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Must-Read Books of the Year for 2023: A Roundup and Review

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Must-Read Books of the Year for 2023: A Roundup and Review

I’ve read some great books this year. Here is my list of "Must-Read Books of the Year". A round up and quick review of my 2023 favourites.

The Sentence by Louise Erdich

An interesting story delving into Indigenous culture and society in USA at the start of the pandemic and a haunted book store. The characters grow and develop along with the story coming into their own as they move past rocky backgrounds and learn to accept and love each other. The bookstore somehow manages to survive and flourish against the odds. People still want to read. And the ghost of a regular customer only recently passed lurks in the aisle’s, growing too it seems to settle her unfinished business.

I thought it was a bit slow at first, but as always, I allowed time to sink into the style and rhythm of the story. Well worth it.

Undressing Stone by Hazel Manuel

This one is a ghost story mixed with personal growth and a budding romance. I’ve read it twice.

How to Survive Your Magical Family by Clare Rhoden

I really loved this young adult fantasy novel set in Australia. Magical families, cats, and an assortment of other "not of this world" creatures and occurrences. A great read for young and adult readers alike!

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Fairies by Heather Fawcett

Loved it! A mix of fantasy and reality and a woman ready to dedicate her life to her passion - studying fairies! I have the next one on pre-order!

Wifedom by Anna Funder

I didn't know a lot about George Orwell but I'm always interested in hearing about male author's wives and partners, and the input they had into literary careers. Often you'll find there's not a lot of documentation around a woman's life or recognition of the work she's done either directly or indirectly so that her author (or other creative type) husband can produce his work. Eileen O'Shaughnessy's case was no exception. However, Anna Funder was able to stitch together a fictionalised story based on correspondence between O'Shaughnessy and her best friend. When Eileen married George Orwell (real name, Eric Blair) she gave up her own promising literary career to support her husband and help him shape his.

Funder shares her insight and research into the Orwell's as she stitches, reflecting on how much has changed in these types of relationships and how much has not.

Well put together and I highly recommend it.

After the Forest by Kell Woods

Another book I recommend is After the Forest. A great retelling of the Hansel and Gretel story set a few years later. Woods' research into the time period (mid 1600s) and customs is in depth and forms a wonderful foundation for her grimdark tale of magic in the Black Forest. There are traces of a few fairy-tales to be found between the pages, also shape-shifting, witchcraft, nature magic, fairies, and, of course, the best gingerbread! Read my full review.

A Festive Juxtaposition by Paul R Stanton

A different kind of Christmas story from a different point of view than most. Not a sleigh-bell or flying reindeer insight, but more than a little magic. Read my full review.

Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley

I read this before Marple: 12 new stories (see short stories below) and followed it with a number of Christie’s short stories. It’s interesting knowing the back story of the author and how it relates to her writing and characters. Even more so when you translate that knowledge to the screen for the Miss Marple and Poirot television series and Kenneth Brannagh's Poirot movies.

I also watched Worsley's TV series on the same topic. It's a good back up to reading the story. I'd recommend both!

Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood

A lovely story from the author of The Natural Way of Things (which I won't get finished in time for this list). I really enjoyed this one and related to quite a few of the beautiful passages. The author takes us through a woman's journey through grief, acceptance and guilt as she comes to terms with a slower more focused life, and understanding of the people around her at different times in her life. All while battling a mouse plague, coming to terms with a religious life (when she is not religious), and watching over the bones of a murdered nun.

Short stories

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

A woman hears news of her husband’s death. Nice little twist at the end of this.

The Overcoat by Nicolai Gogol

You might think that a Russian author is not my usual read and you'd be right (though I've read a few this year) but this short story by Gogol is wry and includes ghosts. Our protagonist is a poor clerk in a government office who is just as often ridiculed as forgotten. The story is about the importance he places on his new cloak, which he goes to great lengths to save money for. Gogol (through the narrator) looks at not only the lowly place this character has in the world but the way other people view such a man.

Marple: 12 new stories. Hear from the authors.

New short stories by 12 authors. I love watching Marple movies on the telly and these 12 stories were more similar to those than Agatha Christie's original stories. Still plenty to connect the two just with a little more detail than Christie included in her publications. If you're a Marple fan, definitely read these new stories.

Must-Read Books of the Year for 2023: A Roundup and Review.

Disclaimer: images used in this article were created using Adobe Firefly (AI)

2 ความคิดเห็น

30 พ.ย. 2566

Thanks for the list - and the mention! Very timely for Christmas. I loved After the Forest too. Must look up all the others. Cheers!

01 ธ.ค. 2566

You’re welcome 😁

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