No, I am not confused about the time. Yes, I know we are already in 2024. However, sometimes life takes over and things get delayed. By life, I mean events like motherhood or blog redesign to reflect changing professional plans.

The delay still doesn’t take away everything from the year gone by, right? So, here I am with the 43 books that made up my 2023.

As always, the titles are linked to their Goodreads page and just a click away. Unlike last time though, I haven’t added quotes from the books. You know why – life. Hopefully, you find some books to mark out and add to your to-read list.


1. The Paper Palace – Miranda Cowley Heller

This was a forgettable start to the year. Although it was a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, I didn’t really find much merit or anything particularly interesting in the book.

2. Bringing up Bebe – Pamela Druckerman

A gift from a dear friend, I read this parenting book enumerating the French style, in hungry bursts. I (hopefully) picked up quite a few mindset aspects of parenting and how not to go into that easy path of becoming an obsessed parent. Although some ideas like the fact that babies can learn to sleep through the night by four months of age, set me up for some unrealistic hopes.

3. Red Notice – Bill Browder

One of the more memorable books, this was a recommendation from a friend. It was my first glimpse into the bullying tactics employed in Russia. The book exemplified the idea that fact is stranger than fiction. Reading about Bill Browder’s fight to save his investment business and then to get justice for a friend casually murdered makes for a thrilling, scary and partly sad read.

4. Spare – Prince Harry

Well, I knew what I was getting into with this book considering I am not much of a fan of this erstwhile Royal couple. I expected some readable gossip. What I got instead was an insufferably cribby entitled grown-up man getting paid bucketloads for crying in public. No wonder the book also notched up a milestone of being the most traded-in biography of 2023.


5. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow – Gabrielle Zevin

One of the very popular, much touted books of the year, even mentioned by Raghuram Rajan as a contender for his best read of the year. Following the story of Sam, Sadie and Marx over three decades felt more like a passable sitcom to me. But, as we discussed it in a book club meeting, it helped me notice the layers and the depth of the characters and their backstories. The book rarely slowed down in inviting you to continue reading.

6. The Henna Artist – Alka Joshi

Another Reese Witherspoon recommendation this was one of the few historical fiction books that made up my year. I quite liked the premise and the main characters that make up the book. But, somehow the image built up of Jaipur had a superficial feel all along. It could be my own bias knowing that it’s written by someone who has barely lived in India for the first decade of her life. Either way, it’s worth a shot.

7. Wrong Place, Wrong Time – Gillian McAllister

Hands down my favourite book of the year. What a thriller! What a twisted time travel tale. The raw emotions of the protagonist, Jen and the utter confusion almost every morning that she wakes up. I was able to get one of my book clubs to read it. That discussion turned out to be one of the most impassioned ones with every reader hanging on to a different thread but loving it all the same. It’s a must-read in my opinion.

8. Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tan

A book that fell short of expectations for me. I have read quite a bit of fantasy and this was to be a mix of fantasy and mythology. It was nice enough but probably more suited for young adults.


9. Lucy by the Sea – Elizabeth Strout

Oh my god, this must be the slowest book that I managed to finish. The story of Lucy stuck with her estranged husband during lockdown, sort of transported me back to those languid, stifling days. Somehow I managed to finish the book without much to show for it. It’s not my style but if you are probably looking for a book to crawl along, this might work.

10. The Last Bookshop in London – Madeline Martin

One of the second world war fiction books, I quite enjoyed this one. Reading the story of the Battle of Britain and the nightly bombings London was host to was a chilling experience. Alongside all of that, Grace and her way of having books make it better for the citizens was a good read. If you like the genre, this is a book worth picking up.

11. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

This is one of those unlikely romance books that is more about a socially awkward protagonist. The kind of book that really comes alive more so because of the voice or the point of view that you read it from. It’s a nice enough book but I think I often ended up comparing it to Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine and found it lacking resultantly.


12. The Seven Moons of Mali Almeida – Shehan Karunatilaka

A book club read thanks to all the publicity that the book got on winning the Booker prize. It is dark, depressing and downright confusing. As we discussed, it is really not linear and neither are you expected to keep hold of the threads before it. Trudge along for the stark truths that the writer keeps hurling at you, off and on.

