Top Ten Backlist Books I Want to Read

This week’s Top Ten topic, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is about backlist books I want to read.  What’s a backlist book?  The term refers to books that are older but still in print.  I like this topic because I think it’s always good to keep an eye on the older books on your TBR list.  So for my list, I took my Goodreads TBR list, sorted it by publication date, and looked at books published in 2015 or earlier.

Most of these are award winners, highly rated by readers, and are writers I want to read more of.  A number of these books will probably make up my TBR Pile Challenge list for 2019, since most are books I’ve been wanting to read for a while. There’s a lot of science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism on this list

  • Asking for It by Louise O’Neill (2015) (she’s a new author to me but one I’ve been wanting to read because of its subject matter and because this book comes highly recommended)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2010) (one of the nonfiction reads I didn’t get to this year, but it sounds fascinating)
  • Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie (2009) (I loved Shamsie’s Home Fire, and I’d been wanting to read this one even before Home Fire came out. Plus it’s about a country other than my own.)
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (2004) (I didn’t love Housekeeping, but this book won a Pulitzer Prize, so I’ll give her another go.)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001) (because I need to read more Neil Gaiman)
  • Ghostwritten by David Mitchell (1999) (because I plan to read everything by David Mitchell)
  • Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler (1998) (because Octavia Butler – and because I loved the first book in this series)
  • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992) (because Connie Willis, time travel, and it’s won all kinds of awards)
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (1985) (because I’m still working my way through Murakami’s best works)
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin (1969) (because I want to get a better understanding of LeGuin and this is probably considered her best work, and a work of science fiction that should be read)

That’s my list!  Which of these have you read, and if so, what do you recommend?

Just out of curiosity, I took the books on my TBR list published in 2015 or older and went only by ratings on Goodreads (and I took off series books because GR readers always rate those more highly), I would add these books to my list:

  1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)
  2. Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof (2008)
  3. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (2004)
  4. The Gowk Storm by Nancy Brysson Morrison (1933)
  5. The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge (2007)
  6. Born Survivors by Wendy Holden (2015)
  7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (1996)
  8. Human Acts by Han Kang (2014)
  9. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1862)
  10. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke (1953)

Looks like I’ve got a pretty good reading list for 2019!  What do you think?  What backlist books are you considering?

  14 comments for “Top Ten Backlist Books I Want to Read

  1. November 6, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Gilead and Burnt Shadows are both excellent. I was glad I had read Ghostwritten, but it wasn’t the easiest of reads; I did found myself ploughing through it at times.

    • November 6, 2018 at 7:16 pm

      Thanks for the recommendations! I love David Mitchell but don’t know too much about Ghostwritten. Sounds like you still found it worth the read.

  2. November 6, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Burnt Shadows is an amazing read! I read it for a college course and I LOVED it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

    • November 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation, I’m looking forward to that one. I think knowing more about WWII Japan is important. If you haven’t read Home Fires, that was excellent.

  3. November 6, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Ghostwritten is SO good!

    • November 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      I’m glad to hear that! I’ve read nearly everything by Mitchell so I’m looking forward to this one.

  4. November 6, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Ooh, The Gowk Storm! I loved it and am on a mission to make everyone read it, so get started! 😉 I also loved Gilead, but haven’t read Housekeeping so I don’t know how they compare. Gilead is one of those very quiet books where it’s all about characterisation, and the writing is beautiful…

    • November 6, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      I’ve only heard of that book from one other blogger, maybe it was you! I love Scotland so I’m looking forward to this one. Thanks for the recommendations.

  5. November 6, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    I really loved Song of Achilles, and Chernow’s Hamilton is on my tbr, but I feel like I might have to take that one slowly. 😊

  6. November 6, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    Some seriously interesting options here. The only two I’ve read are Burnt Shadows and Childhoods end. The latter is one of the very few science fuction books I ever tackled but so glad I did.

  7. November 7, 2018 at 9:07 am

    I have yet to read anything by Neil Gaiman. SoA killed me. All of Madeline Miller’s work is practically a bible to me.

  8. November 7, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Song of Achilles is so good—I’m trying to make time to read her latest, Circe. Chernow’s Hamilton is outstanding. I love reading these posts—it’s a great Top Ten Tuesday!

  9. Lauren Becker
    November 8, 2018 at 8:08 am

    I want to read Asking for It and American Gods too, and Song of Achilles! I have read Neverwhere by Gaiman though. 🙂


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