2023 Reading List

Welcome to the 2023 Reading List!

As always, I’m pulling over the books I didn’t get to last year and I’m full out dropping a couple that I just could not finish. In process or finished reads are in BOLD. They are not really in any particular order.

I read 31 (and 3/4) books in 2022, a number I’m very happy with. I hope to meet and/or top that this year.

After reading the synopses of these, they are dropped for 2023:
Land of Big Numbers, Te-Ping Chen
Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe
Things We Lost to the Water, Eric Nguyen
Intimacies, Katie Kitamura

I read 39 books in 2023!

Surprise gifts:
Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl. NYT food critic’s memoir. Really enjoyed it!

Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl. Another memoir. Very good, but a bit more personal that the one above. This woman hung out with the chefs that we venerate these days: Alice Waters, Jonathan Waxman, Wolfgang Puck – hell, she was even besties with Danny Kaye, who was an amazing gourmet cook!! 

Making It So, Sir Patrick Stewart. YES! Got my preorder and started! SO GOOD. Of course, I read it in his voice! He starts at the beginning, in England during WWII when he was born. LOVE IT! (But I will say, it is very much geared towards theatre nerds than Trek nerds.)

Holly, Stephen King. About Holly from the Mr Mercedes books. This character will not let him go! EXCELLENT! The premise is so crazy, it is compelling! One of the best King reads since Fairy Tale.

Book Nick picked up:
Gwendy’s Final Task, S King and Richard Chizmar. Final book of the Trilogy: Gwendy’s Button Box, Gwendy’s Magic Feather and this book. It’s NOT AT ALL what I expected, but good in a Stephen King kind of way. 

Pulled from a donation pile: 
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley.  Surprisingly readable, considering he’s English and the book is old. HOWEVER, the notion of children being encouraged to “play erotic games” does squick me out a bit. The whole premise is using pleasure and conditioning to control the population. Creepy, man. 


Goodwill hurl! (late Aug)

On Gold Mountain, Lisa See. I always get her books.

Wake, Lisa McMann. Some creepy story about people invading your dreams.

A Cat Is Watching, Roger A. Caras. Author is a wildlife authority and this is a book about cats! It was a silly book. This guy is a little on the dotty side.

Preserving the Harvest, cookbook with tons of canning/preserving info.

Chinese Cuisine, cookbook of authentic Chinese recipes, directly translated from the Chinese. Cool!

Born Standing Up, Steve Martin. His autobiography/memoir. I’ve read some of his fiction – he’s a good writer.

The Revenant, Michael Punke. Yes, the book that the movie is based on.

Drowning Ruth, Christina Schwarz. I think I may have read this long ago? Looks interesting even if I have.

Teachings of Zen, Thomas Cleary. Just curious about Zen.

The Rules of Magic, Alice Hoffman. As I’ve said, I like her writing, so I picked this one up, too.


Ollie’s Graphic Novel HURL Aug 6!
Book:
Memories of the Future, Siri Hustvedt. Sounded interesting. Started this (9/6) and while it’s called a novel, it is actually a memoir!! And a GOOD one, too! She’s got a conversational tone rather like Mary Karr and I am IN LOVE with this book!

GNs:
Get Jiro!, Anthony Bourdain. I think I’ve got the comics of this? It’s Tony, I’m IN.
Fables: Farewell Last of the series, will hold on this.
Fables: Happily Ever After
Fables: Snow White
Fables: Storybook Love
All Fables GNs/collections are done by various writers and artists, but ALL these are Willingham, Buckingham and Leialoha.

Books brought forward:
Fear, Bob Woodward. Yes, THAT Bob Woodward. Nick picked this one, but I’ll read it, it’s about T****.

A Country Road, A Tree, Jo Baker. WWII historical fiction set in Paris. VERY English, which to me, means rather dry and boring. I’ll probably get through it. See next!

To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf. I didn’t count this as READ in 2022, I’m about 1/4 into it… Probably won’t finish. VERY English. Blech.

Paper Son, S.J. Rozen.

Fifth Chinese Daughter, forgot about this one, it’s my treadmill book. Finished this one. It’s dry, but OK. You really have to remember it’s written in the 40s and in the Chinese way: third person – even tho it’s an autobiography.  It’s odd. 

Jasmine, Bharati Mukherjee. This is a short novel and a fast read. The story is pretty good, nothing special. It’s a story about an Indian girl’s journey from a poor, remote Indian village to New York, then to Iowa. The pacing is good, I’d recommend for a good summer read.

The Distance Between Us, Reyna Grande.

The Good Demon, Jimmy Cajoleas.

The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls. This is NOT a memoir, unlike the two books of hers I read last year. I like her voice, I hope it carries into fiction. 8/7 Almost finished. It is a retelling of her rather terrible childhood with different characters. It reads well, but has not much new to offer as far as her stretching her writing abilities.

The Interior, Lisa See. NOT a Chinese historical fiction, more of a mystery. Just started this one Dec 20, so it won’t be finished this year. It’s pretty good. It’s a mystery within a historical setting.

Island of Sea Women, Lisa See. This historical fiction is about the island of Jeju, a Korean island where the women open dive into the sea for food and products to sell. It is a matriarchal society, which is interesting in itself. I picked this one up randomly at Ollies. It is typical See, except for being Korean rather than Chinese. This novel starts during the Japanese occupation of Korea and the island of Jeju (1930s-40s) and covers the decades into the 21st century. It’s a good read.

OLLIES HURL Jan 23!

Ollie’s Hurl!!

Fairest: Return of the Maharaja Graphic Novel, various writers and artists. This is an offshoot of the Fables series, which I LOVE for the art! The stories are usually pretty engaging, too. This one is really good! It’s a collection of the comics series for this story line. Excellent!

The World That We Knew, Alice Hoffman. Set in WWII Germany and France. A Jewish girl leaves her home in Germany with a golem her mother had created for her. History AND magic. A good read so far! 

Crush, Cathy Alter and Dave Singleton. This is a collection of essays from famous people and their first crushes. It’s pretty interesting. Not a page turner, but good! Almost done with this one, I recommend it.

Burn the Place, Iliana Regan. This is a memoir by Michelin star Chef Iliana Regan. It’s about her life and how she ended up being the renowned chef she is today. It’s a good read! It is about growing up queer AND being a chef, so a great twofer.

The Road Home, Richard Paul Evans. I was hesitant to start this one when I discovered it was the third of a trilogy AND it had a whiff of religion to it, but I started it today and it’s oddly good – no religion so far. Perhaps I resonate because I am familiar with Route 66, but the author also has a conversational tone that reminds me of Stephen King a little bit. It’s my treadmill book and will be a quick read! Good read, does not require reading the first two. Skirts religion nicely.
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