It’s become a tradition at this time of the year to look back at the books I’ve read over the past 365 days – some I remember fondly, some I ploughed through just to get it over with, and a very few I DNF’ed because life is just too short (and those ones won’t even be mentioned here at all).
- I challenged myself this year to read 12 classics, and although some of them were great and went by quickly, some were truly a slog and took some time to get through.
- I reread the first two books in a classic fantasy series, and they were doorstoppers! Definitely took me longer than 1 week each.
- I read fewer short stories this year, so the number of quick reads is smaller.
But as I’ve said before, to me it’s not about the number of books read each year, but rather about the enjoyment of it (so my challenge for 2024 will be to read some long-awaited titles on my TBR). For now, let’s have a look at the books that shaped my reading year.
(PS: If any of these books interest you, please consider using my affiliate links. They won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission to fuel my book-reading habit. Thanks!)
Books About Travel
Travel makes my heart sing and I will always be reading some or other book that transports me to somewhere more exotic than my well-worn armchair. When I’m not on the road or dreaming about foreign places, I write about them – my readers will know that my travels is one of the biggest inspirations for the stories I write. I would definitely recommend 100 Countries 5000 Ideas for vicarious adventuring.
Books on Writing and Marketing
Reading The Anatomy of Story was one of my goals for 2023, and I’m glad it was on my to-do list or I might not have read any books about writing this year! I made a conscious decision to read less about writing and write more instead, but I feel like I might pick up some more writing books next year again.
Other Non-Fiction Books
Although I made no rules about reading non-fiction this year, I did read a few books that were quite interesting.
Nikita Gill’s Great Goddesses wasn’t great for me as a poetry collection, but I loved her reimagining of the Greek gods in the modern world. I’ve had a healthy fear of orcas since I saw a documentary of them jumping onto land to grab seals, so Of Orcas and Men has languished on my TBR shelf for many years while I scraped up the courage to read it – and I’m so glad I did! This book taught me so much about these magnificent apex predators and I now wish to see them for myself in the wild one day.
This year’s challenge was to read 12 classic books (my definition of a classic is a book that’s well-known and older than I am), and I managed to read 13. I really struggled to get through Dante’s Inferno (I think the translation had a lot to do with that) and I don’t know why people are still reading The Art of War. King Lear and The Lord of the Flies were rereads which I didn’t like back then and still don’t like now. But both Dracula and Frankenstein were pleasant surprises, and I absolutely adored The Secret Garden. And of course, I couldn’t resist adding some more Daphne du Maurier to my list – Jamaica Inn was good, but Rebecca was fantastic.
Books that were Okay
Most of the books in this category were okay, but some were downright disappointing. Others might disagree, but after the fantastic Ninth House, Hell Bent was a huge let-down to me. Similarly, while the first book in the duology was great, In the Serpent’s Wake just didn’t do it for me. Fortunately, “good” is subjective, so you just might love some of the book I’ve listed here.
Books that I Liked
All of the stories in this section come highly recommended. Shoutout to the wonderful JR Rainville and her Skyrim-inspired debut, Sneakthief, as well as Jo Macgregor’s immensely entertaining supernatural sleuth Garnet in The First Time I Knocked. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the Jack Hansard series.
Books that I Loved
The books in this category were phenomenal and I think everyone should read them. From the wonderful Tess of the Road, the hilarious Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons and the delightful Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries, to the intricate tapestry that is The Queens of Innis Lear, they were all magnificent.
Book of the year goes to the heartbreaking A Thousand Ships, a feminist retelling of the Trojan War as seen through the eyes of the female characters. Beautiful, evocative, and thought-provoking – go read it!
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What was your favourite book of 2023? Do you have any recommendations for books I should read in 2024?