Gracelyn’s Favorite Books of 2023

Gracelyn is sharing her favorite books of 2023.

A Stack of favorite books of 2023

Due to teaching, life, and school (as I am now in graduate classes), my personal reading life has taken a bit of a turn. I am reading less, and I am reading way more fiction. 

Some of this is because I am trying to read more ya fiction so that I can talk to my junior high students about it.

Life is also busy, so I need more books that allow me to escape and have less structure than the nonfiction I have tended to lean towards in the past.

I still read some great books in 2023, but it doesn’t even come out to a nice ten books like previous years.

Thankfully, my mom made up for my lacking list by sharing her top twenty-three books of 2023.

Instead of sharing my top ten books of 2023, I am only sharing six, but they are six books that I really enjoyed.

Gracelyn's Favorite books of 2023

Favorite Books of 2023

American Kingpin book

1. American Kingpin

Amazing read! I loved American Kingpin. I ate up this nonfiction book. I knew little of the dark web and secret marketplaces before I read this. Now, I want to read more.

Also, the writing was easy to move through. The chapters were shorter but stayed pretty focused. The details are vivid, sharing different sides of the story as well as the effects the internet had on us and the selling of illegal things, including hitmen.

The Martian Chronicles Book

2. The Martian Chronicles

As a big fan of Fahrenheit 451, I found The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury to be almost as good. I loved the conversations that I got to have with the book and the things that it sparked me to think about or reconsider.

This book takes on some controversial subjects as well as having some dark ideas, but it made me consider things about ethics, religion, and space exploration that delighted my more intellectual side.

It is more of a collection of short stories, which I don’t tend to like, but it worked well. They were nicely chosen to be together.

I also don’t mind that I didn’t agree with everything in the book because it is so well written and drops ideas in our minds, especially since Ray Bradbury uses history to make claims about the future that then make us reconsider things that happened like to indigenous people.

Ella Minnow Pea

3. Ella Minnow Pea

Ella Minnow Pea, a book of letters, is another startling thing to end up on my list. I received this from a book subscription this year and picked it up a few months ago.

I read it in forty-eight hours. It was that good. It’s a slow start, but you get invested in the town and its ridiculous society that is slowly losing its ability to use letters in the alphabet due to crumbling memorial statue.

Mankiller Poems book

4. Mankiller Poems The Lost Poetry of Wilma Mankiller

I adored Mankiller’s poems. I have read this book twice and some of the poems over and over again.

I love her heritage being expressed through such lovely words. I adored her vivid imagery and use of space on the page. The poems are not too long either and speak to who she was as a Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Dustoff 7-3 book

5. Dustoff 7-3

Dustoff 7-3 turned out to be a good, more modern military memoir. I picked it up used maybe a year ago and finally read it this summer.

It truly showed the horrors of war, but also the heroes, specifically those rescuing and in the medical field. They do so much for people, risking their own lives to save those around them during a horrible time.

It is on this list mainly because of the book’s tone. Erik Sabiston came out on the pages. He had a writing style that I could picture him speaking to me because of its uniqueness. It also had a very respectful and thankful tone, which I appreciated.

The Bridge Home book

6. The Bridge Home

My top YA/Middle School book that I read this year was The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman. I visited a new local bookstore and saw it on the shelf. I began flipping through as I had never heard of it and was intrigued because it was first and second person.

The main character is looking back on her life and writing the story down for someone else (I won’t tell you who because I feel like that is a bit of a spoiler).

I adored it. It is about a girl from India and her journey in life. She makes lots of mistakes. Her father is not a nice guy, which leads her and her little sister to run away and be trapped in many bad experiences but trying to be thankful through it all.

It does lead the main character to a better place eventually, but there are a lot of sad things that happen as well. Made me a little teary.

I taught Esperanza’s Rising in the spring, and I actually liked this better. They both deal with the grief and pains of hard times. This was better written though and had shorter chapters. It also focuses more on being children and trying to survive with a character that doesn’t get as self-centered.

The best way for me to describe this book is a mix of Esperanza’s Rising and Slum Dog Millionaire because it focuses on issues in India, including children on the streets without much support.

It is a worthy read, and that is why I chose it as my top YA read of the year.

Have you read any of the books on my list?

2 thoughts on “Gracelyn’s Favorite Books of 2023”

  1. I haven’t read any of these and haven’t heard of a few of them. I’m off to look them up and see which to add to my ever-growing list. Thank you, Gracelyn, for taking time to share with us your favorite books read in 2023.


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