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Great Reads 2023

by John Wroblewski

Dec 27, 2023

This year I read a few fewer books than usual, but they were all pretty good. That made it tough to narrow down my choices for my favorite books of 2023.

For years I hoped star softball pitcher Monica Abbott would write her book, and it finally happened with Rise and Shine: The Monica Abbott Story. I followed Abbott’s career from the University of Tennessee to pro softball and a few Olympics. It’s an amazing story from an elite athlete and person. I interviewed Abbott about her book on the day she announced her retirement.Monica Abbott

Monica Abbott

I met actor Andrew McCarthy last year at Travel & Adventure Show. An ardent traveler and travel writer, McCarthy promoted his first book and promised an interview in the future. This year, Walking with Sam was released, and McCarthy gave me that interview. This book detailing their walking journey is really about their relationship, with travel as a backdrop. Learn more about the book in my interview with McCarthy.Andrew McCarthyAndrew McCarthy

Being Henry: The Fonz … and Beyond by Henry Winkler is incredibly open and introspective. Winkler mixes humor with straight talk as he describes his challenging youth, his incredible rise to fame and coming to a peaceful place. It’s a bit of a tough read at times but one well worth it.Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler

I attended a Tom Hanks book discussion to see one of the greatest actors of my generation. After hearing him discuss his debut novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, I was intrigued. It’s the story of a young comic book fan who grows up to write comics, one of which is turned into a superhero movie. It’s heart-warming, humorous and thought-provoking. The attention to details really impressed me.Tom Hanks

The Franchise: Chicago Cubs: A Curated History of the North Siders by veteran sports media members Bruce Miles and Jesse Rogers is a must for Cubs fans. Containing many stories I didn’t know and putting new twists on a few I knew, this book sheds light on some of the greatest topics in the storied history of the Cubs. Here is my interview with Miles about this book.Cubs

Bruce Miles

John Cosper delivers the fourth book in the Dead Park series with Dead Park Estates. Short horror stories mixed with quirky humor reveal more about the Dead Park universe. Like the previous three, Dead Park Estates left me totally satisfied yet wanting more. I interviewed Cosper about Dead Park Books and he revealed a fifth (and probably sixth and seventh) will be coming.John Cosper

Of course I couldn’t have a list without my artist friend Sara Richard. Women of Myth shares stories of women from mythologies of the world. Written by Jenny Williamson and Genn McMenemy, it features beautiful illustrations by Richard.Sara Richard Sara Richard

Another book featuring my beloved Cubs is Ironman, the autobiography of legendary Cubs catcher Randy Hundley, co-written by John St. Augustine. Hundley was the Cubs starting catcher for much of my youth and remains a favorite.  I interviewed St. Augustine about Ironman.

Another sports autobiography I loved was Run to Win by Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer and his author friend Bob Fox. Despite being a diehard fan of my Chicago Bears, I loved reading about Kramer’s life on and off the field. I interviewed Kramer and Fox and learned a little more about the book.

Jerry Kramer

Photo courtesy of Jerry Kramer.

It was a year of interesting books. I look forward to more enjoyable reading in 2024, and I will report back here in a year.

— John Wroblewski, online writer


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