My Favorite Books of 2023

07 January 2024


There's something about the end of the year and the start of a new. Something about reflecting on how much my life has changed in a mere 365 days that has me itching to write again. To dust off my keyboard and inhabit this space again. It feels good. It feels right.

I won't start this post with empty promises that I'm back for good, that I'll write again every week, or even every month. I've learned that, no matter how pure and true my intentions are, I just never know what life has in store for me. What I can promise, though, is that this blog is never going to be 100% closed to me. I'll always come back one way or another. And the one post that will almost always make me eagerly come back is when I have the opportunity to share my favorite books that I read in the previous year.

I truly look back on the books I've read as a timeline of my life. When I think of a book I loved, I not only think back on the story or characters, I also think back to where I was at the time I was reading it for the first time. I think about where I was living, what work I was doing, what I feared, and what I longed and prayed so desperately for. 

2023 was a special year. This was the year I became a mother, and that is something that has defined everything I did over the past 12 months and how I now view the books I read.

I honestly wasn't sure how much I would realistically be able to read when 2023 began as I was preparing to give birth. It was difficult to try and make any goals for myself when the whole future felt like one big unknown. But, despite all the changes, I was somehow able to complete 55 books this year, which I am very pleased with. 

Out of those 55, though, there were 7 that really stood out to me, that will stick with me for many years to come when I think back on my 2023 reading year. Above all, this year was defined by non fiction books that really made me think about the world in a different way, and I feel like that trend is really reflected in the books that made my top list.

Columbine - Dave Cullen

Without question, the best book I read this year, and one of the best non fiction books I've ever read in my life, is Columbine. This was a personal and intimate look at such a tragic and heartbreaking event. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Columbine school shooting, but this book surprised me and I actually learned so much more than I ever expected. It examined every angle, every perspective, and was written with such care, empathy, and respect for all involved. It's a long, grueling book that will break your heart and mend it back together with so much hope in the end. Even though it covers a heavy topic for many, I can't recommend it enough!

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

I picked this book up on the biggest whim. I needed an easy book to read on my Kindle while I was breastfeeding late at night, and decided to download this one simply because Eleanor is my daughter's name and because this book had been on my TBR for a long time. And I'm so glad I did! Despite the bright cover, this story has so much depth to it. Eleanor Oliphant is so unlike any character I've ever read before, and you come to care for her while you watch her struggle to overcome her past traumas and social obstacles to build a better life. My expectations for how this book would end were subverted many times, and the reveals were done so well. I loved it!

The Story of the Family - G.K. Chesterton (Edited by Dale Ahlquist)

This is a collection of essays, poems, and other writings by the famous English writer. I had never read G.K. Chesterton before, but this collection absolutely blew me away! I now believe that Chesterton is one of the most clever writers who has ever lived. These essays were many focused on the importance of the structure of the family and why it must be protected, and goes through many different themes. It was witty, funny, and incredibly enlightening. He made me think about so many things I hadn't before, and I definitely want to read more of his work.

How the Light Gets In - Louise Penny

I've been reading through Louise Penny's Three Pines series for awhile, but this one was by far the best I have read up to this point! The mysteries Armand Gamache covers grow increasingly darker with each installment, and more and more of his personal life, and the lives of those who live in Three Pines, are revealed. I felt like there were a lot of things that were building up in the last few books that all reached their climax in this one. It all came together, and Louise Penny wove it together with an equally well done murder mystery. My heart was racing at the end, and I'm glad to say that the suspense paid off. I'm so excited to read more, but it will be hard for the next books to beat this one for me.

Twelve Extraordinary Women - John MacArthur

This was a book I picked up to read during my Bible study time, and it is now full of so many highlighted passages and notes in the margins. MacArthur examines the lives of 12 women in the Bible and the significance of their stories and what we can learn from them. I learned so much in this book both theologically and personally. It is a book I will be turning back to to reference many times, and it's one I will no doubt be recommending to women (and even men) in my life.

Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

I never read the Winnie the Pooh stories growing up, but reading them for the first time this year to my little newborn baby was such a special experience. They are incredibly charming, heartfelt, and surprisingly very funny. I laughed out loud many times while reading them, and I can't wait to reread this one and The House at Pooh Corner to my daughter again and again as she grows up and is able to understand and appreciate them more. These stories will always be classics for a reason! 

I'm Glad My Mom Died - Jennette McCurdy

One of the first books I read this year, and one of the most hyped books from 2022. I waited for over a month to get the book from the library, and promptly read it in less than two days. I've never been one to gravitate toward celebrity memoirs, but Jennette's story was heartbreaking, and her writing voice so well developed. I could tell she put her heart and soul into writing this book and isn't afraid to be intimate with personal details and deep reflection on the complicated relationship she had with her mom. I was also a huge fan of iCarly growing up, and reading this book gave me a whole new perspective of what was going on behind the scenes. I have so much respect for Jennette now and can't wait to see what she does next.

Honorable Mentions

Ella Minnow Pea - Mark Dunn | Animal Farm - George Orwell | My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante | Kitchens of the Great Midwest - J. Ryan Stradal


What were your favorite books of 2023? I'd love to hear about them in a comment!

Read about my previous favorite books of each year:

My favorite books of 2021

My favorite books of 2020

My favorite books of 2019

My favorite books of 2018

My favorite books of 2017

1 comment

  1. So glad you are back! Your blog is such an inspiration. My favorite book this year was The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, which was a re-read ♡