Book Talk

2021 Beat the Backlist Challenge

This reading challenge, hosted by Austine & Katie @ NovelKnight, is all about knocking off those older books from your to-read list. Any genre, any format, any length. So, here goes nothing, I’m going to try and do this one in 2021, and play catch-up with all those books that are forlornly being left behind.

The official challenge tags are: #BeatTheBacklist #BeatTheBacklist2021 #BTB2021


  • The book must have been published in 2020 or earlier to count. It can be in any format (including an ARC/eARC) as long as the release date is 2020 or earlier (i.e. 2021 releases are not allowed).
  • You have to start and finish the book in 2021 to count it. Any books started in 2020 and finished in 2021 do not count. Any books started in 2021 and finished in 2022 also do not count.
  • The challenge runs from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

How to Join:

  • POST your backlist TBR for the year somewhere online! This can be in the form of a blog post, instagram photo caption, Twitter thread, Goodreads shelf, YouTube video, whatever works for you! You are NOT locked into these books, it’s just something to get you started! Make sure to share a link to this page somewhere in your post so others can find the challenge!
  • SIGN UP is not required this year! Just go to the site and grab your tools to create your challenge.
  • READ backlist books and knock them off your TBR!
  • SHARE your updates on social media!

My TBR list is:

  • DEAD STOP by Barbara Nickless
  • IN PLAIN SIGHT by Marion Todd
  • DEEP DIRTY TRUTH by Steph Broadribb
  • SLOW HORSES by Mick Herron
  • SIX YEARS by Harlan Coben
  • CAUGHT by Harlan Coben
  • NO SECOND CHANCE by Harlan Coben
  • THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn
  • SALVATION STATION by Kathryn Schleich
  • US AGAINST YOU by Fredrik Backman
  • STASI CHILD by David Young

There might be other books to add to this list but, for now, 10 is my challenge, given everything else I want to read—especially a ton of new releases coming out in 2021.

Oh, and if you need them, there are a selection of Challenge Tools available as well!

8 comments on “2021 Beat the Backlist Challenge

  1. Avatar

    Oh I didn’t know you were such a Harlan Coben fan! I have two of his books in my library too (Gone Foregood and The Woods) but I haven’t read them yet! Choosing 10 books to read next year is as difficult as choosing my top 10 favourites at the moment, there are way too many!! Good luck with the challenge Alex!

    • Alex

      Funnily enough, Inge, I actually don’t know if I am a fan or not. I have never read a Harlan book before, these were bought as a gift to me for my last birthday. And, to be honest, I have never gotten around to reading them, so they’re a perfect candidate for this 2021 challenge. Right? 😉

  2. Avatar

    Yay!!! I was hoping you’d do this one, too

    • Alex

      Ha! How could I resist? After seeing your post I thought this was probably one of the best challenges for me to do in 2021. Especially given the number of unread books on my TBR pile right now. I need to stop putting books to the bottom of the pile, and start reading them.

      So yes, I’m in. 😀

  3. Avatar

    I am tempted by this one, but I tried last year and forgot about it, haha!

    • Alex

      Oh, like me. I usually get fired up and then, half way through, falter and or forget. That’s why I put the graphic in my sidebar, you know, to remind me. 😉

  4. Avatar

    The Alice Network is amazing Alexandra! I hope you’ll get to read it.

    • Alex

      Oh, is it? I really hope so. I’m looking forward to the read as I heard so many good things about it. And that history has me fascinated.

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