Calling all readers! Sharing the books I’ve read this year is a favorite of mine. Thinking that I might be responsible for introducing other readers to new texts delights me. Here you will find what I read in 2023–some are newer releases, others are older.

The following list includes all the books I’ve read in 2023 and is in no particular order, aside from the first one. Demon Copperhead was one of the most powerful books I read this year and one I hope everyone will pick up. Learn more about the Opiod epidemic and the life of a less-than-fortunate young man and how he navigates a world that isn’t always there to support him. It will break your heart and put it back together again.

  1. Demon Copperhead, Barbara Kingsolver,– (fiction) This was my favorite book to read this year, and the one book I think everyone should read. Make sure you have it on your home shelf.
  2. When the Emperor Was Divine, Julie Otsuka (fiction) – A beautiful and heartbreaking story of Japanese internment…but it’s about so much more than that.
  3. Old Friends, Tracy Kidder (nonfiction) – A raw and beautifully touching story of friendship in life’s final chapters.
  4. The Blue Hour, Laura Pritchett (fiction) – Linked short stories of rural life in a mountain town somewhere in Colorado. One of my favorites that I found by accident in the local library.
  5. Tell Me Everything, Erika Krouse (memoir) – true crime investigation of sexual abuse
  6. The Friend, Sigurd Nunez (fiction)  – Oh my goodness can Nunez craft writing that hits you in the belly.
  7. The Swimmers, Julie Otsuka (fiction) – A story of swimmers and a local pool during the pandemic.
  8. The Daughter of Auschwitz, Tova Friedman (memoir) – first-person account from a Holocaust childhood. Don’t turn away.
  9. Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood (fiction) – I had never read this and holy shit! Terrifying.
  10. Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro (fiction) – Ishiguro is one of my favorite authors and I have read everything I can find of his. The way he weaves fantastical stories and pulls you in is nothing short of magical.
  11. People Love Dead Jews – Dana Horn (nonfiction) – Intellectual essays about Jewish history. A must read.
  12. Why We Swim, Bonnie Tsui (nonfiction) – for anyone who loves water and swimming.
  13. Signal Fires, Dani Shapiro (fiction) – winner of the National Jewish Book Award and a book I read in a few days.
  14. You Could Make This Place Beautiful, Maggie Smith – (nonfiction) part poetry, part memoir; I love how Smith broke so many writing rules, how the book flows, and her examination into grief and reawakening
  15. Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus (fiction) – I wasn’t sure if I’d like this one, but it was well written and a great story!
  16. Fatherland, Burkhard Bilger (nonfiction) – a fascinating read for anyone who wants to learn more about the Holocaust and the generational consequences that continue
  17. The Postcard, Anne Berest (nonfiction) – I couldn’t put it down.
  18. Kindred, Octavia Butler (fiction) – Another book I hadn’t read and had been on my list for some time. Time travel between contemporary times and the age of slavery. Wow.
  19. Victory City, Salman Rushdie (historical fiction) – this took time to get into, but once I was able to get a grasp the unfamiliar names, I was hooked on the story and couldn’t put it down.
  20. Enchantment, Katherine May (memoir) – I loved “Wintering,” Katherine May’s book  and read it feeling as if my emotions were finally understood. “Enchantment,” about how to rediscover wonder after such dark times did more of the same.
  21. The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides (fiction) – a fast and compelling read with excellent twists
  22. Scoundrel Time, Lillian Hellman (memoir) – her voice, the writing, the stories from the time of McCarthyism, echoes of today.
  23. Tom Lake, Ann Patchett (fiction) – Everytime I hear Patchett has a new book; I buy it. I don’t need to know what it’s about because she is a master storyteller. This one was marvelous.
  24. Jews in the Garden, Judy Rakowsky (nonfiction) – Why would a Holocaust survivor return to the place he fled as a teenager and why would he still feel Poland is his home after needing to flee? A devastating and necessary first person account.
  25. Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult (fiction) – I read this while sick in New Hampshire after finding it on the shelf in the house we were renting. I couldn’t put it down. A story about racism, friendship, the legal system…read it.
  26. To Name the Bigger Lie, Sarah Viren (memoir) – A look at how lies can unravel a life – compelling and terrifying.
  27. Small Mercies, Dennis Lehane (fiction) – I was excited to read this one because it takes place in my former state and during a time period I remember. An interesting story line.
  28. The Wind Knows my Name, Isabel Allende (fiction) – I’m not sure if I had trouble with this one because I read it on my kindle, but the bouncing around without a clear connection irritated me. The final section made up for that.
  29. The Covenant of Water, Andrew Verghese (fiction) – Confession: I’m not done with this book yet, but I am fully engaged and involved with the storyline. Highly recommend.
  30. The Creative Act: A Way of Being, Rick Rubin (nonfiction) – You need to own this book and give it to every creative individual you know. I’ve underlined half the book.
  31. As Joan Approaches Infinity, Kika Dorsey (fiction) – Kika is a friend and award-winning poet so the writing is superb! You will love and hate Joan alternatively, and I suspect, end up feeling like you know her….

And last but not least, grab a copy of the book I was recently published in–“We Are the West: Tributaries” by Twenty Bellows. This is a beautifully compiled anthology by writers of the West (Colorado and Wyoming). A perfect holiday gift for lovers of poetry, art and creative writing.

I read each night before bed for close to an hour. If the book is really good, or a ‘ripping read’ as my friend Sara calls it, I even stay up past my bedtime! Reading is the best way to travel, see through different perspectives, explore alternative realities and open your mind. Give a book this holiday season!