Saturday 30 December 2023

The Fifteenth Annual Westies - review of the year 2023

And so 2023 draws to a close. It's been another up-and-down year for me (Dude left for university in September and I can report that not only is empty-nest syndrome an actual thing, it's also bloody horrible), but it's been creatively satisfying and I've read a lot.

Which means that it's now time to indulge in the annual blog custom and remember the good books of 2023.

Once again, it's been a great reading year for me (one more book than last year, as it happens), with a nice mix of brand new novels, a lot of books that have languished on my TBR pile for too long, some good second-hand finds (which jumped straight to the top of the pile) along with some welcome re-reads.

My target for the year was to read twelve biographies and I achieved it - some of them were good, a couple were dire, but some were absolutely brilliant (Sam Neill and Geena Davis, I'm looking at you).

As always, the top 20 places were hard fought and, I think, show a nice variety in genre and tone.

So, without further ado, I present the Fifteenth Annual Westies Award - “My Best Fiction Reads Of The Year” - and the top 20 looks like this:

1: Double Indemnity, by James M Cain
2: A Love Letter Christmas, by Sue Moorcroft
3: C Is For Corpse, by Sue Grafton
4: Looking For Rachel Wallace, by Robert B Parker
5: It's My Life, by Robert Leeson
6: When You Comin' Back, Range Rider?, by Charles Heath
7: D Is For Deadbeat, by Sue Grafton
8: Point Blank, by Richard Stark
9: The Deep, by Peter Benchley
10: Carnosaur, by Harry Adam Knight
11: Are You Awake?, by Claire McGowan
12: The Night Shift, by Alex Finlay
13: The Burning Girls, by C J Tudor
14: The IT Girl, by Ruth Ware
15: Nightfall, by John Farris
16: Faithless, by John L Williams
17: The Ideal Couple, by Anna Willett
18: Gila!, by Les Simons
19: The Guilty Couple, by C L Taylor
20: Video Night, by Adam Cesare

The Top 10 in non-fiction are:

1: INXS: Story To Story, by Anthony Bozza & INXS
2: Did I Ever Tell You This?, by Sam Neill
3: Dying Of Politeness, by Geena Davis
4 All About Me!, by Mel Brooks
5: We Could Be Heroes, by Paul Burston
6: The Making Of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, by Derek Taylor
7: Blondie, by Fred Shruers
8: England's Dreaming, by John Savage
9: Chasing The Light, by Oliver Stone
10: The Director Should Have Shot You, by Alan Dean Foster

Stats wise, I've read 89 books - 40 fiction, 28 non-fiction, 14 comics/nostalgia/kids and 7 Three Investigator mysteries.

Of the 82 books, the breakdown is thus:

12 biography
10 horror
16 film-related
4 drama (includes romance)
27 crime/mystery
4 sci-fi
0 nostalgia
9 humour

All of my reviews are posted up at Goodreads here

In case you’re interested, the previous awards are linked to from here:

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