Favourite reads of 2023

5 min read

Yesterday I shared that this year I read 59 books. (I am hoping to finish “Elektra” by Jennifer Saint before Sunday so that I can round that number up to 60!)

There were very many books this year that I really enjoyed and I thought I would share some of my favourites with you.

Favourite books I read in 2023

The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis

I started the year by re-reading the Narnia series. It had been a while since I had last read them and the experience of reading-visiting those stories was absolutely magical.

I won’t give a summary of the storylines here, but if you have never read them (or even if you have) and need something soothing for your soul I would highly recommend them!

“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier

I loved this book so much that I dedicated an entire blog post to it. It was such a clever story and developed completely different to what I had expected. Also, it was unlike any other book I have read. It took me a little while to get into but after the first 50 pages or so I was hooked!

“You could make this place beautiful” by Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith is a poet and you can tell in her memoir. She has an astounding way of using language. In the book she tells the story of the breaking apart of her marriage and subsequent divorce. So, the subject matter is quite sad and infuriating at points. However, the way she uses words and strings sentences together is an absolute delight. The book moved me deeply and gave a lot to think about.

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin

Many people have read and adored this book last year. So, it has been summarised and reviewed by many people more eloquent than me. I shared a summary of the plot here. What I loved about the book was the way the characters were written. They are believable and life-like and complex and illogical. I have never encountered characters like it in any other fiction book.

The language is wonderful and even though I have no particular interest in video games I found the story super engaging and fascinating. Easily one of the best books I read this year.

“Wrong place, wrong time” by Gillian McAllister

I don’t normally read Thrillers and am not a fan of unrealistic elements in stories such as time travel. So, I did not expect to love this book as much as I did.

The main character Jen, witnesses how her 18-year old son murders a man and subsequently gets arrested. The next morning Jen wakes up the day before the murder. She unwillingly travels further and further back into the past and unravels the reasons for the crime her son committed. Will she be able to stop him?

This is such a clever mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page.

“Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir

Again, this was a book very much out of my normal comfort zone. I do read sci-fi from time to time but from the description of the story, I would have never picked this book up. However, it was the chosen September read by the book club I am part of.

And I am so glad it was! I think this might have been my absolute favourite book of 2023.

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission – if he fails humanity and the earth itself will perish. Hurtling through space it is up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery and conquer an extinction level threat to our species.

The idea of being on my own in space is basically the stuff my nightmares are made of, but this story is not bleak. I learned some fascinating science and laughed out loud and fell in love with the characters in this book. An incredibly fun, interesting and uplifting read!

Also – I read “the Martian“ by Andy Weir straight after and it was also fantastic.

“A curious faith” by Lore Ferguson Wilbert

A book about faith, questions and doubts that gives permission to be honest, to voice your displeasure, disbelief and disappointment. To ask God some daring and uncomfortable questions. However, it is also an invitation to look at your own heart and soul and answer some of the questions God might be asking you. Wilbert is kind yet courageous, she is vulnerable and honest and full of insight, integrity and intelligence. I would highly recommend this book if you’re searching for some new perspectives or a place for all your doubts and questions. I found it very soothing and helpful.

“Sensible Shoes” by Sharon Garlough Brown

This is the third time I read this book. It’s just so good. The book tells the stories of four women. They are all very different from one another – their personalities, histories and stage of life.

Yet they meet at a Christian retreat centre where they embark on a “sacred journey”. They are introduced to new ways of approaching God, prayer and the Bible. An unlikely friendship develops and their lives change in unexpected ways.

I like how real the lives and personalities of the women in the book are. Their childhood traumas, insecurities, weaknesses and problems don’t just vanish as they encounter God. Rather, they are enabled to take step after step towards growth and greater freedom.

Highly recommended.

What were your favourite reads of 2023?

If you use goodreads, feel free to connect with me over there and we can check out each other’s recommendations!

This post is day 5 of my 12 days of blogmas challenge. You can learn more about it here.

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