FX Excursions

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Another Year of Books and Goodreads

by Aoife O’Riordan

Jan 8, 2024

© Alexander Dorn | Dreamstime.com

Much like the end of 2022, I was excited to look back at all the books I read in 2023. It’s safe to say I covered some genres I didn’t ever think I would read or entertain, and this was in part thanks to my Goodreads account sharing my friends’ recent reads, inspiring me to consider some of their highly rated picks.

For 2023 I set a reading goal of 15 books, mostly because I had not read as much as I had wished in 2022. So I set my number low and was glad to see I exceeded it by October 2023. Last year I read everything from nonfiction to fiction to classics to short story collections to (my most surprising genre) fantasy. I’m quite picky when it comes to fantasy books; I grew up reading and loving The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series, Chronicles of Narnia and the Game of Thrones books. While nothing will ever top these books, I was glad to finally reenter this genre to see why some books have recently been all over social media and spoken of among some of my friends.

books

© Alexander Dorn | Dreamstime.com

My 2023 books were:

  • Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • The Orchard Keeper by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
  • After Rain by William Trevor (highly recommend for lovers of short stories and just some good writing all around)
  • Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha de Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland by Lady Gregory
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  • Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
  • Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros

The longest book to finish by far was The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, but it was also one of the best books I read in 2023. Dostoevsky carefully crafts characters to evoke strong feelings for each. By the end of the book you feel you’ve come to know them well and can almost predict their movements. While long and sometimes wordy, it’s a masterpiece.

For lovers of short stories, you’ll fall in love with William Trevor. My favorite author of all time, his short stories are beautifully written, often taking something ordinary and leaving you staring at a wall long after thinking back on each story. Even if you prefer novels or longer books, you must add After Rain to your list. Alternatively, my favorite novel of all time, The Story of Lucy Gault, is also written by William Trevor and is a must-read.

— Aoife O’Riordan, associate editor

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