Best Books I Read In 2023

A major theme for my reading this year was trying to dig into the history of energy-production and its interaction with progress. Out of several, Energy and Civilization by Vaclav Smil came out ahead by a wide margin in a strong field.

Two other histories stood out to me: Black and British by David Olusoga and Quartet by Leah Broad. Both explored an aspect of social, political, and cultural history that I had not previously learned about in a way that I found engaging. Richard Baum’s lecture series on The Fall and Rise of China was also a favorite of the year, partly because of the lecturer’s personal anecdotes of his time visiting China as it was opening up to the West.

Margaret Atwood’s On Writers and Writing was a lot of fun, though probably only interesting to those who care a lot about writing or who are particular fans of hers.

I had a fairly disappointing year on fiction, with only Kindred by Octavia Butler really standing out against the crowd. This is in contrast to 2022, and something I will try to improve on next year.

The full list of all books is here.