Top Ten Books for 2023

Top Ten Books for 2023 by CK Van Dam

It’s the time of year when Top Ten Lists start popping up, so I decided to look through my GoodReads list for 2023 and see which books I rated the highest. Interestingly, my list contained a good mix of fiction and non-fiction books. Some of the fiction books were historical, others were mystery/thrillers, and a couple were lighter, almost science fiction. The list is not in any particular order.

Here goes:

  1. John Sandford writes about Minnesota cops in his “Prey” series. “Righteous Prey” and “Judgment Prey” featured his go-to characters, Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers. I also enjoyed the spin-off series about Davenport’s daughter, Lettie. I’m counting those books as one book…because it’s my list.
  1. I also love William Kent Krueger’s Minnesota-centric “Cork O’Connor” series. I don’t always read the books in order. This year, I particularly liked “Vermillion Drift.”
  1. “Lady Tan’s Circle of Friends” by Lisa See was not a book I’d usually choose. Still, I really enjoyed this historical novel based on the life of an actual female doctor in 15th-century China.
  1. Another historical fiction book, “Eye of the Needle” by Ken Follett, is an exciting World War II story set in Scotland. It had me guessing till the end.
  1. “The Light We Carry” by Michelle Obama was the right book at the right time for me. Michelle Obama crafts a series of anecdotes into memorable life lessons.
  1. Heather Cox Richardson’s latest book, “Democracy Awakening,” uses her “Letters From an American” series to  explain the attacks on our democracy – and how we can work together to ensure this American experiment endures.
  1. Another not-so-serious book about politics, “Profiles in Ignorance” by Andy Borowitz, made me laugh and made me cry.
  1. A book that definitely made me cry was “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown. This book, published in 1970, is a horrific recounting of the history of American expansionism and how it displaced thousands of Native Americans.
  1. “The People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry is a rom-com with heart. I really got attached to the characters and hoped there would be a happily ever after.
  1. The last two books tackle female empowerment – with a twist. “When Women Were Dragons” by Kelly Barnhill imagines what would happen when women are continually oppressed. It’s delightful.

Finally, “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus is set in the 1950s and is about a woman scientist – who cannot be a scientist because…she’s a woman. But it’s funny. And the 1950s characterizations are spot on. A must-read.

I highly recommend any of these books. And if you have suggestions for my TBR 2024 list – send ’em over!

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!