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2024 Reading Challenge and 2023 Favourite Books

It’s that time of the year again, the beginning of 2024 with 2023 having come to an end and it’s time to review our annual reading and goals.


2023 was a great reading year for me. 63% of my reads were 4 star or higher and I’m happy with that (I will address the high number of 4 plus star ratings in a future post). By adding back audiobooks, I managed to read a lot more books than an average year; 66 when my goal was 35! I think there were also a lot of shorter books on my list this year as well. Before Instagram I never thought much about the length of a book, but it turns out a lot of people really think about book length.


My 2023 reading year has also taught me a few things:


  • I need to read the books I want to read and not what is hyped in the moment. Please note if I ever pick up Fourth Wing or Iron Flame it will be because of #bookstagram in 2023.

  • Though I look forward to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s future books, I do not need to read anymore of her backlist.

  • Big books, I like them, and I wish I never learned that others find them intimidating; now I think about book length.

  • Leaving Canada left me underexposed to Canadian literature and I need to get back into it. I’m always open for Canadian recommended reading.

  • Crime & Punishment, was on my tbr shelf for decades and I am so glad the punishment is over with! Never again! However, thank you @cindywindy_blogs for helping me get past this one.

  • emember way back in 2021 when I had yet to read a Picoult book? Well, I love her books. Since then, I have read 5 of them and all have been worth picking up.


Going into 2024 I am not going to attempt to duplicate my number of books read again, I have too many other activities, aside from reading, I want to participate in. However, I am still setting my goal at 40 books, this is still higher than my average number of books before 2023. As well, my must-read list is going to be a lot smaller. I want to be able to mood read as that is when I enjoy the most about reading.


Here are the books I am committing to in 2024:



  • Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

  • Lady Tan's Circle of Women by Lisa See

  • War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy

  • To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

  • Firestarter by Stephen King

  • As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh

  • A book from Antartica maybe The Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton


Even though 4 of these books are commitments I have made with either my IRL book club, BATZ Book Club, or @cindywindy_blogs and @joanie.read.to.52, they are all books I really want to read.


War & Peace I’m super excited as I have wanted to read this one since Elaine on Seinfeld said the original title was “War, What is it Good For (absolutely nothing).” Plus, I loved Anna Karinena. Cindy, Joan, and I will be doing the Footnotes and Tangents Year Long Read. If anyone else wants to commit I’m happy to chit chat with you through the year about it.


@bettys_book_club 's post on September 13th, 2023inspired me to want to read Firestarter. I haven’t read a King book in a while and I do really enjoy them. She also compared it to the 1984 and 2022 movie adaptations. I have heard to much about the 1984 movie since it was released that I really should watch it.


As for Antarctica, it is the only continent still outstanding on my Read the World Challenge.  I’m only through 25% of the countries, but to be done all 7 continents will feel like a win too.

Now that I’ve laid out my plans for 2024, lets look back at 2023;


MJ’s Best Books of 2023.


Remember I read these in 2023 they may not have been published in 2023.




Best Historical Fiction: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult



Best Debut: Beyond that, the Sea by Laura Spence – Ash



Best Thriller/Mystery: The Fury by Alex Michaelides



Best Middle Grade: Melt by Ele Fountain



Best Romance/Chic Lit: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center



Best nonfiction: 10 Days that Shaped Modern Canada by Aaron W. Hughes



Best Book: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult


Look at the different covers I found!



It would be great to hear what your favourite books of 2023 were and what your reading goals for 2024 are going to be. It’s so fun to share our interest in books.










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Karen Houlding
Karen Houlding
Jan 02

I love how you keep track of the books you read and plan out what you want to read in the future! Any tips on how to keep a list of books read? I wish I had been tracking this as I've read so many! Adding in audiobooks and e-books has increased my number of books and reading enjoyment! I am interested in Fourth Wing and Iron Flame! I'm reading the 2nd book of The Seven Sisters set of 8 books which has been enjoyable so far (part beach read and part interesting world history). I always enjoyed Stephen King books in my 20's and I've read nearly all Jodi Picoult - interesting various covers for The Storyteller! Adam Shoalts…

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