June 19, 2024

I really like end-of-year lists and wrap-ups. In the course of a year, I miss so many things, or notice them briefly only to forget about them before I have a chance to really check them out. Lists and best-ofs and roundups of all kinds allow you to go back to what you missed, and maybe get a sense of the year as a whole. This post is a wrap-up of my reading, watching, and listening for 2023.

Books:

I read 85 books in 2023— more than average for me, and well over the goal I set, which was 60. I can’t really say why that happened; it didn’t feel like I was dedicating more time to reading, or reading shorter/easier books, or anything else that would explain it, but there it is.

Most of my reading was fiction— 54 books— and the greater part of that was novels— 41 books. Here is a more complete breakdown:

Most of these books were originally written in English, with 11 having been translated— that’s a number I’d definitely like to be higher.

My favorite books read this year were, in no particular order:

The Guest Lecture, by Martin Riker
An Immense World, by Ed Yong
Trust, by Hernan Diaz
Sound Within Sound: Radical Composers of the Twentieth Century, by Kate Molleson
The Vulnerables, by Sigrid Nunez
Affinities, by Brian Dillon
Relentless Melt, by Jeremy Bushnell


Movies:

2023 was definitely a year of movies for me. This one I can explain more readily: we had an elderly cat with health problems who wanted to spend a lot of time sitting in my lap on the couch, and I was not going to argue. I spent a a lot of that time watching movies. I watched 144 films in 2023, including 132 feature-length movies and 12 shorts. (Distinguishing between those two is sometimes a little arbitrary). Forty-five films were in a language other than English. (I counted the language I saw it in—for instance, we saw the dubbed version of The Boy and the Heron, so I counted that as being in English, even though it is a Japanese movie).

Most of these (121) were new to me, and the majority (127) were live action— although I did see a lot of interesting animated films, thanks to this list.

Favorites from the year:

Showing Up, dir. Kelly Reichardt
You Hurt My Feelings, dir. Nicole Holofcener
The Boy and the Heron, dir. Hayao Miyazaki
Asteroid City, dir. Wes Anderson
Unrest, dir. Cyril Schäublin


Music:

And here are my favorite albums of 2023:

No real surprises here, since I’ve posted most of these already, and they are mostly artists I’ve been a fan of for a while.


I also recommend Tom Whitwell’s annual list of 52 things he learned this year, and this list of facts published in stories in The New York Times this year.


That’s it. Hope everyone has the best year available to them.

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