2023 Top Ten Books

My best year ever for reading (since records began) saw me read 124 books with Police/Crime/Psychological equating to 46.34% of the total. I read 70 different authors with 21 of them multiple times. My top five read authors were:-

1) JD Kirk – 13
2) Mike Gayle – 8
3) Emmy Ellis – 5
4) Lynda La Plante – 5
5) Iain Maitland – 4
5) Jack Probyn – 4

My reading of “proper” books went from 9% in 2022 to 22% in 2023 as the purchase of paperbacks increased so much I had to invest in a new shelf!

As usual at year end the task was to pick my top ten books. That was tricky but here goes (its purely coincidental that 4 of the 10 were read on holiday in an all inclusive hotel in Greece)…

10) The Reading List – Sara Nisha Adams

The author skilfully crafts a tapestry of emotions by introducing a diverse and relatable cast of characters. Through their individual journeys with books, Adams showcases the profound and uplifting effects that literature can have on one’s life. From a widowed father finding solace in the written word to a young woman uncovering her true identity through stories, each character’s experience is both touching and inspiring. With her effortless prose, Adams captures the transformative power of reading, making The Reading List an essential read for book enthusiasts and anyone in search of a heartfelt tale. With its well-developed characters and heartwarming storytelling, this novel is sure to resonate with readers.

09) The Rosie Project – Graham Simsion

I found this book both heartwarming and humorous. We delve into the life of Don Tillman, a socially awkward genetics professor and follow his quest to find love through his unconventional approach and endearing quirks which make for an entertaining and touching story.

08) Graceland – Nancy Crochiere

A captivating and emotionally charged novel that explores the complexities of family dynamics and the power of forgiveness. With its richly developed characters and beautifully descriptive prose, this story takes readers on a heartfelt journey filled with love, loss, and the healing power of music.

07) The Old Man, His Dog & Their Longest Journey – Iain Maitland

Ian goes through a string of unfortunate occurrences that include losing his job, worrying about having cancer, and feeling a sense of mental instability. Just as he hits rock bottom, he discovers that he is going to become a grandfather. This news, coupled with all of his worries, pushes him to the breaking point. Ian decides to leave behind a note and embarks on a lengthy walk with his faithful companion, Bernard, his dog. As they continue their journey, Ian’s hidden battles of sorrow and anxiety slowly unfold. Despite these hardships, Ian yearns to transform how these emotions impact his life and his connections with others.

06) Badgeland – Steve Rayson

In 1979, the author firmly believed in socialism and its potential benefits for the working class. Unfortunately, not everyone shared this belief, as Thatcher’s presence seemed to signal unfavourable changes for Britain. To oppose her, the author joined the Swindon Labour Party, proudly wearing protest badges as he marched against various issues like mass unemployment, apartheid, and nuclear weapons. However, as time went on, he came to realize that politics is much more intricate than it seemed when he was seventeen. In his captivating and humorous memoir, he explores his personal journey of growth, delving into themes of maturity, politics, social class, and upward mobility during the 1970s and 1980s.

05) It’s Not a Cult – Lauren Danhof

A funny eye-opening book that will make you question everything you thought you knew about cults. With a witty writing style, Danhof navigates through the bizarre world of cults, showcasing their peculiar beliefs and practices in a way that will leave you in stitches. Don’t worry, reading it won’t brainwash you into joining a cult… probably.

04) The People on Platform Five – Clare Pooley

A touching and relatable tale that examines the intricacies of human connections. Through a diverse ensemble of characters, each possessing their own idiosyncrasies and hidden depths, the book delves into the profound subjects of love, grief, and self-discovery. Pooley’s captivating and evocative writing effortlessly immerses readers in the lives of these characters, creating an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience. Ultimately, this delightful read leaves one with a sense of upliftment and inspiration.

03) One Good Thing – Alexandra Potter

Life is a series of unpredictable events, and just when we believe we have it all figured out, a sudden twist can alter our course entirely. Liv Brooks finds herself stunned and uncertain about her future after a recent divorce. In a bold and impulsive decision, she leaves behind her life in London and moves to the scenic Yorkshire Dales, seeking a fresh start. Embracing this new beginning, she adopts an aging dog named Harry and crosses paths with Valentine, an elderly man burdened by isolation, as well as Stanley, a timid little boy, and Maya, a teenager filled with resentment towards the world. As the narrative unfolds, their lives intertwine, revealing that even amidst the chaos and despair of personal crises, a single positive change can transform everything and reignite the joy of living.

02) Fibber in the Heat – Miles Jupp

This book was an absolute delight to read. Jupp skilfully takes his readers on a hilarious journey, recounting his adventures as a rookie journalist covering England’s cricket tour in India. With his clever and self-deprecating humour, Jupp effortlessly captures the essence of the cricketing world and the challenges he faces along the way. Every page is brimming with laugh-out-loud moments, as Jupp navigates the chaotic streets of India and bluffs his way through interviews with renowned cricketers. Through his genuine love for the game, Jupp not only provides entertainment but also offers a heartwarming tribute to cricket. Whether you’re a cricket fan or simply in need of a good laugh, this book is a must-read!

01) Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus

My book of the year is an engaging and evocative novel that seamlessly combines science, love, and societal expectations. Set in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it follows the story of Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant and ambitious young scientist who becomes pregnant and unmarried in an all-male team with a bleak view of equality. Despite facing adversity, Elizabeth’s determination to succeed and the change to her career path captivate and inspire. The use of chemistry metaphors throughout the book adds a unique touch and enhances the storytelling. With every page turn, you’ll find yourself cheering for Elizabeth.

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Download a full list of the books I read in 2023 – This is in EXCEL 

2023 Reading Database.xlsx

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