Wednesday, January 17, 2024

2023 Reading Roundup

I didn't think I was going to do my annual reading roundup this year. I have no patience for much of anything and all I want to do is doomscroll or answer the antisemites on X (formerly known as Twitter). But, as they say in Anatevka, how do we keep our balance? ...Tradition

So here are the 59 books I read or listened to in 2023.

A Likely Story by Leigh McMullan Abramson

Happiness Falls by Angie  Kim

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

The Secret by Lee Child

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

Judgement Prey by John Sandford

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

What You Are Looking For Is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The Lonely Hearts Book Club by Lucy Gilmore

 אתי החיים משחק הרבה מאת דויד גרוסמן

The Celebrants by Steven  Rowley

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird

The Collector  by Daniel Silva

Sea Change by Gina Chung

The Maid by Nita Prose

The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange

The Survivors by Jane Harper

Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

The Measure by Nikki Erlick

A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet

Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty

Death of a Dancing Queen by Kimberly G. Giarratano

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult

The Adults by Caroline  Hulse

The Chicken Sisters by K.J. Dell'Antonia

The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz

True Biz by Sara Novic

Bookworm: A Novel by Robin Yeatman

Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey

Dark Objects by Simon Toyne

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Raising Lazarus by Beth Macy

The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

Baltimore Boys by Joel Dicker

Flying Solo by Linda  Holmes

Desert Star  by Michael Connelly

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Trust by Hernan Diaz

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Choice: Escaping the Past and Embracing the Possible by Edith Eger 

This year I read 17 physical books, 15 books on my Kindle, and listened to 27 audiobooks. 

It wasn't my best reading year but also not my worst.

I read only 1 Hebrew book and only 3 non-fiction books but did read 3 books which won a Pulitzer Prize. I read 18 books by authors I've read before and 6 books which are part of a series. 

I also read some books which I can't believe it took me so long to read: Fahrenheit 451, Beloved, and The Man in the High Castle. 

In 2023, I read 11,460 pages and listened to 327 hours and 28 minutes of audio. The shortest book I read was Fahrenheit 451 (158 pages) and the longest was The Seven Sisters (622 pages). I don’t think I’m going to continue the Seven Sisters series. The shortest audiobook I listened to was What You Are Looking For Is in the Library (7 hours and 19 minutes) and the longest was The Covenant of Water which I loved (31 hours and 16 minutes).

The books I liked most included Have You Seen Luis Velez?, The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, A Gentleman in Moscow, Signal Fires, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, True Biz, Raising Lazarus, and Baltimore Boys. 

My absolute favorites were Tom Lake, The Covenant of Water, and The Marriage Portrait, all th by phenomenal authors I’ve read before. I’m not sure I would’ve loved Tom Lake if I had just read it as Meryl Streep’s narration takes it to a whole new level.

 I don’t love rating books and there were 18 books which I didn’t rate at all. Of the remaining 41 here’s my breakdown:


No of books











The only book I really didn’t like was Bookworm. Some of the other books I enjoyed were In Five Years, Trust, Remarkably Bright Creatures, Rodham, Malibu Rising, Thank you for listening, The Measure, The Wishing Game, and Happiness Falls.

 I’ve already got 3 books under my belt for 2024 and though I’m always hopeful to read more books, my only wish right now is for all of our hostages to be returned home as soon as possible.

Monday, January 9, 2023

2022 Reading Roundup

Once again, it's time for my yearly reading roundup. In 2022 I read 66 books. Since I started keeping track in 2007, I've read 1063 books. 

Here is the list of books I read with links to the Amazon page and authors with links to their websites (or other media presence).

The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times

Michelle Obama

The Devil May Dance

Jake Tapper

We All Want Impossible Things

Catherine Newman

The Last Chairlift

John Irving

No Plan B

Lee Child

Righteous Prey

John Sandford

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks

Patrick Radden Keefe

פי שניים

Revital Vitelzon Jacobs

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Bessel van der Kolk

The Woman in the Library

Sulari Gentill

The Music of Bees

Eileen Garvin

The Magician's Assistant

Ann Patchett

The Hunt

Faye Kellerman

Going Rogue

Janet Evanovich

Away with the Penguins

Hazel Prior

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

Krystal Sutherland


Karen Joy Fowler

Sorry For Your Loss

Jessie Ann Foley

This Close to Okay

Leesa Cross-Smith

The Escape Room

Megan Goldin

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

Cherie  Jones

Bookish People

Susan Coll

Portrait of an Unknown Woman

Daniel Silva


Geraldine Brooks


Natalie Zina Walschots

Black Cake

Charmaine Wilkerson

The Broken Girls

Simone St. James


Denise Mina

Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting

Clare Pooley

Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return To His Jewish Family

Stephen J. Dubner

The Catch

Alison Fairbrother


Yael Mishaly

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister

Jeff Backhaus

Game On: Tempting Twenty-Eight

Janet Evanovich

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family

Robert Kolker

It All Comes Down to This

Therese Anne Fowler

Fresh Water for Flowers

Valérie Perrin

The Girl Who Lived Twice

David Lagercrantz

The Swimmers

Julie Otsuka

The Lost Apothecary

Sarah Penner

Sea of Tranquility

Emily St. John Mandel

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

David Lagercrantz

The Family Chao

Lan Samantha Chang

Lessons in Chemistry

Bonnie Garmus

The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice

Benjamin Gilmer

The Next Thing You Know

Jessica Strawser

The Bookshop of Yesterdays

Amy Meyerson

אשת הרב, אשת הבישוף

חיותה דויטש, דוד יעקבסון

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive

Stephanie  Land

The Dark Hours

Michael Connelly

Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth

Noa Tishby

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

Kelly Harms

Reservoir 13

Jon McGregor

Vanishing Edge

Claire Kells

The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet

Reif Larsen

Dark Horse

Gregg Andrew Hurwitz

The Anomaly

Hervé Le Tellier

Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life-in Judaism (after Finally Choosing to Look There)

