The Year in Books 2023

      3 Comments on The Year in Books 2023

Well, and this Tohu Bohu is pretty much defunct, innit? And yet, why not post the Year in Books 2023?

  • The Future , by Naomi Alderman (SF)
  • Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, by Greg Allen (Play)
  • Gd of Vengeance, by Sholom Asch, Donald Margulies (Play)
  • The Mitford Affair , by Marie Benedict (Historical)
  • Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner, by Darcy Parker Bruce (Play)
  • Jhereg, by Steven Brust (SF)
  • Snug , by Catana Chetwynd (Graphic)
  • Finna, by Nino Cipri (SF)
  • The Complete Short Stories, by Elizabeth Gaskell (Stories)
  • The Seesaw Log, by William Gibson (Theater)
  • Unraveller, by Frances Hardinge (SF)
  • Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Jeffrey Hatcher (Play)
  • A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon , by Sarah Hawley (SF)
  • The Housekeepers , by Alex Hay (Thriller)
  • Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby (Memoir)
  • The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, by Saad Z. Hossain (SF)
  • A Glove Shop in Vienna, by Eva Ibbotsen (Stories)
  • Rust in the Root , by Justina Ireland (SF)
  • Impressionism, by Michael Jacobs (Play)
  • 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)
  • On Turpentine Lane , by Elinor Lipman (Romance)
  • Assistant to the Villain , by Hannah Nicole Maehrer (SF)
  • The Raconteur's Commonplace Book , by Kate Milford (SF)
  • A Prologue to "King Lear", by Ferenc Molnar (Play)
  • So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix, by Bethany C. Morrow (Historical)
  • True Biz , by Sara Novic (Literary)
  • Lia and Beckett's Abracadabra, by Amy Noelle Parks (Romance/YA)
  • Unprotected , by Billy Porter (Theater)
  • The Princess and the Fangirl , by Ashley Poston (Romance)
  • The Dead Romantics, by Ashley Poston (Romance/SF)
  • Killers of a Certain Age , by Deanna Raybourn (Thriller)
  • After the War Is Over , by Jennifer Robson (Romance/Historical)
  • Starter Villain , by John Scalzi (SF)
  • La Ronde, by Arthur Schnitzler (Carl R. Mueller, translator) (Play)
  • Evening at the Talk House, by Wallace Shawn (Play)
  • Cassandra in Reverse , by Holly Smale (SF)
  • A Dangerous Business, by Jane Smiley (Historical)
  • Thief Liar Lady, by D. L. Soria (SF)
  • Making It So , by Patrick Stewart (Memoir)
  • Pandora , by Susan Stokes-Chapman (SF)
  • The Ghosts of Trappist, by K. B. Wagers (SF)
  • The Hellion's Waltz, by Olivia Waite (Romance/Historical)
  • Code Name Verity , by Elizabeth Wein (Historical)
  • Hell Followed with Us , by Andrew Joseph White (SF)
    • Stats, stats, stats.

      The biggest category, as it is every year, was speculative fiction—21 books that I put in that category. I didn’t break that out into Young Adult and not-YA, this year, but I would expect to find four or five of those SF books shelved in the teen room of the library. I tried to read more plays this year, but wound up only reading nine new scripts. I don’t know how I lost momentum with that. Six Romance novels—that includes a couple of historicals, a couple of books that had spec-fic elements, and one that I think might be YA. The rest… 4 historical novels that I wouldn’t call Romances, 4 memoirs, 2 thrillers, 2 collections of stories, one graphic work and one that I would call ‘literary’, not having any other genre to stick it in.

      I also try to track the demographic breakdown of the writers, as I’ve said every time I do this. It’s interesting to me, if not to anyone else, but I’ll put the numbers here anyway.

      Of the 28 authors that were new to me this year, 22 were white. If I’m going to read more stuff by people who aren’t white, I’m clearly going to have to put some effort into changing my browsing habits. The gender breakdown is more even—11 men, 13 women, and 4 who appear to have a gender identity that isn’t ‘man’ or ‘woman’. When I add the categories, here’s the breakdown: 10 white women, 8 white men, 3 nonwhite women, 3 nonwhite men, and 4 white writers who are NB (or whatever).

      Expanding it to all 49 writers of the 50 books I read for the first time in 2023: 41 white, 8 non-white. Oof. 19 men, 25 women, 5 NB or whatever. 15 white men, 21 white women, 4 nonwhite men, 4 nonwhite women, and all 5 in the NB category were white. This is (as I mention every time I do this) despite my making a deliberate effort to read more demographically widely.

      And I need to add: Gender is bunk! Race is bunk! I may well have misidentified every single author! Also, I’m not very good at arithmetic, so the simple numbers may be wrong. And, finally, there may well be books (and therefore writers) who should be on the list who I simply forgot to note down.

      Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

3 thoughts on “The Year in Books 2023

  1. Chris Cobb

    It is good to see the Tohu Bohu non-defunctioning again, at least for a moment.

    How are you keeping track of what you read? That’s not something I have found myself able to do.

    Is there another set of non-fiction, or are the books that you read beginning to end all of the fictional sort?

    1. Vardibidian Post author

      Good to virtually see you! I hope you’re well.

      I keep a spreadsheet for all my reading for the year, adding stuff as I go. This doesn’t work. But, since I have switched to reading almost everything through a digital file of some sort, my various applications (mostly) keep track of my reading for me, and I just have to go back and figure out which books I actually finished and which I tasted and spit out. The stuff that I’m reading in hard copy are mostly plays, which I mostly remember to add to the spreadsheet—generally, that’s when I remember to go back and add in the novels.

      As for non-fiction, I didn’t read much this year. Just the memoirs (Patrick Stewart, Nick Hornby, William Gibson, Billy Porter). I guess I haven’t been in the mood for non-fiction lately (other than news and analysis, argh).


      1. Michael

        I wonder whether analysis is more appropriately categorized as non-fiction or fiction. I mean, obviously your analysis and mine are non-fiction, but other people’s analysis? That’s a whole different barrel of monkeys.


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