10 Books I Want to Read in 2021

10 books i want to read in 2021

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good New Year’s Day and you’re happy or at least hopeful for 2021. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions and I try not to get swept up in all of the “new year, new me!” kind of vibes every new year brings, because it always feel like a lot of pressure to do better and be more productive, while I just want to be happy and content. So, no resolutions from me today!

What I do want to share with you is my list of ten books I want to read in 2021. I started making a list of ten books I “have” to read in 2019 as a way for me to pick up the books that have been on my shelves for a long time. They’re always books I really want to read, but ones that for some reason or another I usually overlook when I’m picking my next read. It always feels like a fun added challenge to my reading year, and for the past two years I’ve managed to read all of the books on the lists. This year will be the third time I’m doing it, and I’ve been excited about compiling this list and sharing the books with you since the start of December!

This year’s list includes a few gifts from friends and family and some classics, and they’re all books I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. So, without further ado, these are the ten books I really want to read in 2021. 

  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco: This is a good example of one of those books I really want to read, but just won’t pick up because it’s too intimidating. I’m familiar with some of Eco’s academic works, but I’ve never read any of his novels, even though so many people have told me that The Name of the Rose, set in a 14th century Italian monastery, is an amazing novel that is very exciting and suspenseful. By putting it on this list, I’m committing to finally reading it, and I’m excited about it!
  • He Forgot to Say Goodbye by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: Benjamin Alire Sáenz is one of my all-time favourite authors and yet I’ve not read all of the books by him that I own. This one has been on my shelves for nigh on three years now and I honestly do not understand why I haven’t read it yet. I think the simple truth is that I just keep forgetting about it, even though I’ve rated all three of the books that I read by him five stars stars. Hopefully, this one will be amazing as well.
  • Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë: I always claim that Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is one of my favourite novels of all time, but when I read her sister Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in 2019, I had to admit that Tenant might be the better novel because it’s so good! Now, Wuthering Heights will always be my favourite due to nostalgic reasons, but Anne might be my new favourite Brontë sister, depending on how I’ll like Agnes Grey!
  • She Is Fierce by Ana Sampson: This is a collection of “bold, brave and beautiful” poems by women: “From suffragettes to school girls, from spoken word superstars to civil rights activists, from aristocratic ladies to kitchen maids, these are voices that deserve to be heard.” My boyfriend gave this book to me as a Christmas gift in 2019, so it’s high time I pick it up! I’m not the biggest poetry fan, but if it’s by strong women, I’m one hundred percent here for it.
  • History of Wolves by Emily Friedlund: Another gift! My parents gave me this novel for my birthday a couple of years ago (I think it was 2017) and I haven’t read it. It’s another one of those books that I keep forgetting about, even though it sounds really intriguing. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, so I have high expectations for it!
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt: This is another one of those books that intimidates me. I’ve heard such amazing things about The Secret History, and it’s extremely popular in the book community as well, especially now that dark academia books are hot and happening. Putting it on this list is the perfect way to make sure that I’ll actually read it, and I have a feeling that it will be one of those books that’s entirely absorbing. 
  • Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday: Usually, when I get books gifted to me by friends or family, I’ve at least heard about it or seen it around, but Asymmetry was completely new to me. It was a Christmas gift from my parents-in-law a few years ago and, apparently, it was very well received when it came out. I’ve not seen it around much, though, which might be the reason why I keep forgetting about it, but I’m excited to dive into it this year.
  • The Red Notebook by Paul Auster: The only non-fiction book on the list! Paul Auster wrote one of my all-time favourite novels, The New York Trilogy, which is also the book I wrote my BA thesis on in 2015. The novel is still entirely fascinating to me, and I’ve been wanting to read The Red Notebook for a long time now. It’s a collection of essays, interviews and other writings (some of them possibly fictional?) in which Auster explores the compulsion to create literature. It’s one of those books I wouldn’t pick up on a whim, but that I’m looking forward to reading it this year.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: An absolute classic, but one I haven’t read, even though I’ve been low-key meaning to ever since I started my studies in 2011. Often seen as the first science-fiction novel ever, Frankenstein has been on my radar for a long time, but I only bought a copy in 2019. And then I proceded to still not read it, so now it’s on this list! 
  • Troy by Stephen Fry: This is actually my most recent purchase (in terms of books), so maybe it doesn’t really deserve a spot on this list just yet. I want to prevent it from being on next year’s list, though, because I really want to read it! This is the third installment of Fry’s retellings of Greek mythology, and it dives into the Trojan war, which I don’t really know that much about. I really enjoyed the first two books, Mythos and Heroes, so I’m looking forward to reading this one, too.

And that’s it for my list of ten books I want to read in 2021. I say “want to”, but as soon as a book is on this list, I also consider it to be “have to” – but in a fun, challenging way! Are there any books on this list that you have read or want to read? What are some books you really want to get to in 2021? Let me know in the comments so we can chat about it!

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Hi! I'm Anne and I love reading, baking and writing about both of those things. Welcome!

28 thoughts on “10 Books I Want to Read in 2021

  1. Oooh I didn’t know Fry had another one out! I love his style, I’ll have to check that out as well. Heading in strong with a solid list. Hope you check these all off this year too! 🎉

  2. Hi Anne!! I first found your website because of your gingerbread blondies recipe, but now I’ve been reading your blog posts about books and they are so motivational!! I just finished reading The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes and I love that book so much. Anyways, I will continue to check out your blog for more baking and reading inspiration! Thanks and please check out my website too ~ I’m a new blogger and appreciate the support 🙂

  3. Hi – an interesting selection and now I’ve added some to my list. I’d like to read Agnes Grey. I read Frankenstein about ten years ago and thought it was excellent – way better than my preconceived ideas of what it would be like. Best wishes for a good 2021 reading year!

    1. Thank you! I’m really curious about Agnes Grey, especially after loving The Tenant of Wildfell Hall so much. I hope you have a great reading year as well! 🙂

  4. Great list! I really enjoyed Frankenstein and I’m hoping to read The Name Of The Rose this year as well… I even got a physical copy two years ago just so I would read it sooner, but so far it hasn’t worked. xD Have a great reading year!

    1. Thank you! I bought my copy of The Name of the Rose about two years ago as well (maybe three by this point – time goes by so fast haha) but it’s such an intimidating book that I never pick it up spontaneously! Hopefully we’ll both get to read and love it this year! 🙂 I hope you have a great reading year too!

  5. I absolutely love Frankenstein and have read it a few times over the years. I still have A Secret History on my shelves waiting to be read. I will get around to it at some point.

    1. That’s good to hear! I’ve heard such great things about it over the years – although I’ve also seen quite a few negative reviews on Goodreads. I suppose that’s the fate of classics! Hopefully we’ll both love The Secret History!

  6. Looks like a good list. The only one I’ve read is The Name of the Rose which is difficult but well worth the effort. I’ve always wanted to read Shelley’s Frankentstein and I appreciate the fact that it pops up often in people’s lists to remind that I need to read it one of these days. The book that you’ve named that most intrigues me is The Red Notebook but all look excellent.

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