It’s my favourite time of year. Not because of that whole Christmas thing, though that’s fine too. This is something better than that. I GET TO TALK ABOUT MY FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR. *AND* IT IS WORKBOOK SEASON!
If you’ve been around these parts for any length of time, you’ll know this is an annual tradition I’ve been doing since 2012. You can find all the yearly book lists here.
As always, this is not a list of the best books published for the year – just the books I read in that year. As they say in High Fidelity, the records are organised autobiographically.
How many books I read in 2023
First up: the big question! How many books did I read this year?
This year I read just under 100 books… nowhere near my personal 2019 record of 400 books. Late last year, I developed an eye condition that curtailed a lot of my binge-reading habits. I can’t party hard like I used to… and by “party hard” I mean read 8 books in a weekend. Ha! Books still are such a joy in my life, I just need to be more mindful in how much I read.
WHAT FORMAT I CONSUMED BOOKS IN
Before developing my eye condition, I was reading majority Kindle with some paperback. Late last year after developing the eye condition, I found I was finding it too difficult to read books on my normal Kindle or trade paperbacks (the smaller size). Instead I subsisted on larger sized paperbacks and large print books. The large print books are way more difficult to source & are heaps more $$$.
My love bought me a Kindle Oasis and thankfully, its larger screen size and amber coloured light helped enough that I could return to reading some digital books again.
RIGHTO! THAT’S ENOUGH PRE-AMBLE! ON WITH THE GREAT BOOKS!
Best Book of the Year
I’m going to call it my loves: this is my book of the year. If you read any of my recommendations, please make it this one most of all.
I’m fucking OBSESSED with Katherine May. I found her via her precious book Wintering which was one of my favourite books in 2022. Her inner world can feel so similar to mine. Her voice feels wise, quiet, thoughtful. Katherine’s podcast interview on We Can Do Hard Things was one of my highlights of the year too.
This is her story of her taking a series of long-ass walks around England to reckon with her Autism diagnosis. It’s spellbinding and beautiful, and I FUCKING LOVE HER.
Katherine has a new book out as well – Enchantment. But I’m so obsessed with her I can’t bring myself to read it yet. Instead it’s been beside my bed for six months. If I read it, I won’t have any more of her books to read. I just need her to write another book, and THEN I can read Enchantment.
Thank you for your understanding.
I read this one in a single bathtub reading session – that’s how good it was. This book is searing and poetic and most of all HONEST about how deeply fucked it feels to go through postnatal depression. I feel like it healed my heart in so many ways to see my own story shared in someone else’s words. Highly recommend if you’ve visited the land of PND, or love someone who has.
Oh wow, this was a GEM of a memoir. I was a teenager when Jewel became a worldwide musical sensation with her album Pieces of You. It was one of my favourite albums, and I adored her beautiful books that were a combination of poetry and art. I haven’t kept up with her creative career over the last 15 years or so, and reading this memoir felt like coming full circle and reconnecting with her magic. I’m so in awe of who she is, the deep traumas and abuse she has experienced, and how she has committed herself over and over to grace and healing. Gosh, this was a wonderful read. I’m so grateful.
I’ll be honest with you my loves – this isn’t my usual kind of book to read… but I found it in my Kindle library from when I’d bought it years ago and hadn’t read, and thought I should try and finish what I bought. I’m sooooo freaking glad I did. This is a fascinating, potent and honest read on business, money, fucked up families, addiction and mental health. It was EXCELLENT, and I honour Tamara’s courage, determination and grit.
This continued my wee bender on memoirs this year, and this one was charming and FASCINATING.
We have been dealing with some of the difficulties with ageing parents in recent years, and this book helped me hugely. I feel like I have such a better framework to see the ageing process and my role currently as a support person. It also helped me be more compassionate and open-hearted in it… it really was a gift to me this year.
Graphic Novels & Memoirs
A beautiful graphic memoir that intertwines the true story of rock band Redbone and the Native American civil rights movement. I love finding graphic novels that so vividly depict historical events… I feel like I learn best of all through them.
Oh mate, this was intense. It gave me so much more compassion and understanding what it must feel like for kids and adults to go through something like this.
I fell in love with so many things in this book:
- Emma Fick
- The whole Trans-Siberian journey from Beijing to Moscow.
Fuck I love a good illustrated travelogue. I hope Emma does more!
Oooof… this beautifully illustrated graphic memoir is the story of a parent caring for their young child through their terminal illness. It made my heart grow two sizes, and made me gasp in awe of love. Here’s the great truth of it all: even when you have to say goodbye, you would do it all again anyway. Just to love is a miracle.
Lauren Tashi’s “I Survived” Graphic Novels
Ostensibly, these graphic novels about historical events are geared towards kids… I only started reading them because I was reading them to my kids… and then I found myself completely GRIPPED by them, brought to tears by them, deeply touched by them. Highly, highly, highly recommend.
- I Survived the Attack of the Grizzlies, 1967
- I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944
- I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001
OHHHHH YEAH! Now we are in my favourite spicy section… here’s all the loveliest love stories I read this year.
ALL of Emily Henry’s novels are fucking GREAT. Bookish and smart and emotional, all of them. Can’t wait for her next one!
Ali Hazelwood is the Queen of Smart, Nerdy, Hot, STEM romances.
Love on the Brain and The Love Hypothesis and Love, Theoretically are her latest I read this year – but I’ve read them all in previous years, and they all made it to my best books list. You can’t go wrong with these books!
Again – Jasmine Guillory’s books have all ended up on my Best Books list over the years, for good reason. Always delicious!
Same thing as above – all Christina Lauren’s books are brilliant, and everytime they bring a new one out, it will likely appear on that year’s best books list for me!
Kerry’s books are ALL fucking gorgeous – highly recommend!
Ooooh look at me! I found a new author to wax on about!
I’ll be honest – the cover looks fucking crap, but holy dinger this was actually a BRILLIANT romance novel that was self-aware and thoughtful and managed to teach me more about ADHD in romance than any non-fiction book ever has.
I’ve already read this one (and all the rest in the series) a bunch of times, but I thought I’d emotionally prepare myself for the next season of Bridgerton with yet another re-read. You understand.
Oh wow! Look! It’s another crap cover disguising a great book! Just close your eyes when you buy it… then enjoy the actual innards! Hottttt!
It’s always a lovely surprise when an oddly-named book (or terribly designed cover) is actually heart warming and spicy and wonderful. This was another!
Oooooh… this would be my favourite romance of the year, I’d say. It’s marketed as like a modern “When Harry Met Sally”, and I can totally see it. But at the same time, it’s beautifully crafted and smart and the characters are fully formed. Highly recommend!
And of course…
Where would I be without the gifts I made myself 14 years ago that change my life year after year?
The life & business goals workbooks are my dream come true… that helps birth even more dreams come true. I’m grateful that 500,000 other gorgeous humans have found the same in them!
Sending you SO much book love!
Here’s to another miraculous year of books.
Your resident book whore…
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