2023 To be Read & To be Watched List

I wrote a TBR / TBW last year, and then never followed up on it. Turns out, I didn’t end up getting to about half of the things on my list in 2022. That’s not really a negative — I just ended up focusing my reading and TV/movie energies elsewhere. So, why not provide an update?

To Be Read in 2023

I’m going to take a mulligan on the first… four entries on this list, since these were all on my 2022 list.

The Wheel of Time

I’ve been slowly but steadily making my way through the final book in this series. I’ve mentioned it a few times before, but I’m not really in a rush to finish this series. First of all, the final trilogy of the series has been intense and incredibly satisfying. The final book, A Memory of Light, has been exponentially more intense, in a good way, than any of the thirteen books that precede it. But it means that I’ll read a couple sections, then stop to process a bit. I’m basically savoring this read, and not regretting it in the slightest.

The Saxon Stories, or The Last Kingdom series

I’ve read the first seven books in this series now, and while the last couple installments haven’t been as exciting to me, I still intend to continue the series. These books are great ways for me to pad the Read list on GoodReads, since I tend to get through them pretty quickly. So, I always look for the next one when I need an easy, action-packed read.

An Encyclopedia of Tolkien

…which my wife got me for Christmas two years ago and keeps tempting me from the shelf. After the joy of watching Rings of Power last autumn, I’ve been burning to get into this deep-dive of Tolkien lore.

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, by Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl’s memoir, which my wife got me for Christmas last year. I’m generally not a memoir type of reader, but I love Dave Grohl, and I don’t want this book to sit unloved on my shelf for years at a time. I need to check this one off my list.

Some new fantasy series

I legitimately don’t know where I will turn next for epic high fantasy series after I finish Wheel of Time, and the opportunity is honestly exciting. There are several candidates on my Want to Read list on GoodReads, such as Rachel Caine’s The Great Library series, Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, Patrick Rothfuss, or a Brandon Sanderson series. I am open to recommendations, so leave a comment!

Social science-y type books

I will, of course, continue to read some history, politics, anthropology, or linguistics books as I go, just to mix it up, but those are usually decisions of the moment.

To be Watched in 2023

Honestly, this one is a little more difficult this year. In early 2022, I was excited about all of the shows and films in the MCU, Star Wars, and other IP universes. A lot of those properties were mediocre, at best, and I will definitely be more skeptical of them going forward. I think I need to pay closer attention to more “prestige” TV shows this year.

The Bear

I’m already halfway through this eight-episode show on Hulu, but I’m really enjoying it. I like Jeremy Allen White, and the restaurant setting pulls at a few of my memories from my years in the service industry. This one has me focused for now, but I know it will go quickly.

The Last of Us

This is on the list exclusively because a friend of mine asked if I wanted to watch it with him. This is the same friend with whom I’ve watched The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Ballers, and House of the Dragon, so this show will be our next shared viewing experience. I never played the video game this series is based on, and I don’t know much about it other than zombies. Big fan of Pedro Pascal, though, so I don’t need any more convincing.

More Movies

I’d like to go to the movies more this year, but I’m not sure how I’ll swing that, just based on my schedule. I feel like I only went to the movies once or twice all of last year, though, so I can probably do better than that.

I really just want to watch more movies that I’ve never seen before. There are likely tons of movies I could list out that many would consider classics, or must-see, which I have not seen. Listening to The Big Picture podcast on The Ringer is entertaining in its own right, but also a constant reminder of how little I’ve scratched the surface of movie lore from the last few decades.

I have no idea where I’m going to start. I just want to make it a point to watch more movies. Maybe one per week? That seems ambitious, but I will try.

Recommendations?

Is there any book, movie, TV show, or documentary that I am blatantly missing from this list? Anything you feel like you’ve been screaming at people to get on board with? Please tell me about it! I love sharing reading and watching experiences with people.

Steve D

My Ever-Evolving To Be Read or Watched List

I don’t think I’ve ever done a real TBR on this site before, except as art of summaries of what I have been reading or watching and what I might do next. So, why not do one now?

