The Backlist Reader Challenge 2021
Is your TBR pile threatening to topple over? Does your Goodreads to-read shelf have hundreds of books on it? Then join the club — or rather, the challenge!
I don’t know about you, but my Goodreads to-read shelf has over a thousand books on it, and that’s not counting the books on my “someday” list. Nearly half of them are already on my Kindle or sitting around the house on shelves and in piles; some others are library books I hope to borrow eventually.
The Backlist Reader Challenge (#BacklistReader) encourages us to read all those older books that have been piling up on our TBR piles or lists. And by “older,” I mean books that came out before 2020 (in other words, in 2019 or earlier.)
The challenge runs from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. It ends at midnight in whatever timezone you’re in. You can still post reviews, and link them, up until January 5, 2022, but only for books you finished reading in 2021.
Rule #1: To count for the challenge, books have to be published before 2020 AND already be on your TBR list or pile.
In other words, you don’t have to own the book. If it was on your want-to-read list when you signed up for the challenge, and it came out in 2019 or earlier, it counts… regardless of format (ebook, print book, audiobook) and regardless how or where or when you acquired it. Library books totally count, as long as you had the book on your want-to-read list before you signed up for the challenge.
What does”TBR list” or “to-read” list” mean, exactly? It means whatever you use to keep track of the books you want to read. If that’s a shelf or a pile of physical books, great. If it’s the “to-read” shelf on Goodreads, also fine. If you keep a spreadsheet on your computer or a list in a notebook or a “for later” list in your library account, those work too. Just as long as you have something to keep track of what you want to read, but haven’t read yet. (In my experience, most book-lovers have a to-read list of some sort, somewhere.)
Do rereads count? Personally, I love rereading familiar books, and in any given year, at least a third of my reading is rereads. But… Back when I first created this challenge, the goal was to encourage myself to read books I hadn’t ever gotten around to reading. On the other hand, there are some books on my TBR list that I read a long time ago but want to reread, because I can barely remember them. So here’s the compromise I came up with: you can only count a book you have read before IF (a) you haven’t read the book in the last 10 years, and (b) you can’t remember much about it.
Rule #2: Create a goals or sign-up post on your blog
…or wherever you usually post your reviews or your thoughts about a book (e.g., Goodreads, LibraryThing, Instagram, Facebook.) Please link back to this post! Then link your sign-up post below, where you see the “Add your link” button. (Please link your actual goals/sign-up post, not your home page.) You can set your own goal, and you can list the books you want to read this year, or leave it up to your mood at the time—as long as they are already on your TBR list when you sign up! You can sign up through December 1, 2021; after that, the sign-up link will be closed.
Rule #3 (optional): Review the books you read for the challenge, and post your links on the review linky
After Jan. 1, 2021, I’ll post a page with the review linky widget and link it here; you’ll also be able to get to it from the top menu bar. You can certainly do the challenge without writing reviews, but the review links are your entries for the year-end giveaway. Reviews don’t have to be long; a few sentences is fine. If you don’t have a blog, you can post them on Goodreads or LibraryThing or even on your Facebook or Instagram. Please link to your review itself (not to your blog’s main page, your profile, or the book’s main Goodreads or LibraryThing page.) If you’re not sure how to find that link, email me and I’ll walk you through it.
Rule #4: Before January 5, 2022, create and link a wrap-up post
Let us know how you did! I’ll create a link-up post like this one for the wrap-up posts, so you can share your achievement with others who are participating!
Show your support for other participants
Please support other members of The Backlist Reader Challenge by reading and commenting on their reviews, found in the review linky. This isn’t a rule, and you don’t have to check out every review on the list, but please try to visit a few every time you post a review of your own. Your fellow readers will appreciate it!
What else you need to know
There will be at least one giveaway: a $15 Amazon gift certificate (US), or up to that amount in books from Book Depository (as long as they deliver to your country.) The winner will be chosen from the review links at the end of the year, using a random number generator.
You will find the review linky on the top menu bar in early January, with a link from the sidebar as well. The review linky will stay open through 11 p.m. EST on January 5, 2021, to give you a couple of days to review any books you finished on December 31.
Social media: Please use #BacklistReader on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else hashtags are useful!
Go find those older titles you still haven’t gotten around to, and make 2021 the year you finally read them!
Grab the Button!
Copy and paste the code below into your post and/or sidebar:
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Sign-Up Post Links
For sign-up links only! Please don’t post review links here. Use the review linky once it goes live.