books that got me reading again in 2023

books that got me reading again in 2023
my lil book stack in 2023
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Disclaimer: Some of the links below may be affiliate links which I will earn a small commission if you click and purchase from them.

I used to be an avid book reader.

I remember always having a book in my bag or purse but somehow I lost interest a little bit after college. Maybe I got too tired to read after work or video games gave me more of the dopamine hit my brain was craving.

young jem reading in the car

But funny enough, I've taken a break from playing video games and started writing and reading more again. I guess my favorite hobbies are cycling itself around in the different stages of my life.

There's a bunch of books that I want to share to my readers and my quick thoughts about them because I can only say so much about on socials and I know that my IRL friends are not as active as me on socials, so HERE WE ARE.

NOTE: This is not sponsored, but if you see a BookShop.org link - I highly recommend shopping books from there because they support local and indie bookstores. A portion of purchase will go towards to your favorite small bookstore of your choice!

But if you really prefer your Kindle or the convenience of Amazon purchases, I have also provided an Amazon link to each book.


Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment

By Amir Levine & Rachel Heller Shop links: BookShop | Amazon

attached: the new science of adult attachment

Ok, technically I read this book in 2022, but it seriously transformed the way I see myself, love, and with people. Also, this is the book that got me back into my reading habit.

You learn about the 3 attachment styles focused in this book: anxious, avoidant, and secure.

It has a little survey/quiz in the book, so you can learn which attachment style you are and just let it read you because DAMN it called me out so badly.

I’m an anxious type, in case you were wondering. But I feel like I’m finally getting closer to being more secure. I still catch myself in some of my old ways, but I now pause, reframe my mind, and remind myself that I am no longer that person anymore.

Since reading this book, I'm now bombarding about attachment styles on my TikTok and Instagram feed. However, I am glad that I am not alone with these complicated feelings and behaviors because it really is hard to navigate as well breaking out of those problematic patterns that's been with me for YEARS.

I do believe people can change, and I'm doing everything I can prove it to myself. I want to have a healthier mindset and better relationships with everyone I know.


Money Out Loud: All the Financial Stuff No One Taught Us

By Berna Anat Shop links: BookShop | Amazon

money out loud

Berna is a fellow Filipino-American who wrote this book to educate others about financial literacy. Think of her as your Ate (older sister/cousin), your cool Tita (auntie), or your bestest bestie who is super knowledgeable about budgeting, savings, banking, and so much more.

The way this was written is pretty easy to follow. It’s like reading a personal letter from a friend and she’s breaking it down for you so that you can understand it more clearly without all the confusing vernacular that you would read from professional finance books.

I came across Berna when I was looking for inspiration and influencers in the #debtfree community and I was thrilled to learn that she is Filipina. I think I was only in chapter 3 of her book that inspired me to finally document and write about my financial struggles here on this blog.

I started my Money Mondays series to hold myself accountable, but quickly learned how incredibly hard it is to do all the things for the blog & socials while keeping track with your expenses. So while I’m not constantly documenting every single step on this blog, I will still do the occasional update about my progress on Instagram or in my newsletter since paying down my debt is one of my biggest priorities in my life right now. 

So thanks, Berna for kickstarting my budgeting and savings journey to be more conscious and be more in control of my spendings.


Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

By Gabrielle Zevin Shop links: BookShop | Amazon

tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

This became one of my favorite fiction books of all time. It was recommended by my own Tita who is part of a book club. She explained to me at first she wasn’t too thrilled to be reading about video games. But then later she was impressed and really loved the characters, the world building, and the story.

It’s about two childhood friends who work together to create a video game. But it’s not just about video game development, but it is a story about love, friendships, and the struggles of identity as a woman, a person of color, and someone who wants to create art and make it come to life.

As someone who worked in the video game industry, I can say that it’s pretty accurate to how it’s tough for a woman developer to get the recognition she deserves. (lol the last few Game Awards) All the characters are complicated, had flaws, but they all felt realistic. Which is why I felt so attached to these characters and felt every emotion they were experiencing. 

I love this book so much because when I was reading this book, it was around the same time my ex and I finally stopped talking to each other. During that time, I was learning that love is complicated. Love doesn’t always have to be romantic. Love can be found in the people you care about the most, through the worst and the best times. And this book showed me on paper that it’s truly possible to love someone even if they’re not active in your life anymore. Romantic and in friendship.

I was experiencing a familiar but tough kind of love: grief. And there’s a phrase I started to hear a few times: Grief is love with nowhere to go.

My grief about my past life was valid. I loved what I did for work. I loved my ex. And I love home city. Letting go is hard, but I know there's something more and better for me in my future.


Arsenic and Adobo

By Mia P. Manansala Shop links: BookShop | Amazon

arsenic and adobo

This is one of the few Filipino-American books that I knew existed and was on my list for the longest time.

I actually found a book store called Semicolon Bookstore, and they had a grand reopening around the time I discovered them on my social feeds, so I had to visit and see for myself. It’s a black owned non-profit and the books you buy are actually donations to the organization. I spotted that book up high on the bookshelf, and had to make it my first purchase from there.

I had no idea that this book would take place in the suburbs of Chicago so it felt so appropriate for me to finally read this book in the very city that I am currently living in.

While it did start off very slow for me, once we finally got to learn every character, took a minute to reassess the potential motives, that's when things got juicy and I couldn't put it down until I finally got to the end.

I love the nods and references to different cultures in the book and I'm absolutely looking forward to reading the other sequels!


There's still a TON of books that I need to through in my backlog, just like my video games, but I'm taking it day by day get back into the reading habit.

I've read The 12 Week Year to learn how to stay productive and build a better habit in a shorter amount of time. Currently reading Ellyce Fulmore's Keeping Finance Personal (she's queer and has ADHD!). And I still need to get started on Crying in H-Mart.

Let me know what you're reading or let me know if you want a full book review in the comments below!