I enjoy writing these kind of posts. There’s just something about sharing a book that meant something to you or affected you in some way. These aren’t books that came out in 2023, though some might be, but rather books that I read in 2023.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book
We Took To the Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich. This is actually my favorite book I’ve read this year. Written in the early 1940s about life in the backwoods of Maine, Louise Dickinson Rich takes what on the surface sounds like it might be a rather dull read and opens a window into life in a place that was wild and untamed. Filled with interesting people and tales of adventure and misadventure, We Took To The Woods was a surprising delight. In addition to the tidbits of wisdom that the other sprinkles throughout, I always enjoy books written in another time and place that cause me to stop and look up things on the internet that I was not previously aware of. For example you can find some interesting documentaries on Youtube about the logging runs down the rivers in Maine that no longer exist and hear people who lived during that time speak about their experiences.
I read a handful of other non-fiction books but none truly stood out to me as worth mentioning here.
Favorite Sci-Fi Books
The Silo Saga by Hugh Howey. I actually started this book a couple of years ago, read some unsavory blog posts from the author and decided to return it. However, after watching Apple TV adaptation earlier this year, I decided to give it another shot. And I’m glad I did. This trilogy was really very good. It probably didn’t hurt that I had just finished reading seven(!!) really awful sci-fi books. These were audio books that I had gotten during an Audible sale but even at the discounted price I paid, I regret the money and time spent on them. So I was primed for a good listen and the Silo trilogy did not disappoint. Howey comes across as a pretty unlikable person in some of his blog posts but I can’t deny that he wrote some great books here.
Dandelion by Philip R. Johnson and Justin C. Louis. The premise of Dandelion sounded like a bad CW show: Teenagers sent to a planet ahead of the adults and bad things start to happen. Okay, I paraphrased a lot but it really did make me think of The 100 TV show which was not encouraging. Still, I was very glad I took a chance on this book from authors I was unfamiliar with. I could quibble that some of the characters felt unrealistic but as the story progresses, you discover that maybe that was intentional. Dandelion is excellent and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Favorite Fantasy Book
The Wolf of the North Trilogy by Duncan M. Hamilton. I don’t read a lot of fantasy books and I’m very selective when I do jump into the genre. Brandon Sanderson books probably make up the large majority of the fantasy books I do read but the couple of his that read this year didn’t grab me like The Wolf of the North. It is the tale of a warrior wronged by unethical men and taken away from his only love. I’ve read many Duncan M. Hamilton fantasy books and they never disappoint. His recent foray into sci-fi with the Alpha Protocol series is fine but the characters lack the heart that you find in his fantasy books.