Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Book List: Books Read in 2023


Every year, usually in January, I post a list of the books I read the prior year. My master list of the books I read on LibraryThing.

Here's the list of the 139 books I read in 2023, in the order I read them. Usually, I read 100 - 110 books in a year. I don't know how I finished 30+ more in 2023.

Notes about my rating system are below the list.

  1. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  2. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (abridged*) 
  3. Mystical Paths by Susan Howatch ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  4. Know Your Style: Mix It, Match It, Love It by Alyson Walsh ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  5. The Big Four by Agatha Christie ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  6. The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  7. Slightly Foxed: String is My Foible, Vol. 76 by Gail Pirkis (Ed.) ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  8. Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  9. Playing for the Ashes by Elizabeth George ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  10. A German Requiem by Philip Kerr ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  11. The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  12. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  13. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  14. The King's General by Daphne du Maurier ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  15. Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  16. The Waste Land & Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  17. The Maid by Nita Prose ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  18. The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  19. Hill House Living: The Art of Creating a Joyful Life by Paula Sutton ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  20. The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  21. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Grof ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  22. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  23. Oregon Confetti by Lee Oser ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  24. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  25. The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  26. Mrs. Ted Bliss by Stanley Elkin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  27. Rule Britannia by Daphne du Maurier ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  28. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  29. Even the Dead by Benjamin Black ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  30. The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  31. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  32. Winston Churchill: Painting on the French Riviera by Paul Rafferty ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  33. A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  34. Slightly Foxed, A Date With Iris, Vol. 25 by Gail Pirkis (Ed.) ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  35. A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  36. Trailing: A Memoir by Kristin Louise Duncombe ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  37. April in Spain by John Banville ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  38. Five Flights Up: Sex, Love, and Family, from Paris to Lyon by Kristin Louise Duncombe ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  39. The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  40. A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  41. Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents by Rod Dreher ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  42. The Flight of the Falcon by Daphne du Maurier ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  43. The Holy Bible, King James Version ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน (duh)
  44. On Cussing: Bad Words and Creative Cursing by Katherine Dunn ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  45. In the Presence of the Enemy by Elizabeth George ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  46. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  47. Dragons & Pagodas: A Celebration of Chinoiserie by Aldous Bertram ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  48. Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  49. So Big by Edna Ferber ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  50. The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  51. A Cordiall Water: A Garland of Odd and Old Receipts to Assuage the Ills of Man and Beast by M.F.K. Fisher ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  52. Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  53. Glass Houses by Louise Penny ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  54. Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  55. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  56. Mapp & Lucia by E. F. Benson ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  57. The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  58. Black Dogs by Ian McEwan ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  59. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  60. Slightly Foxed: Beside the Seaside, Vol. 75 by Gail Perkis (Ed.) ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  61. More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  62. Deception on His Mind by Elizabeth George ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  63. Horse by Geraldine Brooks ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  64. Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  65. Lucia's Progress by E. F. Benson ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  66. Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  67. Trouble for Lucia by E. F. Benson ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  68. The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  69. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  70. Ms. Demeanor by Elinor Lipman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  71. The Grave Gourmet by Alexander Campion ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  72. Assignment in Brittany by Helen MacInnes ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  73. A Simple Country Murder by Blythe Baker ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  74. In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner by Elizabeth George ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  75. Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There by David Brooks ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  76. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh  ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  77. The Sellout by Paul Beatty ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  78. A Better Man by Louise Penny ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  79. French Ways and Their Meaning by Edith Wharton ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  80. Slightly Foxed: Laughter in the Library, Vol. 77 by Gail Pirkis (Ed.) ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  81. Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  82. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  83. S. by John Updike ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  84. Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  85. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  86. Three Fires by Denise Mina ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  87. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน 
  88. Dusk and Other Stories by James Salter ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  89. The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  90. Prisoner of Brenda: Curses, Nurses, and a Ticket to Bedlam by Colin Bateman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน 
  91. Snow by John Banville ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  92. Blood From a Stone: A Memoir of How Wine Brought Me Back from the Dead by Adam S. McHugh ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  93. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  94. After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  95. All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  96. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  97. The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  98. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  99. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  100. He Said He Would Be Late by Justine Sullivan ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  101. A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  102. Tom Lake by Ann Patchet ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  103. Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery by Wendy Lesser ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  104. Venice Observed by Mary McCarthy ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  105. Exit Music by Ian Rankin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  106. Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Mugham ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  107. One More Seat at the Rounds Table by Susan Dormady Eisenberg ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  108. Mating by Norman Rush ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  109. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  110. The Chosen by Chaim Potok ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  111. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  112. The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  113. Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  114. The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  115. The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  116. The Collected Poems by W. B. Yeats ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  117. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  118. The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  119. The Man with Two Left Feet by P. G. Wodehouse ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  120. Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  121. Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  122. In Search of a Character: Two African Journals by Graham Greene ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  123. A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  124. A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  125. The Prince and Betty by P. G. Wodehouse ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  126. Innocent Blood by P. D. James ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  127. Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  128. Yellowface by R. F. Kuang ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  129. The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  130. The Bear Comes Home by Rafi Zabor ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  131. Straight Man by Richard Russo ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  132. Piccadilly Jim by P. G. Wodehouse ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  133. The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  134. Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  135. The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Stories by Dorothy L. Sayers ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  136. Aqua Alta by Donna Leon ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  137. The Spring by Megan Weiler ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  138. The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Valley by Elizabeth Romer ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  139. War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
* I didn't realize that my very old (like 1890) edition of Our Mutual Friend was abridged until I got to the end of it. I loved the story, but thought it was herky jerky and that I had missed big parts. It was herky jerky and I did miss big -- and little -- parts. So I can't rate it now. I plan to read the complete version again and know I will love it.  


I switched to using roses for my rating system, since this is Rose City Reader. My rating system is my own and evolving. Whatever five stars might mean on amazon, goodreads, or Netflix, a five-rose rating probably doesn't mean that here. My system is a mix of how a book subjectively appeals to me, its technical merits, and whether I would recommend it to other people.

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Five roses for books I loved, or would recommend to anyone, or I think are worthy of classic "must read" status." Examples would be Lucky Jim (personal favorite), A Gentleman in Moscow (universal recommendation), and Great Expectations (must read).

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Four roses for books I really enjoyed and/or would recommend to people who enjoy that type of book. So I give a lot of four roses because I might really like a book, but it didn't knock my socks off. And while I'd recommend it to someone who likes that genre -- mystery, historical fiction, food writing, whatever -- I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who asked me for a "good book."

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Three roses for books I was lukewarm on or maybe was glad I read but wouldn't recommend.

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Two roses if I didn't like it. Lessons in Chemistry is an example, which proves how subjective my system is because lots of people loved that book. I found it cartoonish and intolerant.

๐ŸŒน One rose if I really didn't like it. I don't know if I've ever rated a book this low. The Magus might be my only example and I read it before I started keeping my lists.

I use half roses if a book falls between categories. I can't explain what that half rose might mean, it's just a feeling.

Here is a link to the star rating system I used for years. I include it because the stars I used in years past meant something different than these roses, so if you look at my lists from past years, the ratings won't mean quite the same thing.


  1. Great list! Thanks for sharing Gilion! Sheila Close

    1. Thanks Sheila! Nice to hear from you. I hope you are doing well.

  2. I am very impressed. I will look up a few of your five star books to see if I want to read any of them. What was your favorite of all of them?

  3. Love that you shared your list and rating system. Thank you! I will read some of your 5 rose books.


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