My 2023 Reading List

6 January 2023

Today’s post marks the fourth yearly reading list that I’ve shared here. It has been a delightful exercise in thoughtfully planning my reading, which makes a certain amount of sense given the vast number of good books in the world and the relatively few I’ll be able to read in my lifetime. Over time, though, I think I have leaned a little too heavily into curating a list that looks good and checks a lot of boxes rather than a list of books I’m chomping at the bit to read. That’s okay – I think choosing an elevated list of aspirational reads is its own worthwhile pursuit, and I may return to it. But this year (perhaps in tandem with my 2023 goals), I am craving a ready list of books I can’t wait to read, and so that’s what I’ve compiled. My main criteria, after vetting them in my usual ways, was simply: would I want to dive into this book tomorrow?

After completing 18, 16, and 15 of 24 in the last three years, I’m aiming for 24/24 in 2023 :)

In most months I chose one fiction and one non-fiction book, but you’ll see I took a few liberties, as well. If you’d like me to join me for any of my picks, I’d love to have you!

Becoming Mrs. Lewis | Once I knew Mere Christianity was going to be my January pick, it was only too perfect to pluck this one from my TBR list.
Mere Christianity | One of my favorite books of all time. I read it every few years.

Remarkably Bright Creatures | Described as a love story with a giant octopus, this novel has been universally adored by everyone whose opinions I trust. Love that it’s her debut.
Deep Work | I have had a Cal Newport book on my list every year I’ve made one, and somehow I have still never read one of his books!! Will this be the year? With my new schedule I’ve been craving even more focus at work, so this seemed like the one to try.

Book Lovers | We have a copy that’s been circulating in Articles Club for the last few months with post-it notes added as it changes hands, and I’m up next.
The Gospel Comes with a House Key | This one seemed fitting for my goals this year!

The Inheritance Games | This year’s list leans a little more “fun” than in years past, and so a buzzy YA mystery with “thrilling twists” seems right at home.
The Odyssey | I haven’t read The Odyssey since ninth-grade English. I loved it, though hadn’t had much urge to re-read it until this first female translation came highly recommended. We’ll see – this may be one I later regret adding to the list, but right now I’m excited about it :)

Every Summer After | I have been warned that this one will make me sob, but we’re going with it.
Camp Girls | A nod to June’s and my mother-daughter weekend, recommended by a friend who knows the author!

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow | Another seemingly universally-beloved novel. I enjoyed her other well-known book and am intrigued by this one!
The Life We’re Looking for | This book doesn’t seem to have gotten much love (only 154 Amazon reviews, though positive!), but I loved the other book I’ve read by Andy. Also seems fitting for this year’s goals: “a deeply reflective primer on creating meaningful connections, rebuilding abundant communities, and living in a way that engages our full humanity.”

Carrie Soto is Back | I have never read a Taylor Jenkins Reid book even though she’s had a number of blockbusters over the last few years. It’s time, and this tennis-themed one seems like a good place to start!
Raising Emotionally Strong Boys | My love for Raising Boys & Girls runs deep. Since I didn’t grow up with brothers or many male cousins, I am always looking to learn from the wiser people around me, and David definitely qualifies.

The Maid | I think three separate friends described this book as, verbatim, “just a delight.” Perfect for a summer vacation read.
As You Wish | We have been wanting to watch The Princess Bride (one of my favorites!) for family movie night, so I’ll time its premier with this read!

Marriage Portrait | I added this one in the hopes that it would have similar vibes to the Ken Follett trilogy – a distinct historical period, layered plots, intriguing characters. We shall see!
Teach Your Children Well | This one’s a bit of a wildcard, but I heard the author on a podcast about family discipleship and enjoyed what she had to say.

Lessons in Chemistry | The definition of buzzy. I am actually not sure I’m going to love this one as much as everyone else does, but giving it a try because of effusive reviews from a few trusted sources!
The Hiding Place | A classic I know very little about, but am excited to read.

The Flatshare | Sister and mom loved it. See: light, feel-good books for this year’s list.
Habits of the Household | I adored the other book I’ve read by him. This is one I’m not sure I’ll wait to read until November!

At Home in Mitford | Steph reminded me that December is the perfect time to read a Mitford book. I haven’t picked one up in years (my grandmother loved them!), but it does sound like the coziest holiday read.
Cozy Minimalist Home | Setting myself up for a new year of nesting in each season.

Honorable mentions I’m hoping to squeeze in, as well: Black Cake, Telling God’s Story, Start With Hello, The Measure, The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post, and The Cartographers.

