Best Books Read This Year
Table of Contents
Besides podcasts, books are my absolute favorite type of media to consume.
For the past few years, around the end of the year, I’ve done a little book round up of the books I read and loved that year. And if you’re a loyal listener, you’re awesome, and you’ve definitely heard a few other book-themed episodes sprinkled in.
And if you’re in our free Facebook group, you get book recommendations in real time! And you all are always open to sharing your recommendations too which are always welcomed! I love that we all love to read.
This post is my 2023 book recommendations list! Mostly because I simply HAVE to talk about the books I read to ANYONE who will listen…which just so happens to be YOU. And also because I know how much you all value book recommendations. Because your “to be read list” can never be too long, right?
In this episode, I’ll mention all the books I read this year, fiction and nonfiction, and hopefully you can walk away with some new recommendations to add to your TO BE READ list.
Book Recommendations 2023
I LOVE books. I’ve written a few of them myself. And I’ll let you know before we get too far into the book list that you can find all of the books I recommend at spirituallyinspired.co/books. I do my best to keep that list updated, so you can bookmark it and check back periodically if you ever get stuck on what to read next.
In 2021 I read something like 80 books. IN ONE YEAR. It was insane. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever read that many books again in 12 months. But this year, I still read quite a few and I’m proud of that. I keep a spreadsheet of books I’ve read and a few notes about them as I go throughout the year, so I know I don’t miss any. Not all of them are bangers of course, but most of them were pretty awesome.
And if I don’t finish a book, it doesn’t get added to the list. So besides the ones I’m going to mention, there were several others that didn’t make the cut because I didn’t spend the time to finish them for whatever reason. I believe life is too short to force yourself to finish reading books you’re not excited about.
I’ll also say that I pretty much exclusively read audiobooks. I find it so much easier to concentrate on the stories and information. Plus, the narrators really bring the characters to life and I really love that aspect of audiobooks. I don’t get a lot of time to just sit and read thanks to my young family, so audiobooks are the perfect solution.
In total, I read 24 NEW books in 2023. Which I’m pretty happy with! That’s an average of two books per month. And there’s a pretty good mix of fiction and nonfiction. So I’m going to go through them now in the order in which I read them, with some mini reviews (that are completely free of spoilers).
NEW BOOKS READ IN 2023
I started the year reading a prequel series to my FAVORITE series called Manners and Monsters by Tilly Wallace. This series is called Tournament of Shadows, and it brings together all my favorite fiction tropes in one place. It’s romantic, it’s magical, it’s feminist, it’s a cozy mystery with an overarching mystery, and it’s historical in the regency and Victorian eras in England. It’s hard to explain this entire world of magic and romance in a short review like this, but I genuinely love it. IT’S SO GOOD. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the next two books in 2024! So if you like supernatural creatures, historical magical realism with sweet romance, and a bit of amateur sleuthing, I definitely recommend ANY book by Tilly Wallace. They’re all masterpieces.
Here’s another author that I always recommend. Joanna Penn hosts the Creative Penn podcast geared towards authors and podcasters. I’ve read all her books, fiction and nonfiction, and I picked this one up because I want to do more public speaking for Spiritually Inspired in the new year and this book was helpful. So if you’re a creative like myself, I recommend checking out Joanna Penn. If you like thriller novels, definitely check out her fiction books under JF Penn, specifically the MapWalker Series.
Honestly I forgot I read this one. I picked this one up at the library because I thought I might spend some time doing freelance writing work. I realized that wasn’t really what I wanted to spend my time doing thanks to this book. It wasn’t bad by any means. It was actually awesome and very comprehensive. That’s just not the direction I wanted my writing career to go. So while I finished it, I didn’t pick up any more in this genre this year.
I’ve definitely mentioned this one at least a few times this year. This book is short and sweet, and kinda fun too. It talks about how you can call upon the wide variety of Spirit Helpers to help you accomplish literally anything in life. I like how the author equated it to “hiring” staff in the real world. It was a fun fresh take on asking Spirit for help at any time, no matter what you need help with. This one would be good for anyone who isn’t quite sure how to work with Spirit Guides and what they can offer.
