Best Books of 2023

Book lists abound at this time of year. One of my favourites is Goodreads’ “Your 2023 Year in Books.” The list comes as a display of covers that reminds you visually of some of the titles you rated highest.

This photo shows me one summer day early in my reading life.

These are some of the books I gave 5 stars to this year:


Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
The Book of Rain by Thomas Wharton
Homecoming by Kate Morton
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Foster by Claire Keegan
When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O’Neill


These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylen
Somebody I Used To Know by Wendy Mitchell


The Canadian Girl by Shannon Stewart

Links to all of them can by found on my 2023 “Year in Books.”

There’s still time for me to add another 5-star read to the list so please feel free to recommend a title you think is a good candidate!

Wishing my readers the best of the holiday season. Hope to see you here, and maybe even in person, in 2024!

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Wendy Mason Geoghegan on December 22, 2023 at 11:11 am

    Super photo of YOU reading as a child. I couldn’t see the title of what you were reading but it must have been good since you are fully engaged. So many superb books that you have written! Wishing you the same for the holidays.

  2. Kathy Stinson on December 22, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    Freddy the Magician by Walter R. Brooks. In the backyard at my Gramma’s house. I know I liked the Freddy the Pig books a lot but the “fully engaged” look might also have to do with the fact I wasn’t wearing my glasses. 😀

    Grateful for your enthusiasm for my books, Wendy. Stay tuned for news of upcoming picture books in 2024!

    Wishing you a peaceful holiday in the meantime.

  3. Janet Barclay on January 3, 2024 at 1:22 pm

    Some, but not all of the books I rated five stars last year are displayed with large covers on My Year in Books, but I know you’ve read at least a few of them already.

  4. Kathy Stinson on January 3, 2024 at 3:09 pm

    I think some of my 5-star titles didn’t get displayed with large covers too. I haven’t read Sue Miller’s The Distinguished Guest or Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, which I’ve been wanting to read for some time. Thanks for reminding me of that one. I’m not sure the Lisa Wingate is one I’d like. I often prefer the historical part of a novel so much more than the contemporary part so much that I wish the author had stuck to telling just the historical.

    • Janet Barclay on January 3, 2024 at 4:09 pm

      I don’t have either of those, or I’d be happy to lend them to you. I do encourage you to find them at your library though – definitely worth a read.

      • Kathy Stinson on January 3, 2024 at 4:19 pm

        Will do!

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