I’d love to hear: Have you read any of these books? Would you like to read any alongside me in 2023? Let’s chat!

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January 6, 2023 7:57 am

The Hiding Place is one of my all-time favorite books! I can’t wait to hear what you think! Happy reading. :)

January 6, 2023 8:34 am

Love this list — and your ‘why’ behind choosing these particular books! I read the autumn and winter sections of Cozy Minimalist Home as those seasons began last year. I really love her writing and practical ideas. I’m looking forward to the spring chapter! Habits of the Household was another book I was considering for this year. I’ll be curious to hear what you think of it.

January 6, 2023 6:29 pm
Reply to  Lara

I haven’t read The Common Rule, but my husband and I both loved and gained practical ideas from Habits of the Household!

January 6, 2023 8:40 am

I so enjoy your TBR list! I don’t divide mine up by month; I’m at the whim of when my holds come in at our local library. In 2022, I loved “Carrie Soto Is Back” – definitely one of the best things I read in 2023, and my second TJR book (also loved “Evelyn Hugo”). I also adored “Every Summer After” and definitely sobbed. If you’re reading the Odyssey, I’d also recommend “Song of Achilles” if you haven’t read it (buzzy, older) and “A Thousand Ships” (focusing on the women in the saga!). Can I suggest a fiction/mystery combo? “The Christie Affair” was another of my top reads in 2022.

January 6, 2023 9:59 am

I always love reading people’s TBR lists to see what interesting fiction books I haven’t heard of before but come recommended — and the one about the octopus has definitely caught my attention! I can’t wait to add Remarkably Bright Creatures to my own reading list for 2023 :)

January 6, 2023 10:41 am

I look forward to reading your list each year. It inspired me last year to create a list of my own to get me back into the habit of reading. So, thank you so much!! This year I am steering clear of a list and simply going through what feels right next on my Goodreads “want to read” list and what’s available for free at the library at that moment. I’ve already got some holds coming available for those more popular titles :).
The Maid was a favorite of mine from last year, although I would describe it as a little more mysterious and thought-provoking than “delightful!” It WAS a fun read but with some deeper undertones (just what I like). Remarkably Bright Creatures was also a favorite and surprised me since I don’t usually love animal focused stories. I hope you have a wonderful, happy year of reading and reach that 24/24 goal!!

January 6, 2023 10:47 am
Reply to  Julie

Wanted to add – I also have “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” on my list. I read “Once Upon a Wardrobe” also by Patti Callahan in December and it was such a heartwarming story. I learned a lot about C.S. Lewis’ life as well. :) Love your list this year!! I’m adding Cozy Minimalist Home and Every Summer After to mine.

Kristen M
January 6, 2023 12:12 pm

As You Wish is a great book and I would say it’s also a really excellent audio book good for the whole family to listen to – Cary Elwes narrates it and interviews folks from the movie during the audiobook (since you have it listed for August figured there could be a good chance ya’ll would be roadtripping then anyways!)

January 6, 2023 12:12 pm

I always love reading your book lists! I have to suggest something, get the audiobook of As You Wish. It’s narrated by the cast and had me teary-eyed at the end. I loved listening to it so much!

January 6, 2023 12:39 pm

These may be my favorite posts to read!! I think I love reading about books more than I love reading them…. haha! I love your choices!! I changed up my reading style last year too because I found I was making myself read books that sounded good but when weren’t that compelling when it came down to it…and I read 37 books out of my goal of 30, more than I’ve ever read before! So hope you have a great reading year by making this change! This year I am going to try to read books that have been on my shelf for a long time. I don’t have many new, pressing reads so I’m excited about tackling some older ones!
Comments on your picks-
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Deep Work!
The Maid is so good! Just barely creepy haha.
I read Shepherd’s Abiding, the Mitford Christmas novel, a few years ago and it was darling. In case you’d prefer a Christmassy one during December!
Love that the Odyssey is on your list! Maybe I should add that to mine :)
A few from my list for 2023: The Count of Monte Cristo (in French), Good Apple, The Nightingale, and the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. I also found A Court of Thorns & Roses in a little free library so maybe that one, too!

January 6, 2023 12:39 pm

You have some great ones on your list and I’ve added a few to my library holds. As a fellow library lover, how to you manage your goal timing with library availability? Some of these best sellers take a while to become available – do you pivot to a different month’s book if something isn’t available yet?

