Hello, friends! Today I’m stepping just a little bit out of my regular routine of writing about quilting and am sharing Books I’ve Read in 2023. Long-time readers will know that I have a quite bookish background with bachelor’s and graduate studies in English (I also taught English 101 and 102 at the university and community college level for ten years). Reading was my first love, and while it comes after quilting today, I do try to read as much as possible. I hope you’ll enjoy today’s round-up of my favorites from this past year.
Books I’ve Read in 2023
Early this year I posted a round-up of books I read in 2022. And while I thought I might post quarterly; it just didn’t happen. With all of the holiday shopping coming up, I think now is as good a time as any to publish this year’s favorites. Hopefully you might find something you are interested in reading or gifting. And I plan to follow through with the quarterly plan in 2024 and share any of my end of year reads in my quarter one post.
In today’s Books I’ve Read in 2023 post I’m sharing the top ten non-fiction books I’ve read thus far this year along with one novel–the best fiction I’ve read in quite some time. While the following are my favorites from the year, I haven’t posted them in much of a particular order (although I would say the top five are definitely in the top five).
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I read Big Magic in March of this year, though I have owned it for several years. I’m not sure why I didn’t read it when I purchased it in March of 2019 because it made such a big impact on me. I couldn’t put this book down! Truly, this book will inspire one to create without fear–to put things into the world without worry. I have lots of passages underlined in this book. And I should definitely re-read this again regularly.
Build the Life You Want by Arthur Brooks
Build the Life You Want wasn’t even on my radar, until it was. I ordered it and absolutely devoured it just a couple of months ago. I read several books a year on this topic, and this one really seemed to check all of the boxes. There are great examples, science easily explained, and a plethora of down-to-earth realistic options to use in real life. I’m not sure where I heard about this one, but I’m so grateful I read it. Additionally, this is another book I could easily re-read.
The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
I heard about The Creative Act on a podcast and took it with me on a little trip we took for my birthday. It was the perfect choice for a relaxing weekend in the mountains. This one is definitely in the same category as Big Magic, above–but with an entirely different perspective and set of helpful ideas. This is another one I should probably re-read on a yearly basis.
Hidden Potential by Adam Grant
Hidden Potential was on pre-order from the minute I heard about it. I loved Adam Grant’s Think Again book and really enjoy his podcast. This book arrived the day before I left for Quilt Market. Since my bags were full, I ordered it again on my Kindle so I could read on the plane. My poor daughter was trying to listen to music as I interrupted her again and again to share insights from the book–it’s definitely 5 stars! (And I’m super happy I have the hard copy, too).
Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
I heard about Make Time on the Cal Newport podcast where he shared his favorite productivity books. It turned out I had read each of the books on his list but hadn’t heard of this one. So, I immediately ordered it and started reading. And this book lived up to Cal’s recommendation. I really enjoyed it and also found a lot of helpful ideas for making the most of my days.
The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
The Psychology of Money came highly recommended to me by my youngest son (who has a bachelor’s degree in economics). For decades I’ve thought that the study of economics was something wasn’t made to understand (my only “C” grade in college was in my freshman study of macro and microeconomics). But I absolutely loved this book. I understand things now that I’ve never really taken the time to learn. The stories and examples made this an easy and enjoyable read, and I actually am looking forward to reading something in this genre again.
Indistractable by Nir Eyal
I found out about Indistractable on a podcast last spring and immediately started reading it, finishing it in just four days. I love that while the author shares studies and science-backed research that the book is easy to follow. Eyal’s voice is personable and positive, and he offers a wide variety of solutions for dealing with the distractions of our modern world. This is highly recommended for anyone willing to go out of the norm to remove distractions from their life.
The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
I have heard about the 80/20 Principle for years but didn’t really realize how much there would be in the book until I started reading. This is a business-oriented book that also addresses using the principle in everyday life. I love this quote from page 209: “It is not shortage of time that should worry us, but the tendency for the majority of time to be spent in low-quality ways.” Glad I finally read this since it had been on my shelf for a little while.
The Stress Prescription by Dr. Elissa Elpel
The Stress Prescription is an easy to read handbook of wonderful ideas not only to help one deal with stress but also to help one be motivated to create a healthier lifestyle. I felt motivated and empowered to keep up my daily walks and to add in even more lifestyle changes. I really feel like I should read this one yearly as the ideas are all so good!.
A Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year by Beth Kempton
I heard about Calm Christmas less than a week ago and am already nearly finished with it. It’s just that good! I love Beth’s writing and all of the ideas she puts forth on the topic of making the end of the year a beautiful and joyful time rather than a stressful one. I only wish I had read this when it first came out. I’m going to start her best-selling book Wabi Sabi as soon as I finish this one (which will be in a day or two at the rate I’m going)!
#1 in Fiction: Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
I read mostly non-fiction these days, but I absolutely loved Tom Lake. (You would think with my background that I’d read a lot of fiction. But I think it is because of my background that I am hyper-critical of recent fiction). I’m so grateful I took a chance on this novel after reading Ann’s collection of essays, These Precious Days (also highly recommended). Because this is truly the best fiction I’ve read in several years. Ann’s writing is truly stunning. This book has just a little bit of everything I look for in good fiction with captivating writing, a beautiful setting, lovely imagery, and a wonderful insight into the characters. I look forward to reading more books by this same author.
Books I’ve Read in 2023: A Few More Things
Thanks so much for stopping by to read about the Books I’ve Read in 2023. If you missed my January post on my favorite reads, go here. And if you’re interested in the home decor, quilting, and organizing books I love, you can find them all in my Amazon Storefront using the button below. And watch for more of my usual quilting posts coming soon!
Happy quilting (and reading)!