(Almost) all the books I read in 2023


All the books I borrowed from the King County Library System or from the Seattle Public Library are logged online, and so are all the books I bought on my Kindle, and physical books I bought from Amazon. There’s some missing (books I bought in local bookshops, or stuff we’ve had around for a few years that I just got around to) but this list captures most of them, I think:

The List, Mick Herron – short story in the Sleeping Horses universe.

Dolphin Junction, Mick Herron – short stories in the Sleeping Horses universe

Secret Empire, Nick Spencer – a graphic novel about Captain America, dreck

The Blood and Guts “How Tight Ends Save Football”, Tyler Dunne, a not very interesting book about American football, couldn’t finish it

Escape From Yokai Land, Charles Stross, an ok Laundry short story, but not up to his heights

Something More Than Night, Kim Newman, a tremendous noir/Hollywood/horror story

Because Internet, Gretchen McCulloch, some interesting stuff on etymology

Uncertainty In Games, Greg Costikyan, good stuff on game design (both table top and computer)

Felonious Monk, William Kotzwinkle, couldn’t finish it. Murder mystery with a monk, didn’t really grab my attention

Woke up This Morning, Michael Imperioli, which got me back into watching The Sopranos. Lots of fun details in there.

Slaying the Dragon, Ben Riggs, a history of TSR and D&D. This was really good (and shocking to see how mismanaged TSR was…)

Agency, William Gibson. I’m not sure if I read this or not now. They start to run together…

Last Flight to Stalingrad, Graham Hurley. The protagonist is a Nazi, it’s a bit odd.

Guy Fieri Family Food, Guy Fieri. Like most cookbooks I read, it’s food porn, haven’t used the recipes.

The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-first Century, Frank Miller. A graphic novel, trying a bit too hard, dreck again.

Slow Getting Up, A Story of NFL Survival From The Bottom of the Pile, Nate Jackson. In which an NFL player keeps getting injured. Gruesome, but good.

Please Please Tell Me Now – The Duran Duran Story, Stephen Davis. Utterly disappointing as a band bio as it’s lacking in salacious details.

Crook Manifesto, Colson Whitehead. I loved this, so much so that I went from the library to the bookshop and bought his previous novel,

Harlem Shuffle, Colson Whitehead. Also very good, but then..

The Intuitionist, Colson Whitehead. I just can’t make headway with this book, despite the fascinating premise about elevator inspectors.

Billion-dollar Ball – A Journey Through the Big-money Culture of College Football, Gilbert Gaul. This was really good, and lots of surprise at exactly how much money there is in college football, and how little of it goes to the colleges (as opposed to the athletic departments…)

Game of Edges, Bruce Schoenfeld. A pretty good analysis of the post-Moneyball effects on professional sport, and considerations of how massively optimizing a sports team might not always be totally optimal.

Breaking Bad – A Cultural History, Lara Stache. Unmemorable.

Shadowsun, Phil Kelly. A Warhammer 40,000 novel about the Tau. Not great, particularly when the unkillable demonic plague beast doesn’t do much.

Parking the Moose, Dave Hill. A man goes around strange places in Canada. Fun, but not showstopping.

The Death of Stalin, Fabien Nury. Graphic novel that the film was based on. The book is pretty grim. Ah, comics!

Titandeath, Guy Haley. Warhammer 40,000, it’s got giant robots, it’s … ok

Wolfsbane, Guy Haley. Warhammer 40,000, it’s got Space Marines, it’s … ok

Heralds of the Siege, various. Warhammer 40,000 anthology, it’s … ok

Slaves to Darkness, John French, Warhammer 40,000. It’s abysmal.

Tallarn, John French. Warhammer 40,000. It’s short stories when you expected an overarching narrative, grimdark, bit meh.

Providence, Alan Moore. A compendium of graphic novels that appears to somehow be the third in a series. Felt like it went for shock value with lots of nudity and sex, ended with incomprehensible drivel.

Death to the Tsar, Fabien Nury. Another graphic novel by the guy that did The Death of Stalin, similarly grim. Well, maybe grimmer.

William Gibson’s Archangel, William Gibson. Graphic novel, time travel, pretty good.

Toy Fights, Don Paterson. Fun memoir of growing up in Dundee and then getting sectioned for teenage schizophrenia. Really liked it

Walking to Aldebaran, Adrian Tchaikovsky. Good, short. At the end you’re left thinking “what the hell was that, exactly?”

Ogres, Adrian Tchaikovsky. Good, short.

Football for A Buck – The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL, Jeff Pearlman. This was pretty entertaining, strange how Donald Trump shows up in this story from the 1980s…

Bin Laden’s Bald Spot & Other Stories, Brian Doyle. Has at least one great line: “It happened to me, but I won’t let it get to me.” Like most American short stories, they either seem more of a mood piece than anything else, or there’s some ‘ah-ha!’ twist that doesn’t really thrill.

The Russian Key, Jeri Laber. Spy novel set in the 50s and 60s, kept expecting it to get better, it didn’t.

Viva La Madness, J J Connolly. The follow up to Layer Cake, this is incredibly bad, achingly awful.

A Gambler’s Anatomy, Jonathan Lethem. It’s got backgammon, cancer, it’s pretty depressing.

Imposter Syndrome, Kathy Wang. A cross between Cold War espionage and the Theranos debacle. Not bad, not bad at all.

The Last Stand, Mickey Spillane. Hardboiled! Noir! Fiction! Pretty good, pretty short.

Cheddar, Gordon Edgar. It’s all about cheddar, a much more complicated cheese than I’d imagined. Learned various cheese based facts here.

Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon, James Hibberd. One of those “The Making Of …” books, some ok details about Game of Thrones, but a bit too much in love with the source material.

The Secret Hours, Mick Herron. More Slow Horses background material, I quite liked it, although it was predictable how the past and current parts would join up.

The Last Action Heroes, Nick De Semlyen. Starts with an amazing story about Stallone’s early life, can’t keep up with that for the rest of the book, too polite about Steven Seagal.

Off the Back of a Truck, Nick Braccia. More Sopranos stuff, with a frankly slightly revolting list of all the deaths, with a ranking applied to them. Why????

Smoke & Mirrors and Steven Seagal: The Burning Pants of Popular Culture, Stuart Millard. I like this, because it combines ranting about terrible action movies, British food, the lies of schoolboys in the 1980s and more.

Angron: The Red Angel, David Guymer. More Warhammer 40,000. Not bad, lots of stuff gets blown up.

The End and the Death, volumes 1 & 2, Dan Abnett. More Warhammer 40,000, these two go on a bit.

Triumff, Dan Abnett. This was terrific, got very sad when I lost it part way through my chemo (but then found it again)

City of Last Chances, Adrian Tchaikovsky. Big bit of (fairly) grim dark fantasy, really good.

Avenging Son, Guy Haley. Warhammer 40,000, not a very good example of the genre.

Warlock Holmes, G.S.Denning. Holmes and Watson, except Holmes is a practitioner of the Dark Arts and a terrible detective, and Watson understands how to make inferences. Good in parts, feels a little like the joke is stretched too far at times.

What’s notable from that list is that although I remember reading the majority of these books, I remember very little about most of them. I should really take to writing down what I thought of books in more detail when I finish them, rather than looking back 11 months later and trying to remember…


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