Arthur Swan’s Nine Favorites of 2023

Dear Readers,

If you’re looking for reading suggestions, aside from LA FOG, of course, here are my top favorite novels from those I read in 2023:

9. The Last Word – Taylor Adams. A unique cat-and-mouse thriller in which an author targets a woman living in isolation for leaving a much-deserved, one-star review.

8. Miracle and Wonder: Conversations with Paul Simon – Malcolm Gladwell. Not only candid portrait of the musical icon and a fascinating interview, but also a soul-searching exploration into the nature of creativity.

7. Humankind: A Hopeful History – Rutger Bregman provides evidence that humans are inherently kind, while disproving countless events and experiments previously used to demonstrate otherwise. A much needed dose of optimism to counter the plague of animosity growing between the political divides.

6. Holly – Stephen King. Any questions?

5. An Honest Man – Michael Koryta. Complex characters with hidden secrets collide, in an evocative setting, when a flawed protagonist trying to make amends for his past mistakes becomes the prime suspect for massacre involving two opposing senators.

4. Eye of the Needle – Ken Follett. A master blend of suspense and intense characters, including a very unique villain, with a dose of history.

3. Prodigal Son – As usual, Gregg Hurwitz delivers exceptional plot twists and fast-paced action, and in this novel, he adds a new layer of emotional depth to Orphan X.

2. The Evening and the Morning. Ken Follett portrays the challenges of the Middle Ages, in England, through the eyes of such engaging characters that it’s almost impossible to put down despite the massive length of this novel.

1. Demon Copperhead – Barbara Kingsolver. Narrated by a witty protagonist with a powerful voice, this gut-wrenching, yet untimely satisfying story, humanizes the opioid epidemic and economic disparity that plague the American South. While reading this novel while living in California, I was overcome by the urge to move back here.