2023 in Books

2023 has passed and I’ve read more during that year than usual. Sadly, though, reading-wise 2023 was a very mixed bag – 3.1 was my average rating, Goodreads helpfully informs me and it makes sense.

There were some very good books, though, and on those I’m going to focus here:

The most lasting reading impression of 2023 was made by something totally unexpected: Saga, a comic.

It has magnificent, diverse, colourful characters that struggle in a universe that is so fantastically different from ours and yet so eerily familiar in some aspects. Saga’s wonderful art and, ultimately, its strong and unwavering support for being oneself and acting responsibly – it actually gives me hope.

Gale Zoe Garnett’sVisible Amazement” put me in a difficult spot: May I like a novel that has a 42 year old man have a sexual relationship with a 14 year old girl? Considering it’s up here with Saga, the answer I came up with after many discussions is obvious. The longer answer is in my review: https://turing.mailstation.de/visible-amazement-by-gale-zoe-garnett/

The chronologically first book that really captured my interest was Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel “Persepolis” about her childhood and youth in Iran. Here followed many attempts to reign-in my intense hatred and disgust for the country’s “government”, “laws” and “doctrine” today. I failed so I just deleted it all and I’d just like to invite you to make up your mind based upon reading this brilliant novel and its successors.

The Island of Missing Trees” by Elif Shafak was a “surprise success” for me – I have no idea how this book smuggled itself onto my TBR pile. It allowed me a glimpse at the divided island of Cyprus and how this division affects its people.

In yet another attempt to improve my understanding of the darkest part of history of my native Germany, I read the first part of a new Hitler biography by German historian Volker Ullrich.
It was brilliant, informative, engagingly written – and still left me wondering how people could fall under this man’s spell. Maybe the second part that I’m going to read this year will help – even though I doubt it.

Of course, I’ve read a lot more but looking over my year in books, nothing else really needs mentioning.

I wish you and yours all the best for 2024 and may there always be great books in your path! Happy new year!

Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam

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