December is upon us and the year’s end draws near. Time to reflect on 2023. As with all passionate readers, my “To Be Read” pile continues to grow, but many wonderful books made it off the pile to be enjoyed and expand my mind. Even with the many challenges and disruptions this year, I found moments in time to disappear into the pages of a book or the spoken words of an audiobook reader.
This is not a top 10 list of new books this year, nor my all-time favorite books. These are books I read in 2023 that impacted me personally, no matter when they were originally published. Why did these books have such and impact and thus stand out for the year? As I share about my standout books of 2023, I hope you will gain some insights into my interests and passions.
Audible Books and Books on CD of The Chronicles of Amber, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia.
My wife and I have continued to enjoy Audible Books this year when driving and traveling, and sometimes while having meals. We are currently deep in The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazney. I also enjoy listening to audiobooks in short snippets as I run errands. Because I listen to them in short bursts, I like listening to books I have read before. Great readers can really make an audiobook come to life. And I find with multiple reads of books I am passionate about, I learn new things each time that I had overlooked or now understand in a new way. I also get to “read” a lot more books during the year by listening to audiobooks.
The Guided Tour… books by Tom Clancy.
I have enjoyed reading Tom Clancy’s fiction novels, have watched many war movies, and visited many museums of the navy and air force. These books have filled in so many details for me, really fleshing out the history, technology, and life on submarines and carriers. The movies and history have really come to life for me and inspired many ideas for my own writing.
Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer by J. Michael Straczynski
I love Babylon 5. Such an amazing television series with incredible character arcs. So you can imagine how excited I was to receive J. Michael Straczynski’s book, Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer, for Christmas last year. It was the first book I read in 2023. JMS created Babylon 5 and wrote some of my favorite stories for the Thor comics and co-wrote the Thor movie. Rather than sharing how to write, this is more real life discussion, with JMS’ humor, of what it takes to be a writer. I gained so many great insights on storytelling and creativity from reading this book.
Leadership Prayers by Richard Kriegbaum
Friday mornings, I attend a weekly Care Team meeting of our SIL Language Technology Leadership Team. For the past two years that team was led by a man named Freddy. who has since retired from leading our Care Team; and we are transitioning to a new leader. As part of those Care Teams, Freddy would,, at times. have us read prayers from the Leadership Prayers books. Each time, that prayer was just wanted we needed to be praying about and having discerning conversations. They were incredible discussion starters and really helped us have deep conversations as a leadership team.
What books stood out for you in 2023, and what made them stand out? I am curious what makes a book special to you.