January is the month of setting up goals. Of creating (and breaking) resolutions. Apart from setting up my business goals, the other one I particularly enjoy is creating a tentative TBR (“tentative” being the keyword). I am a mood reader and don’t always stick to a TBR list. But I do enjoy charting out what I want to read through the year.
I went all out last year with reading challenges but the universe had other ideas. Due of that, I wasn’t planning to participate in a specific reading challenge in 2021. I am well aware that once things open up, I am barely going to get any time to read. I hate half measures and don’t want to sign up for something I will have to drop out of later.
Goodreads and Reading Women Challenges are a default each year. Long before I launched my blog. When Blogchatter announced their Reading Challenge, I had to sign up. Because, well, it is Blogchatter.
What is the Blogchatter Reading Challenge?
If you have been living under a rock, Blogchatter is one of the most vibrant blogging communities where something or the other is going on each day. A platform for bloggers and social media influencers from across the niches. This year, they have launched their #TBRChallenge to help tackle the ever-growing TBR.
It is a self paced, no prompts challenge where you choose your own goal. I have set no-stress target of 24. Interacting with the community and sharing notes on the current reads promises to be fun.
For more details and to register, check out the Blogchatter website.
My 2021 TBR
I read across genres. Some favorites and some I experiment with. I enjoy literary fiction as much as I enjoy chick-lits. This year, I want to get back to reading fantasy fiction. I also want to read more books in the regional language and books in Hindi seem like a good start. From fantasy fiction to non-fiction to literary fiction to women’s fiction, here is my list of 25 books I plan to read this year.
The Celestial Trilogy
At the top of my list is the Celestial Trilogy by Sangu Mandanna. I have read a fair share of Mahabharat retellings but this series comes highly recommended. Fantasy/science fiction and inspired by ancient Indian stories. The final book in the series releases June 1st and I am looking forward to reading the complete series at a go.
The Poppy War Series
Another fantasy fiction series on my TBR is The Poppy War series by R.F. Kuang. I have been delaying picking it up due to the trigger warnings. But 2021 seems to be the year for it. Inspired by the second Sino-Japanese war and the Nanjing massacre, it promises to be a fascinating mix of fantasy and historical fiction.
Non fictions take up a considerable part of my TBR. There are four books I am planning to read this year. India is infamous for its caste politics. But there is an unspoken caste system that has shaped America. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson explores these hidden caste hierarchies.
I have read a couple of essays from the anthology Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy and they are excellent. I am also looking forward to read Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard. Having lived in Defence Colony for years, I was not aware of the history of the Gumbad (where their RWA office is located). The Forgotten Cities of Delhi by Rana Safvi promises to unearth more such secrets and I am planning to pick it first.
Books by South Asian Authors
I am biased towards books by South Asian authors. They do not get as much love as they deserve. On the top of my list is the highly recommended Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena. Another is Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave. And then there are books by my auto-buy authors. The book on the fearless Rani Jindan, The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. And of course Sandhya Menon’s adult romance debut, Make Up, Break Up by Lily Menon.
Jane Austen Retellings
I enjoy reading Jane Austen retellings. There is a certain charm in the modern adaptation of the much loved classics. I plan to pick up Sonali Dev’s The Raje’s series – Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, Recipe for Persuasion, and upcoming Incense and Sensibility (out in July). Another Jane Austen retelling I am looking forward to re-read is the Persuasion retelling Mr Eashwar’s Daughter by Debeshi Gooptu. Persuasion is one of the lesser-known, rarely explored works of Jane Austen and my favorite. I prefer it over Pride and Prejudice – Wentworth over Darcy anytime!
Award Winning and Popular Books
I avoid award winning and hyped books since they often disappoint. But the picks in 2020 worked well for me. This year. I am looking to pick some more popular books. The Man Booker Prize 2019 joint winner Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo is at the top of my list. So is Circe by Madeline Miller (Yes, I haven’t read it yet!). I have previously enjoyed books by Fredrik Backman and Beth O’Leary and will be hopefully reading Anxious People and The Flat Share.
