November 25, 2023

7 Best Reads of 2023

Andrew's Top 7 Books of 2023. Fantasy heavy? Yes. All great books? Yes, again.

7 Best Reads of 2023
7 Best Reads of 2023

Now, before we jump in- some house keeping. This is my favorite books I read in 2023, not necessarily what came out. To go along with that, I'm very concerned that "Bookshops & Bonedust" or "Iron Flame" will have earned spots on this list before the year is out, though I've not started them as of this writing. I may update the post if need be with some bonus books if so.

Also, there's almost no one that reads this blog, so if you're some strange being that found it, rest assured that no one has paid me anything to rank on this list which is better than 99% of the lists out there.

1. Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia MD

How did it make the list:

Of all the books I read this year, this one had the single greatest impact. The mindset shift I had with my fitness habit was huge, and a TON of the points in this book resonated deeply with me. Also, pairs well with Disney's "Limitless" starring Chris Hemsworth.


Attia's book is a comprehensive guide to living a longer, healthier life. He covers everything from the science of aging to the art of living a fulfilling life, and he presents his ideas in a clear, engaging way that really resonated with me.

One of the most interesting parts of the book, for me, was Attia's emphasis on the importance of muscle mass. Attia argues that muscle mass is the "secret sauce" to everything, and I found this to be enlightening. He backs up his claims with scientific research, and he provides practical tips for building and maintaining muscle mass. One of the strangest anecdotes that came out of this was the correlation between grip strength (or really the lack of it) and increased likelihood of a premature death.

Another concept that I found fascinating was Attia's focus on preventive care. Rather than waiting until we get sick to seek out medical treatment, Attia argues that we should be proactive in taking care of our health. Specifically, looking at your annual blood work (you should be doing that, if you’re not) and using factors like elevated triglycerides or cholesterol as indicators of IMMEDIATE concern instead of the wait and see approach that medicine traditionally views these bad boys.

Overall, I highly recommend "Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity" to anyone and everyone. Attia's writing is enthusiastic and engaging, and his insights are both informative and actionable. This book is definitely worth a read!

2. The Sunlit Man: A Cosmere Novel (Secret Projects Book 4) by Brandon Sanderson

How did it make the list:

Disclaimer, my opinion is this book shouldn't be read until you've read almost all the other cosmere books. That said, WOW. Seriously. I literally was shedding tears in the middle of my workout. If you're about the cosmere and believe in "Journey Before Destination," this is top tier.


Phenomenal. Of the four Secret Projects books, this is the most likely one for a re-read on my end. To add color to this, I was wrapping up the last bit of the book while at the gym. I legitimately had to stop lifting for a bit to compose myself and surreptitiously wipe some tears away during lat raises. The amount of Cosmere-knowledge-bombs this book dropped was wild.  

This book is probably good as a standalone, but you shouldn’t be reading this if you haven’t finished everything released beforehand. Otherwise, the Cosmere speedbumps (i.e., easter eggs) will jack with the pacing for the uninitiated. Plus, that was some of the best bits in here.

3. The Book That Wouldn't Burn (The Library Trilogy 1) by Mark Lawrence

How did it make the list:

I wouldn't call this cozy, but for bookworms, this was such a great book that strikes the cozy yet action/adventure/epic combo nicely. Very library-core, or whatever you'd call that. Also, Lawrence is just getting better and better.


"The Book That Wouldn't Burn" took me on a thrilling journey through a vast and seemingly endless library. Lawrence skillfully crafted a fun and engaging narrative while also laying the groundwork for a larger universe, leaving me excited for what lies ahead. With its unique premise and cast of characters, this story was great, especially for bookworms and readers who may be a little obsessed with libraries.

4. Ask Iwata: Words of Wisdom from Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's Legendary CEO by Iwata and Hobonichi

How did it make the list:

This was a sleeper hit for me. I took a lot away from it, especially for work. Along with that, it was strangely nostalgic, and it made me fall deeply in love with Nintendo.

Side note:

In a algroithm-caused coincedence, I picked up the Hobonichi Techo Journal and it is awesome. Probably my single favorite, most luxurious and interesting journal I've picked up. If I get around to it, I'll update this with a review under the Gear section of the blog for just this guy.


From the moment I started reading, I was captivated by Iwata, who I knew nothing about before this. The book offers a collection of interviews, speeches, and anecdotes that provide a deep understanding of his mindset, work ethic, and innovative thinking. What struck me the most was Iwata's emphasis on the importance of understanding and connecting with players, and employees. He was relentless in his goals, without being a dick.

"Ask Iwata" is not just a book for gamers or Nintendo fans; it is a book that offers valuable insights and lessons for anyone interested in leadership, innovation, and creativity. I found myself inspired and motivated by Iwata's words, and I believe his wisdom can be applied beyond the gaming industry.

5. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter: A Cosmere Novel (Secret Projects Book 3) by Brandon Sanderson

How did it make the list:

This was a great one. And I know, Sanderson on the list twice. Sorry, not sorry. This was such a beautifully written book, especially great for creator types, and those who have a thing for Japanese culture. It is cosmere, and near the end of the current timeline, so it's arguably worth having read other cosmere books to have the full effect. But, unlike The Sunlit Man, this is a pretty decent, standalone.


This was such a fun book. Exceptionally original, has a noodle shop that I’d kill for, and throws out a lot of Cosmere easter eggs for those (like me) who dig that.The dance he weaves with the two main characters is fun, and I love this new “magic” system. The Japanese vibes are a blast, and made me miss Japan more than I have in years. To add to it all, it was very much for anyone who struggles with being a creator, and not feeling like they’re worthy. Loved it, and everything inside. Please, read it.

6. Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldtree

How did it make the list:

I backed the kickstarter, and the book showed up. And then sat. And sat. And sat.

I gave up, and grabbed the audiobook. And man, I loved it. This is truly a cozy book, and such a nice change of pace compared to my usual reads. I have trouble imagining anyone not digging this. It warmed my heart.


Look, all of us bookish nerds have dreamed of having a cozy coffee shop with delicious pastries and the occasional customer we fight to the death. This book is for us….

If you need more than that, it’s also very D&D, but post-campaign, if that makes sense. Sublime.

7. Only the Dead: A Thriller (Terminal List Book 6) by Jack Carr

How did it make the list:

First, I really wanted a non-scifi/fantasy, non-self-devolopment book. Second, this series has gotten me into thrillers, and this sixth book in the series the most. It's also a bit of a place holder for all of this series, as I spent a fair chunk of the spring and summer listening to these while rucking and walking Jasper. Core memories, here. Plus, they're just fun. I'm tired of book lists having culturally trendy, or theme specific books making the list based on the idea of the book and author more than the merits of their writing.


It borders on embarrassing how much I’ve been enjoying this terminal list series. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten all gung ho about rucking, or the Hard to Kill Fitness Bodyweight Program or my ever-increasing love for a good bromance, but this book had it (though the bromance was a bit lacking in this one compared to the others). If you like modern, one-man, lone wolf army kind of books starring guys who are way too into guns, this is for you.

This is book six, so I’d recommend starting at the beginning. That said, I accidentally skipped the first book in the series and it really didn’t seem to have a huge effect on me enjoying book two and on.

Want More Books?

Check out the Notion page where I have all my book tracking going on.
Andrew's Book Tracker

Much Love,


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Andrew Monroe

Writer and Geek

Like every bald, bearded white guy, I have too many hobbies and not enough time on my hands. Hope you enjoyed this post!

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