I really enjoy reading books about business and psychology. This book talked about people who are driven and what it takes to be among the high achievers in life and business. I enjoyed this one, but I read a similar one later in the year that I think was much more impactful than this one, and I’ll get to it in a minute.
That being said, I am definitely a fan of Daniel Pink. This book is fantastic for anyone who wants to build a career around “gentle” selling. No one likes the trope of the slimy salesperson, right? That doesn’t make us feel good. But if you have a job in the world, whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, you’re selling something to someone. This book addresses the psychology of ethical selling, where it’s a fair exchange of goods and services that helps everyone thrive. This book definitely helped me realize that I don’t need to go down the slimy path of “bro marketing” to be successful in my career. If you’re a business owner, or want to be, definitely reach for this one.
Okay, these two books live totally rent-free in my heart. They were absolutely beautifully written, heart wrenching, with great plot twists and character growth. These books are based on Asian mythology (which was entirely new to me) and I definitely cried multiple times. There was action, feminism, love, betrayal, war, and so much more. I might have to read them again. UGH so good! And the narration was perfect as well.
So this is the fourth book in the Tournament of Shadows series (the prequel to Manners and Monsters). So far, that one was my favorite! Again, there were some awesome plot twists, lots of romance, and of course plenty of magical scheming. And the underlying tone of feminism taking place in Regency England deserves a round of applause. UGH I seriously cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out!
There are very few celebrities that I care about. I’m not one to go super-fan for just any actor, actress, singer, or anything like that. There are a small handful that I do really care about, and this couple is one of them. Nick Offerman is best known for playing Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation, and Megan Mullally played Karen on Will and Grace (both sitcoms I adore). And this was the book they wrote together about how they met, fell in love, and how they live their lives. It was so charming, funny, romantic, and touched on so many interesting and important topics. If you’re a fan of these two like I am, you’ll definitely love this book. They’re so clearly in love, and also raunchy, it made for a very enjoyable read!
This book isn’t new by any means. But I finally got the chance to read it, and I am so glad I did. It really helped me understand what it means to practice deep meditation beyond simple mindfulness practices. It pieced together a lot of things that I felt were missing from my personal practice. It filled in some gaps in my own coaching and teaching, and I intend on revisiting this one next year. Later I’ll talk about Joe Dispenza’s books and their impact on me, but those ones are much more scientific. Michael Singer spoke about a lot of the same concepts, but in a more spiritual tone. They go great together.
Kassandra Reinhart has a YouTube channel with millions of subscribers where she has been sharing yoga flows for years. She published this BEAUTIFUL book this year, and I am absolutely in love with it. It’s not only physically gorgeous to look at, but also very practical and easy to understand. I feel inspired to do yoga when I look at it, and just inspired in general for what’s possible in the world of spiritual business. And there’s so much more in there than just yoga. There’s meditations, book and song recommendations, crystals, new and full moon rituals, essential oils, and even recipes. I definitely recommend this one if you want to start a yoga practice, or make yoga a bigger part of your life!
This book was a fun, easy summer read. It was a book about a successful woman starting over in her thirties while also uncovering mysteries of a small town. I love these kinds of historical books that jump from the past to the present, tying everything together. I wouldn’t say this book was a masterpiece by any means, but I enjoyed it. It was romantic and relatable, plus I loved the way she uncovered secrets about this seemingly abandoned cottage. Also there were some subtle, supernatural elements in it that were so cool! And she lived on a houseboat for a while, and made friends with the librarian, and was a successful author herself. I lived vicariously through the main character a bit. It was good!
