18 Backlist Books to Read in 2018

I’m trying to curb my TBR in 2018, which should be easy enough except for the part where I own a lot of books that I’m like, “I really need to read this!” but they aren’t romance novels or YA so they’ve been languishing on my shelf. Literary fiction and adult fiction are ones that I feel like I have to commit to more than other books and so I just put them off. It’s a problem, especially since I think I’m going to like every book on this list.

I’ve got two Toni Morrison books on here because I think it’s shameful I am 26 and have never read one of her books. I picked up Song of Solomon and Beloved in the used books section of Flyleaf (a local Indie bookstore in Chapel Hill). I’m not really sure what either of these books are about, but you know, they’re by Toni Morrison.

Also from a used book store, I picked up The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath because, again, I feel like I should have read this by now. I think it’s kind of a staple in feminist literature, but once again, I don’t really know what it’s about.

I do not yet own this one, but I really want to read Rebecca by Daphne du Morier because I feel like absolutely everyone that has read this has loved it. And then there’s me who has not read it, is still not precisely sure what it’s about. I think I’m going to listen to this one on audiobook because I found a narration I like. So this read will probably happen in February with my credit for that month.

Emma by Jane Austen has repeatedly escaped me. As in, I have tried to read this book an unbelievable amount of times, but Emma has always annoyed me so incredibly much, I have never been able to successfully complete this book. That said, I adore Clueless and Jane Austen in general. Pride and Prejudice is one of my absolute favorite books of all time and I’m looking forward to re-reading it this year on audiobook! But Emma will have to be read, I think, because I haven’t found a narration I’m happy with. If you have any recommendations, leave them down below!

Shelter by Jung Yun is a book I just picked up a few weeks ago because it won the Reading Women Award for Fiction in 2016. I know I need to be doing a better job reading diversely (I’ve done better, but I’ve still got a ways to go) and this book is so beloved, I feel like it’s a great way to start. It sounds like it’s a family drama that deals a lot with class and complicated familial relationships.

Next up, we’ve got Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, which is definitely going to be a Tome Topple read. This thing is massive. I picked it up at the same time I got the Toni Morrison novels from Flyleaf’s used book section.

Then we have Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi because I’m terrible and still haven’t read this even though I bought it intending to read it right away.

The Power has such a beautifully feminist concept and I’m so excited to read it. I’ve read the first few pages and wanted to dive in, but have put it off because I thought I was going to be reading it with some of my friends.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is also on this list because I’m awful and have still not read it. I tried to when my life was stressful and I was trying to pack and move and just wanted an escapist read so instead of Little Fires Everywhere, I think I read a ton of romance novels instead. Plus, excitingly, I think Dani and I are going to buddy read this one and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is one that so many people in real life have talked to me about and find it ridiculous that I haven’t read. This book is a historical fiction novel that I think is mostly set in France, with a blind French girl and somehow she becomes friends with a Nazi soldier? I’m very confused and a little concerned, tbh. I need someone to tell me that he’s like… Not actually a Nazi. I probably should have read the back before I picked it up, tbh, because I probably would have put it off even longer if I had. Anyway, this was the first book I pulled from the jar so it’s happening!

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is another book I know nothing about. It was on a super iBooks sale and Kendra from the Reading Women podcast loves Jhumpa Lahiri so… I picked it up. But now I have to read it because books are not meant to languish unread on your eReader for forever. Right? Right. Here’s the Goodreads blurb so we can all be on the same page about it:

The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name.

Hopefully I’ll love it. I guess we’ll find out this year!

Then we have The Nix, which is a book I purchased from Barnes & Noble because I knew it was longer than 500 pages and I wanted longer books for Tome Topple. Why I didn’t think I had enough books to choose from already, I honestly can’t tell you. Here’s the first sentence of the blurb: A hilarious and deeply touching debut novel about a son, the mother who left him as a child, and how his search to uncover the secrets of her life leads him to reclaim his own.

In the thirteenth spot, we have Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, which won the Reading Women Award in 2017 and I’m really excited to get to it. I think this one is a family saga about a Korean family who immigrates to Japan. So many people have raved about this book so I’m excited to get to it.

Another book that I got because it was on sale but know virtually nothing about is The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I liked the cover and BooksandLala had read a Meg Wolitzer book recently and liked it so I was like, “Ooh, I should get that.” Seriously, can someone lend me their self-restraint? The first sentence of the Goodreads blurb makes it sound intriguing so I guess I’m excited: The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.

We’re getting there, y’all. In the fifteenth spot, we have Kindred by Octavia Butler. Now, I read the graphic novel of Kindred in August, I believe, and really enjoyed the storyline–though enjoy makes it sound like it was a happy read, which it really is not. This sci-fi classic makes it perfect (in my opinion) for the Read Harder challenge and I’m looking forward to finally reading the novel.

One of the other authors I decided I needed to read this year is Attica Locke and I chose Bluebird, Bluebird as the place for me to start. This is a mystery set in Texas and that’s pretty much all I know. I haven’t been in the mood for a mystery/thriller pretty much at all for months now so fingers crossed I can bring myself to read this because I really do want to give Locke a shot.

I also need to read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, which is about two different individuals from Nigeria. One immigrates to the U.S. and post 9/11 when another tries to join her, he is not allowed so he winds up living undocumented in London. The two eventually meet up again and he’s back in Lagos and she’s a blogger. This actually sounds like something I will love so why have I waited literal years to read it? I couldn’t tell you.

So there you have it (hopefully), eighteen books I need to read in 2018. If you see that I’m not following my TBR jar, please chastise me. Thanks! Anyone else have specific books they’re trying really hard to get to in 2018? Let me know!


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