My 2023 Year in Books

by Bryan on 1/30/2024 at 10:00 PM in Books

New phone, who dis?

Seriously, it has been a lifetime since I posted here, and nearly two years longer than that since I did a "year in books" post. In the lifetime and two years since that last time, I'm still tracking what I read in Goodreads (though I'm looking for alternatives if you have suggestions) and I'm still participating in Goodreads' annual reading challenge. For 2023, my reading goal was 26 books, which I hit in July, finishing the year with an additional eleven books for a total of 37.

Here is a rundown of books completed by month:


If I'm not enjoying a book or able to identify some value in finishing it, I don't force myself to complete it. So, at a minimum, a completed book is one that I liked or found value in completing. As for rating books, I follow the Goodreads guidance, which is:

  • 5-stars: it was amazing
  • 4-stars: I really liked it
  • 3-stars: I liked it

Here's a breakdown of how I rated the books I completed in 2023:


My favorite work of fiction in 2023 was the debut novel by Shelley Read, Go as a River, a beautifully written piece of historical fiction set in the Gunnison River valley of Colorado. I would be remiss if I didn't also mention another 5-star read from 2023, that came in as a close second for favorite fiction: Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver. After all, it did when a Pulitzer Prize, and is the only Pulitzer Prize winning book that I read BEFORE it was a winner. Of course, it is also amazing!

My favorite non-fiction book in 2023 was actually a tie between On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder and We've Got to Try: How the Fight for Voting Rights Makes Everything Else Possible, by Beto O'Rourke. I appreciate both for the important lessons they draw from history, to help inform the present and provide a guide for the future.

An interesting note: I ventured solidly into the world of Romance for perhaps the first time, reading Book Lovers and Happy Place, both by Emily Henry, as well as This Bird Has Flown, by Susanna Hoffs (yes, that Susanna Hoffs), and The Seven Year Slip, by Ashley Poston. I am not afraid to admit that I really enjoyed them, and I will be reading more of this genre.

If you are interested in the complete list of the books that I read in 2023, along with how I rated them, you can find that here: Bryan's 2023 Reads.

I did another book-related thing in 2023 (aside from reading and buying them)—I set up shop at Bryan's Books, where you can find several curated lists, including my 2023 reads.

Finally, in the face of book challenges and bans, please Keep Calm and Read On, but also fight back!

I Believe Viewing last post.