December 6, 2023

The ‘Best of 2023’ lists are coming. I have learned to take these lists more as “Author Favorites”, because who can truly say what is best, but I still love them.

Here are some recent ones:

  • Podcast: NPR All Songs Considered — Talking About the Best Albums in 2023. This episode offers perspectives from 3 critics, each an expert in certain genres of music (rap, jazz, pop/rock, country, etc).
  • Books: I’ve seen lists from NYT but the list that makes me just want to add every single title to my library holds list comes from Modern Mrs. Darcy (Ann Bogel) — My Favorite Books of 2023. I bookmarked this post and do plan to read every single one of theses (only read one so far, Tom Lake, and loved it).

Here are MY top books so far for the year(!). I only read 49 so far (with 2 in progress) so certainly there are about 9 million more books that I HAVEN’T read, but of those I did, these were the standouts:


  • Maame by Jessica George
  • I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai
  • Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
  • Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
  • The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry

(80-90% of the novels I read this year were written by women. Interesting!)


  • Build the Life You Want by Oprah + Albert Brooks. Call me basic, but I really liked this book.
  • Outlive by Peter Attia
  • These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (yes, she gets 2. She’s that good.)
  • Stolen Focus by Johann Hari (controversial but memorable)
  • Good for a Girl by Lauren Fleshman

It is true that the year is not over. I may have to addend this list because this is not entirely fair to my December books!

Have you posted a “best of” list? Or want to write a quick one in the comments? Please share!!!


  • Reply Elaine Sanderson December 6, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    I love best of lists too. Spotify Wrapped and books of the year are particular favourites.

    I’ve read 58 so far for the year. My favourite books (5 star ratings on Goodreads):
    -Tom Lake by Anne Patchett
    -Good Material by Dolly Alderton
    -The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (just a beautiful book following an Irish man throughout his life and the characters jump out of the page)
    -The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue
    -A Fate of Wrath and Flame by K.A Tucker (fantasy and much better than Fourth Wing/Iron Flame imo)
    -Booklovers by Emily Henry (such an easy, cozy read)
    -Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
    -I’ll Leave You With This by Kylie Ladd (an Australia author who always writes thought provoking books about relationships)
    -Search History by Amy Taylor (lots of references to kid/teen in 90s/early 2000s, also Australian)

    -Beyond the Bump by Sally Shepherd (4th trimester read with baby 2)
    -Roar by Stacy Sims and Selene Yeager
    -Eat, Sleep, Play, Love by Preeya Alexander
    -Case Presentations in Chemical Pathology by Martin Crook (although this was a book I was reading for exams while pregnant/with newborn so probably not something I would recommend unless someone was doing chem path)
    -Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman (I read this one twice in the last year I love it so much and it’s really changed how I think about using my time)

    Looking back it seems I liked quite a lot of the books I read this year!

  • Reply Coree December 7, 2023 at 3:45 am

    I compiled my best of list for a pal’s wife

    Gorgeous family stories:
    Hello Beautiful
    Ann Napolitano

    Tom Lake
    Ann Patchett

    Satirical publishing:

    R.F. Kuang

    Swedish Sally Rooney:

    The Trio
    Johanna Hedman

    Sarcastic romance:

    Romantic Comedy
    Curtis Sittenfeld

    True crime cross over:

    I Have Some Questions for You
    Rebecca Makkai

    Weirdly compelling videogame book:

    Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
    Gabrielle Zevin

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 7, 2023 at 6:52 am

      I read your whole list except The Trio!!!! Some I liked and some I didn’t :).

  • Reply Emily December 7, 2023 at 12:56 pm

    My best of 2023 so far:
    Demon Copperhead
    I have some questions for you
    Romantic Comedy
    Hello Beautiful
    A Little Life
    The White Rose

    Above Ground

    Poverty by America
    Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education

    From your list, I really enjoyed Tom Lake, Outlive. and Maame as well! Oh, and Pineapple Street was very fun.

  • Reply jennystancampiano December 9, 2023 at 8:16 am

    I also love “best of” lists! And I also love Modern Mrs. Darcy- I haven’t read her 2023 list yet but I’m looking forward to it.
    I’ve heard of most of the books on your list, but haven’t read any of them (how is that even possible?) I haven’t even thought of my favorites list yet… I’ll have to go back and see what I read this year.

  • Reply JJ December 10, 2023 at 12:26 pm

    As a fellow reader of Ann Bogel’s excellent writing, I’m curious: why do you insist on calling her site Modern Ms. Darcy when she clearly calls it Modern Mrs. Darcy? I feel like I’ve seen this on your site over and over and I think it’s kind of offensive to her work, which surprises me because you otherwise seem so respectful and thoughtful.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 10, 2023 at 12:51 pm

      oh my goodness I never realized I did that!! (Clearly if I had – I would not have messed it up!!). I will say perhaps this could have been pointed out in a nicer way bc it was a total oversight (not some sort of plot to mess her name up!) but I will be sure to fix it going forward.

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