On 2023’s books

Reading sucks this year, and I don’t know what to do about it. If you’ve been around for more than a couple of months you know that one of the posts I look most forward to every year is my best books of the year post in late December. I’ve done 10 (!!) of them, and they work like this: I keep track of everything I read on Goodreads, and I keep a shelf for my shortlist for the end of the year. Typically by the end of the year I have 20-25 books on there by the end of the year and I winnow that down to the top 10 or 15 or whatever when I sit down to write the post.

It is 2/3 of the way through March and I don’t have a single book on that list for 2023 yet. And I feel like my DNF rate is way higher than it usually is, too. I’ve read some books I’ve liked, but nothing that moved me to review it and nothing good enough that I was even seriously thinking about it being a contender for the end of the year. Shit, I’ve only read sixteen books so far this year, too, which is way off my usual pace. That’s less than 70 on the year. That’s crazy low. The best thing I’ve read so far is Christopher Buehlman’s The Blacktongue Thief, and I suppose I could put that on the list just to have something but my initial feeling was that it shouldn’t be.

(I feel like anhedonia in general is kind of a problem this year, and I feel like I’ve talked about that relatively recently. I’m not unhappy, mind you, and I definitely don’t think I’m depressed. Hell, between the new job and the life improvements that the CPAP has brought me my mental health is probably as good as it’s been in a really long time. I just … haven’t really found anything to be enthusiastic about in a while?)

What’s new and good out there? Recommend anything you like; y’all know I like my genre stuff but that’s clearly not clicking so well this year so tell me anything you’ve really liked. I want out of this rut, damn it.

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Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

5 thoughts on “On 2023’s books

  1. You could try the Jack Reacher novel in which proper apostrophe placement is a notable plot point. 🙂

    Have you read Machinehood by S.B. Divya? (A search for the title on the blog didn’t yield any results, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in a picture somewhere.) For a while I was recommending it every chance I got.

    Saint Death’s Daughter by C.S.E Cooney. I put it down because I wasn’t coping well with everything happening to the main character (this is a me problem not a book problem). The language and sentence structure are a tangible delight to read. It’s scholarly without being stuffy. And when I mentioned struggling with some of the content, the author herself offered less traumatic alternatives.

    Book snacks: Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh and A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow.

    Spy novel? I just finished Red Widow by Alma Katsu. It might be an understatement to call it satisfying, but often I find mysteries and thrillers to have excellent build up only to founder in the third act with ridiculous, convenient, unsatisfying twists. Red Widow did not have that problem. The two main characters struggle with right and wrong and have to make tough choices. (I found Red Sparrow similarly satisfying. Plus, it has recipes! I have not seen the film adaptation.)

    If not the spy book, the author has written several horror novels which might appeal. I don’t read horror, but the premise of The Fervor sounds interesting.

    Historical fiction? The Huntress by Kate Quinn. A Russian woman bomber pilot and a woman Nazi assassain.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice! I was also thinking that when I’m not sure what to read yet, I take a break from my usual go-to genres, and pick something far from my (readerly) comfort zone that I don’t usually read. But not too far! So, like if I read horror, I might venture over into paranormal romance. Or if I just need a break from all that, I’ll pick up something else lighter, like cozy mysteries. Sort of a summer-read for my brain.



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