My year in reading, 2023
Hello! It’s January, which means it’s time for my annual tradition of updating all three of you who read this about what I read this past year. Last year, I predicted that I wouldn’t have a spare moment for any fun reading this year since I would be starting my MFA program. A year later, I’m pleased to report that this prediction proved to be wrong! There have been several times in my life where people have warned me that I would not have time, anymore, to read for pleasure. Law school, for example. Or immediately after having babies. I know this warning rings true for many people, for whom reading becomes too much or not satisfying or feels like a chore when they’re under stress. But for me, reading is a safe haven, something I look forward to even more when I’m stressed and life feels chaotic and out of control. At the moment, my life does not feel particularly chaotic (hooray) and I am not even very stressed (I know, what?), and I am enjoying a nice mix of reading for school and reading for fun.
Speaking of school! Because I have spent the last year (whoa) in the MFA program at Warren Wilson (IYKYK), I’ve been doing a LOT of reading, even more than I do in a typical year. My program requires me to read approximately 1 book/week during the semester, for a total of 20-25 books/semester, but I end up reading more than that, since I’m also reading for pleasure each day, as well. So, let’s get into the numbers, shall we? In 2023, I read a total of 68 books! This year, about half the books I read were print and half were digital (meaning I got them on the Libby app, from the library). About 75% were fiction. In a typical year, I probably read a bit more nonfiction, but I think the demands of the program have weighted my reading more towards fiction this year.
Here are some highlights:
Stay True, Hua Hsu
Tie between Spare, Prince Harry and Bad Mormon, Heather Gay
Book that most blew my mind
The Transit of Venus, Shirley Hazard
Best short story collection
Tenth of December, George Saunders
Foster, Claire Keegan
Most beautifully depressing
The Gathering, Anne Enright
Tom Lake, Ann Patchett (I know this is a deeply controversial pick, but this book just did not work for me, and I consider myself a big Patchett fan!)
Most moving epic
Demon Copperhead, Barbara Kingsolver
My Murder, Katie Williams
Tensest psychological thriller
The Quiet Tenant, Clémence Michallon
Birnam Wood, Eleanor Katten
Fastest page turner
The Guest, Emma Cline
What was your reading life like this year? What books stood out to you? Which disappointed? Let me know!