It’s the most exciting day of the year: Audible Stats Day!
Here are all the books to which I listened in 2023 (click on the image and zoom in to see all the books):
Have you read any of these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts about them in the comments. What were the best and worst books that you read this year? Let me know.
I haven’t been able to do my usual individual reviews of each audiobook this year, due to my deteriorating condition, but the following should give a broad overview of my year in books.
NB I’m only able to listen to audiobooks; I’m unable to read physical books or ebooks because of my neck.
What was my favourite fiction book of the year?
‘The Will of the Many’ by James Islington. It was very satisfying and, from a pure enjoyment/entertainment standpoint, it was brilliant. At first when I read the synopsis, I thought that maybe it was just going to be a rip off of ‘Red Rising’ but I actually enjoyed it more than the first book of ‘Red Rising’ (though, for me, ‘Red Rising’ only properly blossoms in the second and third books).
In so many books we’re told that a character is clever but then that person does lots of annoying things or makes stupid mistakes that prove otherwise, whereas in ‘The Will of the Many’ the character genuinely felt clever and cunning. His gradual improvements and advancement in the rankings, the tactics of the maze, his friends etc. – I just loved everything about it.
I thought that I roughly knew where the book was heading but then…
…no spoilers from me (well, maybe a teeny tiny clue)… let’s just say that I thought that the audiobook had glitched at the end there. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series and I hope that the author is able to keep this level of momentum and knows how to steer the story to progress satisfyingly instead of fizzling out, which sometimes happens in multi-book series.
Best book I’ve read in ages.
Any honourable mentions in fiction?
I finally took another run at ‘The Kingkiller Chronicle’ books by Patrick Rothfuss. This is a highly regarded fantasy series but I first tried them a long time ago when I was only beginning to listen to audiobooks and hadn’t acquired the patience needed for audiobooks yet so I didn’t get very far. I’m very glad that I have given them another chance all these years later because this time around, I loved them. However, I had thought this was a duology. Alas! It turns out that it’s an unfinished series with no sign that the author is going to finish the next book any time soon. I want the next book!
What was my least favourite book of the year?
‘The Dog of the North’ by Elizabeth McKenzie. My foray into literary fiction (this book was on the longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction) did not go well. It felt directionless and nothing was resolved in the end. I do realise what the author was trying to achieve with this but I just thought that it was terrible. Although not a personal fan of unresolved endings and unanswered questions, some authors can just about keep me on board when they do it, but not this one. I hated it. It was both pointless and not enjoyable.
What were my favourite non-fiction audiobooks?
Usually, it’s fiction that’s the highlight for me but this year there were five standout non-fiction books, which I highly recommend to everyone:
• ‘A house in the sky’ by Amanda Lindhout. Amanda tells about her kidnapping in Somalia and time as a hostage. It is well written and fascinating. This seems a strange thing to say but I really love reading memoirs of hostages (my favourite is ‘Taken on Trust’ by Terry Waite) because, due to my unusual and extreme situation, I can often strongly identify with their stories and I experience some of the same things. It makes one feel less alone. When Amanda went through terrible things, she went to ‘a house in the sky’ in her mind. The human mind is amazing and reacts in ways to help you survive horrific situations. I go to a castle/palace in a city and kingdom that I call Camelot; I’ve lived hundreds of different lives there.
• ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel. This is such an important and compelling book. Although it’s technically a novel, ‘Night’ is also an autobiographical account of the author’s own experiences in Nazi Germany’s death camps.
• ‘Hiroshima’ by John Hersey. This book tells the stories of six survivors of Hiroshima. It recounts their day on 6th August 1945, when Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a city: it follows what they were doing before, during and after. One has to keep reminding oneself that this isn’t fiction because as one experiences that day along with them, it doesn’t feel real. It feels like fiction because it’s so outside of the realm of human experience. This is another important book, especially in the year that ‘Oppenheimer’ was released, a film in which no experience of any Japanese person was included.
• ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ by Bessel Van Der Kolk. Essential for anyone wanting to understand trauma.
• ‘The Silk Roads: A New History of the World’ by Peter Frankopan. Highly recommended and eye-opening.
Any additional comments on the year’s reading (listening)?
As you can see from the image of all the books I read this year, there is a large chunk of James Patterson books and a few Harlan Coben books that I’ve listened to this year, but it was mainly due to the fact that I didn’t want to have to constantly trawl through Audible to find books that I might like (I’m picky). I found a decent enough series (the ‘Alex Cross’ books) that I could just binge my way through, which didn’t require much brain power and didn’t require work to find the next book to read. They weren’t the best but they were good enough to keep my interest and keep me entertained. I did get sick of them eventually and stopped listening to the series. I did enjoy Richard Osman’s ‘Thursday Murder Club’ series more than the James Patterson and Harlan Coben books, but I still haven’t found any crime books that are as good as the crime TV series that I used to be able to watch. Still searching.
As you can also see from the image, I re-listened to many books that I love, some in preparation for the release of the next book in a series.
What’s next up on my reading list?
For Christmas I was given the following audiobooks so I’m looking forward to them:
• ‘Defiant’ by Brandon Sanderson
• ‘SkyWake: Endgame’ by Jamie Russell
• ‘Making it so’ by Patrick Stewart
• ‘Tom Stoppard: A BBC Radio Collection of 14 full-cast dramas’
• ‘The Memory Thieves’ by Dhonielle Clayton
Links to my previous Audiobook Adventures:
My Audiobook Adventures #1
My Audiobook Adventures #2
My favourite books (this is essentially My Audiobook Adventures #2.5!)
My Audiobook Adventures #3
My Audiobook Adventures #4
My Audiobook Adventures #5