Reading Projects | 2021

Hi, folks!

It’s that time of the year again, when we reflect on what has been accomplished in the past months & start to plan ahead. Here are my reading projects for 2021.

Year-long projects

Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities is a new reading project hosted by Yamini (shakespeareandspice);  Nicole (nicole is here to learn); Natalie (Curious Reader); Stephanie (time to read!); Michael (Knowledge Lost); Wil (MyBookishEmpire); and Agnese (Beyond the Epilogue), to explore and encourage more discussions about literature in translation from around the world.

Each month the hosts will select 3 countries and focus on reading and discussing works in translation from those 3 countries. They also encourage reviews and discussions on films, music, cuisine, and other forms of culture from the selected countries, as well as nonfiction books and documentaries about those countries. Here they have a spreadsheet with some book suggestions.

All you need to do to participate is read a book in translation from at least 1 of the 3 selected countries for that month and share your thoughts about the book on any social media platform, using the hashtag #invisiblecitiesproject. They also have an Instagram account (@invisiblecitiesreadingproject) and a Discord server.

Here are the countries selected so far, as well as my corresponding pile of possibilities:

  • January:
    • Argentina
      • Land of Smoke by Sara Gallardo, tr. Jessica Sequeira
    • Japan
      • An I-Novel, by Minae Mizumura, tr. Juliet Winters Carpenter
      • Floating Clouds, by Fumiko Hayashi, tr. Lane Dunlop
    • Morocco
      • Les chants de la Tassaout, by Mririda n-Ayt Attiq, tr. René Euloge
      • Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America, by Laila Lalami
  • February:
    • China
      • Frontier by Can Xue, tr. Karen Gernant and Zeping Chen
      • Strange Beasts of China, by Yan Ge, tr. Jeremy Tiang
      • A Lovers Discourse by Xiaolu Guo
    • Colombia
      • Holiday Heart, by Margarita García Robayo, tr. Charlotte Coombe
    • Egypt
      • Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi, tr. Sherif Hetata


European Reading Challenge

#ERC2021 / #europeanreadingchallengechallenge is hosted by Gilion over at Rose City Reader, and the idea is to tour Europe through books. Full details about the challenge & sign-up post here.

My level of participation: 5 star (deluxe entourage) – “Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries”. My pile of possibilities:

  1. RussiaA Double Life, by Karolina Pavlova, tr. Barbara Heldt
  2. Denmark: Childhood, by Tove Ditlevsen, tr. Tiina Nunnally and Michael Favala Goldman
  3. Norway: Alberta and Jacob, by Cora Sandel, tr. Elizabeth Rokkan
  4. Austria:
  5. Germany:
  6. Italy:
  7. France:
  8. UK:


Back to the Classics

Back to the Classics is hosted by Karen to encourage readers to tackle the classic books in their shelves. Full details of the challenge are here. Below are the categories for 2021, as well as my pile of possibilities:

  1. A 19th century classic: Behind a Mask, or A Woman’s Power by Louisa May Alcott (1866, under the pseudonym of A. M. Barnard)
  2. A 20th century classic: Beyond the Glass by Antonia White (1954)
  3. A classic by a woman author: The Life and Death of Harriett Frean, by May Sinclair (1922)
  4. A classic in translation: Alberta and Jacob, by Cora Sandel (1984, tr. Elizabeth Rokkan. Original: Alberte og Jacob, 1926)
  5. A classic by a non-white author: Brown Girl, Brownstones, by Paule Marshall (1959)
  6. A classic by a new-to-you author: The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story, by Eliza Parsons (1793)
  7. New-to-you classic by a favorite author: Trio, by Dorothy Baker (1943)
  8. A classic about an animal, or with an animal in the title: Moths, by Ouida (pen name of Maria Louise Ramé, 1880)
  9. A children’s classic: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
  10. A humorous or satirical classic: Self-Control, by Mary Brunton (1811)
  11. A travel or adventure classic (fiction or non-fiction): A Thousand Miles Up the Nile, by Amelia B. Edwards (1877)
  12. A classic play: The Purple Flower by Marita Bonner (1928)


Australian Women Writers Challenge

This challenge is hosted by Elizabeth to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. Full details here.

My pile of possibilities:

  • Letty Fox: Her Luck, by Christina Stead (1946)
  • My Brilliant Career, by Miles Franklin (1901)
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Lindsay (1967)
  • The Three Miss Kings, by Ada Cambridge (1891)


Deal me In Challenge

This challenge is hosted by Jay to encourage readers to read 52 short stories in 2021. Before you start reading, choose fifty-two stories and assign each one to a playing card in a standard deck of cards. Each week, you draw a card at random from your deck and that is the story you will read. Full details here.