Okay so this book is the one that was similar to Drive by Daniel H. Pink, but 10 times better (sorry Dan). The amount of research that went into this book is amazing. I know I’ve talked about it several times this year because it really helped me understand what it takes to be a high achiever psychologically speaking. Or even just to overcome adversity. This book, paired with Mindset by Carol Dweck, should be required reading for anyone who has big dreams! Psychology is so interesting to me. And if you haven’t noticed, I often refer to psychological theories and concepts in this podcast because to me, the more we understand our own mind, the easier it is to connect with something Greater Than Ourselves. So if you want to learn about achieving your dreams, pick up Grit, and maybe skip Drive. You’ll get so much out of this one, I just know it.
This book is very interesting if you’re ready to dive deep into the world of Quantum Mechanics. If you’ve ever heard me say “Life is images of the mind express,” it came from this book. I’d say this book is rather advanced, because it was dense and not the kind of book you can just fly through. But if you’re ready to really learn about the quantum world and how it works, this one (plus all of Joe Dispenza’s books) would be fantastic places to start. I read the physical copy of this one, I picked it up at the used bookstore for a few bucks, and it was much easier to understand than the audiobook in my opinion. This one had been on my list for a few years, so I’m glad I was finally able to read it. I’ll definitely be referring back to it as it has so much information.
Okay, if you’re really ready to explore the world of quantum mechanics as it pertains to manifesting, then Dr. Joe Dispenza is your guy. I know I’ve been bringing him up a lot lately, but his books have really helped me connect so many dots. His research is fascinating, and applicable to everyone. I have infinite respect for anyone who is actively working to bridge the gap between science and spiritual understanding. It’s very important work. I read all of Dispenza’s books back to back. This one was the first one I read, I believe it was his latest one, but I think my favorite is actually the next one:
This book has totally transformed how I work with my clients and how I practice my own deep meditation. The concepts in this book, combined with Untethered Soul, really upped my meditation game this year. I feel much more aware of what’s happening in my mind and body when I meditate, and what it means to be stuck in habits that don’t serve you (and not to mention breaking those habits for good). I love how this book addresses the energy of as, emotions, etc. and clearly discusses how it changes the chemistry of your body (Which ultimately affects everything else in your life). Dr. Joe very rarely refers to the LOA or the word “manifesting,” but it’s very clear that he is pioneering a scientific understanding of these spiritual Universal Laws and how they exist in our being. And more importantly, how we can change our state of being.
I know there are haters out there saying that JD is promoting pseudoscience, and I’m not a scientist myself (just a life-long learner). But it seems VERY obvious to me and anyone with even just a little bit of education and real-life experience that your attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs have a profound impact on the reality you experience. And I want to remind you, dear listener, that if anyone (especially a healthcare provider) truly doesn’t believe that there is a STRONG mind/body connection, then perhaps it’s time to consider disassociating from them. They may be loud, but they are certainly the minority. Most people intuitively understand that your thoughts affect your reality as well as your health. JD’s books help explain why that is. And I’m confident that his research will continue to uncover the truth of the mind/body connection.
Speaking of mind/body connection, surely you’re aware of the placebo effect, right? This book by JD was SO interesting as it dives into the many studies done on the placebo effect. It’s a short read, but the implications are huge. The placebo is not pseudoscience, it is real and very well documented. This book sheds so much light on what happens within your brain and body during the placebo effect. The biggest thing I took away from this book is that your mind and body are capable of SO many things that we might not even realize, and even though the placebo itself might be “fake,” the results experienced from the placebo effect are very much real. Definitely worth a read.
So I read a lot of heavy sciency books right in a row, so I wanted a little reprieve. This book was very short, about 2 hours of listening time. But it was interesting enough. I wouldn’t say it was groundbreaking by any means, but it talked about the different cycles companies tend to go through: honesty, efficiency, deception, and redemption. After reading about these stages I felt like I better understood why so many corporate conglomerates behave the way they do, and it also gave me hope for a different economy coming up in the future. I thought I was going to read more about how businesses could prioritize people and still be profitable, but that really wasn’t the thesis of this one. If economics is interesting to you, you might enjoy this quick read.
