2023 was a big reading year for me. Between two book clubs, a surgery that kept me grounded for a while and just loving to read, I went through about 60 books this year. But I must say…given the quantity I read, very few WOWED me. And for some reason, a lot of ‘IT’ books that were super popular didn’t resonate with me.
So here are my top book picks of 2023.
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
My favorite book of the year! It is long, but it is just so beautifully written and he is a masterful storyteller. Set in southern India, it follows three generations of a family as the manage life, love and a secret.
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
I also loved this book about a mom recounting a part of her childhood to her three daughters. Some in my book club weren’t as wowed by it as I was, but I loved her storytelling and the connection of the mom sharing her past with her children. Beautifully written!
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
In this homage to Little Woman, the author tells the story of a man with a broken childhood and his relationship to three sisters. I just loved the writing and the storytelling…which seems to be a theme of my favorite books of the year!
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
I officially read this in Dec ‘22 but wanted to include it as I really liked it! An ‘updated version of David Copperfield’ the book is set in the Appalechias during the opioid crisis. It tells the storyof a boy born to a teenage single mom and covers the story of his childhood and growing up. I know some feel it’s too sad of a story/read, but I really enjoyed the book.
The Many Lives of Mama Love by Lara Love Harden
Another of my faves of the years, this is the true story of the author’s life as she goes from ‘soccer mom’ in Santa Cruz, CA to jailed drug user to celebrated Ophrah book club author. A great read, that apparently is in discussion to be made into a mini-series.
The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
The New York Times calls it “A murder mystery locked inside a Great American Novel”. I think it’s not a mystery really but more a story of people and community in small-town america Pennsylvania in the 1920s. It tells the story of immigrant Jews and African Americans living side by side and how their lives intersect and collide.
A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
With over 2 MILLION ratings on Goodreads this series of 5 books has taken the world by storm. While I don’t usually read fantasy, I whipped through this ‘romantacy’ series. A fun diversion from more serious books.
A bit lighter ones that made me happy:
The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman – 4th in the Thursday Murder Club Series
This series brings me joy to listen to or read. About a retirement community in England where a group of residents find themselves solving murders. The characters are just so wonderful. The books should be read in order I think.
The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose- 2nd in the Molly the Maid series
I just love the Molly character from this two book series. I liked the first book better (The Maid), but the second was also a fun read as the delightful Molly, who is a hotel maid who is on the spectrum, finds herself with another murder in the hotel. Her way of looking at the world is just a breath of fresh air.
Spare by Prince Harry
We all know the story of Prince Harry, but I really enjoyed hearing him narrate his book about his life.
2023 Book Misses for Me:
And just in case you are interested, here are four super popular books from this year that just did not strike a chord with me. I didn’t hate them, but just didn’t LOVE them like SO many others did. They are on lots of ‘best of’ lists of 2023, so try them out and decide for yourself!
The Guest by Emma Cline
YellowFace by RF Kuang
Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton
WellNess by Nathan Hill
To be honest, I haven’t finished this one yet. I keep picking it up and putting it back down (not a good sign for me) as it makes me sad to read it for some reason!