Books in Hindi
India has an incredible history of Hindi literature that no longer gets its due. It breaks my heart to see translated pop-culture books considered the best books in Hindi. This year, I plan to read books in Hindi too. Dopehri by Pankaj Kapur comes highly recommended, particularly the Hindi version. Quite true, “Afternoon” does not have as much a ring to it as “Dopehri” does. I would also be re-reading Raag Darbari by Shrilal Shukla and Zindaginama by Krishna Sobti, in Hindi this time.
The Palate Cleansers
Feel-good books or “palate cleansers” as I like to call them don’t necessarily make a TBR. But I recently discovered a stash of 100+ Barbara Cartlands at Storytel. They were the only romances I was “allowed” to read growing up since they were considered chaste. And were the foundation for my love for historical romances. They will be my go-to for feel-good books. I am also curious to know how the stories have aged over the decades.
Are you participating in any reading challenges this year? What books are you looking forward to read? Do share about them in the comments below.
I’m participating in the #TBRChallenge by Blogchatter.
This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla, and happily SPONSORED BY RRE Studios and SHOWCASE Events.
Photo credit: Canva.com
January 12, 2021 @ 5:34 pm
I used to love making TBRs but then I’m such a mood reader that they never worked for me. But I love your line up. So many interesting books!
January 12, 2021 @ 6:13 pm
I barely stick to them too, Shantala. But enjoy making them nonetheless 🙂 This year though, I am hoping to complete the list. Thank you so much for stopping by.
January 12, 2021 @ 7:05 pm
What a wonderful collection of books, Ritu! I particularly loved the part why you are reading them and sighed over the gorgeous book covers.
I wish I could get such a diverse reading lined up in one year. Looking forward to your reviews.
January 13, 2021 @ 11:38 pm
Thank you Sona 🙂 I could spend all day looking at the covers, the fantasy fiction ones are always the best.
January 13, 2021 @ 11:39 pm
Thank you Swati 🙂 . Looking forward to checking out your TBR too and exchanging notes.
January 16, 2021 @ 6:11 pm
Excellent list. I never went with a planned list but this has inspired me to do so….loved the way you have categorized the books At least we are motivated to read. Non fiction collection and Hindi book collection is great.
January 18, 2021 @ 6:07 pm
Thank you Sonia 🙂 I am quite a list maker and categorizing books works best for me. Makes it easy to pick the next book.
January 12, 2021 @ 11:07 pm
Thats a wonderful list. If I have to pick, then I will start with South Asian authors. Each and every book seems wonderful. Looking forwards to your reviews.
January 13, 2021 @ 11:40 pm
Thank you Alpana 🙂 Those are on the top of my list too, particularly The Last Queen.
January 16, 2021 @ 4:32 pm
Your list for one year seems like a lifetime read for me. How do you manage to read all this in this time? Please point me to any of your guide or tips to read post.. I am looking forward to learn from you
January 18, 2021 @ 6:06 pm
That is quite okay, Urvashi. We all have our own reading speeds. The secret is to read daily and pick books you enjoy. Hope to write a guide post on it someday.
January 13, 2021 @ 10:18 am
This is really an exhaustive list. I am sure you shall complete what you have determined to do this year. Look forward to reading reviews sometime.
January 13, 2021 @ 11:45 pm
I did try to keep it limited to 25, although I do plan to read more. Cannot wait to share my reviews.
January 13, 2021 @ 11:49 am
This is so wonderful and best wishes for the challenge. I love the fact that you have made such a diverse selection of books.
January 13, 2021 @ 11:47 pm
Best wishes to you too, Ninu 🙂 I am looking forward to reading your reviews.
January 13, 2021 @ 1:23 pm
What an amazing selection of books in your challenge! I love the diversity – I have heard of a few but not read even one off these. Will definitely check out some – all the best with the challenge, I will be seeing you around here then!
January 13, 2021 @ 11:49 pm
Thank you so much Richa 🙂 Best wishes for the challenge to you too. Looking forward to your picks.
January 13, 2021 @ 6:04 pm
This is an amazing list of books, Ritu. Wish you all the best for the reading challenge. Hope you reach your goal. I am feeling ashamed now that I am barely reading these days. I plan to read a few for sure.
January 13, 2021 @ 11:51 pm
Thank you Harjeet 🙂 I kept a “safe” target this time. I do hope to read all the books on this TBR this year.
January 14, 2021 @ 12:40 am
Wow what a wonderful list. and I am really impressed with this. I had also thought to participate in blogchatter challenge but then not get enough confidence to complete it. after reading your post feeling to give it another thought.
