Goal Type: 700+ pages
Do I look like I have the time to read a 700-page novel when most of the
books I’ve read this year have been graphic novels? Hahahaha! Nope. Does
finishing The Count of Monte Cristo this year count? I know I listed
it as last year’s book, but technically I finished it this January, so I’m
Goal Type: Published in 2023 (aka the Year of Sanderson)
If you think the names of the secret projects should be kept secret, feel
free to skip this section. I’ve been working my way through all of Sanderson’s secret projects, so
it’s difficult to say one is better than another. I finished
The Lost Metal this winter. Though it wasn’t my favorite
Mistborn book, it was a fitting end to Era 2.
I started on the secret projects shorty after they released.
Tress of the Emerald Sea was the only one I’ve read in printed form.
Having Hoid as the narrator was hilarious, but what I really enjoyed were
Then I started listening to
The Frugal Wizard’s Guide to Surviving Medieval England on audiobook.
I must say, I like the narrators! Five stars. Would listen to again, though
I’m still disappointed I can’t have a dimension full of talking bananas.
Sigh… While not everybody may agree with me about the book’s merit, it was
what I needed at the time I read it. I had a good laugh!
Then I read Yumi and the Nightmare Painter. This. Book. Seriously,
this story was the one I needed while I was reading it. I was getting really
discouraged from one of the writers at my writing group who kept suggesting
AI could replace writers. But one of the main themes of
Yumi and the Nightmare Painter is that art is about intent, human
intent and expression. And I just— asdfghjkkl! Thank you, Sanderson. I
needed to hear that.
Finally, during Christmas break, my sister and I listened to The Sunlit
Man, which was a roller-coaster of a book from start to finish. Seriously,
the plot did not let up and the entire story took place over the course of
two days. I needed a breather after that.
No, I never did mention which of these books was the best. I liked them all
for different reasons.
Goal Type: Recommended by a Friend
Throughout the year, I started but didn’t finish three recommendations.
Welp, I tried.
Goal Type: Classics
Watch me count The Count of Monte Cristo twice! Started in 2022,
finished in 2023. Such a complex, dynamic story! Every chapter was necessary
to the plot, and I’d like to see this one adapted into a series rather than
My sister got me into the Epic: The Musical by Jorge Rivera-Herrans,
so I had to went on an Odyssey spree. This one took me the longest
simply because the introduction was so long, and I kind of forgot to read it
because it opens with Telemachus instead of Odysseus. I’m still working my
way through it…
Goal: Historical Fiction
Guys! I found another historical fiction writer! Meet June Hur. I’ve been
working my way through ALL of her books since I read and devoured her latest
release The Red Palace. Relatable, well-developed characters? Check.
Page-turning suspense? Check. A setting that isn’t worn out and overdone?
Check. A murder mystery set in Korea based on the story of an actual person?
I later went on to read The Forest of Stolen Girls, and while I
didn’t enjoy it as much, I did appreciate the sister dynamic and the lack of
romance. Not every story needs it!
As for middle grade books, I officially read
The Witch of Blackbird Pond three times this year alone. Once before
class, and once with two different classes. As far as historical merit and
good writing goes, this one takes the cake! There are still plenty of other
books I have read with my classes, but this one has been the one I enjoyed
most this year. I particularly like how it addresses confronting stereotypes
and the ways politics and religion can shape the way a person behaves.
Then I also started rereading one of my all-time favorite series:
Anne of Green Gables.
Goal Type: English Translations
Journey to the West: The Monkey King’s Amazing Adventures retold by
Timothy Richard—translated from Chinese. The writing style was rather bland,
but as a student of literature, I found the book to be fascinating.
How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino—translated from Japanese by
Bruno Navasky. Absolutely delightful. Philosophical, entertaining, and
introspective. We’re going to get a Studio Ghibli film based on this book,
which I look forward to!
Goal Type: Poetry
I haven’t read as much poetry as I would have liked to, but that’s okay.
The Select Poems of Tu Fu helped me better understand classical
poetic tradition as well as a small portion of the history of China. It’s
amazing how many of the poems are relatable and how the imagery is so
I’m also slowly working my way through The Odyssey, which is
written in verse. I don’t care for the translations that turn it into prose.
Give me the originals, or as close to it as you can get with a
Goal Type: Indie Published
Blade of Ash by C.F.E. Black—an enjoyable story, although I don’t
remember much of it. The characters were well-developed, but I wish there
could have been more development of the plot and the world.
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree—absolutely delightful! I
described this to my sister as a post-D&D story, and she devoured it as
soon as I finished. A former adventuring orc goes on a quest to open a
coffee shop. People come together. New recipes are discovered. A slice of
life in a fantasy setting, and I enjoyed every bit of it! Now I want to go
work in a coffee shop…
Goal Type: Books with Movie Adaptations
Nimona by N.D. Stevenson—I reread this one twice this year, once
before the movie came out and again afterward to do some more thorough
comparison. The movie was a completely different story, and even some of the
characters were different. I still enjoy the book more, but the movie has
elements that I enjoyed that you don’t get in the book, like more of
Nimona’s motivation and backstory.
Foundation by Isaac Asimov—This one is often recommended as a sci-fi
read, and some of the concepts went over my
. Overall, it was
fascinating even if none of the characters were particularly likeable. I
have yet to watch the adaptation.
Goal Type: Alphabet Challenge with a Friend
Did not happen. Whoops.
8/10 Book Types
Other Notable Books
The Castle School for Troubled Girls by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Gallant by V.E. Schwab
System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries, #7) by Martha Wells
Braking Day by Adam Oyebanji
Other Bookish News…
As I’m approaching the next stages in writing, I’m going to start looking
for critique partners and beta readers, so stay tuned if you’re looking for
a sneak peak at some sci-fi or fantasy!
Let’s chat! Do we have any reads in common? Did you read any of Sanderson’s
secret projects? Have you read many of the books that served as the basis
for Studio Ghibli movies?