My Top Ten Books of 2023

Top Ten Books of 2023

It’s that time of the year for retrospection.

After posting my Top Ten Songs of 2023, I’m moving on to a list of my favorite reading material. I feel like I got to read more than usual during the last year (especially over the summer), getting through nineteen books. And there were some really good books! It was harder than usual to leave some of the last year’s books off my Top Ten list.

Anyway, it’s been a few years now since I resolved to take time along the way to reflect and write up a little “book report” on each one, shortly after finishing it (since it’s easy to forget, otherwise). So, I’ll link to my full write-up for each book, in case you want to read more — but for the purposes of this retrospective post, I’m going to limit myself to five words for each book.

Anyway: Out of the nineteen books I read in 2023, here are my Top Ten Books of the year, in ranked order:

  1. The Wild Birds, by Wendell Berry
  2. Life After God, by Douglas Coupland
  3. Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
  4. Indigenous Continent, by Pekka Hämäläinen
  5. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
  6. No Longer at Ease, by Chinua Achebe
  7. Nathan Coulter, by Wendell Berry
  8. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, by Jeff Chang
  9. Dakota, by Kathleen Norris
  10. Lassoing the Sun, by Mark Woods

And again, for those who would appreciate more context, my five descriptive words (plus the links to my full write-ups) for each selection are included with the listing (reverse rank-order), below:

#10 – Lassoing the Sun, by Mark Woods

National Parks. Memoir. Grief. Beauty.

#9 – Dakota, by Kathleen Norris

“America’s Empty Quarter.” Isolation. Monasticism.

#8 – Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, by Jeff Chang

Hip-Hop History. Racism. Melting Pot.

#7 – Nathan Coulter, by Wendell Berry

Family Dysfunction. Surrogate Father. Redemption.

#6 – No Longer at Ease, by Chinua Achebe

Complicated. Urbanization. Africa. Corruption. Pride.

#5 – Dead Wake, by Erik Larson

Meticulously Researched. Gilded Age. War.

#4 – Indigenous Continent, by Pekka Hämäläinen

Power. Kinship. Colonialism. Resetting Perspective.

#3 – Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

Reflective. Generational Dynamics. Sad. Faithful.

#2 – Life After God, by Douglas Coupland

Masterful Prose. Window. Wistful. Soulful.

#1 – The Wild Birds, by Wendell Berry

Short Stories. Human Nature. Grounded.

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