Sindhu Vinod Narayan
January 17, 2021 @ 3:37 pm
Wow this is an interesting TBR. I’m joining the blogchatter challenge as well. I already have few lined up will add few from your as well as they seem interesting.
January 18, 2021 @ 5:50 pm
Thank you Sindhu 🙂 Looking forward to checking out your TBR. And picking a few recommendations.
January 18, 2021 @ 5:49 pm
Thank you Surbhi :). You should join in. I would love to check out what books are on your TBR.
January 14, 2021 @ 11:36 am
This is quite a new list for me, I have hardly read any of these. I might like to add “Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave” to my TBR 2021 🙂 Thanks for introducing new books to me Ritu 🙂
January 18, 2021 @ 5:52 pm
My pleasure, Priyanka 🙂. I have always tried to promote the books that do not get the recognition they deserve.
January 14, 2021 @ 1:02 pm
Your reading list is so interesting.
I would like to explore some Austen retellings. Wish you all the best for the challenge.
January 18, 2021 @ 5:53 pm
Thank you for stopping by, Purba 🙂 Best wishes for the challenge too. I loved the selection of books you picked.
January 14, 2021 @ 7:25 pm
Wow! I have not participated in this challenge but your collection is awesome. I love reading books and I am bookmarking this post for my reference.
January 18, 2021 @ 5:54 pm
Thank you Shail 🙂
January 14, 2021 @ 9:20 pm
All the best for reading these books! I adored the Poppy War trilogy and The Celestial Trilogy and so I hope you enjoy them too! I really need to read Circe as well!
January 18, 2021 @ 5:56 pm
Thank you Jayati. I was hoping to read The Poppy War trilogy when Dini hosted the read-along. Hope I am finally able to get to the series this year.
January 14, 2021 @ 10:35 pm
Nice post and looking forward to the reading challenge by blogchatter thanks for writing the post.
January 18, 2021 @ 5:57 pm
Thank you Sivaranjini :). All the best for the challenge.
January 15, 2021 @ 1:49 am
I have no knowledge about blogchatter challenge actually… But I really like your TBR, I do have a list too but more books are getting added…
January 18, 2021 @ 5:59 pm
Thank you Monidipa. Our TBRs are always expanding 😀
January 15, 2021 @ 3:54 am
Iam an avid reader and have to read something EVERY SINGLE DAY. Infact in my husband doesn’t see me reading he says it is an indication that I am not doing fine and something is troubling me. I have been wanting to sign up for the Blogchatter challenge but haven’t actually gotten around to doing it.
I liked some of your picks – the Jane Austen retelling by far are my favorites and I will surely read them as well. I LOVE her take on society and how issues are presented through a female protagonist. I also like the mythological picks and hunted by the sky and the last queen. Will see how many of these I can add to my list after going through their storyline – thank you for the links!
January 18, 2021 @ 6:01 pm
We be kindred spirits, Vasumathi 🙂 My day too does not end until I read a book, even if it is a couple of pages. What I love about Austen’s works is that they are never dated.
January 15, 2021 @ 1:04 pm
This is a fantastic list of books across genre. i am going to note a few of these for myself. Thanks!
January 18, 2021 @ 6:02 pm
Thank you Prerna 🙂
January 16, 2021 @ 10:21 am
Wow, I love how diverse and interesting your collection is. Tempted to add some to my list too. 🙂
January 18, 2021 @ 6:02 pm
Thank you Payal 🙂 Over the years I have made a conscious decision to read more diverse and it has paid off.
January 16, 2021 @ 3:05 pm
This is a new TBR list for me and I hardly read these genres. May be I should try out some books from this list.
January 18, 2021 @ 6:03 pm
You must try them out, Suhasini.
January 17, 2021 @ 5:58 am
You have an amazing list of books. All books seems interesting. All the best for reading challenge.
January 18, 2021 @ 6:08 pm
Thank you Abha 🙂
Sindhu Vinod Narayan
January 17, 2021 @ 3:39 pm
This is an interesting TBR..I’ve joined the challenge as well. I’ve liked up a few these from yours seem interesting asw ell.
January 17, 2021 @ 3:51 pm
This is really an exhaustive list. i have hardly heard them before . Look forward to reading your reviews .
