Favorites of 2023: Books

According to Goodreads, I read 66 books in 2023 with an average length of 375 pages. The shortest book was 4 pages long and the longest was 908 pages. Unlike with my favorite movies list, all but one of the books I read last year was published before 2023 so these are some of my faves regardless of when they actually came out.

Favorite Books I Read in 2023

All science fiction and fantasy in this year’s daves, with four out of the five stories by female writers. In no particular order…

The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler (2022)

A little unsatisfied with the main mysteries wrapped up and some details that were left unexplored, but overall really enjoyed this quite a bit. Thought the main character was great as well as the various AIs, and in particular really found the idea of the point-fives conceptually intriguing.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (2020)

Ahhhhh it ended right when all the threads were coming together. I loved this, especially the world building and character development. Gave it five stars despite feeling like it ended half an act early and now I’m even more anxious to start the next book in the series as soon as possible.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells (2017)

Great, quick read that I didn’t want to put down. Enjoyable humor and strong premise and character development of the titular Murderbot. I was disappointed at first by the very last couple pages but then I remembered there’s six-plus other books that it leads into and am a lot less critical of how it wrapped up.

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (2014)

My favorite book about a character who used to be a sentient warfighting spaceship. Liked this even more than the first book and generally really jive with Leckie’s science fiction storytelling.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemison (2017)

The final book in Jemison’s Broken Earth trilogy was my favorite of the series. Was a good read in itself but also did a solid job of tying together the storylines from the earlier books without feeling overloaded. Jemison’s writing makes a complex narrative enjoyable and avoids many of the issues that often causes me to bounce off fantasy novels.

Favorite New Series

  • The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey – Read the first two books this year and these are just classic, solid science fiction space operas. I thought the TV series was pretty average after watching 2 episodes but maybe I’ll give it another try after reading a few more in the series.
  • Pendergast series by Preston & Child – Okay these aren’t exactly award-winning fiction, but they’re fun, easy reads. Some of the characters are so bad (literally everyone that isn’t friends with Pendergast is a complete buffoon), but they mysteries are interesting. They remind me of Jack Reacher books without all the punching and shooting.

Favorite Nonfiction

  • Ron Chernow biographies Finally finished Alexander Hamilton after starting it years ago and really enjoyed reading Chernow’s Washington this year as well.
  • Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte (2022) – Actively writing the draft of this blog post in my second brain right now. Forte’s book helped me take a step back and focus on building out things organically instead of devoting months of org work with no actual knowledge collection.
  • The Good Enough Job by Simone Stolzoff (2023) – Hey look, it’s the only 2023 book I read. Finished this whole thing in a few sittings after hearing Stolzoff on a podcast. It largely just reinforced my already held beliefs about work-life balance but did job elucidating on why getting your self worth from your job is an atrocious idea.