Here is my initial plan:

  • Spades♠: Virago Book of Victorian Ghost Stories, ed. Richard Dalby (1988, 21 stories)
  • Hearts♥: Daughters of Decadence: Women Writers of the Fin de Siècle, ed. Elaine Showalter (1993, 18 stories)
  • Diamonds♦: This Kind of Woman: Ten Stories by Japanese Women Writers, 1960-1976, ed. Yukiko Tanaka and Elizabeth Hanson (1982, 10 stories) + Seven Contemporary Chinese Women Writers, ed. Gladys Yang, several translators (1982, 07 stories)
  • Clubs♣: Victorian Fairy Tales: The Revolt of the Fairies and Elves, ed. Jack D. Zipes (1984, 22 stories)


Woolfiano 2021

This is hosted by Robson at woolfiano, and the idea is to read all Virginia Woolf’s novels in 2021! Here is the schedule:

  • January: The Voyage Out
  • February: The Voyage Out / Night and Day
  • March: Night and Day
  • April: Jacob’s Room
  • May: Mrs. Dalloway
  • June: To the Lighthouse
  • July: Orlando
  • August: The Waves
  • September: Flush
  • October: The Years
  • November: The Years / Between the Acts
  • December: Between the Acts


The Brian Moore at 100 Readalong

This is a year-long readalong, hosted by Cathy in 2021, to celebrate Moore’s work in his centenary. The idea is to read and discuss one of his books each month. Here are the 12 selected books:

  • January: Lies of Silence (1999)
  • February: The Feast of Lupercal (1957)
  • March: Fergus (1970)
  • April: The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne(1955)
  • May: The Doctor’s Wife (1976)
  • June: No Other Life (1993)
  • July: Cold Heaven (1983)
  • August: The Temptation of Eileen Hughes (1981)
  • September: The Emperor of Icecream (1965)
  • October: The Dear Departed: Short Stories (2020)
  • November: Catholics (1972)
  • December: The Magician’s Wife (1997)

Seasonal reading events

Japanese Literature Challenge 14

Japanese Literature Challenge, now in its fourteenth edition (🎉), is hosted by Meredith over at Dolce Bellezza, and the idea is to read and review Japanese literature from January through March 2021. Full details & sign-up post here. And here you can find a suggested reading list.

My pile of possibilities for #JapaneseLitChallenge14:

  • An I-Novel, by Minae Mizumura (2021, tr. Juliet Winters Carpenter. Original: 私小説, 1995)
  • Floating Clouds, by Fumiko Hayashi, tr. Lane Dunlop
  • Toddler-hunting & Other Stories, by Taeko Kōno, tr. Lucy North, Lucy Lower (2018. Original: 1996)
  • The Goddess Chronicle, by Natsuo Kirino, tr. Rebecca Copeland (2013. Original: 2008)



#Siberianary is hosted by @sofareader during the months of January and February, and the idea is to read Russian literature.

Here is my pile of possibilities:

  • A Double Life, by Karolina Pavlova, tr. Barbara Heldt
  • Subtly Worded, by Teffi, tr. Anne Marie Jackson and Robert Chandler
  • The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy, tr. Cathy Porter
  • An Anthology of Russian Women’s Writing, ed. Catriona Kelly (1994)
  • Russia Through Women’s Eyes: Autobiographies from Tsarist Russia, ed. Toby W. Clyman and Judith Vowles (1999)
  • Slav Sisters: The Dedalus Book of Russian Women’s Literature, ed. Natasha Perova (2018)


Other events

As usual, I will also take part in the various Clubs hosted by Karen and Simon (the next one will be the #1936 Club, in April); in Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy; in the Wales Readathon, hosted by Paula; the Persephone Readathons, hosted by Jessie20 Books of Summer, hosted by CathySpanish and Portuguese Lit Month, hosted by Stuthe Virago All August, hosted by the Virago Modern Classics Group at LibraryThing; Women in Translation Month, hosted by MeytalRIP Challenge, hosted by CarlVictober, hosted by KateKatie, and LucyGerman Lit Month, hosted by Lizzy and CarolineAusReadingMonth, hosted by Brona in November; Novellas in November, hosted by  Cathy and Rebecca; and Nonfiction November, hosted by Rennie over at What’s Non-Fiction, Katie at Doing Dewey, Julie at Julz Reads and Leann at Shelf Aware .

Personal projects

As for more personal reading projects, I have several reading lists to tackle, but I will focus on my Classics Club, Reclaim Her Name, and #100BestWIT lists; as well as my Century of Books and my Year of Pilgrimage projects.

