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35 Reads from 2023

Posting the annual have-read list at the end of the year seems a bit blase now but I'll admit I like to sneak a peek at what other folks read throughout the year and it's enjoyable to look back and remember the stuff I read months ago, considering I can't recall what I had for dinner two nights ago.


Snow on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, Jan 1, 2024. Photo credit: Anna O'Brien

A book list I always enjoy is Austin Kleon's and oddly enough, I thought I read somewhere recently that someone (let's see how vague I can get here) wanted to make a list of books they didn't read and I thought that was an interesting twist but now I can't find it and am having second thoughts on whether I just made that up and whether it makes any sense at all.


Anyway.


Here's my 2023 list of books read in chronological order. Asterisks mark my top four. NF denotes non-fiction while F is fiction. Previous years are here: 2022, 2020.


  1. Heaven Has Claws, Adrian Conan Doyle (NF)

  2. Howard Hughes, His Life and Madness, Donald Barlett and James Steele (NF)

  3. The Library Book, Susan Orleans (NF)

  4. Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021, edited by Veronica Roth (F)

  5. Slow Birding, Joan Strassmann (NF)

  6. The Hundred Secret Senses, Amy Tan (F)

  7. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman (F)

  8. Space Opera, Catherynne M. Valente (F)

  9. Everyone Knows your Mother is a Witch, Rivka Galchen (F)

  10. The Book of Air and Shadows, Michael Gruber (F)

  11. Sea of Tranquility, Emily St. John Mandel (F)

  12. Servants of the Map, Andrea Barrett (F)

  13. Atomic Habits, James Clear (NF)

  14. Year of the Monkey, Patti Smith (NF)

  15. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Gabrielle Zevin (F)

  16. The Wager, David Grann (NF)*

  17. The Treeline, Ben Rawlence (NF)*

  18. The Oregon Trail, Francis Parkman (NF)

  19. Ride the Dark Trail, Louis L'Amour (F)

  20. The Hearts of Horses, Molly Gloss (F)*

  21. Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson (F)

  22. The Mountain in the Sea, Ray Nayler (F)

  23. Demon Copperhead, Barbara Kingsolver (F)

  24. Four Thousand Weeks, Oliver Burkeman (NF)

  25. This is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mahtar and Max Gladstone (F)

  26. Forever Free, Joe Haldeman (F)

  27. Grayson, Lynne Cox (NF)

  28. The Psychology of Time Travel, Kate Mascarrenhas (F)

  29. Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022, edited by Rebecca Roanhorse (F)

  30. Mojave Crossing, Louis L'Amour (F)

  31. Horse Heaven, Jane Smiley (F)

  32. The Dispossessed, Ursula Le Guin (F)*

  33. Dark Canyon, Louis L'Amour (F)

  34. High Lonesome, Louis L'Amour (F)

  35. The Man Called Noon, Louis L'Amour (F)


There are four Louis L'Amour Westerns here (I devoured the last three in as many days) that I've discovered are a delight. Pure genre candy and man, just fun. Also there's a wonderful used book store in Niantic, CT, where I can get old paperbacks for a buck each, so, let's say I'm stocked up for 2024. Happy reading!

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