13. Things we do in the Dark – Jennifer Hillier

This was an interesting enough book, with the relationship between Paris and Ruby being the highlight. Although considering how many thrillers, especially domestic thrillers I have read by now, the benchmark for what I find memorable has gotten much higher. There was very little that was novel or unique but I was hooked and finished it pretty quick. So if you are into murder mysteries or domestic thrillers, this is a decent enough book.

14. The Ride of a Lifetime – Robert Iger

This was a book club read that led to quite a wonderful discussion. What a life of corporate ascension at Walt Disney and what wonderful experiences described by Iger in a supremely readable manner. If you are looking for a business memoir, this one is definitely recommended.

15. Range – David Epstein

A book that had been on my to-read list for a long time. But, like a lot of non-fiction reads it was disappointingly repetitive. The author tries different permutations and combinations simply to make the same point – being a generalist is a better idea than a specialist. If you don’t buy that point, buy the book. If you are already in that camp, then feel free to skip the book.

16. Remarkably Bright Creatures – Shelby Van Pelt

One of the most disappointing books for me this year, I still can’t fathom the 4.4+ rating on Goodreads. Maybe it’s me who did not find the giant Pacific octopus Marcellus endearing enough. Or maybe the old lady Tova and her gentle ways did not appeal to me. Either way, I headed into it expecting much more than what I really got. If you are a Goodreads believer like me, 4.4 might still be a rating worth giving a shot to.

17. Happiest Toddler on the Block – Dr. Harvey Karp

Although I read the book when my baby was just about 3 months old, I am not in the process of rereading it and making notes. For parents of toddlers, in the conventionally tricky age of one to four, this book is chockfull of ideas and suggestions. Whether it really works for me or not, only time will tell. But, it sure helped give me a starting point.


18. Education of a Value Investor – Guy Spier

A rare recommendation from my husband, I was glad to have picked up this book. Looking at the title, it might come across more as a technical book meant for aspirational investors. However, it turned out to be more of a treatise on a way of life. It is more of a memoir with a few basic guidelines that can also help you become a better investor. A short sweet read that I would recommend for almost anyone.

19. Roller Coaster – Tamal Bandyopadhyay

Oh, this book. It turned out to be even more gossipy and well, trashy than I went in expecting. Tamal is a veteran banking journalist and this seemed to be like a book of all the things he has had to keep to himself over the years. Being in banking myself, I bought it just to see if there were people I could guess and whether there were any juicy bits to add to my repertoire of small talk. It is safe to say, this book is like the Filmfare magazine for banking, just less glamorous.

20. The Golden Couple – Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkannen

In the world of psych thrillers, this was quite an interesting one. Reading about the subtle tango danced by Marissa and Mathew Bishop alongwith Avery their therapist, I would say there are enough twists and turns to keep you hooked.

21. The Montessori Toddler – Simone Davies

Another one of those parenting books in my phase of wanting to read all possible books in the genre. While it is highly acclaimed, I am still on the fence about the whole Montessori method. Sure, get them to use their hands and mobility. Make them more independent. But, how do you figure when are you choosing to give too many important decisions for little minds to make. There is still some role of structure and an expected path before they are really ready to take their own calls. Or so I think, for now. Who knows how those thoughts change with time.

22. Sleep Baby Sleep – Kerry Bajaj

Another baby sleep book which left me enthralled and enthusiastic about the practical suggestions to be tried. Over the months though, that excitement has waned, giving rise to the conclusion that all babies are different and there may not be any magic pill.


23. How to talk so little kids will listen – Joanna Faber & Julie King

Finally, the last parenting book I read this year. My little one is yet to really start talking but I have been warned by enough people that it’s not always as pleasant as you think it will be. Also, with the talking start the turf wars or the emergence of own personality. So, this book found it’s way to my reading list, too. I would say it’s worth a read for anyone looking at some ways to peacefully navigate arguments or behaviour change.