The glut of content nowadays is often overwhelming (I say as I think about future novel ideas), so honestly I feel like I need to set an intention, so to speak, of what things I’d like to focus my attention on for the next several months.

I’m definitely not going to outline every single thing I plan to read or watch this year. We’ll just cover the highlights.

To Be Read

  1. The Wheel of Time I’ve talked about this a lot recently, because it’s been very front-and-center in my brain. I will definitely finish reading this series this year, without a doubt. I’m on book 13 of 14 currently and plan to continue through until the end.
  2. The Saxon Stories, or The Last Kingdom series – This series seems to have many names, but it doesn’t matter because I’ve only read the first book — both abridged and unabridged versions, because I didn’t pay attention to the Audible cover — and I love it. I have book 2 ready and waiting, and I’ll likely be unable to resist it as my next audiobook listen. I definitely won’t finish the series this year, but I like the idea of having an entertaining staple to fall back on when I need it.
  3. An Encyclopedia of Tolkienwhich my wife got me for Christmas last year and keeps tempting me from the shelf. One fantasy series at a time, damn it! Having recently read through The Lord of the Rings, and with the new series set to debut on Prime in September, this seems like the right time to pore over this tome and absorb everything Tolkien-related I can.
  4. Brandon Sanderson – I haven’t even decided which of his series I will start with, but I know I need to dive into his work after I finish The Wheel of Time.
  5. The Storyteller: Tales of Life and MusicDave Grohl’s memoir, which my wife got me for Christmas this past year. The Foo Fighters are one of my favorite bands, and Grohl is awesome. He’s one of the few celebrities I legitimately want to meet and hang out with. Maybe he’ll read this blog and message me!!
  6. A few good social science-y type books – I try to pepper my reading list with history, anthropology, global issues, or other books that blend academic with nonfiction topics. Audible makes it much easier to churn through a few of these at a more reasonable pace. Otherwise, I get bogged down in the details on the page, rather than the overall concepts and ideas. Fun fact: these types of books can be great idea fodder for world-building.

Honestly, that probably about covers my reading list for the year, unless specific titles catch my eye. To the watch list!

To Be Watched

  1. MCU – Particularly the new Doctor Strange. I also still haven’t seen the second and third Spider-Man films. At this point I might just buy them on BluRay since Disney+ inexplicably does not carry them.
  2. Star Wars – Especially the Kenobi series and The Mandalorian season 3, but I know there are a ton of other things coming that I will definitely check out.

Now that those are out of the way…

  1. The Rings of PowerThis is probably a no-brainer, but it deserves mention since I don’t think I’ve written about this show before today, or maybe only in passing. Based on the trailers Prime has released, I have high hopes that this will be enjoyable and well-made.
  2. The Witcher, season 2 – I really enjoyed the first season and was eagerly awaiting the second. For some reason, Netflix had to release this exactly when every other series/franchise was releasing a new season.
  3. Jurassic World movies 2 and 3 – Guilty pleasure pick. I love Jurassic Park (the book and the movie), and even though the most recent franchise is light on the substance and heavy on the spectacle, they’re solid action flicks. And they have. Freakin’. Dinosaurs. Yes, I’m an adult.
  4. The Last Dance – Another one that’s been on my list for ages, this docuseries about Michael Jordan and the Bulls got rave reviews by people I listen to/read who love basketball, so I’ll probably enjoy it, too.
  5. The 15+ other documentaries on my list in Netflix – Aside from the above, there are just too many for me to name. Animal documentaries, six of which, it seems, were all somehow narrated by David Attenborough in the same year, a mushroom documentary, a documentary about drummers, Netflix’s super over-produced historical docuseries. Not Tiger King, though. I missed that train and do not regret it.

That’s a solid watch list for now. Much like my reading habits, I tend to fixate on specific series, franchises, or types of shows/films for a time. At the moment I’m more interested in delving into the back-catalogs on the big streaming services to see movies or shows I may have missed, so if you have any recommendations, let me know.

Is there anything I’m definitely missing out on by not reading or watching right this second?

Steve D