Even though I read some amazing books in 2023, 2023 was not my best year for reading.
Demon Copperhead both blew my mind and devastated me. (So much so that I tried to cleanse my palate after I read it by reading an actual fluffy novel. I did not finish it.)
I told everyone I know (who would not get upset about a queer romance, even if embedded in a gorgeous Asian-mythology-inspired fantasy) about The Spear Cuts Through Water.
I have continued to think about Becky Chambers's books, A Psalm for The Wild Built and A Prayer for The Crown Shy. The series is e a sweet story that also rips your guts out by making you think about just how demanding and soulless American culture is, and how much of our life we lay at the altar of earning money so we can pay bills.
I had some great audio book experiences.
But I also had two audiobooks, The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches and Gideon the Ninth, which I got three-fourths the way through and ran out of checkout time and now I'm still waiting to pick them back up.
I read quite a few books that I expected to love but which were just OK.
I read a lot of speculative fiction...if you add up all the age categories, about 75% of what I read was speculative. I don't necessarily think that's a problem but it is noticeable. Is speculative fiction, no matter how well-written, more about escaping reality than contemporary or non-fiction? Probably somewhat, but I'm not sure it's about escapism for me. I think I'm drawn to speculative fiction because I love thinking about how the fantastical is still applicable.
I always set a goal to read a romance novel every year. But even Susanna Hoffs couldn't get me to accomplish that; I read about 50 pages of This Bird has Flown but that was all I could manage.
I didn't finish a single poetry book, not even the Best American Poetry which is one of the reading goals I meet most consistently.
I even DNF'd the library reading challenge that I created!!!
It just was one of those years I guess.
I do still have 128 books in my "Books to Read in 2023" list though. (Literally.)
But, at any rate, I did read some books. Thirty-six to be exact. A good chunk of those were audio rereads, but, still. I always tell library patrons (and anyone else who wonders) that audio books still count as reading, so right now I'm telling myself that. It all counts and I still love reading.
Here's to more stunning books in 2024. More poetry for sure. More focused time reading and less mindless social-media scrolling. More conversations about books with friends or random people on social media or library patrons. More author meetings. More consistency with reviewing books as soon as I finish them.
(More work on my own novel.)
Here's my list of books I read in 2023; the purple titles have links to my reviews:
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Roses in The Mouth of A Lion by Bushra Rehman
Winterland by Rae Meadows
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urea
In The Upper Country by Kai Thomas
Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth
Fairy Tale by Stephen King
The Fellowship of The Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The God of Endings by Jacqueline Holland
A Psalm for The Wild Built by Becky Chambers
A Prayer for the Crown Shy by Becky Chambers
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez
Starling House by Alix Harrow
Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher
Tress of The Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson
Vampire Weekend by Mike Chen
Brave the Wild River by Melissa L. Sevigny
Everything is Fucked: A Book about Hope by Mark Manson
But You Have Friends by Emilia McKenzie
Courage to Dream by Neal Shusterman
Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes
Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maude Montgomery
Iron-Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill
The Last Cuentista by Donna Barbra Higuera
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Champion of Fate by Kendare Blake
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves behind Them All by Laura Ruby
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
And if you're curious, you can see other yearly reading reviews HERE.