24. Mythos – Stephen Fry

This was one long book but Greek mythology had been on my list to read for a very long time. While I didn’t think it was possible, their myths seem to be even more complex, twisted and strangely connected than Hindu mythology. Apart from the stories, what was also fascinating was some hints of English etymology. For instance, the word chronology is derived from the Greek god of time, Kronos.

25. Bangalore Detectives Club – Harini Nagendra

A gift from a dear friend, this was a book I struggled to finish. Although Nagendra paints a lovely image of 1920s Bangalore (especially the scene of Kaveri swimming in a brown sari), the overall writing fell flat for me. Even the mystery and the suspects seemed a little silly.


26. City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert

Another book on my list for a long time that I finally managed to read. I have mixed feelings about it. Maybe because it covered a fairly long period, at times it felt unnecessarily long-winded. Maybe it’s just twitchy me, tapping my fingers thinking come to the point because the book had multiple targets to hit. Be it the behind-the-scenes life in 1950s theatre or of course the big World War 2 event cleverly covered as part of the plot. In hindsight, it would make for a great book club read as varied threads are bound to appeal to different readers.

27. Mad Honey – Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finley Boylan

If I had to name one book that blew my mind and expanded my thinking in an unbelievable way, this would be it. What starts as a simple teen murder mystery just unravels in beautiful, sensitive layers that you never would have imagined starting out. While the book has been critiqued for pushing in too many issues in one single plot, I for one thought it was done admirably well. Another one of the few must-read books on this list.

28. Life From Scratch – Sasha Martin

Many years back I stumbled upon Sasha Martin’s wonderful blog and experiment of Global Table Adventure, where she cooked a meal from a different country each week. For me, this book was more to delve into the person behind a project I admired. I also liked the book for the stark honesty. It was astonishing to read about just how much hardship Martin has had to deal with through her life. All in all, I liked the book more as a fan of the blog and it may not be for everyone. 


29. I’m Glad my Mom Died – Jennette McCurdy

Of course, I hate the title. Personally, I didn’t understand the fuss surrounding this book. Yes, the mother was absolutely selfish and manipulative. I also didn’t take much to the voice of the author which was probably of the little child who only saw her mother through the haze of worship. Either way, I have read better memoirs and this didn’t really cut it for me.


30. Adityanama – Anita “Smiley” Puri

If I had to nominate one book for Facepalm award, this is it. I picked it up yet again for my connection to the banking industry, and in the hope of juicy tidbits about Aditya Puri. What I got instead was the reminiscing of an old lady trying to get some glory on the coattails of her retired successful husband. I know it sounds mean, but give it a read and you will find yourself nodding in assent with me.

31. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches – Sangu Mandanna

I picked up the book as it was a nominee for best fantasy for Goodreads Choice Awards 2022. The book was nice enough but really an easy peasy young adult read. Nothing special.


32. The Covenant of Water – Abraham Verghese

One of the most talked about books, this family saga spanning nine decades at times felt like it would take that long to finish. While things do close nicely towards the end, it takes just too long in coming through. The details of the surgeries and the diseases and all the different ways to die in 20th Century India made me crawl through it. However, if someone doesn’t mind too many characters dying and likes long descriptive reads, then this one does have beautiful stretches where you can literally visualise South India. So, it’s worth a shot for sure though I wouldn’t judge for your reading pace (or lack thereof) or even at a decision to abandon.

33. I am having so much fun here without you – Courtney Maum

One of my American library picks, it was an interesting read. One of the few books where the protagonist was a man, written by a woman. There is a tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating tone to the way the narrator describes the slow process of reconciling with his estranged wife.

34. Banyan Moon – Thao Thai

An interesting tale of the complex dynamics between three generations of women. I liked the interplay of feelings between these three women, with motherhood as a central theme in a lot of it. Maybe as a new mother a lot of it felt like food for thought for me.


