23 Favorite Books of 2023

Many online book reviews and influencers shared their favorite books of 2023 back in November and early December.

I always wait until the very end of December or the first of January because I never know when I will read my favorite book of the year.

stack of favorite book of 2023 in a chair

This year was a great example of that. I read one of my favorite fiction reads of the year in December. If I had shared my list in early December, I would not have been able to share the book.

2023 Reading

2023 was a great reading year for me, for a not-so-great reason. Because of some lung and heart issues, my health was not great in 2023. Many days, I physically could not do much else but read.

I ended up reading one hundred and twenty three books. Which I am pretty sure is a record reading year for me. At least, it is the most books that I have read in a year as an adult.

I knew there was no way to narrow it down to ten favorites. This means that it was not only a good year in terms of the number of books I read but also a great year when it came to the quality of books I read.

And here is your reminder to stop comparing your reading life to others. We are all at different stages of life.

2023 was a great reading year, but I think one hundred and twenty-three books are probably too many for me. My hope for 2024 is that my health will improve, and I will have more time to do other things and less time to read.

Favorite Books of 2023

I divided my books into my favorite fiction, nonfiction, and Christian books. I almost did this in three separate lists, but when I realized I had twenty-three favorites, I combined them into one list of twenty-three books. Twenty- three books in 2023 sounded like a fun list.

Click on the book’s title for the full review and more information.

a stack of favorite books of 2023 in a chair next to a pillow and blanket

Favorite Fiction Books of 2023

A Gentleman In Moscow Book

A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

This book has been on my to-be-read stack for several years. I am so glad that I finally picked it up in 2023. I plan to read two of his other books in 2024.

Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson book review

Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson

I love how this book weaved the coronation of Queen Elizabeth into what life was like in post-WWII England.

Next Year In Havana book review

Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton

This is the first book in the series. I read this one and the second book in the series this year. I hope to read a couple more in the series in 2024.

I love that this took me to 1950s Cuba, a place I have read very little about. The descriptions of the time and place were so well done in this book.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea book review

The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry

It is no secret that I love WWII historical fiction. I love all kinds of historical fiction, but WWII is probably my favorite time period to read in both fiction and nonfiction.

When I wrote my full review of this book, I said it was historical fiction at its best. I still feel this way. I read this book months ago, and I am still thinking about it.

The Shell Seekers book with the ocean in the background

Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

This book was written in 1987. I can see why it is still a favorite with so many. This is the third Rosamunde Pilcher book I have read, and I hope to become a Rosamunde Pilcher completist.

Her books are not fast-moving reads. They are slower comfort reads for me, which is precisely why I love them. She shares the story of families and life in such a realistic way.

The Paris Daughter on white background

The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is another historical fiction author that I love.

Set during WWII, The Paris Daughter is about three mothers making unimaginable decisions. This book is another one that I could not stop thinking about.

Dear Mrs. Bird book review

Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce

This book has been in my to-be-read stack for a couple of years. It was all over social media when it first came out, which is why I didn’t read it.

I often don’t like buzzy books that get a ton of attention. I prefer to read them after they have stood the test of time. If people are still talking about the book several years later, I will read it.

This is a book that people are still talking about, so I decided it was time to pick it up finally. I am so glad I did.

Dear Mrs. Bird was so well written. I can’t wait to read the other two books in the series.

Crow Mary book review

Crow Mary by Kathleen Grissom

Crow Mary is hands down my favorite fiction book of the year. It wasn’t a tough decision. This easily won the top spot.

Crow Mary did not get the attention it deserved. I have not seen very many people talking about this book, and I think that is too bad.

It is the story of Goes First, a Crow Indian who marries a white trader in 1872. It is based on the real story of Crow Mary. It is Crow Mary’s story, but it is also the story of so many Native Americans during that time.

This is not an easy read. It deals with some tough topics, including abuse and alcoholism, but it is so well written. It is another book that I couldn’t stop thinking about.

My husband is currently reading it and is enjoying it. I also gave it to my father-in-law for Christmas because I thought he would like it too.

It is a powerful story and a part of history that must be told.

A Traitor In Whitehall book review

A Traitor In Whitehall by Julia Kelly

I love historical fiction, and I love mysteries, so when I saw that Julia Kelly had a historical mystery out, I knew that I had to read it.

This book is part WWII historical fiction, part romance, and part spy book. It looks like this is the first book in a series, so I hope Julia Kelly writes many more books in the series.

The Frozen River book review

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon

This book is why I do not make my favorite books of the year list until the end of the year.

I read this in mid-December, and I knew when I was only halfway through it that it would make my list of favorite books of the year.

I would say it is my second favorite fiction book of the year. If I had not read Crow Mary and loved it so much, this one would have had the top spot.

The Frozen River is about the life of Martha Ballard, a midwife in Maine in 1789. It is historical fiction with a mystery woven into the story.

It is another tough read. It deals with tough topics in graphic ways, but it does it so well. This book shares humanity, not by glorifying the bad things in life but by showing you what people do to protect those they love.

This book left me thinking about what I would have done in similar situations, and it is a book that I will be thinking about for a long time.

Favorite Nonfiction Books of 2023

Empire of Ice and Stone book

Empire of Ice and Stone by Buddy Levy

This is the true story of an Arctic exploration in 1913. It is a story of survival and courage.

It is also an example of what happens when a leader cares more about themselves than the people they lead. My husband and I both read and loved this one.

