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My Year in Books: The 2023 Edition

Even though I read some amazing books in 2023, 2023 was not my best year for reading.

Cover collage

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: 

Contemporary Fiction

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Roses in The Mouth of A Lion by Bushra Rehman

Winterland by Rae Meadows


Historical Fiction

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urea

In The Upper Country by Kai Thomas


Speculative Fiction

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


Graphic Novels

But You Have Friends by Emilia McKenzie

Courage to Dream by Neal Shusterman

Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes 


Middle-Grade Fiction

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery

Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maude Montgomery

Iron-Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barbra Higuera


YA Fiction

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

Happy reading!