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Simon MacDonald
Human Goodreads

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Books I read in 2023

February 19, 2024

I’m super far behind my wrap up of books I read in 2023. Folks who are not aware of my insatiable need to read books may be surprised that I read well over 100 books a year. This year it broke down as 73 fiction, 47 non-fiction and 20 graphic novels or manga. What follows are the ones that I really thought stood out.

Book of the Year

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. Wow, what an unexpected gem. I saw this book on a bunch of best-read lists for 2022, and I was drawn in by the description. I thought I’d be reading a fictionalized version of the history of building video games, like Console Wars, but I got this beautiful book about friendship instead. The closest comparison I can make is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. Regardless, this book deserves all the accolades it has been receiving.

Surprise of the Year

Book Lovers

Book Lovers by Emily Henry. I didn’t realize this would be a romance novel when I started reading it. It was in a list of books recommended to me that were book/library related. I don’t normally read romance novels, so I can’t comment on the genre’s finer points, but I enjoyed the book. I see this becoming a rom-com movie someday, as it does a pretty good job of flipping the normal rom-com tropes on their head. The protagonist in Book Lovers is the high-powered career woman you hate in a regular “rom-com” and eventually is dumped in favour of the folksy hometown woman. Anyway, it was a funny book that is well worth the read.

Mystery of the Year

The Thursday Murder Club

2023 was a year where I read way more mystery novels than I usually do. Consequently it led me to the incredibly popular The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. This novel series centers around four septuagenarians who like to solve murders from their retirement home in England. The mystery is not as difficult or solvable as I would hope but the book rises and falls on it’s excellent cast of characters.

Graphic Novel/Manga of the Year

Spy X Family Vol 1

For me it has to be Spy X Family by Tatsuya Endo. Let me just give you the elevator pitch and if you are not hooked I don’t know what to tell you.

Loid Forger aka Twilight a super-spy needs to build a fake family in order to complete his latest mission. So he adopts a young child, Anya, from an ophanage. Unknown to Twilight, Anya is secretly a telepath. In order to round out the family Twilight meets a young lady, Yor, who agrees to become his “fake” wife but of course Yor has her own secrets as she as an expert assassin, the Thorn Princess.

I mean hilarity ensues as they try to be a family while keeping their secrets from one another.

Non-fiction Book of the Year

The Creative Act

The Creative Act by Rick Rubin. This book is like a collection of zen koans for creativity. It can be enjoyed as one continuous read like I did the first time or by reading one idea per day and sitting with it as I’m doing currently.