What I read in 2023

38 books in 2023.

What I read in 2023
Image: Andrew Liptak

Something that I've done over the years is keep track of what I'm reading: I usually keep track on social media in a longer thread, but that sort of broke when I stopped using Twitter last fall. I had a goal of 52 books to read this year, and came up pretty short: I was only able to finish 38 before the end of the year. It was a year, so I'm not terribly surprised. I didn't really find myself in the right mindset to sink into books for most of the summer and fall.

Here are my lists for the last couple of years: 2022 (52), 2021 (52), 2020 (44), 2019 (42), and 2018 (74).

I've been thinking a lot about why I keep track. Some of it is to keep me honest and to keep reading, rather than to mindlessly scroll through social media feeds. I had a lot of plans for 2023 – including an ambitious plan to read a number of SF classics – but fell short there. But I did find some books that I did really enjoy, some that were unexpected, some that were rereads that I happened to pick up, and some anticipated novels that I'd been looking for. I ended up reading a lot of nonfiction, too – books about the space race, eugenics, nuclear disasters, and pop culture. Despite the lower book count, I did come away from the year a little more interested and knowledgeable, so that's a win, right?

Here’s what I read in 2023:

  1. Valuable Humans in Transit and Other Stories by qntm
  2. Dune by Frank Herbert
  3. Ghost of the Hardy Boys: The Writer Behind the World’s Most Famous Boy Detectives by Leslie McFarlane
  4. Babel by R.F. Kuang
  5. The Fisherman by John Langan (Review)
  6. Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse
  7. Proving Ground: The Untold Story of the Six Women Who Programmed the World’s First Modern Computer by Kathy Kleiman
  8. Across the Airless Wilds: The Lunar Rover and the Triumph of the Final Moon Landings by Earl Swift
  9. README.txt by Chelsea Manning
  10. Under the Henfluence: Inside the World of Backyard Chickens and the People Who Love Them by Tove Danovich
  11. Sphere by Michael Crichton (Post)
  12. The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz (Review)
  13. Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
  14. Starter Villain by John Scalzi
  15. Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
  16. Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat by Bill Watterson
  17. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  18. The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe by Matthew Gabriele and David M. Perry
  19. The Rise and Reign of the Mammals: A New History, from the Shadow of the Dinosaurs to Us by Steve Brusatte
  20. The Middling Affliction by Alex Shvartsman
  21. Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham
  22. Rose/House by Arkady Martine (Review)
  23. Wild Spaces by S.L. Coney (Review)
  24. All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby (Review)
  25. “Vermont for the Vermonters”: The History of Eugenics in the Green Mountain State by Mercedes de Guardiola (Interview)
  26. Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas (Review)
  27. Translation State by Ann Leckie
  28. MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards
  29. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
  30. The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series by Jessica Radloff
  31. Orders of Battle by Marko Kloos
  32. Centers of Gravity by Marko Kloos
  33. Flight Risk by Cherie Priest
  34. A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas
  35. The Culture: The Drawings by Iain M. Banks
  36. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  37. The Hard Switch by Owen D. Pomery
  38. Eon by Greg Bear (Obit)

So, with 2024 now on the books, I've reset the clock: we'll see if I can muster up another 52 reads in the next 12 months.

What did you read this year? What books stuck with you, and what are your plans for this year?