Last year I posted a long entry about how I relearned how to read. I was really pleased to hear from friends and colleagues about how they enjoyed that post! I’m back with my review of 2023, where I read even more books. I set a target of 50 and read 79; it’s a little annoying that I didn’t make it to 80, but by New Year’s Eve I was in the midst of the seventh Expanse novel (read more about them below – they’re generally more than 500 pages!) and I definitely wouldn’t have made it. It gave me a strong start to 2024!

I’ll start with some stats before I dive into my favourite books of the year.

As before, links in the following sections take you to the book summary on The StoryGraph, my favourite book tracking website.


Total 79
Fiction 63
Non-fiction 16
Library loans 8
Pages 27,104


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

The book that became Blade Runner. Quite different from the film, but still an enjoyable read – asks a lot of questions about what makes us human and really keeps you thinking – well worth the time. I have enjoyed reading older speculative fiction and hope to pick up more classics.

Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir

I also read Artemis this year, but Project Hail Mary reminded me most of the fun I had reading The Martian. A high school science teacher finds himself on a solo mission to save humanity and the planet Earth. I don’t think I can say too much more without giving anything away!

The Expanse (series), by James S.A. Corey

I actually started watching the TV series on Prime Video first, and a few episodes into the first season, read obsessively through the book series to keep up with our watching habits. The Expanse is a brilliant sci-fi series with exceptional worldbuilding, memorable characters, and all the conflict and politics you’d expect. I’ve just started book 8 (of 9) and the short stories as well. Highly recommend both the books and the TV series.


Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain, by Sathnam Sanghera

This was actually a very difficult read, but only because of the British history it describes. I do not remember having much of an education about the British Empire at school at all, and certainly not one as transparent and well-researched as this. I am really glad I made the effort to read it and educate myself – as an aside, it was also enlightening to learn about some everyday things that I had no idea were a direct result of colonialism, such as Rose’s Lime Cordial.

A World Without Email, by Cal Newport

This book introduced the concept of the “hyperactive hivemind”, or the phenomenon of being connected at all times and receiving work and information from every channel (I’m simplifying this a lot). It was interesting to read about the history of communication at work and how our current communication channels (email, messaging, etc.) evolved without proper design or use guidelines, and makes suggestions for ideal implementation. This summary of the book may be of interest to you. I have “Digital Minimalism” and “Slow Productivity” by the same author in my to-read pile.

The Cuckoo’s Egg, by Clifford Stoll

This is an account of the first documented case of computer misuse (I think that’s correct!) and it was fascinating. Beginning in 1986, Stoll, an astronomer, tracks unauthorised access through the computers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and uncovers something much, much bigger. Highly recommend if you are interested in cybersecurity or generally in computing or computing history.

I think the last one in this section needs its own explanation because I don’t know if I rate it in my top books of the year, but it was a challenge and an achievement! I read Behind the Enigma: The Authorized History of GCHQ, Britain’s Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency, by John Ferris. This behemoth was something like 850 pages and I managed to read it in about 13 days, because I borrowed it from the library right around the time I had a (very last minute) short break in Germany very close to a planned holiday to Japan. Kudos to the Weymouth librarian who placed it out on a shelf and piqued my interest in it! I got to visit Bletchley Park on my birthday back in March and it was awesome.

Video break!

Discusses what reading does to our brains, and how that changes if we read from screens. (BBC & The Open University, subtitles available)

Star Trek

I’m giving this its own section at the end of the post because I don’t believe it’s for everyone! 18 of the books I read this year were Star Trek novels and these were my favourites:

Star Trek: The Fall: The Crimson Shadow, by Una McCormack

Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War, by John Jackson Miller

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Never Ending Sacrifice, by Una McCormack