Although I’ve always loved reading, I struggle to remember the specific books I’ve read from year to year – with a few notable exceptions. So, I keep yearly lists to remind myself which books are essential, just for fun, or not worth a second chance. If your taste in reading is like mine, you might enjoy some of these or at least avoid investing your time in a few I didn’t think measured up. As always, I hope you will consider purchasing any books that interest you through an independent bookstore like Powell’s in Portland, Oregon or Vroman’s in Pasadena, California. Here is a glimpse into my year of books in 2023.
👍👍 Essential reading
Number Go Up: Inside Crypto's Wild Rise and Staggering Fall - Zeke Faux. From Bored Ape NFTs to SBF, financial reporter Zeke Faux chronicles it all. This was by far my favorite non-fiction book of the year.
The Last Devil to Die - Richard Osman. The most entertaining of the four “Thursday Night Murder Club” mysteries.
The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense - Edward White. A must read for fans of Hitchcock's movies and TV programming.
The Moviegoer - Walker Percy. A unique novel written in a very pleasing style by an author who was new to me.
The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead. Another amazing effort from the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author. The Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.
👍 Definitely worth your time
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook - Anthony Bourdain
The Christmas Appeal -Janice Hallett
Age of Cage - Keith Phipps
The Midnight Library - Matt Haig
Chicago – David Mamet
💡 A must-read for those working in communication/marketing/PR
Axios Smart Brevity – Extoling the power of saying more with less, Smart Brevity is a great writing resource for 2024.
👎 Disappointing, skip them:
The Secret – Lee Child. Even though this latest effort is structured differently than past novels, I think the series is out of gas after 29 books. The Secret is not bad, but it falls short of the earlier Jack Reacher novels.
Apex Hides the Hurt – Colson Whitehead. This is an earlier work from a great writer, but the story meanders and the ending was anticlimactic. Read the other two books by Whitehead mentioned in this post instead.
👇 Bonus: A 2022 must-read:
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. The best book I read in 2022. It tells a unique story of small-time crime in Harlem during the 1960s.
📚 Books: Print is still going strong!
Every year, I hear people talk about things that have lost their usefulness in the modern age. Books, records, and CD/DVDs are often mentioned. Yet, millions of people still enjoy content using those old formats.
I prefer reading print books as doing that gives me a clean break from digital content. Going “analog” is relaxing and enjoyable.
According to Pew Research, I’m not alone:
“Despite growth in certain digital formats, it remains the case that relatively few Americans only consume digital books (which include audiobooks and e-books) to the exclusion of print. Some 33% of Americans read in these digital formats and also read print books, while 32% say they read only print books. Just 9% of Americans say they only read books in digital formats and have not read any print books in the past 12 months.”
Ultimately, the format of a book doesn’t matter as much as the ideas contained in the content. Audiobooks and digital copies are great and bring books to people who prefer a different experience than I do.
🤔 So, how much do other people read?
Overall, I read 39 books in 2023. My goal was 40, so I was just short. If your wondering how your reading tally measures up to others, here is another stat from Pew:
“Overall, 75% of U.S. adults say they have read a book in the past 12 months in any format, whether completely or part way through, a figure that has remained largely unchanged since 2011. Americans read an average (mean) of roughly 14 books during the previous 12 months and the typical (median) American read five books in that period, according to the survey.”
Best wishes to you for a great 2024 full of rewarding reading!