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My Best Books of 2023

To keep this post relatively short, I’ll just share two books from each category. I read a decent amount of books in 2023 and there were some that just were out of the park for me. I won’t go into a whole spiel about each one, but I will share a little blurb!

Best Books In Translation

In this book by Portuguese author Saramago, death takes a vacation in one chosen country. But that leads to a lot more problems than the nation can realize. What seems like a blessing turns into a curse. And what happens when death decides to return?

This novel shares the story of a woman and her friends who move from China to Hawaii, USA as mail-order brides. After receiving promises of money and a handsome husband, things aren’t what the matchmaker said they would be. Now they have to make a living in a new country where they don’t speak the language.

Best Religious Books

This book is a collection of excerpts from Lewis’ many other works that give you something to chew on as you go about your day. It was pretty fun reading through these and getting little nuggets of wisdom!

I am a pretty big fan of Priscilla Shirer and while I had had this book for a while, hadn’t read it because life gets in the way. But Shirer gives real life testimonies from real women and some good pointers for praying and watching those prayers manifest.

Best Thriller/Suspense Books

This book takes place during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic where all are supposed to be sheltering in place. One woman, one man, and one set of detectives who are investigating a murder. Set in Ireland, this novel takes place over the course of 56 days, is told in multiple POVs and in different timelines.

Who doesn’t love a good story about the lucky escapees of cults? Well, when one young woman escapes as a child, the trauma of the mothering cult she was raised in stays with her. But if she can find her cousin, who was also her best friend, she would have someone to talk to. But things don’t go as planned and the cult she escaped may have just gotten a makeover.

Best Fantasy Books

This YA fantasy book was an extremely fun read! Not only is the cover gorgeous but the author takes the myths of the Chinese moon goddess and makes an entirely new world. There’s betrayal, secret identities and adventure as one daughter sets out to free her mother from a life imprisoned on the moon.

Most people have at least heard of Babel right now and know the premise. But one thing that stuck out to me about this book was the colonization and racial undertones that Kuang not only points out but puts on blast. Add to that the ability to create using words and magic and I was hooked.

Best Nonfiction Books

Not going to lie, this book made me cry. Not because it is sad, but there is just a shared experience that Black Americans have that sometimes hurts the heart. In this collection of essays, we see some things that Black citizens have experiences throughout time and continue to deal with and how Blackness itself is a form of resistance.

Best Books Based On Real People

This novel is based on the life of JP Morgan’s personal secretary, a young Black woman who passed as white and did things others would think impossible. She took care of her family, hid her truth and took the social world by storm. All while pretending to be something she wasn’t.

This novel by Shreve is based on the Black Samurai, a man whom not a whole lot is known but records prove he existed. The author takes us all the way back to what childhood could have been like for an enslaved young boy who somehow ends up in Japan. And we then see what happens as he watches over one of the most feared individuals in Japan’s history.

What are some of the best books you read in 2023? I’m always looking to add to my never-ending TBR pile.

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