Sarah Hurwitz

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

H.G. Parry

The Midnight Lock

Jeffery Deaver


Jonathan Franzen

The Still Point of the Turning World

Emily Rapp

Driving Miss Norma: One Family's Journey Saying "Yes" to Living

Tim Bauerschmidt


Lydia Millet

A Bad Day for Sunshine

Darynda Jones

Our Missing Hearts

Celeste Ng

In 2022 I read a total of 14,182 pages and listened to 310 hours of audiobooks. The longest book I read was Daniel Silva's Portrait of an Unknown Woman, 496 pages, and the shortest book I read was מותרות by Yael Mishali, 176 pages. The longest audiobook I listed to was John Irving's The Last Chairlift, 32 hours and 47 minutes long. The shortest audiobook was Julie Otsuka's Swimmers, 4 hours and 6 minutes long. 

My biggest accomplishment this year was reading three books in Hebrew! Two novels by women I follow on Facebook and a very interesting historical novel about Joanna, the wife of Shlomo Halevi, a Spanish Jew who converted to Christianity, and became an archbishop. I enjoyed all three books and recommend them. 

I read or listened to 11 nonfiction books in 2022.  Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family and The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice were both outstanding and thought provoking. I enjoyed Noa Tishby's Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth but I felt like she's preaching to the prior and I find it hard to believe she'll convince anyone that Israel isn't evil personified if that's what they think. Listening to Michelle Obama narrate her own book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, is a treat and regardless of politics I once again came away with a tremendous amount of respect for her and President Obama. 

One third of the books I read (22) were by authors I've previously read. I believe in loyalty and also in giving authors a second chance. I didn't love Jake Tapper's second novel, The Devil May Dance, and I think I'll give any future novels a miss. By far the most disappointing book from a beloved author was Faye Kellerman's The Hunt, which supposedly is the last book in her  Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series. The Decker storyline was repetitive and uninteresting. The case endlessly dragged on with them continually rehashing the same points and even the resolution of the case was ho-hum.
The additional storyline was not believable and was filled with gratuitous and violent sex and rape descriptions. If this really is the final book of the series, it's going out on a very low note.

On the other hand, John Irving's The Last Chairlift, was wonderful. Irving stated that this will be his last big novel, and big it is, weighing in at 900 pages or 32:47 hours, and filled with many themes from Irving's previous books. I didn't love all of it but overall, I thought it was one of his best novels (The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and Cider House Rules being my other favorites). If you're a fan of John Irving, I highly recommend The Last Chairlift. And if you're not, it's time you became acquainted with his books. 

My favorite quote this year was from The Last Chairlift :  "Then the snowshoer explained how he never drove anywhere in the beetle without what he called an emergency novel. If I drive off the road and am lying upside down in a ditch, unable to move my legs or get out of the car, I want to have something good to read."  This is a philosophy I fully endorse.

Another hefty audiobook (25 hours) by an author I've read before is Crossroads, by Jonathan Franzen, and to be honest, I'm not sure how I felt about it. There were times I wanted to abandon it as I found all the characters very unlikable but I carried on only to discover when I finished that it is the first of a trilogy Franzen is planning on writing. I'm not sure I'm going to continue. 

There were two other books by repeat authors which I loved - Celeste Ng's Our Missing Hearts and Emily St. John Mandel's Sea of Tranquility. Both novels are tagged as dystopian and science fiction but don't let that discourage you. I am not a big fantasy/science fiction/dystopia reader and I adored both books. 

Additional books by previously read authors which I liked were Ann Patchett's The Magician's Assistant, Booth, by Karen Joy Fowler (yes, that Booth), Horse by Geraldine Brooks (though I thought she had at least one unnecessary storyline), and Clare Pooley's Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting (fun).

Some of the other books I really enjoyed were We All Want Impossible Things (trigger warning: cancer), Sorry For Your Loss by Jessie Ann Foley, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (loved it) and Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson (wonderful).

I also read a mix of mysteries, mostly by repeat authors thought I did give a chance to some new ones. Not every book in a series is going to be a home run but I did like the newest installments I read this year, including Daniel Silva's Portrait of an Unknown Woman  (though I'm sad Gabriel left Israel) , Lee Child's No Plan B, Gregg Hurwitz's Dark Horse, John Sanford's Righteous Prey, and Jeffery Deaver's The Midnight Lock.

I'm also a sucker for books about libraries, librarians, bookstores, booksellers (are you sensing a theme?) and The Woman in the Library, Bookish People, The Bookshop of Yesterdays, The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, and The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep (did not like it) fit the bill. 

I think the strangest book I read this year was The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier. I usually avoid books about airplanes (why add to the flying phobia) but this was worth the read.

I've already finished my first audiobook of  2023 and the list of books I'm hoping to read keeps growing. I'd love to hear what you enjoyed last year!