January 17, 2021 @ 6:49 pm
Woohoo such a huge list of books Nd seriosuly its a major task to read these books in a year. All the best and i really admire blogchatter for its innovative way to keep bloggers and influencers engaged.
January 18, 2021 @ 6:12 pm
Thank you Bhawna 🙂 I have to confess this is half of my TBR for the year, a safe one. Blogchatter is indeed amazing!
Puspanjalee Das Dutta
January 23, 2021 @ 7:06 pm
Wow, such an interesting list of books. All the best with your reading challenge!
January 18, 2021 @ 6:11 pm
Thank you Jyoti 🙂
January 17, 2021 @ 4:55 pm
This is a really long list convering various genres. Good luck to you. And would be ready to read the reviews. The blogchatter reading challenge is a cool thing!
January 18, 2021 @ 6:12 pm
Thank you Srishti 🙂
January 17, 2021 @ 5:39 pm
Yes im also participating this challenge , even though my target is a small one. I loved your list & am going to take some of the recommendations from here and add them to my to read list very interesting genres & works you have picked up.
January 18, 2021 @ 6:13 pm
Thank you Vashi :). Best wishes for the challenge to you. Looking forward to checking out your TBR.
January 17, 2021 @ 5:47 pm
That is an amazing list of books for the entire year ready. I am so sure an avid reader Ritu, is going to win over the reading challenge. I registered for this, too, with the minimum target of 10 books; even then, I am so nervous about whether I would able to finish the challenge or not. All the best.
January 18, 2021 @ 6:15 pm
Thank you Archana :). The fun of the challenge is not the target but the joy of reading. I am sure you are going to ace it. All the best to you.
January 17, 2021 @ 9:46 pm
Wow Ritu! I am so in love with your TBR list. What an amazing collection of books. ATB for the reading challenge and I look forward to your reviews on the same.
January 18, 2021 @ 6:15 pm
Thank you Amritha 🙂
January 17, 2021 @ 10:20 pm
This is a wonderful list. I have some of these my fav too. and this seems to be an amazing challenge. Good luck to you!
January 18, 2021 @ 6:16 pm
Thank you Nehal 🙂
January 19, 2021 @ 7:32 am
Gawd! I love your list. And I’m amazed at how meticulous you are. I have a TBR for two months and I’m not sure I’m going to stick to it. Putting Caste and the Forgotten Cities of Delhi on my TBR. Also Circe has been on my list since God knows when.
I want to read more books in Hindi too. Dopehri was delightful. Marking the other two you’ve recommended.
January 20, 2021 @ 6:49 pm
Thank you Tulika 😀 . Hoping to stick to it somewhat, although my recent reads have not. I enjoy creating a TBR nonetheless.
January 20, 2021 @ 8:11 am
Gosh you do read diversely and what a stupendous list you have created here with such well marked factions of diversity. I am in love with the two series you have marked out in the beginning of the post and will delve deeper into them to see if they interest me.
Girl, Woman, Other is just stupendous, I started it in December and savored it all through mid jan. Its written so so brilliantly and will grab you very intensely with its characters and their lives. Very well explored and written.
The Jane Austen retellings should be interesting- let me try out one on Audible. I think I have seen one or two of them there.
Dopehri is on my list too and I think we shall compare notes on this one soon.
Flatshare is simply hilarious- very refreshing light read and I am looking forward to reading The Switch by the same author this year.
Wish you all the best for your reading this year Ritu!!
January 20, 2021 @ 6:57 pm
Thank you so much Shalz 🙂 This TBR has also been influenced by the recommendations you and Soumya shared. We should definitely exchange notes sometime. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on The Switch. Now to decide what book to pick next. Decisions, decisions, decisions…..
Noor Anand Chawla
January 26, 2021 @ 6:37 pm
Ritu I have grown up in Defence Colony too! I’m sure we have crossed paths! From these, I’ve only read Girl, Woman, Other and really liked it. I’ve also recently picked up Caste, so hope to read that soon. Wish you luck with your reading challenge!
January 31, 2021 @ 11:55 pm
Thank you Noor :). I’m sure we have crossed paths. More than half my nankaas live in Def Col. With you endorsing Girl, Woman, Other, it is definitely going to be a good read.