Backlist Books Challenge January Reads

stack of books on a chair

A backlist book challenge was just what I needed for 2021. I am pulling books off my shelves that have been on my TBR list for years and enjoying them.

Choosing to read backlist books this year has given me a challenge without a lot of restrictions.

January ended up being a fairly good reading month for me. I read a wide range of books. It included a good mix of fiction and nonfiction, which is what works best for me when it comes to reading.

Today, I am sharing what I read in January and what I am currently reading.

The rule I gave myself for my backlist books challenge was to read only books published before 2021. Books published in 2020 are not really backlist, but they aren’t the latest books being pushed either.

January Reads

Maisie Dobbs book review

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear has been in my TBR pile for years. It was published in 2003. I own it in both the paperback and the Kindle version. I don’t remember where I first heard about this series, but I love to read mysteries that are not super graphic. I ended up buying the next couple of books in the series because I couldn’t wait to read more of them.

The Sweetness of Forgetting

Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristen Harmel

My husband got my Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristen Harmel for my birthday last month. I read The Book of Lost Names last year Kristin Harmel and loved it. For my birthday and Christmas, my husband got me a couple of her other books. I really enjoyed Sweetness of Forgetting. It was published in 2012, so it worked great for my backlist book challenge. This book combines WWII history, family, romance, and food. Those are some of my favorite things in a book. I felt like the ending was a little bit too Hallmark movie-like, but overall, it was a good read.

Frontier Follies book review

Frontier Follies by Ree Drummond

Frontier Follies was published in 2020. I bought this last fall shortly after it came out. It was easy to pick up and down because each chapter was written in an essay style. If you are a fan of The Pioneer Woman, you will probably enjoy this one.

Murder On the Orient Express book review

Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Grace convinced me to read Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, and I am so glad that she did. It was published in 1934, so it is definitely a backlist book. I have said for years that I wanted to read an Agatha Christie book, but I always picked up other mystery books instead. I loved this book and can’t wait to read more Agatha Christie books.

Birds of a Feather book cover

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

I think I was on a mystery reading kick in January. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear was the third mystery book I read and the second in the Maisie Dobbs series. I enjoyed this one but not quite as much as the first one in the series.

The Kitchen House book cover

The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House, published in 2010, has been in my TBR pile for years. I bought this book a long time ago at a used bookstore. I am glad I was able to read it this month. I can see why this is a popular book club book. I am not sure I love the book, but there is a lot to be discussed in this one. I kind of wish I was reading it with a book club. Have you read it?

A Way with Words book review

A Way with Words

A Way with Words by Daniel Darling is a book that I just started a few weeks ago. I read multiple books at a time and like to always have a Christian book going. This book was published in 2020. I bought this book last summer shortly after it came out. This book made me think so much about my online life. It made me ask myself what my mission is? Why am I sharing the things I am sharing? Am I sharing helpful information or am I just adding to the noise? I feel like this book is a great read for anyone sharing on social media today.

Everyday Faithfulness book review

Everyday Faithfulness by Glenna Marshall

Everyday Faithfulness by Glenna Marshall is a Christian book that was published in 2020. I enjoyed this book. It is exactly what the subtitle says. It is about the beauty of ordinary perseverance in a demanding world.

Testament of Youth book review

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain is a memoir of WWI. It was first published in 1933.  I love memoirs, but most of the memoirs that I have read are modern memoirs. I don’t think this was called a memoir when it was written, but that is exactly what it is. This book took me a while to read, but I am so glad I read it. The author, Vera Brittain, was a nurse during WWI. After the war, she wrote about her experiences. The book has three sections. The first and second sections were my favorite. The third section is about after the war, and it was a slower read for me.

Currently Reading

No Ordinary Time book cover

No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I had high hopes for finishing No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin this month but didn’t make it. In fact, I am not even halfway through it. This is the book I picked after hearing from a few readers on what Doris Kearns Goodwin books I should read first. I am really enjoying this book and am learning a lot about the Roosevelts and their administration during WWII. However, at well over 600 pages, it is a slower technical type of reading for me. My new goal is to finish it in February.

The Grapes of Wrath book cover

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Did you see my post about our family book club? My husband and I decided to read a classic together and we picked The Grapes of Wrath. I am only a few chapters into this, but so far it is better than I thought it would be. 🙂 I plan to read this book slowly since my husband and I want to take time to discuss it.

Mad at the World book cover

Mad At the World: The Life of John Steinbeck

I also started Mad At the World: The Life of John Steinbeck, I knew that it would be a great book to read with The Grapes of Wrath. This book was published in the fall of 2020 and has been fascinating to read along with The Grapes of Wrath.

2 thoughts on “Backlist Books Challenge January Reads”

  1. I LOVE that you are doing this!! I too have a Maisie Dobbs on my TBR and Murder on the Orient Express has been glaring at me from my nightstand, un-read. Thanks for the encouragement and thoughts.


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