Monday, December 23, 2019

21 by 2021

Happy Holidays to all you lovely readers! 

I realized with my Back to the Classics Wrap Up done I didn’t have any posts planned for December. So I thought I might share with you 21 books from my shelves that I spontaneously stacked up over the weekend and am challenging myself to read before 2021. 

I’m on track to have finished 125 books in 2019 but only 57 were from my shelves. The rest were mostly library books with the occasional loaner from a family member. I need to constantly kick myself metaphorically in the pants to read my own damn books! So here goes, as shown in the stack left, the titles I gathered:

The Duke’s Children by Anthony Trollope – If Karen does the Back to the Classics Challenge again, I will probably be able to choose this for one of the categories. This is the last book in Trollope's Palliser series. 

Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens – see comment above. Also, this is the last of Dicken’s completed novels that I have to read. I’ve been parceling them out since I “discovered” Dickens back in  2005. 

Mom, the Wolf Man and Me by Norma Klein – I bought this on a whim in 2019.  I think I might have read it as a child and I had a sudden nostalgic urge to read it again. 

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz – I liked The Magpie Murders so why not read more from this author?  I will likely include this in my March Mystery Madness list in 2020. 

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers – I have really loved the first three novels by Chambers in her Wayfarer series and I expect no less from this novella. 

O, the Brave Music by Dorothy Evelyn Smith – recently raved about by Simon at Stuck in a Book. He made it sound so charming, I had to find a copy and read it. 

Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie – this was a recent purchase at Barnes & Noble. I was actually there browsing while waiting for my car to be serviced and thing led to another. 

The Minotaur by Barbara Vine – I bought this at a library sale years ago.  Barbara Vine is a pen name of the author Ruth Rendell. Why haven’t I read it yet? I will probably also use this for March Mystery Madness in 2020.

Kapitoil by Teddy Wayne – I bought this also years ago when it was recommended on the podcast So Many Damn Books.  But I have also read and didn’t really like Wayne’s the Love Song of Jonny Valentine so I am a little worried about this one. 

The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens – A Persephone by Charles Dickens’s great granddaughter. I don’t really know what to expect and I don't remember how I came across it as a recommendation.   

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray – Purchased based on the recommendation of many online sources. It is supposed to be darkly comical. Usually I like dark comedy. 

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – This was a recent spontaneous purchase at a library sale.  I generally like good historical fiction, so hopefully this will hit the spot. 

The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley – Another recommendation from Simon but this time on the podcast Tea or Books with Rachel from BookSnob

Smoke City by Keith Rosson – I mentioned this book in a post in December 2018.  It just sounds so banana pants, I have to try it. 

Brick Lane by Monica Ali – This was a thrift store purchase and it has been languishing too long unread. I think once I get into it, I will really love  it. 

Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow – I loved Ragtime by Doctorow but didn’t like Billy Bathgate.  I need to read a third book as a tie breaker.

The Golden Hour by Todd Moss – This is a thriller my dad gave me after he read it. I think it will be pretty forgettable, but you never know. 

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver – This has been on my shelf for way too long.  I really enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible and need to try more from Kingsolver.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield – I adored The Thirteen Tale when I first read it back in 2006 and Lory at The Emerald City Book Review liked this follow up by Setterfield so I am hoping lighting will strike twice!  

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson – I have been a fan of Atkinson since I first read Case Histories and this is the latest in her series featuring private detective Jackson Brodie.  I have some crazy idea to read all the Brodie books before starting this one…I got as far as re-reading Case Histories in 2019...we'll see about the other three books.  

The Old Drift by  Namwali Serpell – I bought this earlier this year to give to my dad but ended up gifting him something else and keeping it.  I think I will like it. It is a family saga that takes place over generations in Zambia. If I do like it, I can always loan it to my dad when done. It's a win-win situation. :D


  1. One thing led to well I know that!

    I think Dombey and Son is one of the best Dickens. I've got The Go-Between on my TBR pile as well.

    Happy Reading!

  2. Thanks for the comment Reese! Good to know Dombey and Son is a good'un. I am a little sad that it is my last novel of his to read, however.

    I am sure The Go-Between will be delightful. I just need to make the time to read it.

    1. The Old Curiosity Shop was the last for me. It's not without charm, but it did let me down gently...

    2. Yes, The Old Curiosity Shop isn't super high up on my list either. Though I did love Dick Swiveller.

  3. What a good idea! I try every year to read books that I own, but the pesky library keeps distracting me. ;D Good luck with your 21 before 2021. And have a very Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you for the comment Lark! The struggle to read our own books is very real! :D I too am tempted by the offerings of my libraries...especially now that I have so many options (audio, eBook and physical copy from multiple library system).

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

  4. Hi Ruthiella, this is a really good idea to look at the numerous books stored in our kindle and around our apartment and pick 21 that we committ to reading in 2020. Sometimes the best reading challenges are the ones we create for ourselves and you have compiled an interesting list here.

    1. Thanks for the comment Kathy! I've never counted but I probably have a few hundred of unread books floating around my home. I hope I can find a few online challenges in 2020 to help push me to read these. I find that helps me and gives me a little bit of extra motivation. :D

  5. Mom, the Wolfman and Me is a blast from the past but I can't even remember what it's about. 🙄 It's fun to grab books to make a reading pile; I do it far too often. Wishing you a great reading year in 2020!

    1. Thanks for the comment Cleo! The cover of Mom, the Wolf Man & Me is so familiar. If I didn't read it, I am pretty sure I at least perused it in the library. Thanks for the good wishes. I wish you too a great reading year in 2020! :D

  6. Yikes, I was about to drag out my ol' excuse of 'all my books are in boxes still' but I look around and see that I do indeed keep dragging books home from who knows where -- and I keep reading something else! LOL. I might have to write a post. Anything to distract me from reviewing Golden State - which I liked but got all helluva confused the last third. I only have two of the ones you list here on my tbr (and not on here in the apt somewhere) Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks for the comment Care and Happy New Year to you too! I think your Golden State review is already perfect! "I liked (it) but got all helluva confused the last third". LOL.

  7. Ooooo - Taken by the Flood would count for Nature! I'm needing some suggestions on that category...