Best of 2022-2023

January 14, 2024

Mark’s Best of 2022 and 2023


I haven’t published anything online in a long time. I missed publishing this list last year, which is why this encompasses 2022 and 2023.

Since my last post in April of 2022, my life changed in many ways. I moved into Chicago, got married, visited abroad for the first time, along with many other trips for work and for family. One of my resolutions for the new year (that perpetually repeats) is to share more publically. I’ve changed around my blog significantly, and worked on various small projects in the last few years that are yet to make an appearance here.


As before, this list contains the things I experienced per year, not things that are new to that year. I don’t super follow new things a lot, and am often late, so I don’t really have enough of a basis ever to rank only things from this year.

Best Book

I read quite a fair few books in the last two years. In 2023, I started 60 books (finishing 90%). Over half of those were audiobooks, almost entirely from Libby. This year, I read significantly fewer non-fiction books than in prior years. Most published non-fiction books are just not impactful, and they are often not well written. I also read more classical books than in prior years, though I have always been into the classics. For me, “classic” books are appealing as they have stood the test of time for being good books that still reflect with how people and society are today. I also read a lot of “classic” children’s literature. Many of these I tried reading as a child, but never got through as the archaic language can be difficult. This isn’t an issue in my reading anymore. As I’ve grown older, I find myself relating to the authors of these classic works, and the books really draw me in.

2022 - Frankenstein

Frankenstein is very different than what I expected. The story is not about what I expected, and it is still very engaging. This is a very good book, and it’s quite nice spooky horror read for a fall night.

2023 - Moby Dick

Moby Dick is an incredible book. This book is way less boring than people say it is. The whaling and seafaring of the story is very interesting and fun to read. On the surface there is a lot to like about this book, and there is plenty of depth to dwell in if you so desire.

Honorable mentions: Swann’s Way, Narcissus and Goldmund, Anne of Green Gables series, As I Lay Dying, Great Expectations, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Philosophy of Modern Song

Best Movie

I really need to watch more movies, in the last two years I only watched around 10 new movies. There is a lot I enjoy about movies, I just don’t put time into them. I enjoy lots of cinema, but am highly selective with the things I take the time to actually watch.

2022 - My Big Fat Greek Wedding

I think about this movie more often than one would expect. Partly, because it mimics my dynamic with my wife’s family, and partly because it’s set in Chicago (though not really filmed here). Not too much to say about it, just a fun movie.

2023 - Stalker

You probably wouldn’t expect this on a list from someone who only watches on average 5 movies a year (especially when the number of Nick Cage movies on my watched list averages over one a year (see the honorable mentions)). Stalker is a something that you think about for a while afterwards, and I really like it for that. The visuals are incredible, and the world is so strange.

Honorable mentions: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Renfield

Best Album

2022 - Church Street Blues / Tony Rice

In 2022 I mostly continued to listen to a lot of my favorite music: Bob Dylan, Stan Rogers, John Hartford, The Beatles. I got very into bluegrass music, and that inspired me to take fiddle classes. I started back up those fiddle classes after breaking for the spring and summer. The music we play is mostly old-time, not bluegrass, but I like both styles quite a bit. The old-time music is better for a fiddle player most of the time it seems.

2023 - Ants From Up There / Black Country, New Road

I discovered this album in January and didn’t stop listening to it for a long time. It’s the kind of album I would’ve really liked in high school, if it existed. I really enjoy the large instrumentation and the vocals and the lyrics. There are on this bands latest album too that I like a lot, though the previous lead left the band.

Honorable mentions: Beethoven’s 6th and 7th symphonies, Jeff Rosenstock HELLMODE.

Best Video Game

2022 - Inscrpytion

This might be my favorite video game of all time. The gameplay is fun, and the world building is perfect. I really recommend playing this game without looking anything up. I love everything about this game.

2023 - Project Zomboid

This game reminds me of when I first played minecraft. There is a lot of slow exploration, but even when you know the map, it’s still fun to go through stuff. I really like playing this in multiplayer especially.

Honorable mentions: Spelunky 2, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Mindustry, Rimworld

Best Series

I don’t really watch TV, and I am not really as interested in catching up on it as I am with movies. Like many other people my age, I mostly end up watching random videos online. I would like to recommend the video series Early Middle Ages from Yale Open Courses. This is a recording of a history class, and it is quite good. I find this period of history really interesting, and it always goes by very fast in the history classes I’ve taken.