There’s only 32 hours of 2023 remaining in my timezone, so it’s time to review the things I’ve consumed this year and pick out my favourite content.
Note: all links below marked with a * are Amazon referral links, and so I receive a small amount of commission from any purchases. But please feel free to buy these from a local, independent tax-paying shop, or borrow them from your local library, as I did with several of these recommendations.
Favourite book of 2023
So far I’ve read 95 books this year, although to be fair, quite a few of these were bedtime stories for our eight-year-old. Those aside, my favourite book was ‘These Impossible Things’ by Salma El-Wardany*. It tells the story of three young British Asian women, who are navigating the divide between family and cultural expectations, and life as a young person in the UK in the 21st century. It’s very well-written, with very relatable characters. This is El-Wardany’s debut novel and so I’m interested to see what comes next.
Honourable mentions: There were a few books that I awarded five stars to on Goodreads this year:
- I’ve mentioned Dr Chris van Tullekan’s ‘Ultra Processed People’* and Dr Bee Wilson’s ‘The Way We Eat Now’* in my blog post about ultra-processed food.
- I read ‘Money for Beginners’* to our eight-year-old but learned quite a bit myself – the newest edition even explains cryptocurrencies.
- Emily Maitlis’ ‘Airhead’* was a great insight into how news is made.
- Travis Alabanza’s ‘None of the Above’* talks about the author’s experience as a mixed-race, non-binary person in society.
- What If? 2* is a sequel to Randall Munroe’s first book about absurd hypothetical questions – you’ll know him as the creator of xkcd. The first book* is good as well.
- ‘Fake Law’ by The Secret Barrister* is his/her/their second book, and looks into the facts behind various well-known legal cases. Again, their first book* was also excellent.
- ‘Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes’ by Rob Wilkins* was written by Sir Terry’s personal assistant, and there is so much love and admiration for his former boss.
- ‘My Child and Other Mistakes’ by Ellie Taylor* is one of the better parenting memoirs and genuinely very funny.
Favourite film of 2023
We haven’t been able to watch many films this year, and those that we have seen at the cinema have tended to be child-friendly films. We’re also behind on Marvel films and haven’t seen any in a couple of years. Of those that we have seen, probably my favourite was the Barbie movie, which was just hilarious all the way through. We saw it a few weeks after it came out and there were several of us laughing out loud in the cinema.
Honourable mentions: Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Amongst Thieves* was fun, and it was good to see Hugh Grant playing an antagonist for once. And it was nice to finally see a sequel to Chicken Run – I had the first film on VHS, which gives you an idea of how long ago since that came out, and meant I’ve had to explain to our eight-year-old what a ‘VHS’ is.
It’s also worth noting that we are planning to see Wonka tomorrow.
Favourite TV show of the year
Again, we’ve not had much time to watch TV this year. When you work full-time in a different city to where you live, and have a child who has school and homework and weekend activities, there’s not a lot of time to keep up with TV. Of the shows that I have seen bits of, The Repair Shop has filled that niche of being interesting, comforting and educational.
Favourite audio series of the year
Okay, so I basically created this category so that I could tell you about Felicia Day’s ‘Third Eye’*. It’s an Audible exclusive, and is more akin to a radio play rather than an audiobook. But, it has a narrator in the form of Neil Gaiman and is split into chapters. Felicia Day wrote the script for TV several years ago, and although no TV channels picked it up, it’s become a very good audio series with Day playing the lead character. London Hughes, Alan Tudyk and Wil Wheaton provide some of the other voices.
So – these are the things that I have watched, read and listened to in 2023. Next year, I’m hoping to catch up with the Marvel films we’ve missed (especially now that the pace of release has slowed down) and continue to read more things. Maybe I’ll manage 100 books across the year this time?