Books I read in 2023

April 6, 2024

This is a list of the books I read in 2023. ★ means I loved it.

The books are in reverse order of when I put them into Zotero; I read some books right away, while others waited around for five or ten months until the time was right. I read all but five of these books on my tablet.


The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Michael Chabon

The Gadfly Papers, Rev. Dr. Todd Eklof

Greatest Works, Oscar Wilde

Another Day of Life, Ryszard Kapuściński

Humanitarian Ethics, Hugo Slim

Active Defense, M. Taylor Fravel

How to Launch a High-Impact Nonprofit, Joey Savoie, Patrick Stadler, & Antonia Shann

The Shadow List, Todd Moss

Ghosts of Havana, Todd Moss

Diplomatic Security, ed. Eugene Cusumano & Christopher Kinsey

The Mission Song, John Le Carré

Minute Zero, Todd Moss

Darfur: A 21st Century Genocide, Gérard PrunierFifteen years old, but sadly relevant again. Prunier avoids biography, but the portrait of al-Bashir in this book provides context for events across the Sahel.

The Dyer’s Hand, and other essays, W.H. Auden

Teen Couple Have Fun Outdoors, Aravind Jayan

A City on Mars, Kelly Weinersmith & Zach Weinersmith

The Little Flowers of St Francis, St. Francis of Assisi, FlorilegiumRead aloud with JB.

The Golden Hour, Todd MossThe first of Moss’ fiction. It’s fun, and more technocrats should write fiction about their job, but even the interested reader should stop here.

The Birthday of the World, Ursula Le Guin

Red Storm Rising, Tom Clancy

The Selected Works of Edward Said, 1966-2006, Edward Said, ed. Moustafa Bayoumi & Andrew RubinThe Question of Palestine is the most interesting thing a confused, humanist Jew can read on the long durée.

The Soccer War, Ryszard Kapuściński

The Sum of All Fears, Tom ClancyRead because of this tweet.

The Origins of AIDS, Jacques Pepin

When We Were Very Young, A. A. Milne

What Led to the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, John Hanning SpekeRidiculous, true book. Little insight into East Africa; great insight into the late British colonial psychology.

The Strategy of Antelopes, Jean Hatzfeld

★★ Africa’s World War, Gérard Prunier

Elephantoms, Lyall Watson

France on Trial: The Case of Marshal Petain, Julian Jackson

Incest Diary, Anonymous

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard

Arcadia, Tom Stoppard

The Soul of an Octopus, Sy Montgomery

The Worst Date Ever, Jane Bussman

The Politics of Reform in Ghana, 1982-1991, Jeffrey Herbst

Augie & the Green Knight, Zach Weinersmith

The Jesuits, Markus Friedrich

The Entrepreneurial State, Mariana MazzucatoImplausible and flawed; good to have to argue against.

A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit

Yellowface, R.F. KuangKuang’s next novel is reportedly about two magical PhD students who travel to Hell ‘to rescue the soul of their advisers so that they can write their job recommendation letters’. Instant buy.

Travels with Herodotus, Ryszard Kapuściński

To Be Taught if Fortunate, Becky Chambers

American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, Lisa Wade

Life in Crisis: the Ethical Journey of Doctors without Borders, Peter Redfield

The Book of Strange New Things, Michel Faber

Six: The Untold Story of America’s First Women in Space, Loren Grush

Last Letters from Hav, Jan Morris

Hav of the Myrmidons, Jan Morris

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold, C.S. Lewis

Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry PratchettRead aloud with MWG.

A Preface to Paradise Lost, C.S. Lewis

Paradise Lost, John Milton

Right-Wing Women, Andrea Dworkin

Axiomatic, Greg Egan

★★ Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, Katherine Boo

A Zoo in my Luggage, Gerald DurrellRead aloud with MWG.

Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas AdamsRead aloud with MWG.

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, Kate Beaton

And Then What? Inside Stories of 21st Century Diplomacy, Catherine Ashton

Autobiography, John Stuart Mill

The Golden Gate: A Novel in Verse, Vikram SethInconceivable to me that the man who wrote A Suitable Boy wrote this next. I can’t think of two more different first and sophomore novels.

The Russo-Ukrainian War, Serhii Plokhy

The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe

Black Hearts, Jim Frederick

On The Natural History of Destruction, W.G. Sebald

HHhH, Laurent BinetApparently, boyfriends all over the world are thinking about the Roman empire at an alarmingly high rate. HHhH is about being a boyfriend who think about a single May morning in Prague way too much.

The Shadow of the Sun, Ryszard KapuścińskiThe archetypal Kapuściński, if not his best.

The Hunters, James Salter

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Burning the Days, James Salter

Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, Geoff Dyer

Last Chance to See, Douglas Adams & Mark Carwardine

Samuel Johnson is Indignant, Lydia Davis

When There Was No Aid: War and Peace in Somaliland, Sarah Phillips

Why We Fight, Chris BlattmanI was unimpressed, but finished out of respect for the project.

Parfit, David Edmonds

The Guest, Emma Cline

The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and Its Unquiet Legacy, Salil Tripathi

One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission that Flew Us to the Moon, Charles Fishman

What Is a Dog?, Raymond Coppinger & Lorna Coppinger

Stalingrad, Antony Beevor

This is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

The Histories, Herodotus

Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh: India’s Lonely Young Women and the Search for Intimacy and Independence, Shrayana Bhattacharya

Our Kind of Traitor, John Le Carré

Admission, Jean Korelitz

My Education, Susan Choi

Disorientation, Elaine Hsieh Chou

A New History of Greek Mathematics, Reviel Netz

South Africa’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, Helen Purkitt & Stephen Franklin Burgess

Conundrum, Jan Morris

Your Driver is Waiting, Priya Guns

Oxford, Jan Morris

How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Univerise, Charles Yu

The Guest Lecture, Martin Riker

The Doomsday Machine, Daniel Ellsberg

Red Plenty, Francis Spufford

The Written World and the Unwritten World: Essays, Italo Calvino

What’s Our Problem?, Tim Urban

Computing Taste: Algorithms and the Makers of Music Recommendation, Nick Seaver

A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons, Robert M. Sapolsky

Whereabouts: Notes on Being a Foreigner, Alastair Reid

The War That Doesn’t Say its Name, Jason Stearns

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, Hannah Arendt

South, Ernest Shackleton

The Disappearance of Joseph Mengele, Georgia de Guez

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John Le Carré

Eruptions that Shook the World, Clive Oppenheimer

All Souls, Javier Marías

Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology, Chris Miller

Books I read in 2023 - April 6, 2024 - Joseph Levine