Here we go again with our 5(ish) favorite reads of 2023! We try very hard to keep it to five, but it’s not always possible. So, there may be five or six suggestions, an A and a B list, memorable reads or just plain marvelous books.
This year we’re presenting our lists in bite-size chunks to make them even more digestible. We have more than 150 titles for you to sink your teeth into.
We hope to inspire you to read – and play! – some more.


A Psalm for the Wild-Built – Becky Chambers

A short novella about the journey a tea-monk and robot undertake together. Ostensibly solar punk with a feel-good vibe, it has many layers that are also surprisingly confronting. What is our purpose in life? And how do you deal with the realization you might never figure out what you’re actually supposed to do in it?

Be Useful – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Every time I told people I was reading this one, they chuckled, then when realizing I was serious, asked somewhat disbelieving: “Why?”

The reason is simple. I have always been a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, not just because he is the Terminator or has an awesome accent—although his accent is awesome—but because he has led an interesting life with a great focus on realizing his dreams. Becoming the best body-builder. Becoming a huge action movie star. Becoming the governor of California. But not just becoming the best only for himself, but doing it in such a way that being the best helps other people become their best selves and realize their own dreams. That is what the title of the book refers to. Not just tips and advice for achieving your dreams—although there is plenty of that—but also doing it in such a way that you can be a genuinely positive influence on everyone around you. Considering the times we are living in, with so many supposed leaders acting selfishly or hiding behind management jargon, it is quite refreshing to read seven useful lessons about realizing your dreams and goals that ultimately mean you help other people as well.

The Creative Gene – Hideo Kojima

Hideo Kojima, the world-famous videogame designer of games like Metal Gear Solid, describes in a series of essays the books, movies and music that shaped him as a person. A rich tapestry of reflection of many well-known and lesser-known creative works that will certainly spark your curiosity to seek out the works Kojima discusses.

Infinity Gate – M.R. Carey

I dislike stories that contains multiple universes. The moment you have multiple realities, it all just feels so pointless, as everything that can happen has happened/will happen/might happen, and it feels like all stakes in the story have just been deflated and reduced to another excuse for an MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) after-the-credits scene.

However, Infinity Gate takes the idea of multiple universes and spins it around until it becomes a rather page-turning epic sci-fi opera in which the stakes literally could not become any higher. Amazing sci-fi from an author at the top of his game, I am looking forward to reading the sequel next year, even without an after-credits scene.

He Who Drowned the World – by Shelley Parker-Chan

The sequel to She Who Became the Sun, which was my favorite fantasy novel in 2021, and oh my, does Parker-Chan knock this one out of the park again. The story continues with the girl Zhu, who usurps her dead brother’s destiny to become the greatest in war-torn medieval China. A high-stakes epic fantasy revolving around the question of what one is willing to sacrifice and do to seize absolute power to rule the world.


Hey ABC readers! As we wrap up this year, I’m excited to share my top five reads. These books have been my constant companions on long train and plane travels, late sleepless nights and romantic garden afternoons, giving me all the feels and taking me on epic journeys. So, grab a cup of tea, kick back and discover these awesome reads that have totally made my year!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

It is an absolute blast! Douglas Adams crafts a genius narrative where poor Arthur Dent finds himself in a wild space adventure after Earth’s unexpected demolition, joined by Ford Prefect, a hitchhiking alien armed with a peculiar guidebook. Wit and humor infuse every page, creating hilarious situations that effortlessly blend with profound reflections on life’s bigger questions.

It’s a cosmic roller coaster ride for anyone seeking an intergalactic thrill. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an absolute classic and a must-read!

Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This title was quite a captivating read. Benjamin Alire Sáenz beautifully explores friendship, identity and teenage love through Dante and Aristotle’s story. The emotional depth and relatable characters made it an incredibly enjoyable and emotional read. Funny enough, this was a suggestion from Jilles, another ABC expert, so it’s a double recommendation! I already packed it as a gift to my brother-in-law for Christmas!

A Court of Thorns and Roses series – Sarah J. Maas

Diving into Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series was an absolute whirlwind of guilty pleasures. Recommended to me by a friend: “Read ALL of these books so we can gossip about the characters.” The third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin, and the fifth installment, A Court of Silver Flames, were both rides of adventure, heartache, and growth. Wings and Ruin had me on the edge of my seat with its intense battles and intricate plot twists, while Silver Flames added an extra layer of depth to Nesta’s captivating journey of healing and self-discovery. These specific books truly stand out, evoking an exhilarating mix of emotions that made the series an absolute joy to read, especially on peaceful summer afternoons in the garden.

Strings of Murder – Oscar de Muriel

Yet another ABC expert recommendation, this time from Bella. From the very first page of Strings of Murder, I was completely hooked. Oscar de Muriel’s masterful storytelling instantly drew me into a world of intrigue and suspense. The setting, the characters and the gripping plotline left me yearning for more. I read this book with a specific “strings only instrumental eerie mystery music” playlist, and I am hungry for more. I will read all the books in this series!


Anxious People – Fredrik Backman

I also read Britt-Marie Was Here by the same author this year, and both books are equally good. Like his best-known book A Man Called Ove, these are terrific feel-good books with dry humor and insightful observations on life’s small stuff. Although the small stuff is usually the big stuff.

The Shadow of the Gods – John Gwyne

Like his two previous fantasy series, this is a Norse-themed fantasy with guts, battles and old gods come to life. Written from several perspectives, the pace is relentless. I love it.

The Last Devil to Die – Richard Osman

Just as funny and good plot wise as his first three in this series, but an even better read because of the development of its lovely characters. I’m predicting you will cry at a certain point in the book.

A Whisper of Sorrows – J.D. Kirk

This series comes highly recommended. Set in Scotland—with all the Scottish cursing included—it focusses on detective Jack Logan and his team who solve murders together. The setting, in combination with the characters, makes for perfect snacks. I’ll be reading this series to the end.

Spun-off from this are the four books in the Robert Hoon series (an ex-boss of Logan). They are ridiculous(ly crass) but made me laugh out loud often.

The Axeman’s Jazz – Ray Celestin

I judged this book by its cover (and the description on the back).

Set in 1919 New Orleans, it revolves around an announced murder and a few characters who are trying to solve it from their particular point of view (a young Louis Armstrong is one of them!).

You can smell the swamps, the gumbo and the music. Good read!

Below are the series I continue to read because they are GOOD! Kudo’s.

Eastgate – J.D. Kirk

The Fallen Angel – Daniel Silva

Gunmetal Gray – Michael Greaney

The Last Orphan – Gregg Hurwitz

Hell and Back – Craig Johnson