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  • Writer's pictureCatharine Riggs

My Favorite Reads of 2023

It’s December and once again I’ve compiled a list of my top reads of the year. It’s an eclectic mix comprised of two memoirs, two futuristic domestic thrillers, and a sci-fi mega-hit. I’ve also spent time delving into the classics including Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers On A Train, William March’s The Bad Seed, and Ross MacDonald’s The Chill.   


THE SALT PATH, Raynor Win. (2018) “The uplifting true story of the couple who lost everything and embarked on a journey of salvation across the windswept South West coastline.” Google Books. This one was personal. Pre-Covid, my husband and I had completed two 100-mile legs of England’s 600-mile South West Coast Path. We were set to embark on our third (and most difficult) leg this past May when an emergency derailed our plans. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. A friend who understood my frustration recommended I read Ms. Win’s memoir and I was riveted by her tale. It didn’t take the place of our adventure but her detailed descriptions of the rugged setting evoked rich memories of both the joys and struggles encountered while trekking the coastal trail. Fingers crossed we complete the Path next year!  


THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD MOTHERS, Jessamine Chan. (2022) “At rehab, Frida is taught that she has committed a sin not of parenting but of ontology: In conceiving of herself as a daughter, lover, employee and citizen rather than mother alone, she has violated a new code of maternal ethics." The New York Times. This thought-provoking novel comes a little too close to our current reality. It definitely gave me the chills.


THE ECHO WIFE, Sarah Gailey. (2021) “A trippy domestic thriller which takes the extramarital affair trope in some intriguingly weird new directions." Entertainment Weekly. Thoroughly enjoyed delving into the science—and grasping the pitfalls—of creating the spouse of your dreams.


WOOL, Hugh Howey. (2011) In this “…chilling postapocalyptic thriller, the toxic atmosphere has forced people to live in a 100-story silo deep beneath the earth, where they’re fed lies about the past and forbidden to dream about the future.” Apple Books. The author could teach a masterclass on the art of writing a death scene. Self-published in 2011, the series has become a publishing phenom. 


IN LOVE: A MEMOIR OF LOSS AND LOVE, Amy Bloom. (2022) “A powerful memoir of a love that leads two people to find a courageous way to part—and a woman’s struggle to go forward in the face of loss—that “enriches the reader’s life with urgency and gratitude.” The Washington Post.  Having lost my beloved father-in-law to dementia, I was captivated by Ms. Bloom’s account. Whether or not you agree with the author and her husband’s choices, the book challenges us to walk a mile in their shoes.

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