Nov 27, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

*maxes out my library holds*

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Thank you so much for mentioning my book - it's such high praise from any voracious, dedicated reader and of course your appreciation means a lot to me!

Some of my favorites from a quick glance at my list are

POVERTY, BY AMERICA by Matthew Desmond (nf)

DEMON COPPERHEAD by Barbara Kingsolver (litfic)

NINTH HOUSE by Leigh Bardugo (creepy magic-time fiction with a side of class anxiety)

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Nov 27, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. The audio book is read by Meryl Streep. So good!!!

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Nov 27, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

I loved Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land by Krueger. I just picked up The River We Remember and I can't wait to get started.

Also reading a thriller called Going Zero. No explosions or killings but a page turner about a company that collects and analyzes data of all kinds. They offer 3 million dollars to 10 people if they can disappear and remain unfound for a month. Fascinating look at how data is collected, what it's used for and what's actually legal.

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Nov 27, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

Yessss one of my fav field notes to receive this time of year! I've read about 1/2 of your non-fiction list and 1/3 of your fiction list, so I look forward to adding some new reads to my Goodreads!

My top 10 list is ALL non-fiction. But I'll share a couple honourable fiction mentions:

Top 10 in no particular order (so far from the 159 books I've finished this year):

- Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

- On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World by Danya Ruttenberg

- Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

- Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez

- My Body and Other Crumbling Empires by Lyndsey Medford

- My Body is not a Prayer Request by Amy Kenny

- Uncultured: A Memoir by Danielle Mestyanek Young

- On Our Best Behaviour: The Price Women Pay to Be Good by Elise Loehnen

- Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our Worlds, Change our Minds and Shape our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake (yes his real name)

- #10 is up for debate right now, but currently is held by The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore

Fiction mentions:

- Horse by Geraldine Brooks

- The Measure by Nikki Erlick

- Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

- A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

- Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel

- The Things we Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Could also list another 10 - 5 star reads but will practice some restraint 😅 Thanks again for sharing!

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

Going onto Libby and deleting holds so I can add all these new ones! I LOVED All my Knotted Up Life, too -- I so appreciated how vulnerable Beth is willing to be with us. And I just got Ordinary Grace from the library and can't wait to start. My favourites this year? I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet, Undistracted, On a Night of a Thousand Stars, The Premonition, The Forest of Vanishing Stars, The Measure, and I finally read The Year of Biblical Womanhood, which made me laugh, learn and cry for all we have lost in RHE (but so thankful we can still treasure her wisdom). Thanks so much for your heartfelt recommendations! I look forward to them every year!

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Nov 27, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zenter (really, anything by him)

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

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Nov 27, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

Fiction books I loved (not favorites! Not rankings! Can't choose!)

-Persuasion, Jane Austen

-Hello Beautiful, Ann Napolitano

-A Gentleman in Moscow and The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles

-The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (the Newbery Committee got it RIGHT with this one)

-Reckoning at the Riviera Royale, P.J. Fitzsimmons and all the other Anty Boisjoly mysteries too

-The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Nonfiction books I loved (see exclamation-pointed disclaimers above)

-No One Will Tell You This But Me, Bess Kalb (and I think it was better on audio because it is read by the author)

-The Incomplete Book of Running, Peter Sagal (also great on audio in the author's voice)

-My Body is Not A Prayer Request, Amy Kenny

-The Smallest Lights In The Universe, Sara Seager

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Nov 27, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

NF: Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara... Truly so so very good.

Many Lives of Mama Love by Lara love Hardin

Fiction: A constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

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Nov 27, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, Demon Copperhead, The Council of Dolls, The Covenant of Water, re-reading These is my Words.

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

I am the nerdiest book loving fool who ever was…..here are some of my favorites from the past year…..so far….

Dirtbag Confessional by Isaac Fitzgerald

All My Rage by Saaba Tahir

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi

The Polygamist’s Daughter by Ana LeBaron

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

(Last two are stories written about a similar time and topic from different parts of the same family)

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Between Two Kingdoms: A Year of a Life Interrupted by Sulieka Jaouad

My Government Means to Kill Me by Rasheed Newson

Tornado Brain by Cat Patrick

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

Your Plantation Prom is Not OK by Kelly McWilliams

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland by Jim deFede

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

In Memoriam by Alice Winn was my beautiful devastation this year.

And Body Work by Melissa Febos is a not-for-the-faint-of-heart personal narrative masterclass that I won't forget any time soon.

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Sarah Bessey

*Shark Heart a Love Story by Emily Habeck (There's nothing else like it, the premise sounds so odd but it is a completely beautiful read and nearly everyone I've recommended it to-- which is a lot of people because I'm a book seller 😂-- has joined me in my campaign to get the whole world to read it 🦈💙)

*Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley (listen to the audiobook for an even better experience)

*Love & Saffron by Kim Fay (epistolary)

*The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

*Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb

*The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

*Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

*Life Is In The Transitions by Bruce Feiler

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My Favorite Books of 2023 (in the order of reading them):

-Glory Happening by Kaitlin Curtice

-The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

-Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

-The Unfolding: An Invitation to Come to Yourself by Arielle Estoria

-Everybody Come Alive by Marcie Alvis Walker

I have also discovered the joys that are Audiobooks and Goodreads this year. Currently on a mad dash to finish my pledged 25 books, but I have told myself that I will be content with 20 books.

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My favorite novel was The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd. I heard about it from this community a few years ago, but didn't pick it up because I worried it would feel blasphemous. Several years of deconstructing later, it was the right read at the right time, and has led me to the realization that I don't know that I believe in a God of rescue any longer, but I do believe in a God of presence, and that realization has been a thread that has helped me continue to hold onto some measure of faith this year.

My other fiction recs are all YA magical realism. I loved Cemetery Boys and The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas (these ones have fantastic trans characters), as well as When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb, which is described as a queer, immigrant fairytale, and which I found quirky and delightful.

For nonfiction, the one I found most impactful was Equal Partners by Kate Mangino. It unpacked gender roles in the home, and offered many helpful suggestions for what reimagining them could look like. My other nonfiction rec is a collection of essays called We’ve Got This: Stories by Disabled Parents edited by Eliza Hull.

The one other book I'd like to throw in here is a picture book (a genre I've been re-exploring) called Little Witch Hazel by Phoebe Wahl. The illustrations are charming, and the author slips in representation of so many different communities and identities just as part of the illustrations.

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Goodness, Sarah, thank you!

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