Monthly Archives: January 2024

Favourite Books of 2023

While I wouldn’t call this year’s reading pace sedate, it definitely felt more relaxed, so that was great. Almost all the books I read this year were continuations of a series I had already started. The challenge with reading book 3 or 4 of whatever, is it’s often been years since I started the series and I can’t remember anything that happened. The price of reading a book or 2 a week on average I guess. My solution this year was to reread all the previous books in the series before reading the new one, which really helped in the “picking a new book” department. I also decided to go back and reread a few of my favorite books from the past, which I really enjoyed.

Sci-fi books continue to be a big genre for me. I read Wool by Hugh Howey, which was made into an AppleTV+ series called Silo, as well as “newer” science fiction titles from Emily St. John Mandel (a Canadian!) and Christopher Paolini’s 2020 award winning To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. The follow up book, Fractal Noise, was not as good. I reread Martha Wells Murderbot series but was disappointed with the new addition, System Collapse. Amazon did two original series of sci-fi shorts: a third installment of The Dispatcher series, which I really liked, and then the more traditional offering called The Far Reaches collection. How It Unfolds and Slow Time Between the Stars were very good. Sadly, I’m still eagerly waiting Dune part 2.

I read Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child. I liked season one of the Amazon series “Reacher” and have already started in on season 2. I saw Christoper Nolan’s, Oppenheimer. Interesting. I thought it was well done. Long, probably spent too much time on the interviews that ended in his security clearance being revoked but still good.

No real blockbusters I was looking forward to this year, although new books from Dennis E. Taylor, Jason Kasper, Andrew Mayne, and Jeremy Robinson, who wrapped up his crazy 15 novel crossover thingy, were all good. If there was a disappointment this year it would probably be James Rollins’ Tides of Fire. I just wasn’t interested in the science behind this novel (although it’s been in the news a fair bit) as much as prior novels and the “Sigma Force” spark seems to be dwindling. The Bobiverse books continue to be my go to, feel good books and I read (all!) of them a lot this year. I have to say, book 4, Heaven’s River, is growing on me.

I spent some time updating my book database app. It’s an iPhone app that drives all the data you see on the Books page. I added each book’s comment section to the data stored, which has been invaluable for “remembering” what books were about. I also converted its backend storage to SwiftData, a new database framework from Apple. I still save json files, as one of those is read by custom php to produce the Books page.

Okay, my favourite books of 2023. Like last year, I wouldn’t really put any of these books ahead of the other, they are all about the same. I thought Emily St. John Mandel’s trilogy, Station Eleven (now an Amazon series, which I have not watched), The Glass Hotel, and Sea of Tranquility were great. My only regret is that I read Sea of Tranquility first, as it is the closest to science fiction and it was on Obama’s 2022 best books list. They were definitely more “literary” than I usually read but they were great and I loved the Canadiana. If you plan to read them, please read them in order! Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry was fantastic. Of course, it’s also been made into a TV series (on AppleTV+). This seems to be true of so many books now.

There you have it. I hope 2024 is filled with exciting new books for everyone out there.