Between sewing and reading, how is there time for anything else?? So many projects to make and endless numbers of books to read but there are only 24 hours in the day – ah, one of life’s challenges.
This year I managed to read 52 books. For me, an average of one book each week is great. Of these, nine books were audio. For the most part I enjoy listening to a book while I am sewing or driving. Sometimes the narration is disappointing. For example, my notes on Home Front by Kristin Hannah say “meh- poor narration in this audio version. Didn’t like the sound of her voices.” This can make a big difference. Conversely, I listened to This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel and my notes mentioned “Narration really well done – voices of Poppy, Mom and Dad are perfect.”
Here is the list of books I read in 2023:
The Stolen Book of Evelyn Aubrey by Serena Bursick
The Affair by Lee Child
The Pig and I by Rachel Toor (memoir)
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette N McCurdy (memoir)
Call Of the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
Good For You by Camille Pagan (dumb and predictable)
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus- Very depressing book.
Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Home Front by Kristin Hannah – meh- audio – poor narration in audio version. Didn’t like the sound of her voices
Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
The Patron Saint of Liars – Ann Patchett
Camino Island by John Grisham
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett – Audio – great book.
Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes
Hour of the Assassin by Matthew Quirk
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (so good and such a surprising ending)
Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman
Dressmakers of Prospect Heights by Kitty Zeldis
Camino Winds by John Grisham, sequel to Camino Island
Blue Moon – by Lee Child – audio
Happy Go Lucky by David Sedaris (audio)
The Yellow Room – Mary Roberts Reinhardt
Of Foster Homes and Flies by Chad Lutzke This short book is a gritty coming of age story – it is dark but I felt compelled to read this sad story.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harmon
Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson (meh, not great)
Canary Girls by Jennifer Chiaverini (interesting but a bit slow)
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (audio)
Call the Canaries Home by Laura Barrow OK – story of sisters and family conflict
Caught by Harlen Coben (audio)
A Girl Called Samson by Amy Harmon – excellent read about a young woman who disguises herself and joins the military. Really good read!
The Road Towards Home by Corinne Demas (sweet story of a relationship between two people in a senior home.)
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah – Audio
The Way Life Should Be by William Dameron – mediocre book
Choosing to Run by Des Linden (memoir – Des Linden is an athlete – not a writer)
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin – very good read.
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder
Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery – inspiring memoir of a woman who walked the Appalachian Trail by herself with very little equipment or experience. The writing is lackluster – but what Emma Gatewood accomplished is amazing.
O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton
A is for Alias by Sue Grafton meh, not a great book
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson I loved this quirky book!
For you Mom Finally by Ruth Reichl – audio
Nora Nora by Anne Rivers Siddon (Soo good!)
This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel – audio – narration really well done, voices of Poppy, Mom and Dad are perfect.
Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld – a memoir of a woman with little support who makes it through mental illness and foster homes to become a successful software developer. It moves slowly and even though she has an extremely difficult and challenging life, the book sounds like she is always whining.
Since I started keeping track of the books I’ve read, I have found it fun to go back and look at the books in list form. A few things jump out such as themes I was drawn to, books I didn’t enjoy but finished anyway (why do that when there are soooo many great books to read) and books I read for a second time. Last year I read two books for the second time. One was Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. By David Sedaris, this book is funny and a good one to listen to while sewing. I don’t have to concentrate on the book as it is a selection of humorous essays. I love Sedaris and his quirky family! The other book was This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. I read the book several years ago and have recommended it to a lot of people. The message about raising a transgender child is really well written – sometimes humorous and sometimes so sad. The audio book was just excellent and I am so glad I listened to it.
As for themes – It appears I was drawn to memoirs this year. I read five of them and all were interesting. Choosing to Run by Des Linden, winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon was a disappointment. This book was really hyped thus I had high expectations. As one reviewer said on Good Reads, ‘Des is an athlete not an author’. The writing is mediocre and basically the book reads like a log of her training. It moved along very slowly and is not one I would recommend.
The second theme I noticed was that of the strong female protagonist. Grandma Gatewood, A Girl Called Samson, Acceptance, Choosing to Run and Girl Runner all feature very strong women who achieved something they felt passionate about. I found a great deal of inspiration within these pages. My favorites from this collection were A Girl Called Samson and Girl Runner.
That is it for 2023 and the books I read; some were fantastic and others not as great. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these. Did you read one or two of them? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.