January 6, 2023 1:21 pm

The entire Mitford Series is amazing! I wish I hadn’t read them all so I could read them again with new eyes! The first book might seem slow but give it time to simmer…the characters have so mu depth as the series goes on…and then you can come to Blowing Rock on a mountain trip and see what inspired her ????

January 6, 2023 2:12 pm

Some great picks on your list! I’ve read Mere Christianity, Deep Work, Book Lovers, Every Summer After, Tomorrow x 3, Lessons in Chemistry and Cozy Minimalist Home. I really enjoyed all of them so I hope they resonate with you too! Tomorrow x 3 was definitely one of my all time favorite books. My one caveat for Lessons in Chemistry is that I think the marketing is a bit off; it seems like a funny, lighthearted book, but it’s actually quite dark at moments–just wanted to put that out there because I think that threw me off at first.

January 6, 2023 4:55 pm

VERY here for “read what you want, not what sounds impressive” — life is too short! Will be very eager to hear your thoughts on Tomorrow x3, Black Cake, and Lessons in Chemistry.

January 6, 2023 6:27 pm

Oh, this is such a good list! Last year I read The Hiding Place and Night by Elie Wiesel back-to-back and it definitely had a lasting impact on me.
I really enjoy some episodes of the Raising Girls and Boys podcast and need to check out their books as well!

January 6, 2023 8:02 pm

I love me a reading list! Although I wasn’t sure I‘d create my own this year, ha! Last year I read 12 or 13 books, but almost none from my reading list. Oops. But reading yours, I‘m intrigued to go through my TBR list on the to do app and compile a list. Even if it’s just handy for library orders!
I do have a few of your books on my list, too! Not sure I‘ll manage to read them at the same time though. I oftentimes read them as I get them from the library, ha! But I‘ll try :) It would be fun!

January 6, 2023 8:51 pm

I re-read The Hiding Place last year (think my first encounter was in jr hi or high school?) and found it tremendously moving and en-courage-ing, in the etymological sense!
I also really appreciate Cal Newport–recently revisited Digital Minimalism, which was helpful for me, and also loved Deep Work. I trust him to be thoughtful and helpful, so I will always give him an upvote.

January 7, 2023 8:36 pm

I’ve read Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow – one of my favorites from last year. I also read Lessons in Chemistry, I liked it but not in my top choices. Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors – every book of hers I enjoy and can’t put down! Sounds like a great list!!

January 9, 2023 1:13 pm

I love talking books! I read Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow last year and it was good one. I wouldn’t say I loved it, but it was one of my favorites the month I read it. I’m currently reading The Life We’re Looking For and I am loving it so far. I’m surprised noone is really talking about this book as I feel like The Tech-Wise Family was everywhere back when it came out. Carrie Soto is Back was my favorite book of 2022 and I finished 83. I have read all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books and this one was her best. There was one thing about the Maid that made it so hard for me to enjoy it, haha, but other people didn’t seem to be annoyed by it, so I hope it is not the same for you. I absolutely adored The Flatshare. It was super cute and Beth O’Leary is now an instant read for me, The Switch is my favorite of hers. Now the books on your list that I want to read are Book Lovers, As You Wish, Marriage Portrait, and Lessons in Chemistry. The last mostly because of all the hype and seeing it top lots of top books of the year lists. I also wasn’t initially attracted to it, so let’s see how it goes whenever my library hold comes in.

January 10, 2023 11:53 pm

I’m reading Habits of the Household right now as our church goes through a year long series about creating a rule of life and I am LOVING it! I think you will too! I’ve told everyone I know who loves Jesus that if they only read one book this year, let it be this one. It is so practical and also makes you think about your own life and rhythms. A great book! I read the Cartographers last year and it was good… but long. It could have been about a third shorter I think haha. But a fun read! I’ve read a handful of the other books on your list as well and they really are all great- and I’m about to add a few of yours onto my TBR list! Thank you for this!

January 11, 2023 8:56 am

I love combing through your book lists – and also seeing so many beloved favorites!! LOVE your list! I re-read Mere Christianity last year (also one that I re-read often!) and also read Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and I’m so glad you’re reading both of those simultaneously. Most of my 2022 faves (Tomorrow x3, Lessons in Chemistry, Remarkably Bright Creatures, & Book Lovers) are on your list, and I cannot wait to hear what you think of them! Ahhh and Mitford. I actually went to the Mitford Museum in October – a highlight of my year!!!

December 3, 2023 8:38 am

Oh, I need to know if you’ve made it to The Hiding Place! I read this book many times as a child and need to get it for my kiddos when they are a bit older. It’s a tougher read but it probably shaped my perspective on ww2.