A comprehensive and varied reading list is one of my goals for 2021. Help me develop a Scott Reads list for 2021 with new authors and genres.
A reading list is something I have neglected over the past year. As someone who has two English-based degrees, I was used to spending my time devouring books and being introduced to new authors or genres. However, over the last year, I have spent my time developing a vibrant private tuition business and homeschooling my two young children amid multiple local lockdowns.
As 2021 approached, I wanted to consider something that could help broaden my literary horizon and create content for my creative writing blog. There are thousands of ‘bookstagrammers’ out there, binding their limbs in fairy light, posting Tik-Tok dance routines and colour-coding their bookshelves. I have no interest in getting into that form of content creation, but I am interested in interacting with others to develop my Scott Reads reading list for 2021.
I have no shame in admitting that I am a reader who always returns to the comfort blankets within my bookcase. For me, those are Haruki Murakami, Douglas Coupland, Paul Auster and Chuck Palahniuk. These are the writers I was introduced to through my English Literature degree at the University of Ulster and onto my MA at Queen’s University, Belfast. We are all guilty of holding on dearly to a group of writers, but this behaviour has limited my reading lists.
The dreaded statement of ‘I don’t know what’s good’ always made me reticent when considering new books in the Waterstones top ten whilst waiting for the bus home as a twenty-something. Now, as a thirty-six-year-old, I regret not taking risks and exploring new books, authors and genres as a young man. Therefore, I think it’s time to open up a potential reading list for 2021 to those readers kind enough to read this blog article.
The Reading List Rules
As I am technically opening this up to the world, I have had to compose a series of rules to ensure there are at least some limits to the suggestions offered up.
These rules are:
The First Rule Of Reading List Is…No Self-Promotion
As someone who watches and reads more than he posts on social media, I have seen many fellow writers post the following on Facebook or Twitter:
‘Hi, Guys! I’m looking for some Indie books to read. Pop the link to your book in the comments section, and I’ll choose X to download!’
Firstly, these posts are nonsense. Considering the algorithms on social media prioritise what your friends see, all this does is get these ‘writers’ or voracious ‘readers’ free exposure. When you share the link or comment, many of your contacts or friends see that you interacted with the post. Thus, giving the user who wrote it tonnes of free exposure.
When suggesting books for my 2021 reading list, I want books that are not your own or a friend’s. Think of the best books you have read in 2020 and pick a top three. If I, or anyone else, ought to read it, then tell us why in the comment’s section below.
The Second Rule Of Reading List Is…No Erotica
Yes, it may sound prudish or snooty, but I don’t have a desire to read novels that could be placed in the ‘adult’ section. This is not meant to be demeaning to those who write such works, but they would not be ‘my cup of tea’.
The Third Rule Of Reading List Is…Make Me Smile
I wish to have my horizons broadened for the year ahead and experience dozens of writers and many genres. However, the main focus of the Scott Reads reading list is to give me and others joy!
I want to choose a book that is suggested by people online and thoroughly enjoy reading it. I want to use my downtime to relax and lose myself in the world that the author has created. If I can be engrossed in the characters’ stories and have a smile on my face, I will return to that book again or find another work written by that writer.
Therefore, if you have read a book in the last year that has left you speechless, in tears or smiling broadly, share it in the comments below and tell us why.
It All Begins With…
In the last month or so, I have read and aim to read several books to get the reading list started. These works include:
- The Chain – Adrian McKinty,
- The Bat – Jo Nesbo,
- The Brooklyn Follies – Paul Auster,
- Oracle Night – Paul Auster,
- Player One – Ernest Cline,
- Player Two – Ernest Cline, and
- Hermit – S.R. White.
The hope is that I will read two of the books that are linked, whether by author or genre, and share my thoughts. The hope is that I can develop this into a series over the course of 2021 that can help achieve several goals:
- Develop my reading list,
- Grow my current author pool,
- Generate content for my author blog,
- Stimulate conversation and interaction with others, and
- Evolve my downtime into something that will help develop my craft as a fiction author.
If you feel you could help contribute to these goals, please suggest a book and write a short reason why I or others should include this book in their 2021 reading list. I look forward to reading your suggestions and reading wider as the year gets up and running.