Reading Challenge Summary for 2023 (with Review Links)

Reading Challenge Summary for 2023 (with Review Links)

I’m still finishing the remains of my Reading Challenge for 2023, but last year some of you asked for me to post my results earlier so you could use it for gift giving purposes, so I am obliging.

I read (or will finish) 65 books this year, which is very close to average for me.

Fourteen of them I blogged about as 5 star books; and it was hard to chose my favorites identified below. Those shown above in the photo I ranked with five stars, those in the photo below I ranked with four, although the audio books I listened to are not included.

Four of the books I read had over 500 pages. I gave myself grace of not reading another classic, since the first one I chose was so hard and long. Then in several categories, I read more than called for, and you can see them in numbers with parentheses.

Each year, I ask what you’d like to see on the list, and make a new challenge that will come out on January 1st. Some of you find it fun to do this with me, and I’m grateful for it. What did you think of these categories; what was too much or not enough? What should be included that was not?  Please also let us know in the comments some of your favorite reads of the year.

Here’s what I read, with links to reviews on this blog:

Reading Challenge Summary for 2023

Top three favorite fiction reads (also listed in category):

1)  Black Cake (my five star review here)

2)  Cape Cod (currently reading; excellent)

3)  Fresh Water for Flowers (my five star review here)

(4)  Tom Lake (my 5 star review here)

Top three favorite Non-fiction reads (also listed in category):

1)  The Creative Act (currently reading)

2)  Eat that Frog! (my five star review here)

3)  Ladder to the Light (my five star review here)

Fiction longer than 500 pages (also listed in category):

1) Steel Crow Saga (528 pages)

2) A Day of Fallen Night (880 pages)

(3) East of Eden (601 pages)

(4) Cape Cod (713 pages)

Classic Fiction you’ve never read before:

1)  East of Eden (my 5 star review here)


Substancial fiction (general):

1) Fresh Water for Flowers (my five star review here)

2) Mercury Pictures Presents (my 4 star review here)

New fiction (since 2020):

1)  The Midnight Library (my 5 star review here)

2) The Golden Spoon (my four star review here)

3)  The Cartographers (my low four star review here)

4)  The Violin Conspiracy (my four star review here)

5)  Whalefall (currently reading)

Historical fiction:

1) A Dress of Violet Taffeta (my four star review here)

2) Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post (currently reading)

Fiction dealing with social issues:

1)  Black Cake (my five star review here)

2)  The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (my four star review here)

Fiction featuring a race or culture other than yours:

1) Harlem Shuffle (my review here)

2) The Housekeeper and the Professor (my five star review here)

Coming of age fiction:

1) Tom Lake (my 5 star review here)

Breezy Fiction:

1)  Homewreckers

2)  Fifth Avenue Story Society

3)  Love on the Brain

4)  Lost and Found Bookshop

5) Sugar and Salt

(6) The Breakaway

Older Fiction (pre 2000):

1) Lighthouse (1971) (3 star pleasant read)

2) Cape Cod (1992) (excellent; currently reading)


1)  The Fleet Street Murders (Charles Lenox #3)

2)  Stranger in Mayfair (Charles Lenox #4)

(3) Murder at Sea  (Charles Lenox #5)

(4) Death in the Small Hours (Charles Lenox #6)

(5) An Old Betrayal  (Charles Lenox #7)

(6) The Laws of Murder  (Charles Lenox #8)

(7) Home by Nightfall (Charles Lenox #9)

(8) Inheritance  (Charles Lenox #10)

(I’ll blog when I’m done with the series; I like it)


1) Steel Crow Saga (my four star review here)

2) A Day of Fallen Night (not as good as the first one)


1) Spring Water (light but good)

2) Rachel

3) Savanna

(4) Miranda

(5) Jessica

(6) Spring Water Christmas

YA Book:

1) The Downstairs Girl (in queue to read)


1) The Puma Years (my five star review here)

2) The Naked Don’t Fear the Water (my five star review here)

Art Books:

1) The Creative Act (currently reading; excellent)

2)  Writing a Chrysanthemum  (my 5 star review here)

Book featuring food (but not cookbook):

1) Finding Freedom (currently reading)


1) Take Heart: Poems from Maine

Illustrated non-fiction:

1) Extraordinary Sketchbooks (my review here)

2) Sketchbooks (my review here)

(3) Gel Plate Printing for Mixed Media Art (3 star; underwhelming)

Historical non-fiction:

1) About Time (my four star review here)

2) Oak Flat (my 5 star review here)

Personal interest non-fiction:

1)  Grit (my four star review here)

2) No Fear, No Death (my review here)

3) Beauty: the Invisible Embrace (my review here)

4) Ladder to the Light (my 5 star review here)

(5) In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite (good cookbook with stories about each recipe)

Life Lessons:

1) Thoreau and the Art of Life (my four star review here)

2) The Way of Integrity (my four star review here)

(3) Eat that Frog! (my five star review here)

(4) Heart to Heart (my five star review here)

(5) Mirror Work (my four star review here)

Philosophy or Spirituality

1)  Return of the Prodigal Son (good; not yet blogged)

2)  Miscellaneous Writings (reread)

3)  Introspection and Retrospection  (reread)

(4)  Unity of Good  (reread)

What do you think? Tells us how you did or what you liked in the comments. And please contact me about how you’d like our challenge for 2024 to be organized! Thanks for doing this with me; it is fun! I hope you join in next year.

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Send this to friend