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New-To-Me Challenge to Attack My Backlist TBR

I came across the Beat the Backlist (BTB) challenge on the book blog Booksophobia and it's JUST what I need to deal with my out of control TBR list (did you SEE how many I added at the beginning of the year???? Check out my TBR Explosion posts: 15 Mysteries & More - 13 Historical Fiction - 10 Fantasy - 14 General Fiction)

It's super easy, no-pressure, no specific goals involved except what you set for yourself. Right up my alley. AND, Austine (the hostess/creator) has a link in Storygraph where you can link to specific books on your TBR and Storygraph will track your progress! I love that. So, of course, I joined. And linked to Storygraph. Austine has provided some bonus prompts for those of you (like me) that like a specific reason to pull out a certain book - here's her list of prompts to help you, if you want. There's no sign up form or anything, but if you participate, she'd appreciate a shout-out and link to her blog. Use the hashtag #BeatTheBacklist when writing about the challenge.

Austine has created 52 prompts - I see a few categories I know I don't have on my TBR and so won't complete, but mostly I think it's a fun way to whittle down my massive list! Join me and let's tackle our TBR lists together!!

  • 2+ people on the cover (2 or more people, either models or character art, on the cover)

  • 6+ words in the title (6 or more words in the title, can include “the,” “and,” etc.)

  • a book about books (a book that’s centered around books in some way)

  • a book in a genre you never/rarely read (a genre you pick up very infrequently, or have never tried)

  • a book set in the season you read it in (for example, reading a book primarily set in winter during the winter season)

  • about food or food in the title (either the book’s plot is centered around food in some way or there’s a type of food in the title)

  • about or inspired by a historical event (a book that’s either about an event in history, or heavily inspired by one)

  • an unusual or unexpected pet (a character has a pet that’s either unusual or something you wouldn’t expect)

  • author has a first, middle, and last name on the cover (no initials) (i.e. 3+ names on the cover, so Karen Marie Moning would count, Jennifer L. Armentrout would not)

  • author has an active podcast or youtube channel (author with a podcast or youtube channel that’s had an episode/video posted in the last 6 months)

  • book about siblings (the plot is strongly focused on siblings in some way)

  • book featuring time travel (we’re going back… back… back…)

  • book with chapter names (no “Chapter One” here, these chapter titles have something interesting to say)

  • book written for an age group you don’t belong to (for example, an adult reading young adult or vice versa)

  • classic novel (pick a classic, any classic)

  • co-authored (book is by 2 or more authors)

  • debut novel (this was the first published book by this author)

  • discovered via social media (because social media is rough on our TBRs)

  • everyone has read it but you (it feels like everyone else has read this book except you)

  • features royalty (I know I left that crown somewhere…)

  • finish a series (reading this book means you’re finishing the series)

  • first in a series you’ve been putting off (this is a callout so get to that series!)

  • forgotten on your shelf or eReader (a book you forgot you had until recently)

  • graphic novel, manga, or web comic (a book that fits one of these categories)

  • indie or self published (the book was published by the author or an independent press)

  • involves family secrets (this plot is very suspicious… secrets abound!)

  • longer than 500 pages (tackle that tome!)

  • murder, mystery, or both! (take your pick! murder, mystery, or something with both!)

  • mushroom on the cover (find the ‘shroom…)

  • new-to-you author (you’ve never read anything by this author, and maybe you never heard of them until recently)

  • non-fiction (your pick of topic but make sure it’s based on facts)

  • novella (often around 200 pages or less, a shorter work that either stands alone or is a novel companion)

  • number in the title (as simple as it sounds)

  • one word title (only one word allowed)

  • picked by a celebrity book club (any book selected in the past by a celebrity for their book club)

  • poetry or anthology (your choice of a book of poetry or book of short stories)

  • protagonist has a profession that twists the truth (the main character’s job involves twisting the truth or lying often)

  • published in the month you were born (book was released the same month you were born)

  • reading for research, reference, or general interest (pick something that interests you!)

  • second or fourth book in a series (you’re getting through those series this year!)

  • set in space OR on/in the ocean (sea of stars, sea of fish, your choice)

  • set in the mountains (the story primarily takes place in the mountains)

  • set on an island (the story primarily takes place on an island)

  • story centered around a real or fictional holiday (the story is focused around a holiday from our world or a holiday in the world of the book)

  • superheroes/villains OR character in disguise (a story about superheroes/villains or one that features a character in disguise)

  • title is an alliteration (the title features at least 2 words starting with the same letter back to back (excluding words like “the,” “and,” etc.) such as Silence of the Soleri)

  • translated into your native language (the book was originally written in a different language and translated into your native language)

  • wolf” or “star” in the title (one of those words appears in the title)

  • women in the (fictional) sciences (a book featuring women in science, either from our world or fictional)

  • you watched the show or movie first (a book turned into a movie/show that you watched before reading)

  • your favorite animal (real or fictional) on the cover (simple as it sounds!)

  • your favorite trope on the page (your favorite character or plot trope is in the book)

Since I have over 900 books on my TBR, I'm sure I can find something to fit almost every one of these categories. My additional, personal goal is to try to start with books I actually own and have been on my shelves sometimes for years! Follow my progress on the Challenges tab on the menu at the top of the page.

***You can find me on Storygraph as "terriep", on Goodreads as Terrie Purkey, on Facebook and Pinterest as Bookshelf Journeys. Follow my reading tips and reviews on any of these sites.

Welcome to Bookshelf Journeys.

It's my goal to provide real reviews of the books I read without totally rehashing every plot. I'll never spoil a story by giving away a plot twist! Hopefully you'll find one or two of interest and will discover a new book or author to add to YOUR TBR list.  Take a moment to explore, read a couple reviews, and let me know what you think.


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The review ratings are based on a 5 star  (1/2 stars sometimes) system with a 3 being an average read for me. I hope you find that helpful. Knowing, of course, that all opinions are just that - my opinion!  Let me know if you agree or disagree - I'd love to hear from you.

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