My favourite books of 2023

Sunday, December 17, 2023 Permalink

It’s that time of the year again… you know, the time when we ponder the year that was and wonder WTF we did with our time and energy when we have so little to show for it. Or maybe that’s just me.

It’s also time to wrap up my reading year. According to Goodreads I’ve just read my 100th book for the year. Significantly down from the 140-150 I used to read just a few years ago. I’ve had quite a bit of work travel this year, but the job I’m in (and I’ve just passed my one-year anniversary) is fairly full-on and I just don’t have the headspace to write reviews during the working week, which means I also read less.

As for my favourite books of 2023, I’ve again relied on Goodreads (which doesn’t allow half-stars), and apparently I gave five books 5-stars. Which is quite generous as I dole out stars like they’re my own personal treasure.

I’m listing these in the order in which I read them and you can read my review by clicking on the title.

Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt

This novel took me by surprise. It’s addictive and very dark. And confronting. Kalagian Blunt has taken inspiration from real life events and it’s a reminder that bad and evil exist and though we can try not to offer more mediums or opportunities for them to play out, we’ll never be fully safe.

Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt

 

Drowning by TJ Newman

Though I like my novels of suspense and thrillers, I’m not usually a fan of ‘action’. I skim fight scenes or those that describe what’s happening to move to the dialogue or narrator’s ponderous thoughts. Here however, Newman grabbed my attention from the first page and held me ransom until the last. I understand this will be appearing on the big or small screen and I am certainly not surprised.

Drowning by TJ Newman

 

Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder

I love me some quirky characters which is why books featuring well-crafted ones often make my end-of-year round up. (I’m thinking Eleanor Oliphant and Grace Atherton.) In my review I describe this book as at-times funny but also a bittersweet story about loss, grief and abandonment as well as friendship, joy and acceptance.

Lenny Sparks Gets Away With Murder by Kerryn Mayne

 

Lola in the Mirror by Trent Dalton

I adored this book. I adored our nameless narrator and I seem to always adore Dalton’s prose. Not only does he write beautifully however, but he also knows how to spin a tale in such a way that he puts us there, in the story and we’re living it. I loved Boy Swallows Universe, but I loved this even more. It’s a bittersweet read but one you won’t forget.

Lola in the Mirror by Trent Dalton

 

Everyone on this Train is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

I loved this book’s predecessor, Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone and Stevenson delivers again here. Written conversationally and very cleverly in first person – sometimes second – the narrative is delivered via the droll, witty, exceedingly forthright writer-turned accidental detective (turned novelist) Ernest Cunningham.

Everyone On This Train Is A Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

Amazingly four of these five books are by Australians… which I think says something about the state of our publishing industry. I only named three favourite books last year and all were by Australians. So, yay us.

What have been your favourite books or most enjoyable reads this year?

10 Comments
  • Barbara Loefgren
    December 17, 2023

    Oh a few things I might want to read there – especially the last one.

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2023

      Oh yes, I like droll old school detectives and Stevenson has the lead character narrating the story a bit like that. Very self-effacing.

  • Jennifer Jones
    December 17, 2023

    I haven’t read any of these Deb, but I have Lola in the Mirror on my TBR. It annoys me that Goodreads don’t have half stars.

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2023

      I know! The application I use on my website does so it means I have to make the hard call when I add a book to Goodreads!

  • Sue from Women Living Well After 50
    December 18, 2023

    I haven’t read any of these Deb so thanks for sharing. x

    • Debbish
      December 20, 2023

      You’re welcome Sue. I hope you find something you find something you enjoy there.

  • Retirement Reflections
    December 19, 2023

    Hi, Deb – Thank you for joining us for #WOYBS. I greatly enjoy reading your thoughts on books…and your thoughts on everything, actually. You’ve only given 5-stars on 5 books out of the 100 that you read this year?! You really are a tough cookie. I thought that I was firm(ish) marker but my average rating on the 55 books that I read this year was 4.1. In my defense, I truly did read many great books. Still, I’m obviously more of a mushy-cookie! 😀

    • Debbish
      December 20, 2023

      I am a very tough scorer and I think I actually only gave three of these 5 stars on my website I’m fairly sure I overthink my reviews way too much.

  • Jo
    December 19, 2023

    Everyone On This Train is next on my to be read pile (once the festival of festive reading is complete, that is). Thanks for your reviews again this year – I often refer back to them.

    • Debbish
      December 20, 2023

      I’ve really enjoyed all of Stevenson’s books a lot.

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