As usual, I made a list of New-to-me Authors to read in 2021:

  1. Cora Sandel
  2. May Sinclair
  3. Marita Bonner
  4. Fumiko Hayashi
  5. Sarah Scott
  6. Mary Hays

Inspired by the project Annabel’s Shelves, I’d also like to read my way through my bookshelves from A-Z, combining it with a post format similar to my Know Thy Shelf posts, and randomizing my reading choices.

Finally, I have a list of books to read for my local bookclub:

  • Jan: Giovanni’s Room,by James Baldwin
  • Feb: Parakeet: a Novel, by Marie-Helene Bertino

I will join the Fierce Women Book Club:

  • January/February: The Mother of the Brontes: When Maria Met Patrick by Sharon Wright

And I will continue to take part in the Borderless Book Club:

  • Jan: Zero by Gine Cornelia Pedersen
  • Feb: Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge

That’s all for now, folks! What are your reading plans for 2021? Tell me about them.

Yours truly,


‘Therese Reading In The Park at Meric’, by Frederic Bazille (1867)

31 thoughts on “Reading Projects | 2021

  1. Thanks for taking on the Deal Me In challenge! I completed my roster of stories Sunday, and your post reminds me I need to do an “Announcement” post about the challenge – even if I haven’t been active in writing blog posts in 2021 for many reasons. This will be the 11th year I’ve read a story a week as part of the challenge.

    I like the stories you’ve selected too. I’m a big fan of ghost stories and fairy tales. They are usually part of my deal me in deck as well. Also I’d love to read the Japanese authors book you mention. I love exploring other authors via short stories.

    Good luck and happy reading in 2021!



  2. What an inspiring post! It is absolutely full of temptations and delights, and I found myself considering many of the reading possibilities you highlighted that I don’t already do, such as the Russian Challenge. Of course, thank you for pointing out the Japanese Literature Challenge 14, and even more than that, thank you for participating with your wonderful perspective. xoxo


  3. These all look like such wonderful reading plans and projects! I never dare commit ahead of time to plans like this because there’s a fair amount of compulsion in my reading life as it is, thanks to my line of work, but you give me lots of ideas for directions to take my more haphazard reading. I don’t comment much but I always read and enjoy your posts and wanted to say thanks for another year of them. Here’s to a better year for all of us in 2021, and not just in our reading lives!


  4. What brilliant challenges you plan to partake next year! I am especially interested in the “Back to the Classics” and Japanese classics lists! By the way, I hear a lot of good things about Nawal El Saadawi, I listened to the BBC World Book Club podcast with her interview about this novel years ago, I want to provide you with the link here: (though I haven’t read it yet!) Best wishes, Sarah


    1. Thank you, Cathy! I am looking forward to taking part in the Moore Readalong, I never read him! This will be the best opportunity to rectify that. 🙂 I loved the idea of the Invisible Cities project, I hope you join in! 🙂


  5. Thanks for joining the European Reading Challenge again! Your other challenges look good too. I am going to get organized myself and see how many challenges I can (reasonably) undertake in 2021. Happy reading and happy Ney Year!


  6. Oh my, I thought I completed all the challenges I want to participate in next year, but this post has made me aware of some I missed! I will give a think about Invisible Cities, Siberianary, Spanish & Portuguese Lit Month and German Lit Month. I wish you well on your reading year!


    1. Thanko you, Cleo! I will be reading books that fit more than one challenge at once, so it will be less challenging than it seems (I hope!). I am yet to organize everything month by month… Happy new reading year to you, too! 🙂


  7. Goodness, this is a lot. I’m planning to join more events in 2021, but not this many 🙂 I plan to do the Brian Moore event, at least once month, and I’m going to bookmark this post and choose a few more. I like some of the regional ones, like Russia (I loved Teffi!) Or Australia (I have never read an Australian book!)
    Thanks for the inspiration!


  8. And there was I thinking that 2021 was going to be a quiet reading year! Thanks for the heads-up on #invisiblecities, ##siberianary and #brianmooreat100. I’ll join in all three. Starting with Land of Smoke in January.


  9. Oh my goodness! And I thought 4 challenges are going to be a challenge! Wow! And you are so well sorted already.

    I think you are going to have a great reading year in 2021. Happy New Year and enjoy all your challenges!

    I’ve signed up for the European Challenge as well, let’s see if I get to “travel”.

    Elza Reads


  10. I’m in awe of the number of projects you plan to undertake – I think I’d end up stressed just by keeping track of them!
    The invisible cities project sounds fabulous – how do we sign up for it?


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