books and writing

Reading Project: #BookEnds2021

In 2021, I’ll be doing a wee project I’m calling #BookEnds where I try to finish all the unfinished books around my flat.

There’s a few reasons I’ve acquired so many unread or unfinished books. Some were given as gifts, or are second hand – quite a few are from family or ex-flatmates having a clear out. Some have been found in community bookboxes or were something I picked up for university.

Then sometimes there are books that were bought but fell between the cracks and were left as ones to get back to.

Well, 2020 is their year!

The goal is to finish as many as I can and either keep or pass them along. Being honest, there are some books that I’ve had for years, and attempted so many times I’ve lost count. This project might be the time to admit I might never finish them and give them to someone who will!

That being said, I have sketched out two rough rules:

  1. I’m still allowed to buy the book for my monthly book group
  2. When buying books, I’ve got to try and keep it to one at a time
I can never resist the opportunity to quote Barbossa.

I’m probably not going to manage to read all 88 of them – unless someone pays me to do that full-time in the name of “science”, I will accept any and all applications for this role.

But I think all books deserve a chance and if I don’t love them, it’s time to be honest and give them to someone else.

You can follow my progress on my Twitter account, where I’ll be using #BookEnds2021 for everything.

Here is the full list for those of you who are interested (in alphabetical order). Come back to see how it’s updated!


  1. The Dirk Gently Omnibus, Douglas Adams
  2. The Power, Naomi Alderman
  3. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson
  4. One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson
  5. Not the End of the World, Kate Atkinson
  6. The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
  7. Writing Home, Alan Bennett
  8. Ordinary Thunderstorms, William Boyd
  9. Waiting for Sunrise, William Boyd
  10. Any Human Heart, Wiliam Boyd
  11. Restless, William Boyd
  12. The Professor and Emma, A Fragment, Charlotte Brontë
  13. Vilette, Charlotte Brontë
  14. His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet
  15. Oscar and Lucinda, Peter Carey
  16. The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
  17. Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon
  18. Arrival, Ted Chiang
  19. Love, Pan-Fried, Gray Crosbie
  20. Superstition, Sally Coulthard
  21. Undermajordomo Minor, Patrick deWitt
  22. Akin, Emma Donoghue
  23. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
  24. Birchfield Close, Joe McNaught
  25. Alone in Berlin, Hans Fallada
  26. Censored, Matthew Fellion and Katherine Inglis
  27. Welcome to Nightvale, Joseph Fink
  28. Here I Am, Jonathon Safran Foer
  29. My Brilliant Career, Miles Franklin
  30. Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder
  31. Clara, Janice Galloway
  32. Jellyfish, Janice Galloway
  33. Love In Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
  34. White Horse, Yan Ge
  35. A Sting In the Tale, Dave Goulson
  36. Lanark, Alasdair Gray
  37. Less, Andrew Sean Greer
  38. Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
  39. The Well of Loneliness, Radclyffe Hall
  40. Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
  41. Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes
  42. The Guest Cat, Takashi Hiraide
  43. Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, Peter Høeg
  44. May We Be Forgiven, A.M. Homes
  45. The Bone People, Keri Hulme
  46. Avenue of Mysteries, John Irving
  47. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
  48. The Invisible Child and The Fir Tree, Tove Jansson
  49. Fin Family Moomintroll, Tove Jansson
  50. Comet in Moominland, Tove Jansson
  51. The Summer Book, Tove Jansson
  52. Wait For Me, Jack, Addison Jones
  53. Kiki’s Delivery Service, Eiko Kadono
  54. Strange Weather in Tokyo, Hiromi Kawakami
  55. If Cats Disappeared from the World, Genki Kawamura
  56. The Shining, Stephen King
  57. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John le Carré
  58. The History of Bees, Maja Lunde
  59. Blue Ticket, Sophie Mackintosh
  60. Mantel Pieces, Hilary Mantel
  61. Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
  62. There are Two Errors in the Title of this Book, Robert M. Martin
  63. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell
  64. The Hound of the D’Urbervilles, Kim Newman
  65. The Housekeeper and the Professor, Yoko Ogawa
  66. The Cinnamon Peeler, Michael Ondaatje
  67. The Thrilling Adventuers of Lovelace and Babbage, Sydney Padua
  68. Damned, Chuck Palahnuick
  69. The Tenderness of Wolves, Stef Penney
  70. After Me Comes the Flood, Sarah Perry
  71. The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry
  72. My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
  73. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
  74. Awakenings, Oliver Sacks
  75. Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks
  76. Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple
  77. The Rosie Result, Graeme Simison
  78. The Art of Flight, Fredrik Sjoberg
  79. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
  80. Nimona, Noelle Stevenson
  81. It’s About Time, Lesley Storm
  82. The Little Friend, Donna Tartt
  83. Memoirs of a Polar Bear, Yoko Tawada
  84. The Bricks that Built the Houses, Kae Tempest
  85. Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín
  86. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein
  87. Pine, Francine Toon
  88. Paper Girls Vol. 1, Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chaing
  89. The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters
  90. Blackout, Connie Willis
  91. Doomsday Book, Connie Willis
  92. All Clear, Connie Willis
  93. The PowerBook, Jeanette Winterson
  94. The Fifth Head of Cerebus, Gene Wolfe
  95. Into The Woods, John Yorke

Edit: in May 2021, I moved out of a flat and into a house! This meant I also got a lot of books that had been in storage. In June, I got married and asked my wedding guests, if they wished, to bring a copy of their favourite book as a wedding present. All in all, a lot more books entered my shelves.

So, in August I did another sweep and have to add the following books:

96. Life as a Unicorn, Amrou Al-Kahdi
97. When Will There Be Good News?, Kate Atkinson
98. Big Sky, Kate Atkinson
99. Emma, Jane Austen
100. Persuasion, Jane Austen
101. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
102. Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon, Jane Austen
103. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë
104. The Master and the Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
105. Possession, A. S. Byatt
106. Medusa’s Ankles, A. S. Byatt
107. Wild Swans, Jung Chang
108. House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
109. Baudolino, Umberto Eco
110. Ducks, Newburyport, Lucy Ellman
111. Old Baggage, Lissa Evans
112. The Longest Journey, E. M. Forster
113. The Silver Darlings, Neil M. Gunn
114. The Seven Wonders of Scotland, Gerry Hassan
115. Alan Turing: The Enigma, Andrew Hodges
116. Last Night in Twister River, John Irving
117. The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving
118. My Squirrel Days, Ellie Kemper
119. Bright Dead Things, Ada Limon
120. Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, Marjorie M. Liu
121. The Water Cure, Sophie Mackintosh
122. Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela
123. Fragile Monsters, Catherine Menon
124. The Witch and Her Soul, Christine Middleton
125. Jane Haining: A Life of Love and Courage, Mary Miller
126. The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, Yukio Mishima
127. The Third Policeman, Flann O’Brien
128. Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell
129. Apple and Knife, Intan Paramaditha
130. The Bees, Laline Paull
131. Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian), Hazel Jane Plante
132. The Chosen, Chaim Potok
133. The Testament of Gideon Mack, James Robertson
134. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks
135. China Room, Sunjeev Sahota
136. Down to Earth, Anne Scott-James
137. The Secret Barrister, The Secret Barrister
138. The Mandibles, Lionel Shriver
139. Winter, Ali Smith
140. Beyond the Deepwoods, Paul Stewart
141. The Bi-ble: New Testimonials, Various
142. Alone in Space, Tillie Walden
143. A Dubious Legacy, Mary Wesley
144. The Dictionary of Lost Words, Mary Wesley


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