of Achilles, I can’t wait to read Circe! I loved Miller’s writing. 🙂
Right? Her writing is gorgeous!
Ah yeay you are doing great with your backlist books. I’m so glad you liked Becky Chambers and Murderbot 😀
Annemieke recently posted…Of Curses and Kisses | Book Review
Those were so much fun!
It’s always such a relief to get to books that have been on our TBR’s for so long! (Side note: I enjoyed so many of these but now I’m super excited to get to Circe. Also, swoon, The Starless Sea was one of my favourites last year.)
Jessica at Booked J recently posted…the folklore book tag
The Starless Sea was so good!
Wow, what an extensive list of books read, Suzanne! Thank you for sharing all of these. I’ve added a few to my TBR. I’m shortly starting Starless Sea which has been on my TBR for some time now.
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