2023 Reading Wrap Up

Happy New Year! What did I read in 2023?

A screenshot from my Storygraph 2023 Wrap Up. I read 61 books this year, across 17,092. The first one was "L'elegance du herisson" and the last one was "Project Censored's State of the Free Press 2023."

I don’t bother reviewing the Project Censored collections here (though I recommend them on the whole, despite the over-the-top art). L’Élégance du hérisson feels like ages ago, maybe because the first time I read it was November 2022.

My reading mood graph for 2023. It starts out pretty dark and depressing from January through March, then lightens slightly for April through June, and then lightens further from July until the end of the year. Below the graph it reads: "You pondered thought-provoking themes, absorbed valuable insights, and dived into complex ideas."

I’m still not sure how it’s generating that commentary on my reading, with “thought-provoking themes” etc. Maybe it’s entirely random?

A line graph showing how many books and how many pages I read per month in 2023. Below that, a green progress bar reading 127% and some partying face emojis with the text "Congratulations on meeting your reading goal!" A bar graph showing the genres I read the most often in 2023. In descending order it's Classic (15) , Science Fiction (9), Philosophy (6), and then a tie for fourth between Short Stories and Literary with (4) each.

Genres are a bit fuzzy on Storygraph it seems.

My longest book was Philosophy in the Flesh (640 pages) and my shortest book was The Judgment and In The Penal Colony (55 pages). The average length of books I read for the year was 274 pages.

Philosophy in the Flesh is probably the 2023 MVP. The little Franz Kafka duology was a lovely gift from a friend, but two short stories don’t really warrant an entire blog post.

Bar graph showing the authors I read the most often in 2023. In descending order it's Marguerite Duras (5 books), Malka Ann Older (3 books), and Elmore Leonard (2 books). The average rating I awarded books was 3.6 stars out of 5.

Not pictured in that blue graph of authors is Pär Lagerkvist, who I read just as many times as Elmore Leonard.

Covers of the 5-star books I read in 2023. In roughly chronological order they are: Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber; Dvärgen by Pär Lagerkvist (and English translation by Alexandra Dick); Philosophy in the Flesh by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson; We Don't Know Ourselves by Fintan O'Toole; The Centenal Cycle (trilogy) by Malka Ann Older and We Have Always Lived in t he Castle by Shirley Jackson. A bar graph showing the ratings I awarded in 2023. Eight books received 2 stars, seventeen books received 3 stars, twenty-six books received 4 stars, and nine books (including one re-read) received 5 stars. February had the highest rating on average (4.4). March had the lowest (2.5). I read the most pages in August (2,359).

Was March the month I read Into the Drowning Deep? No! That was 2022. March was just a slow month with only two books: Terminal Boredom and Ixelles. And February performed so well thanks to double header of Dvärgen in Swedish as well as English, Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, and the nonfiction anthology Axplock ur idéhistorien II.

A comparison of the books I read with how other Storygraph users interacted with them. The most popular (in terms of being listed as "read" or "want to read") was Educated, by Tara Westover. A total of 194,758 users included this somewhere in Storygraph. The most obscure book I read this year was Great Tales of Fantasy and Imagination, anthologized by Philip Van Doren Stern. Only one other person has this in their shelves. The highest-rated book I read this year, according to Storygraph, was Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It has an average rating of 4.6 stars, I rated it 4.

In other words: Educated was the most often mentioned book on Storygraph that I read in 2023, while Great Tales of Fantasy and Imagination was the most obscure, and Braiding Sweetgrass was the most highly rated.

I read 38 new to me authors this year, including Carina Rydberg, E. C. Smith and Lena George. Ten books I read this year were part of a series. Nine of the books I read this year were re-reads.

Not much worth noting here except the shoutout to my actual real-life high school classmate Lena George. Much as I want all of my author friends to succeed, reviewing their novels is a bridge too far for me? Somehow? So no entry here. But you should go see if She’s Not Home sounds interesting. Or for the neurodivergent, her nonfiction writing at The ADHD Homestead (link is to my own personal Top Tier #Relateable entries) and collected in the book Order From Chaos might be really helpful.

I successfully completed one reading challenge. (I read twelve books that I already owned for more than a year.) Compared to 2022, I read 13% more books, but 5% fewer pages. Below this is a pie chart showing my most popular moods. The top three are "reflective," "mysterious," and "dark."

The reading challenge I completed was reading twelve books in 2023 that I already owned. Sometimes very loose definitions of “already” applied, but on the other hand I acquired books like Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin or Great Tales of Fantasy and Imagination in high school so statistically speaking it was a pretty deep cleanse.

I’ll be participating in the same challenge again in 2024, along with my usual reading goals (48 books, at least 4 books in French, at least 25% of my reading in Swedish, etc.).

Happy new year!

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Stockholm-based translator and copyeditor of American extraction.

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