I always think it’s fun to see bloggers and youtubers circle back to old lists of books they’ve given themselves to read and evaluating how well they’ve done and how their attitudes towards those lists have changed. Considering I finally finished reading my list of 5-Star Predictions, which was one of the very first posts on this blog, I thought I’d take a look back at that post and a few other lists I’ve published on my blog over the years and see how they went.
Back in August 2017, I put together a list of five books that I thought I would give five stars. Two years later, I have finally read all five of those books, but only one of them got five stars. That’s right, one. That book is City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence, a nonfiction book following the lives of various residents in the Dadaab refugee camp in Africa. I’m actually not surprised I got this one right, as I was interested in the subject matter and it seemed like it would be well done.
All is not lost, though. I actually gave three other books on that list four stars: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, Red Rising by Pierce Brown, and Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. I wound up LOVING the Red Rising trilogy as a whole, and I’ve been enjoying the Wayward Children series, though I haven’t loved all of them. And I actually just finished Darkdawn, which was an amazing conclusion to the Nevernight trilogy. So even though I might not have given those original three books five stars, they were still solid choices.
The only one that was pretty underwhelming for me was Vicious by V.E. Schwab, which I almost DNFed and ultimately only gave three stars. I know a lot of people really love this book, but it just wasn’t my thing. But overall, I’d say my predictions list turns out pretty well, though I really don’t think I’m very good at predicting fiction books that will turn out to be five stars. And besides, I love being surprised when a book I have no expectations for turns out to be a new favorite.
Books I Want to Reread
I feel like I barely ever reread even though I want to, so I was prepared for this list that I published in September 2017 to be horrible. But I’ve actually reread a few of these!
I blogged about rereading Harry Potter and the Bridgerton series, and I reread the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy and A Wrinkle in Time, too, as well as Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. However, I still haven’t managed to reread the Sabriel trilogy, the Poison Study books, or any of Tamora Pierce‘s books, plus I haven’t gotten around to Emma or Mansfield Park yet, either. And while I haven’t reread Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflowers and Hathaways books (with the exception of Devil in Winter), I do have plans to reread those soon in anticipation of Kleypas attending KissCon in April!
I’m not entirely sure anymore if I feel like going back and rereading His Dark Materials. I really should, especially if I want to pick up La Belle Sauvage, but I’m just not motivated to right now. Oh, and I decided not to read the entire Wrinkle in Time series after not loving my reread of the first book.
All in all, I didn’t do nearly as terrible at this list as I thought!
10 Books Everyone Has Read But Me
I’ve managed to read six out of the ten books I included on this list when I published it in December 2017, which would be more impressive if two of those books weren’t ones that I still feel like I really need to read!
The ones I’ve read include The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin (awesome), Indigo by Beverly Jenkins (excellent), Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (loved), Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (a bit literary for me), They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (heartbreaking), and Once Upon a Marquess (not bad).
I no longer plan to read The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead — I’ve stopped making myself pick up literary fiction because it’s just not my thing — and I’m on the fence about All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I’m vaguely interested in it, but I don’t really feel like I’m missing out by not reading it, so we’ll see.
But I still really want to read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater! I especially want to read The Night Circus before Morgenstern does a signing in New York in December, and I’m hoping to get to The Raven Boys soon given that a new book set in the same world is coming out soon (if it’s not out already).
10 Authors Whose Backlists I Really Need to Read
So I’ve actually completely changed my mind about the authors I included in this list, which dates back to March 2018. Not that I don’t still think they’re fantastic, but I’ve lost a lot of my motivation to go back and read everything they’ve written.
While I enjoy Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn, I just really don’t feel like I have to go back and read all of the books they published in the 90s and early 2000s. Some of them are pretty obscure, and I’m sure they’re full of all kinds of problematic content, and there’s just too much other stuff I’d rather read. That said, I still 100 percent plan to finish reading Tessa Dare’s backlist before KissCon! I think I only have three more books to go and possibly a novella or two, so I’ll be able to check her name off soon.
As for Roxane Gay and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as amazing as those ladies are, I’m just not a fan of literary fiction, which is what I haven’t read yet from their backlists. Maybe one day I’ll feel up for it, but I’m definitely not going to push myself to do it.
As mentioned in the rereading section, I’m definitely still interested in reading Tamora Pierce’s books, though maybe not her whole backlist. And I plan to read some of the more popular books on Eloisa James’ backlist, but I’m not sure I feel like reading all of them for similar reasons to Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn. I’m not sure, though, how much more of Beverly Jenkins’ backlist I plan to read. I enjoyed the older ones, but the newer ones aren’t really my thing, and I don’t feel the need to read everything for the sake of tackling her whole backlist.
I am, however, still interested in reading Ron Chernow and Erik Larsen’s backlists. I don’t think I’ve made any progress on them since this post first went up, but it’ll happen one day!
6 Romances RWA Reminded Me I REALLY Need to Read
Whoot! I’ve read five out of the six on this list! I LOVED A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev and Take the Lead by Alexis Daria, and I really enjoyed Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai, Topaz by Beverley Jenkins, and Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa. The only one left is The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann, which I will definitely be picking up when I start tackling my Kindle TBR.
Five Most Popular Books on My Shelves: A June TBR
Yeah…this list was a bust. I decided I didn’t care all that much about A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and I DNFed Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier because I wasn’t enjoying it all that much, and knowing the summary was enough for me. I didn’t especially enjoy When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi — it was too literary and philosophical for me, and I didn’t realize it wasn’t a finished book. I did read and enjoy John Adams by David McCullough, but I didn’t even start Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I’m still interested in it, but I knew I wasn’t going to be picking it up anytime soon, so I donated my copy. I’d rather read it on my kindle anyways.
So yeah, my lists are kind of all over the place in terms of successfully accomplishing them, aren’t they? I’m totally ok with that, though. They were things that were important to me or sounded fun at the time, but my reading has changed over the years and now I have different priorities. And knowing that my lists rarely go according to plan doesn’t faze me at all; I’ll always love a good list!
How about you? Do you like making lists for your reading? Are you any good at sticking to them? What’s on your list of books you’re hoping to read soon? Let me know in the comments!