In 2023 I read over 100 books - easily the most in a year so far, and the first time I've actually tracked my reading closely. You can see the full list here: Books Read in 2023.
I usually keep three books going at once: A classic, a modern fiction, and a fantasy / science fiction. I also had a few nonfiction books this year.
Below are my two favorite reads in each of these different categories for this year, excluding any rereads:
- The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) - I first tried to read this in early 2020, but the pandemic started and I was not really in the right headspace. I also didn't have my expectations quite dialed for this book; I was expecting a bit more action and plot, which this book doesn't really have. Before reading this book, I'd advise you to prepare with a bit of research so you know what to keep an eye out for.
- Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) - This was an enjoyable and broody read with beautiful modern language.
- The Little Friend (Donna Tartt) - This is Donna Tartt's second (of three) and least well-known novel. It may have been my favorite read of the year. The mystery is a framing device only; the book is really more about the characters and (especially) the setting in rural 1970's Mississippi. It's a wild ride, like all of Tartt's stories, with a deeply unsatisfying ending, and has great descriptive language.
- The Luminaries (Eleanor Catton) - Set in a New Zealand gold rush town in the 1860's, this is a murder mystery - It's not a whodunnit, but instead spirals in on the truth at the core of the mystery. This was a really fun read with great characters.
- The Will of the Many (James islington) - I read Islington's Licaneus Trilogy this year also and this book, a new release, was a big step up for this author. It was fun with an interesting world and a great ending.
- Children of Time (Adrian Tchaikovsky) - Surprise, the planet you want to live on is already occupied! It's a clash of civilizations, but you're kind of rooting for both sides - especially the side that you wouldn't guess you'd root for.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)
- Babel (R. F. Kuang)
- Boy's Life (Robert McCammon)
- Cloud Cuckoo Land (Anthony Doerr)
- Demon Copperhead (Barbara Kingsolver)
- Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurtry)
- The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K. Le Guin)
- Tress of the Emerald Sea (Brandon Sanderson)
This is not all the five-star reads this year; nor is it a list of the objectively best books I read - instead it's a cross between quality and my personal enjoyment of the reading experience.
Bring on 2024, I'm looking forward to seeing what I can find out there.