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My Top Reads of 2023

I set a goal for myself last year to only ready BIPOC authors and I accomplished that goal. Taking a look back at everything I read, black women wrote well over 90% of the books that I read. Instead of buying books last year, I utilized the library. For books my branch didn’t have I placed holds on them and they were sent to my branch and I only purchased the books I loved. I’ll “mostly” continue this process moving forward

I’m proud of myself for scrolling less and diving back into reading, something I’ve enjoyed since I was a child. Last year I read a total of 26 books, my goal was 50 and I could’ve made it but I hit a slump over the summer. I have a goal this year to read 45 books, but no pressure. When we put pressure on things it tends to remove the fun and make it just another thing to check off a list.

This year I would like to introduce video book reviews, I’m not sure if that will be something I do monthly, but I’m pretty sure that is something that I will indulge in from time to time. I’ll still continue to share my reviews on Instagram.

I came across some really good books last year, there weren’t that many that just blew me away, but there were really good ones,  some that I still think about today.

Top Books I read in 2023

Instead of dividing them out by stars, I’m going to categorize them into three lists, “Blown Away/Couldn’t Put Down” , ” Highly Recommend”, and “Honorable Mention”. All of the books on these three lists were my top reads of the year but when compared against each other some stood out against the others.

I’ve linked to each book on Amazon, you will also find the full official review there.

“Blown Away/Couldn’t Put Down”

  1. Hold You Down | Tracy Brown – Whew! I never cry at books, this one got me in the feels. It’s about two sisters, one likes to play with fire and the other plays it safe. So many emotions with this one. Reminded me so much of “The Coldest Winter Ever.” This was the first book I’d ever read by this author and unfortunately she passed away last year. I have heard nothing but great things about her other books and I plan to read them. Trigger Warnings: Every one you can think of.  This was my favorite read book of the year.
  2. The Two Lives of Sara | Catherine Adel West– I still think about this book. Something about the writing and Sara, the main character that just won’t turn me loose! It starts with Sara involuntarily moving to Memphis to start a new life. This book has a sequel “Saving Ruby King” which I also read. I think you are supposed to read that one first but I did it backwards and I don’t really think it makes a difference.
  3. Summer on the Bluffs | Sunny Hostin – I love a good book where I can imagine I’m in the pages and living the lives of the people in the book. I read this in the Summer and it was perfect. A fairly light read, with a lot of drama and luxury! There is a sequel, “Summer on Sag Harbor” it was just okay, but this one was too good!

 Highly Recommend

  1. The Love Songs of W.E.B. Dubois | Honore Fanone Jeffers – This was so close to being in the top 3, the issue is it started to ramble in some areas for me, but other than that I could barely put it down. It’s 800 pages of literary genius. The book intertwines various generations of Ailey, the main character’s family from when her ancestors land was stolen to current day. I listened and read this one, the audible was also very good.
  2. There You Are  | Mathea Morais – As a music lover this book drew me in. The chapters are the background soundtrack to an uncanny love story between two teenagers growing up in St. Louis.  80s/90s R&B, Hip-Hop, and Jazz were at the forefront. I want to say there were playlists in it, but I can’t remember.
  3. How to Say Babylon | Safiya Sinclair – This was good, there were a few slow moments but overall I highly recommend. This memoir chronicles Safiya’s journey to escape her father and the strict Rastafarian practices he forced in their home. Some of this stuff in this book was wild.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Bet on You | Ayanna Anis– I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction books, but this book felt like a pep talk from a home girl on manifesting the life you want and making bold decisions. If you need some encouragement to move, this is the book to read.
  2. Before I Let Go | Kennedy Ryan – The sequel to this comes out in March and I can’t wait. This was a great story about love and loss. This is a quick, light read. Think beach or vacation
  3. The House of Eve | Sadequa Johnson – This was good, but I didn’t care for the ending. That being said, I still say read it.
  4. Black Cake | Charmaine Wilkerson – I really liked this book and it is a bit different from the Hulu series and I loved that about this. I felt like you got two experiences for one. This one also started to ramble for me in places, allowing me to put it down for days at a time, but overall I did enjoy it.

I hope you find your next favorite read on this list! Stay tuned for more book content this year.