35. A Psalm for the Wild-Built – Becky Chambers

These two books, novellas really, in the series had been on my to-read list for a long time. It takes a bit of time to really get entrenched into the world Chambers imagined but once you do it’s a fun ride. It’s a woke world but well-imagined and sensitively built. The long thoughtful conversations between the robot and the monk end up answering some deep human existential questions itself. A definite recommend, especially considering it’s such a short read making it well worth a try.

36. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy – Becky Chambers

The second book in the series, this novella is yet again an intense, packed yet short read. The Monk and the Robot continue on their quest to find what humans want or need. Chambers keeps up with retaining the interesting conversation while making the friendship grow between the Monk and the Robot.

37. Carrie Soto is Back – Taylor Jenkins Reid

A gift from a friend, this book reminded her of me with the similarity of tennis as a theme. But, as I read it, I realised the similarity ended there. What Taylor Jenkins Reid achieves is a masterful story telling experience as compared to my amateur attempt with Second Serve. While the tennis is beautifully spread across the story, even the relationships especially that between her Carrie and her father, were just so well sketched. This comeback tale of an aggressive, super achiever Carrie Soto was a definite highlight of my reading year.

38. Same as Ever – Morgan Housel

I have always loved Housel’s simple, impactful writing style which often goes beyond finance or investing, to penetrate deeper into life lessons. While a lot of his blog posts often come across as recycling of a bunch of limited ideas, unfortunately the book felt the same way. A lot of ideas and even anecdotal stories felt repeated from his earlier bestseller Psychology of Money. The remaining seemed to be camouflaged with a pretty gift wrap, while the crux felt way too familiar to the ideas repeatedly peddled by Housel.


39. Maame – Jessica George

December was a month where the end of the year lists sort of reinvigorated my reading desire again. Although some of that energy was thwarted for good reason with all the festive and family time. This was another much acclaimed debut I got my hands on. While it is a great plot yet again exploring complex parental relationships and mental health, I found it a bit belaboured and stretched. Still worth picking up if you like slice-of-life fiction.

40. Someone else’s shoes – Jojo Moyes

Oh this was a fun book. The premise of a shoe exchange and the ensuing confusion, hunt and events are interesting, to say the least. The diametrically opposite lives of the two women, Nisha and Sam, and their twining together makes for a light read. There are some twists that didn’t seem too plausible but the other merits of the book makes you want to forgive Moyes for those leaps of imagination.

41. Stolen Focus – Johann Hari

The book started out well, although I have read so much on productivity that almost nothing came across as new. I know things like less sleep and social media and instant gratification are big causes of our depreciated attention spans. However, as I reached the chapter on Cruel Optimism, I realised that was a fork in the road for our philosophies. I am a believer in the agency of the individual, where irrespective of the environment it is the individual who needs to be proactive to build the life they want. The book however took a turn towards talking about how messed up the systems are (social media companies, their incentives yada yada yada) and how we ourselves are helpless. More importantly, it seemed like a defeated purpose to try to make any changes till the system changes for the better. If you want to reaffirm the fact that you are a pawn in this capitalist attention economy, then alone I would recommend the book.

42. Outlive – Peter Attia & Bill Gifford*

The book details out the four Horsemen (Cancer, Diabetes, Heart ailments and Neurological disorders) that either deteriorate or snuff out lives towards the end, especially from the seventh decade onwards. I started out thinking this is a book that complicates some well known ideas of how to stay healthy – exercise, sleep and nutrition. In fact, at one point I thought that the authors were experts at being paranoid and took proactive pathological testing to unviable extremes. But, recently as a dear aunt was visited by one of the horsemen (thankfully with a milder hopefully recoverable version), I realise there might be some merit to their well-researched ideas. So, I read through most of the book with a filter to get more serious about health basics and adopt the doable aspects of it.

43. The Seven Year Slip – Ashley Poston

One of the few books in the year where I was hooked and just kept reading. It’s a fun time travelling romance. I loved the idea of how we are not the same people through time and love is about falling for different versions of the same person. If you like romance and are bored of the usual stuff, this was super fun.

So, that in a nutshell was my bookish version of 2023. Here’s to a more wholesome, varied and bountiful 2024, in books and otherwise. Happy New Year!