10 Books I’m Determined to Read in 2023

In January 2022, I set two reading goals for myself: finish at least 50 books for my GoodReads Reading Challenge, and specifically read ten books there were on my “TBR.” I was successful with one of those goals and much less successful with the other. So with that in mind, I decided that in 2023 I should again challenge myself to read ten diverse books.

Do I think I’ll actually finish them?

But I will at least have these books on my mind throughout the year. Hopefully, someone will stumble upon this list and also feel inspired by some of the titles.

A Book About a Hero:

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

My obsession with this man has burned brightly for the past two decades. I love Sesame Street and the Muppets like any other person who was once a child and has a soul, but Jim Henson really first captured my attention with “The Dark Crystal.” Then, I watched “Labyrinth” at a slumber party, and I was a goner. There was no return to normalcy for me at that point. I blame Jim Henson for my weird preoccupation with puppets as well as for my yearning to have someone love me the way Gonzo loves Camilla the Chicken. As I’ve watched almost every single thing this man and his company has ever created, I think it’s about time that I also read his biography.

A Book By An Impressive Woman:

On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi

Dr. Shirlene Obuobi is currently completing her cardiology fellowship, in addition to writing novels, creating comics, and working as a contributor for the Washington Post. I really want to read this book, but I think I need to do it when my self-esteem is abnormally high. I am curious to see if this book can provide valuable insight into the lives of young doctors or if it will just be a fun, fluffy way to kill time.

A Book With Actual Science:

The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy by Arik Kershenbaum

A zoologist draws on his vast experience to imagine realistic alien life. Kershenbaum takes the time to explore how these creatures will eat, move, and communicate. And presumably, reproduce, which could be an excellent source of information for science fiction romance authors.

A Book With A Unique LGBTQ+ Romance:

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

In this Regency romance novel, a trans woman uses her supposed death at the battle of Waterloo to live as her true self, Viola Carroll. However, by faking her death, she left behind her best friend, the Duke of Gracewood, who still grieves her loss. The Duke of Gracewood and Viola become reacquainted and find that old feelings are beginning to come to the surface, which is complicated because of the whole “faked death” thing.

A Classic So I Can Continue to Assume an Air of Unearned Superiority:

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I looked up this book, and I have no clue what the plot contains, but based on the length of the story (clocking in at over 900 pages), I’m going to guess “everything.” Maybe I’ll make a classic novel bingo game for this book before reading, and it can include squares like “young woman dies of broken heart,” and “a man born into poverty becomes rich through his own cunning and grit,” and “mysterious benefactor.” As of writing this, I am unfamiliar with George Eliot’s work, but I’ve heard good things about this book, and I think with a handy-dandy bingo sheet, I’ll be all the more engaged.

A Book I’m Mostly Reading Because I Like The Author’s Other Stuff:

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood is a lot of fun. Hazelwood is a neuroscientist who clearly put a lot of her experiences in graduate school into that book, which added an element of authenticity to the setting you don’t often see in romance novels. I thought her debut novel was interesting enough that it has sent me on a journey to find every STEM-themed romance novel I can get my hands on. Thus, when her second novel (and what was most likely once a Reylo fanfiction) was published in 2022, I was intrigued. Would this novel also give us a tantalizing glimpse of the life of a scientist? Or would it just be like reading the horny fanfiction a grown woman wrote about Adam Driver?

A Book For Dealing With Science Deniers:

Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

Frankly, this book deserves its own blog post (and maybe a documentary). For now I’ll just tell you a little bit. Scientists with conservative ties to industry used their skills and expertise to sew seeds of doubt within the public about pressing scientific issues. The ramifications of this deceit are long-lasting and devastating. I hope this book provides additional information that could help advance the causes of scientists who are not in league with evil organizations.

A YA Book For My Inner Teenager:

Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland

If I were to judge a book entirely by its cover then I would purchase this and call it my favorite book of all time without ever needing to read it. The cover is so dope – it has a girl in a swirly dress running down an elaborate flight of stairs while we gaze upon her journey through a keyhole. The mystery of the cover alone is enough to keep me interested. That, and the fact that this book was selected for me as part of the “Pick Your Magic Book Boxes” Mystery Book experience from the Indigenous-owned bookshop Paperbacks & Frybread Co.

A Little Science Fiction to Stoke My Existential Dread:

The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (Translated by Ken Liu)

The Three-Body Problem is a problem in orbital mechanics (stay with me on this) in which three bodies orbit each other. Using the basic laws of science, you have to predict where each body will be at any time. It’s a difficult problem to solve, and one that I will never come close to making sense of, but luckily for scientists and engineers everywhere, I’m not going to try. In Cixin Liu’s novel, humanity encounters an alien species that is dealing with its own three-body problem: their planet is surrounded by three suns in different orbit, throwing the planet into near-constant environmental chaos. It’s a good thing Earth is only a few thousand light years away and is just begging to be conquered by a technologically superior species.

A Book With a Cute Little Love Story:

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle

This is the other book I received as part of the mystery book box from Paperbacks & Frybread Co. It’s about a young girl with ADHD who strikes up a romance with a fellow student on the Autism Spectrum. Based on the description, this book sounds like the beginning of a sweet little romance, but knowing my luck, some “Bridge to Terabithia” crap will happen 75% of the way through and suddenly my love story will twist into the literary equivalent of “My Girl.”

Extra Mention:

The Ice Planet Clones series by Ruby Dixon

I’ve been waiting for this poor alien fool, R’jaal, to get a girlfriend since he was first introduced as the sad, horny alien boy in “Lauren’s Barbarian.” Now that the Icehome series has concluded, Ruby Dixon has begun a new series called “Ice Planet Clones,” set on Not-Hoth. I am never going to be ready to leave this weird little planet, so I hope the series is a hundred books long.

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