- Witchy Whiskers by Danielle Garrett
- Hexed Hiss-tory by Danielle Garrett
- Cursed Claws by Danielle Garrett
- Purrfect Potions by Danielle Garrett
Okay so these final four books are part of an ongoing series, they were each about 5 hours long (so quick reads) but they were adorable. I would have happily listened to each of these books even if they were 10+ hours long. It had a lot of the same elements that I love about Manners and Monsters: magical realism, romance, and mystery solving. I blew through all four of these in less than two weeks, and there are several more in the series once I can get my hands on them from the library. I also realized that the author has many other books too, but I was hesitant to start reading them because I didn’t want to accidentally get any spoilers! I definitely think these stories could have been more detailed, but I still think they are enjoyable reads. Selene, the talking cat in the book, is reason enough to read them!
So those were all 24 of the NEW books I’ve read since January 2023.
I did something I don’t normally do this year, and I reread a lot of my favorites and ones that really impacted me in the past. So while I always had a book to read, it wasn’t always a new book. But I’ll recommend them to you anyway because a book that’s worth reading more than once is worth mentioning.
Books Reread in 2023
- Manners and Monsters by Tilly Wallace
- Galvanism and Ghouls by Tilly Wallace
- Gossip and Gorgons by Tilly Wallace
- Vanity and Vampyres by Tilly Wallace
- Sixpence and Selkies by Tilly Wallace
- Hessians and Hellhounds by Tilly Wallace
- Mistletoe and Mireworth by Tilly Wallace
Okay to start, I reread the ENTIRE M&M series for a second time because it is my absolute favorite series. If anyone out there works for Netflix or Hulu or Amazon or HBO Max, for the love of God PLEASE turn this series into a TV SHOW! If you ask me, this is the perfect series. I first discovered it in 2021 while I was reading 80ish books and I can’t truly illustrate how obsessed with it I am. The narrator is perfect, the author is passionate about this series, and I even once had the pleasure of speaking with her! She told me that she never thought the “crazy ideas in her head” would turn out to be so beloved by so many people. If you only take one recommendation from this list, please make it this series. Then message me so we can talk about it PLEASE.
- Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza
So I just gushed about JD and his work a minute ago, and I’ll say again that this book was my favorite of his. I particularly enjoyed the bit at the end where he outlines a “plan” to implement all he taught in this book, week by week. If you’ve been following me this year, you might have noticed how my work has transformed since I discovered this one. I hope it impacts your mediation practices as much as it impacted mine.
- Kill The Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson
- No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson
- The Princess Beard by Delilah S. Dawson
M&M is my #1 favorite series. But The Tales of Pell are definitely a VERY close second. Have you ever read a comedy book before? If you haven’t, listen to this series. And I highly recommend that you actually listen to the audiobooks because in my opinion, the narrator, Luke Daniels, is the reason why this series is so hilarious. Holy shit, he is SO GOOD at making voices. I have never come across another narrator that brings the characters to life in such a way. Of course the stories are totally ridiculous, full of satire, plenty of plot twists and puns, but there are also points that bring tears to your eyes and other parts that make you feel victorious! I have never come across another series like this one. I also think these would make a great TV show (for those of us who enjoy Monty Python type humor). Again if you decide to read these ones, PLEASE MESSAGE ME so we can talk about it!
OKAY I think that’s enough nerding out on books for today. I’ll have them all listed at spirituallyinspired.co/books if you want to go and explore. I hope you heard at least a few that sound interesting.
I know I wouldn’t be able to pick just one favorite, but my top two nonfictions for this year were probably Grit and Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself. Then for fiction it would probably be between Daughter of the Moon Goddess and the Tournament of Shadows Series (which is cheating because it’s multiple books).
Thank you so much for listening! This has been episode 164 of the Spiritually Inspired Podcast titled 2023 Book Report. I’m Sara Rae, I’m your manifesting coach and as you go on your way this year, know that I’m sending you an abundance of love, light and inspiration. Blessed be friends!