Learn a Book! – 202[1 Year Without A Gimmick]

Learn a Book! – 202[1 Year Without A Gimmick]

That’s right. You never thought you’d see this day, did you? 2021, otherwise known as The Year Without A Gimmick for my annual Learn a Book! series.

We’ve come a long way, friends. It’s been years since I last successfully completed an annual Learn a Book! challenge. In 2015, we reproduced what I felt to be an adult version of elementary school reading commitments with a goal to read 30 books. Then, the very next year, you all got a glimpse into my madness for tracking page counts with the 20[16k] challenge. That one was a doozy, and we barely made it over the finish line.

What followed in the next four years was total and abject failure. Most of you probably never go back and check up on these posts, so let me summarize them for you. 20[Seven Teen Series]? We finished two. (And no, I didn’t end up reading all 62 original Goosebumps books.) 20[18 Authors] came to a screeching halt halfway through ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ (but, seriously, can you blame it?). My to-be-read shelves are chock full of firsts and lasts from the remaining authors, and I’ve been flirting with a return to Fyodor lately, so maybe this one will hobble across the finish line in the next few years…

2019 was one of the worst years of my life so far for a lot of reasons, which that definitely included forgetting that I set a goal of 30 in 2019 and therefore going ahead to read 19 instead because surely that was the gimmick, no? No, Cass. It was not. And leave Shirley out of this! (Are you having that?) Finally, our latest failure, 20[20 From To Be Read]. This should have been knocked out of the park. I read 54 books in 2020. The highest number I’ve read in one year probably ever. How many of those 54 were from my original to-be-read shelves? 13. And no, I will not be providing a comment on the current state of said shelves.

But, you know what I have to say to all of that failure? Not this year, buddy! You can’t fail at something that you never set criteria for in the first place. Fact.

In 2021, we’re just here to read. That’s it. So from the deepest of my heart to the deepest of yours, happy reading to you, my fair friends.


  1. ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig [288 pgs]
  2. ‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ by Katherine Arden [319 pgs]
  3. ‘Writers & Lovers’ by Lily King [324 pgs]
  4. ‘Cinderella is Dead’ by Kalynn Bayron [385 pgs]
  5. ‘Franny and Zooey’ by J.D. Salinger [170 pgs]
  6. ‘The Girl in the Tower’ by Katherine Arden [360 pgs]
  7. ‘The Winter of the Witch’ by Katherine Arden [356 pgs]
  8. ‘From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’ by E.L. Konigsburg [162 pgs]
  9. ‘Troilus and Cressida’ by William Shakespeare [38 pgs]
  10. ‘The House in the Cerulean Sea’ by TJ Klune [396 pgs]
  11. ‘The Guest List’ by Lucy Foley [313 pgs]
  12. ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ by William Shakespeare [40 pgs]
  13. ‘Melmoth’ by Sarah Perry [271 pgs]
  14. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare [33 pgs]
  15. ‘Jo & Laurie’ by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz [366 pgs]
  16. ‘Words in Deep Blue’ by Cath Crowley [ 269 pgs]
  17. ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid [385 pgs]
  18. ‘Clanlands’ by Sam Heughan & Graham McTavish [291 pgs]
  19. ‘The House on Vesper Sands’ by Paraic O’Donnell [403 pgs]
  20. ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ by Sarah J. Maas [419 pgs]
  21. ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ by Sarah J. Maas [624 pgs]
  22. ‘A Court of Wings and Ruin’ by Sarah J. Maas [699 pgs]
  23. ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’ by Sarah J. Maas [229 pgs]
  24. ‘Julius Caesar’ by William Shakespeare [28 pgs]
  25. ‘A Court of Silver Flames’ by Sarah J. Maas [751 pgs]
  26. ‘The Raven Cycle’ by Maggie Stiefvater [409 pgs]
  27. ‘The Dreams Thieves’ by Maggie Stiefvater [437 pgs]
  28. ‘Blue Lily, Lily Blue’ by Maggie Stiefvater [391 pgs]
  29. ‘The Raven King’ by Maggie Stiefvater [438 pgs]
  30. ‘Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk’ by Kathleen Rooney [287 pgs]
  31. ‘Coriolanus’ by William Shakespeare [41 pgs]
  32. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Alison Hawthorne Deming [97 pgs]
  33. ‘The Middle of a Sentence’ by Various [129 pgs]
  34. ‘Heads of the Colored People’ by Nafissa Thompson-Spires [197 pgs]
  35. ‘House of Leaves’ by Mark Z. Danielewski [662 pgs]
  36. ‘Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold’ by Bolu Babalola [282 pgs]
  37. ‘A Poetry Handbook’ by Mary Oliver [122 pgs]
  38. ‘Sonnets to Orpheus’ by Ranier Maria Rilke [111 pgs]
  39. ‘Children of Virtue and Vengeance’ by Tomi Adeyemi [404 pgs]

Total Page Count: 11,926 pgs


Boldly go where the bolded books bid you.

As always, feel free to follow me on Goodreads. I’ll kindly ask those of you who have been around for this annual series since the 2015 days to inform any of our new friends about my review policy.

If we were to give the subject of reviews a single hair’s width amount of attention, then I may or may not have started a particular social media account for this particular hobby, and I may or may not post reviews and other bookish aesthetics there. So it goes, they say.

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