2023 Personal Reading Reflections

Before I get into my favorite books of the year, I thought I should reflect a little bit on my reading journey in 2023. 2023 was one of the hardest years for myself and reading, as always, was my personal escape. When I experienced a miscarriage at the beginning of the year, I found myself turning to books as a way to escape reality. I spent so much time in bed reading and I felt like I could be transported into different worlds. Reading for me is not about hitting a “goal”– I really want to read for personal enjoyment and the escape. It’s my favorite kind of “me” time.

I also accomplished two pretty big reading hurdles for me during 2023. 1) I wasn’t afraid of picking up LONG books and 2) I wasn’t afraid to quit a book. Both of these things were holding me back in years past and I’m so glad I got over this. In fact, I found myself loving long books I could really sink my teeth into with complex characters I didn’t want to say goodbye to. Maybe it’s that parenthood is all consuming and that I wanted to have new worlds to explore and escape into. At the same time though, I was giving myself permission to try books and then, if I didn’t care for them, I could quit. No matter how much time I had already “committed.” It was FREEING.

My Favorite Books of 2023

⭐️ Best Memoir: SOLITO by Javier Zamora

Absolutely phenomenal. In Solito, Javier Zamora details his journey as a 10-year-old boy migrating from El Salvador into the United States to reunite with his parents. I truly have no words for how incredible this book is. When I read that Javier Zamora is a poet, it didn’t surprise me. The book has a natural rhythm and the cadence naturally changes as your follow his harrowing journey. I simply could not put this down.

⭐️ Best Parenting Book: GOOD INSIDE by Dr. Becky Kennedy

This was an absolutely fantastic parenting book! So encouraging and JAM PACKED with action items. This was being hyped up in a few parenting groups I’m in and I immediately had to download. Usually when people are posting parenting books, there’s back and forth on the merits of the philosophies and people debating why they did/didn’t like it. Good Inside is the exception apparently! Everyone was raving… and so am I! If you’re feeling underwater as a parent, like you’re not doing a good enough job, and that you think you might be “messing up” your kid…. you need to read this. Dr. Becky takes a lot of common issues with parenting (eating, perfectionism, separation anxiety, sleep issues, etc.) and gives practical, evidence based advice on how to handle it. The best part is that there are actual scripts you can use with your child. I loved it. I actually listened to the audiobook, but will be ordering a hardcopy so I can have a physical book to highlight and have on hand.

⭐️ Best Non-Fiction Book: THE KINGDOM OF PREP by Maggie Bullock

tore through Kingdom of Prep. Simply couldn’t put it down! It’s all about J. Crew– its history of how it started, its rise to retail glory, and the near-demise of the brand. It was an interesting glimpse into a brand I love. I listened to the audiobook, but honestly I would recommend getting a physical copy since the book has an insert with a bunch of photos to reference to. (I kept having to make notes to look different things up on Google images!) I rarely say this about non-fiction, but I wish it had been 2x longer. I could have used more anecdotes and more details!! I loved learning about all the different players over the years, what worked for the brand, and what didn’t.

I recommended this to a bunch of people and so far it’s been loved by everyone. Highly, highly recommend.

⭐️ Best Novel: WELLNESS by Nathan Hill

Okay, wow. This book. I truly don’t even know how to quickly sum this one up. I will say right off the bat, that it’s probably not for everyone. It’s long and kind of winds in and out, but once I got into it, I could not put it down. I really mean, I could not put it down. I usually can’t read more then 25 minutes at night before my eyes start closing and this is one of those books where I was staying up way too late just to squeeze in more reading. (I even read for an hour in the middle of the night when the baby was kicking and I couldn’t get comfortable.) It’s almost a satirical novel, following a couple who meet as young people filled with lofty dreams and artsy ambitions and then turn into the people they never wanted to turn into. I loved this book!!!!

My Five-Star Books of 2023

If you want to scroll through what I read in 2023, I have a highlight on my Instagram and I also share my monthly book overviews on my blog. Here are all of my five star books. I would recommend these without hesitation!

TRUTH & BEAUTY by Ann Patchett

SOLITO by Javier Zamora

GOOD INSIDE by Dr. Becky Kennedy

THE KINGDOM OF PREP by Maggie Bullock


TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE by Meg Mitchell Moore

THE FIVE STAR WEEKEND by Elin Hilderbrand


TOM LAKE by Ann Patchett


WELLNESS by Nathan Hill


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I read Solito (did you possibly recommend it previously?) and was blown away. Phenomenal writing, and I couldn’t put it down. I have added a couple of the others on this list to my to-read list! Thanks for the recommendations!


I currently struggle to both enjoy long books and quit. I hope to get to a point like you where I can do both!


I also loved Tom Lake and Good Inside 🙂
If you liked Dr. Becky, also check out the podcast “unruffled” by Janet Lansbury!


Love Ann Patchett and had the pleasure of meeting her a few years back at a book signing, a lovely person. Another book by her I would recommend is These Precious Days. A series essays that are both personal and profound.


I picked up Forster Jade and did not get past the first chapter, and I am not sure why.
I have been looking at the book on my table for a day and I am going to pick it back up again.