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Angie's Best Books of 2023


I've had a number of conversations recently with friends and coworkers. They go something along the lines of "Remember in 2016, when we didn't know what was coming?" followed closely by "Remember in 2020, when we didn't know what was coming?" This shared and recurrent haunting that we seem to be collectively living is simultaneously comforting and unnerving. Which is, perhaps not coincidentally, also a fairly apt description of my adult life. The conversation I have been having primarily with myself this month has gone something along the lines of "Remember in January, when you didn't know what was coming?" 

I am actually not all that given to vast quantities of rumination in December regarding how the year has gone. I tend to reserve those thoughts for my reading year, where they trend in the fundamentally happy and filled to the brim with gratitude direction. But this year was somewhat ferociously unique in that my life as a whole was well and truly hijacked in January and, since then, we've been essentially running full-scale battle sprints. At a certain point, I cried "'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war." This entailed, among other things, taking a new job and moving my family across the country.

And just as those things we all didn't see coming in 2016 and in 2020 significantly impacted my reading life, so did the things I didn't see coming in January. For that reason, the books listed below do not (even remotely) encompass the full picture of the reading that I did this year. I think I'll address the highly specific (and massively unexpected) way my reading was impacted in a separate post. But the books listed below brought joy and respite and for now, as always, I record my list of published books that carried the day for me these past twelve months.
These authors. Their beautiful written words. You never let me down.

 (listed in order in which I read them)

We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian

How to Tame a Wild Rogue by Julie Anne Long

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

Knockout by Sarah MacLean

Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey

Jane & Edward by Melodie Edwards

The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vol. 7 by Beth Brower

Codename Charming by Lucy Parker

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

The Marquis Who Mustn't by Courtney Milan

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Wreck the Halls by Tessa Bailey

The Gentleman's Gambit by Evie Dunmore

FYI, that's 7 contemporaries, 6 historicals, and 4 fantasies. Of those, 10 are romances, 2 are retellings, 2 are fairy tales, and 1 is a mystery. Interestingly (possibly only to me), this list includes 6 standalones, while the other 11 are part of a series or duology. Of the 16 authors featured, one is a debut author (which always thrills me) and one appears twice (always a rare treat). Seven authors from my Best of 2022 list make appearances on this year's list as well.

Best New Discovery of 2023

Curtis Sittenfeld

She's been on my radar as long as everyone else's, and I would just sort of read a chapter of her previous works here and there, never committing fully for some (likely unworthy) reason or other. Then this month, in fact, I picked up Romantic Comedy and could not put it down. I could not put it down. Reading it was a breathless and emotional experience for me. I think it spoke to a lot of my previously mentioned thoughts regarding things we don't see coming, being a woman who works with words who is also deeply mistrustful of putting a voice to feelings in general, and then just being a human who is existing in this specific world as this singular moment in time. I loved it beyond reason. No notes. 

Best Books I Read in 2023 That Were Published in a Different Year

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Once Upon a Broken Heart and The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

The Devil You Know and The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth O'Roark


Happy New Year!

Comments

  1. Anonymous7:09 AM

    I look forward to this list every year, and have found so many new favorites through it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so, so thrilled to hear that.

      Delete
  2. Yay to this list! I look forward to this list every year and have found so many great books -- funny, comforting, and inspirational -- every year. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so chuffed to hear that, Elizabeth. It is entirely my pleasure.

      Delete
  3. As always, you have a great year's end list, Angie ☺️ Did you read 2023's Cormoran Strike? Maybe it's just a genre thing, but I haven't seen many Bookgram (maybe one?) folks mention it. I thought it was much better than 2022's. And that ending? Ooh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am lamentably behind on Strike! I need to read both 2022 and 2023's installments in the series. But that comment about the ending has me wanting to grab them up quick!

      Delete

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