Robin Camille Davis
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Books I read in 2023

January 02, 2024

I read 35 books for fun in 2023, which is 11 more than last year. Now that I have clawed back a bit more brain bandwidth and nighttime hours since the first year of motherhood, I’ve been happy to read more books!

I’d guess that nearly half of them were read as audiobooks and half as ebooks on my Kindle, with just a few (the graphic novels and Wildwood, which has lovely illustrations) in print. Now that I’m taking advantage of my local library’s Libby offerings, I’m able to read way more ebooks and audiobooks without breaking the bank. Three cheers for libraries!

The list

Bold = faves (doesn’t include rereads)
* = rereads

Books I couldn’t shut up about

If my long-suffering husband hears “You know, in Stanley Tucci’s memoir Taste…” one more time, he may spontaneously combust. Similarly, I loved talking about Beowulf (Headley, a poet, translates “Hwæt” as “Bro!”, among other delights) and the gasp-worthy The Plot, a treat for people like me who never see twists coming. And I’m a real sucker for interrelated stories that span generations, like Cloud Cuckoo Land.

  • Beowulf (Maria Dahvana Headley)
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land (Anthony Doerr)
  • The Plot (Jean Hanff Korelitz)
  • Taste: My Life Through Food (Stanley Tucci)

Fantastical and/or fun

These were so enjoyable to read! Babel in particular felt like it was written specifically for me: it’s a historical fantasy / dark academia book with a half-Asian, half-white protagonist named Robin. I mean, really. Cult Classic had so much cleverness densely packed into each paragraph that it took me a while to read. And Ninth House was a fun and dark story, especially fierce in the audiobook format.

  • American Royals (Katharine McGee)
  • Babel (R.F. Kuang)
  • The Convenient Marriage (Georgette Heyer)
  • Counterfeit (Kirstin Chen)
  • Cult Classic (Sloane Crosley)
  • Eligible (Curtis Sittenfeld)
  • Hell Bent (Leigh Bardugo)
  • The Liar’s Dictionary (Eley Williams)
  • The Midnight Library (Matt Haig)
  • Ninth House (Leigh Bardugo)
  • Romantic Comedy (Curtis Sittenfeld)
  • Something Wilder (Christina Lauren)
  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (Gabrielle Zevin)

More serious reads

Can’t quite file these under “fun” but they were enjoyable, interesting, and unexpected.

  • The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson)
  • Red at the Bone (Jacqueline Woodson)
  • Toby’s Room (Pat Barker)


I basically never read memoirs or (auto)biographies, but this year I got into it. I’m Glad My Mom Died was much darker and more harrowing than the cute pink cover led me to believe, although the title is a big hint, admittedly. I read Gender Queer because it was included in most lists of books that were banned in schools (ugh). I thought it was such a tender, vulnerable story — which makes the attacks by Moms for “Liberty” and their ilk all the more unjust.

  • Ducks (Kate Beaton)
  • Gender Queer (Maia Kobabe)
  • Here For It (R. Eric Thomas)
  • I’m Glad My Mom Died (Jennette McCurdy)
  • My Body (Emily Ratajkowski)
  • Taste: My Life Through Food (Stanley Tucci) — cross-listing this but not double-counting it

Somehow I’m reading Harry Potter fan fiction again

I read HP fan fic as a silly teenager. About 20 years later — hang on, just typing that made me feel faint… Okay, so now, 20 years later, I started reading it again, thanks to a book club friend’s recommendation of Manacled, which is dark as hell. Disappearances basically feels like a J.K. Rowling book. From Wiltshire goes into surprising depth regarding the ethics of torture and spycraft. And Mortifying Ordeal is so much fun I read it twice. These are all the length of substantial books, by the way.

  • The Disappearances of Draco Malfoy (speechwriter on AO3)
  • Draco Malfoy and the Mortifying Ordeal of Being in Love (isthisselfcare on AO3)
  • From Wiltshire, With Love (MistressLynn on AO3)
  • Manacled (senlinyu on AO3)

(Did I read more fan fics than just these four? I shan’t divulge this.)

Books written for kids

Reading the fan fics made me realize I forgot what actually happened in the books. So I picked them up again, too, along with Narnia, a great winter story, which I read at the height of summer; and Wildwood, which I happened to spot in a wonderful bookstore called The Purple Crow. It had such a gorgeous cover and interesting premise that I had to pick it up.

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince* (J.K. Rowling)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows* (J.K. Rowling)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe* (C.S. Lewis)
  • Wildwood (Colin Meloy)

Books I sadly do not recommend

…Unless your book club loves a delicious hour-long discussion about plot holes and how much you yelled at the book.

  • A Very Typical Family (Sierra Godfrey)
  • The Paris Apartment (Lucy Foley)

Previously: Books I read in 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

Since I started keeping track, I’ve read 565 books for fun.