Our Favorite Books of 2023

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An annual Christmas letter and family photo has been a tradition in my family since I was born, but really it goes back even further than that: my parents started the tradition in 1982 as their version of the annual Christmas card photo that my paternal grandparents began in 1957, the year their first child was born. In 2016, I began asking each of our children for their favorite book titles of the year to include in our family Christmas letter. And another tradition began…

In 2020 (the year in which we all read to stay sane, right?!), we decided to compile a list of our top titles we read that year. Throughout each year since, it’s been fun to discuss the books we’re reading and think about what might become our favorites for the year. So here we are once again to share the best book titles read and listened to in our house…

I didn’t read as many books as I usually do in a year. I often chose sleep over reading due to stress, grief, and sheer exhaustion. But other times I was simply scrolling, too lazy or tired to focus on a book. That’s something I’d like to change this year—opening the Kindle app on my phone rather than social media, even when I have only a few minutes, even when I may have to re-read the paragraphs a few times.

I thought this statement from my friend Rachelle was particularly insightful

“Books ground me. Especially fiction. It’s a sign of health for me that I’m reading at least one fiction book at a time.” 

Here’s to a year of grounding ourselves in stories!

Gretchen’s Top Ten Books of 2023

I read 68 books in 2023. Here are my top ten titles, in alphabetical order by author.

  1. Positively, Penelope by Pepper Basham
  2. Out of the Shadow World by Colleen Chao
  3. Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese
  4. The Words We Lost by Nicole Deese
  5. The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham
  6. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  7. Beneath the Swirling Sky by Carolyn Leiloglou
  8. The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin
  9. Wedding at Sea by Melissa Tagg
  10. Yesterday’s Tides by Roseanna M. White

2024 Releases Gretchen Rated 5 Stars

 First on Gretchen’s TBR for 2024:

Merritt’s Top 2023 Audiobooks 

Merritt uses Everand (formerly known as Scribd) to listen to unlimited audiobooks all year long. Here are a few of Merritt’s favorites from the nearly 90 books he listened to in 2023.

Our Children’s Top Books of 2023

Our children use Audible for the audiobooks they listen to over and over again, as well as the Loyal Books app for copyright-free audiobooks from Librivox. Just for fun, here are their top Audible stats for the year.

Ruth’s Top Seven Books of 2023

Ruth turned sixteen last year. She is excited to have completed her collection of Jane Austen’s books. Here are the top seven titles Ruth read in 2023.

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  2. The Divine Proverb of Streusel by Sara Brunsvold
  3. Beneath the Sands of Egypt by Donald P. Ryan
  4. Loyally, Luke by Pepper Basham
  5. Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
  6. A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White
  7. Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennett

Mary’s Favorites of 2023

Mary is a fan of audiobooks and graphic novels but also loves to collect vintage books (just like her parents!). 

Picture Books:

Graphic Novels:



Daniel’s Favorite Addition to His Library

The book that twelve-year-old Daniel was most excited to add to his library last year was a 1905 edition of Standard of Perfection. These books of chicken breeds are still published annually by The American Poultry Association. Thanks to his post-Christmas book shopping, Daniel’s collection of books about poultry now numbers 42.

Sara’s Favorites of 2023

Sara is eight years old. Here’s a list of the top ten favorite audiobooks she listened to last year. 

  1. Beneath the Swirling Sky by Carolyn Leiloglou, narrated by Michael Crouch
  2. The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart, narrated by Del Roy
  3. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder, narrated by Cherry Jones
  4. The Candymakers by Wendy Mass, narrated by Mark Turetsky
  5. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare, narrated by Pat Young
  6. Grimms’ Fairy Stories by the Brothers Grimm, narrated by Joanna Daniel
  7. The Rainbow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
  8. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  9. The Star That Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson
  10. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, narrated by Nick Offerman

Sara’s favorite graphic novel of the year:

Sarah’s favorite picture book of the year:

What are some of your favorite books you read in 2023? We’d love to hear in the comments!

Browse previous year’s favorites:

Photography: my daughter Mary Kate

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