Dead Wake book

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

I love Erik Larson’s writing, so I am unsure why it took me so long to read it. I read many WWII books this year, so I loved that this one was about WWI. Erik Larson does such a great job making history come alive.

There are a couple of his books that I have not read yet, so they are on my to be read list for 2024.

Fly Girl Book Review

Fly Girl by Ann Hood

I loved this memoir because I knew nothing about what flying was like in the 1970s and 1980s. I grew up in the 70s and 80s but flew for the first time in 1991. So, this book took me to a time and place I knew nothing about.

Eruption book review by Steve Olson

Eruption by Steve Olson

This book about Mount St. Helens and the years that led up to it is a great read! I think this is my favorite nonfiction read for 2023.

One of the reasons that I enjoyed it so much is that I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. We had ash in our yard from Mount St. Helens. I remember the news stories, but this book goes into much more detail about what happened.

I think this book would be great for anyone who loves books about science, nature, and weather. It also includes a lot about the logging industry.

The Art Thief Book

The Art Thief by Michael Finkel

This is another book that my husband and I both read and enjoyed. It is a true crime, but instead of murder, it is about art. This is a bizarre and fascinating read.

American Sirens book review

American Sirens by Kevin Hazzard

This book has not received the attention that it deserves. This is an excellent story about America’s first paramedics and the man who invented CPR.

I read this book in just a couple of days. I could not put it down.

Elon Musk book by Walter Isaacson

Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson

It doesn’t matter if you like or hate him; his life makes for a fascinating read. I wasn’t sure about putting this book on my favorites list, but I can’t stop thinking about this book.

Walter Isaacson does such a great job with his biographies. This is the second one by him that I have read, but I hope to read more of his books in 2024.

Favorite Christian Books of 2023

There is a theme to my favorite Christian books of the year. Suffering. The last few years have been difficult health years for me. Reading books about suffering by those who speak from experience has comforted me.

Life is full of trials. They make us who we are, and our attitudes toward suffering are important. Do we become bitter or better? Books have helped remind me that my trials need to make me better and point me to Christ.

Beautiful people don't just happen book review.

Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen by Scott Sauls

I read this book back in January, and it is still a favorite. Trials make us who we are; this book was a great reminder.

Becoming Free Indeed Book by Jinger Duggar Vuolo

Becoming Free by Jinger Duggar

I think this book may be the book that I talked about the most with my real-life friends. It is such a fascinating read for those who have grown up or been involved in church and the homeschooling world.

Jinger did a great job sharing her story in a way that many Christians will be able to relate to.

Seasons of Sorrow book by Tim Challies

Seasons of Sorrow by Tim Challies

This is my favorite Christian book of the year. I am sure this will become a Christian classic that people will recommend and talk about twenty years from now.

Tim Challies shares his walk through grief and losing his son. He does it in such a related way while pointing you to scripture.

If you have lost a loved one recently or know someone who has, I highly recommend this book.

Suffering Is Never for Nothing Book

Suffering Is Never For Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot

This was a reread for me, and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time. I read it several years ago. A friend mentioned that she was reading it, and I knew I should reread it. Suffering really is never for nothing.

Walking Through Fire book review

Walking Through Fire by Vaneetha Rendall Risner

Vaneetha can speak about walking through fire because she has been through so much. She has post-polio syndrome and has lived with severe chronic pain for years.

She writes in such a relatable and honest way while still pointing you to Christ.

Like A River book review

Like A River by Granger Smith

This is one of the best modern Christian memoirs that I have read. It is not deep theology. It is about faith after incredible loss.

This is another book that deals with loss and grief in such a relatable way. Pain is hard, but when it draws you to Christ, you see the purpose in the pain.

What books did you read in 2023 that you enjoyed? I would love to hear about them.

7 thoughts on “23 Favorite Books of 2023”

  1. Thank you for sharing your favorites. I always appreciate your candid and honest reviews, and your blog is my go-to when I’m looking for new titles and authors.

    I also had a record number of books finished this year (48) and of those on your favorites list, enjoyed Coronation Year and Becoming Free Indeed. Several more on your list are in my TBR. My absolute #1 favorite book of the year was The Radium Girls by Kate Moore. It’s one I still think about even months after finishing it.

    I hope that 2024 brings you an easier health journey with still plenty of time to read!

    • My daughter has read Radium girls, but I have not. I need to read it. You are not the only one that has mentioned it as a favorite. Thank you for being a faithful reader. I always love when you leave a comment.

  2. Looks like it was a good reading year!
    I’ve had A Gentleman in Moscow on my TBR forever! I think I need to finally read it this year. I DNFd Flora Lea, but your review has me thinking I may need to pick it up again. I read Winter Solstice this year and loved it. I think I definitely need to read The Shell Seekers.

    • If you loved Winter Solstice I think you will really enjoy The Shell Seekers. I can see what Flora Lea wouldn’t be for everyone, but I readlly enjoyed it.

  3. Hi Lynn, I may have already posted this but I read gentleman in Moscow because of book club and was so glad I did as the Count endeared himself to me for his care & love of others. I feel he exemplified Pastor Chuck Attitudes Quote😇
    Also read Shell Seekers many years ago, so good. And loved the sequel September.

    Thank you for your list, just started and already have several books written down I’m excited to read, starting with Coronation Year as I love that time period as well.

    I am so sorry you had a rough year in 2023 with serious health issues. Praying 2024 will bring healing & strength.

    • Thank you! September is on my list to read this year. It is the only one of the four seasons books by her that I have not read. I also have several of her other books in my stack to read this year. I hope you enjoy Coronation Year!


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