My Half-Year in Books, 2023

      5 Comments on My Half-Year in Books, 2023

Your Humble Blogger’s Half-Year in Books:

  • The Mitford Affair, by Marie Benedict (Historical)
  • Jhereg, by Steven Brust (SF)
  • Snug, by Catana Chetwynd (Graphic)
  • Finna, by Nino Cipri (SF novella)
  • The Seesaw Log, by William Gibson (Theater)
  • Unraveller, by Frances Hardinge (SF)
  • The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, by Saad Z. Hossain (SF novella)
  • A Glove Shop in Vienna, by Eva Ibbotsen (Stories)
  • Rust in the Root, by Justina Ireland (SF)
  • The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, by Shehan Karunatilaka (SF)
  • Illuminations, by T. Kingfisher (YASF)
  • In the Lives of Puppets, by TJ Klune (SF)
  • The Imaginary Plays (Spain, Saltimbanques, Green Man), by Jim Knable (Play)
  • Babel, by R. F. Kuang (SF)
  • When the Angels Left the Old Country, by Sacha Lamb (SF)
  • Six Crimson Cranes, by Elizabeth Lim (SF)
  • Gd of Vengeance, by Sholom Asch, Donald Margulies (Play)
  • A Prologue to "King Lear", by Ferenc Molnar (Play)
  • So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix, by Bethany C. Morrow (Historical)
  • Lia and Beckett's Abracadabra, by Amy Noelle Parks (Romance/YA)
  • Unprotected, by Billy Porter (Theater)
  • The Dead Romantics, by Ashley Poston (Romance/SF)
  • The Princess and the Fangirl, by Ashley Poston (Romance)
  • Killers of a Certain Age, by Deanna Raybourn (Thriller)
  • After the War Is Over, by Jennifer Robson (Romance/Historical)
  • Evening at the Talk House, by Wallace Shawn (Play)
  • A Dangerous Business, by Jane Smiley (Historical)
  • Pandora, by Susan Stokes-Chapman (SF)
  • The Hellion's Waltz, by Olivia Waite (Romance/Historical)
  • Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein (Historical)

Thirty books by thirty-one authors, including one adapter/translator of the original work who I’ve sort of counted as a co-author. Of those, 24 are White, 7 are not. 11 are male, 17 are female, and 3 identify in some other way (I am aggregating here). 7 are both White and male (22.5%). However, it’s more interesting (again, only to me) to look at the writers whose work I hadn’t previously read—of those 15 writers, 10 are White and 5 are not; 4 are male and 8 are female and 3 neither; and one is both White and male. It has been several years that I have deliberately avoided reading books by White Men whose work I haven’t previously known. In the absence of such a practice, I was reading mostly books by White Men; with such a practice I am still reading plenty of books by White Men, and also I am enjoying at least as high a percentage of new books as I ever did. So that’s all right.

My favorite books in that list are When the Angels Left the Old Country and… umm, that one was so far in the lead that I’m not sure I want to put anything else alongside it. Not that I disliked all the others—Finna was very good, and I enjoyed After the War Is Over quite a lot, and while Unraveller wasn’t, I think, as good as I wanted it to be, it was still very good. But the Old Country Angels was so wonderful that I think I’ll just leave it on its own.

As always, If y’all have any questions to ask about any of these, or opinions to vent, I’d enjoy chatting about them.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

5 thoughts on “My Half-Year in Books, 2023

  1. Chris Cobb

    Thank you for listing When the Angels Left the Old Country as a favorite! On the strength of the recommendation, I picked it up at my local public library yesterday and I am finding it to be a lovely book! It reminds me quite a bit of The Golem and the Jinni, to which Sacha Lamb drops at least one reference. I greatly value the representation of practices of kindness, and the growth of characters toward kindness, that both books explore.

    1. Vardibidian Post author

      Glad you are enjoying it—the credit in this case goes to the awards people, since I became aware of the book when it won both the Sidney Taylor award and the Stonewall Book Award.

      I do think “practices of kindness” is an excellent way of putting it—and it’s a good point about what The Golem and the Jinni was interested in as well. Although it’s also true that both books are very interested in the ideas of immigration, assimilation and community, which are also ideas that I have been very interested in over the last few years.


      1. Chris Cobb

        Yes, both books are certainly very interested in immigration, assimilation, and community. These matters provide essential contexts in which practices of kindness are examined. Both books also propose, though, that there are also differences of temperament and ethics that exist within cultures that must be addressed through practices of kindness if they are to be turned from sources of conflict into resources for individual fulfillment and social problem-solving. I wouldn’t want to say that the books are more interested in kindness than in immigration; rather, I might say that neither interest is subordinated to the other. These are intersecting and integrated interests within the works.

    2. Michael

      I started reading When the Angels Left the Old Country aloud to the family recently, and have adored the first few chapters.

      1. Vardibidian Post author

        It works very well aloud! Or, at any rate, I enjoyed reading it aloud, and my Best Reader let me keep doing it.



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