All Booked | 2023, the Year of Reading for Me

Ditching ‘Required’ Books for Pleasure Reading

This edition of All Booked was originally emailed to subscribers on January 3, 2023. To receive our literary newsletter in your inbox, sign up at independent.com/newsletters.


Hello, book lovelies!

Welcome to 2023. Ahh … a new year and endless possibilities! Like most of you, I’m sure, I spent the past week reflecting on 2022 and what sorts of things I want to bring into this year. Reading-wise, I’ve cut back on book clubs and other “required reading.” I want to get back to reading for me and for fun. 

I am definitely a mood reader, which means I have to be in the mood for a certain type of book to enjoy it. It’s a curse, especially when I am leading a book club and need to read a specific book in a certain amount of time. So in 2023, I’m going to be reading with my gut. This may mean that I’ll read an entire series at once because I want to stay in that world. The 2022 me would have been worried about not having enough variety for this newsletter. And I guess I would be lying if I said I weren’t still worried about that, but I’m trying to be more okay with it. In 2022, I found myself in several reading slumps because I was trudging through a book that wasn’t working for me. Reading should be fun. Period. It’s a form of entertainment. So this is your disclaimer that you will be getting my reading unfiltered this year. In this newsletter, you will see what I’ve been reading, what I’m looking forward to reading, and, of course, recommendations. What I hope will come of this is more books read, more books enjoyed, and more books shared.

I also want to get to know all of you a little bit better. What kind of books do you typically read? Do you mostly read one genre or do you read a variety of genres? Do you mainly read physical books, e-books, or audiobooks? Do you enjoy different formats for different genres? I put together a short survey that will help me get to know your reading tastes. I have also included a couple of questions about this newsletter. I want to get your feedback. What sorts of things would you like to see included? Do you have any topic suggestions? It’s completely anonymous and just for fun.

Over the holidays, I read two books. One I absolutely loved and the second wasn’t for me, but I can appreciate why others enjoy it. I’ve included pitches for both of them below.


I am a big believer in going into a book knowing as little as possible. I try not to read too much of the synopses or reviews, since most of them over-share. My pitches below are short and sweet just for that reason. 


Credit: Courtesy

As of a week ago, I had not read a single Fredrik Backman book. His books are so hyped and get incredible reviews, so I was a little scared that I wouldn’t feel the same way. But I was so wrong. I absolutely adored Backman’s Bear Town. The book follows a small town whose heart and soul are found in their high school hockey team. Even if you don’t enjoy sports or hockey, I know you would still love this book.

If you have already read this and loved it, then I think you may enjoy reading Michigan vs. the Boys by Carrie S. Allen. You may also enjoy watching Alaskan Nets, a film that came to SBIFF a few years ago. 


Credit: Courtesy

I originally picked up I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee because one of my favorite book podcasts, Books Unbound, was doing a community reading of it. I generally love memoirs, but I didn’t enjoy the format of this book. This memoir is mostly told in dialog between Sehee and her psychiatrist. It’s an intimate look inside her therapy sessions. Personally, I found it hard to get through and wasn’t compelled to keep reading. I did finish it but was disappointed in my reading experience. I think I was expecting something different from what was given.

If you are interested in memoirs around mental health, healing complex trauma, and therapy, then I would recommend What My Bones Know by Stephanie Foo. Foo was a producer on This American Life, and this is her memoir. Definitely look up content warnings for this book if you are considering picking it up.


As always, I would love to hear from you. What did you read over the holidays? What’s your first read of 2023? Let me know at emily@independent.com! Also if you have the time, I would love for you to take my survey.

Your smitten bookworm, Emily


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