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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?