What are the best books of 2023? Critics will tell us their views shortly, in the customary lists and roundups that come around November and December, but this year, we wanted to hear from you, the readers, first.
On social media, you told us about the novels you couldn’t put down, from “heartfelt” series finales to feel-good Japanese fiction, stone-cold classics to brand new bestsellers. Whether it came out in 2023 or not, these are the books you loved this year.
The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman
The latest entry in Osman’s beloved Thursday Murder Club series is his most touching, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less wry or captivating than its predecessors.
I love the characters he’s created in the Thursday Murder Club series. And this latest one definitely got me teary. Feel like I’m visiting with old friends every time I read his books. They’re more than a cosy mystery … they’re funny, heartfelt and very relatable.
What You Are Looking For Is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama
A whimsical, feel-good Japanese novel about a librarian with a sixth sense for just the right book recommendation at just the right time, this is a wonderful book lover’s book.
It’s such a wholesome book. It also helped me reflect on my current relationship to work and books. Loved it 🥰
Sula by Toni Morrison
It wasn’t released this year, but Toni Morrison’s bona fide classic about two once-inseparable girlfriends who grow apart when one leaves their community for the big city – and whose friendship is torn apart by betrayal – is a must-read, even 50 years later.
Wonderful writing and incredible storytelling.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This perspective-shattering novel, narrated by Death itself and set in Nazi Germany, follows nine-year-old book thief Liesel, whose family have been taken to a concentration camp. It might just restore your faith in humanity.
I enjoyed the fresh narrative, matter of factness and how much emotion was invoked in a few simple sentences. Regularly.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Ostensibly a story about two friends who love video games, Zevin’s breakthrough novel is a deeply moving, life-affirming meditation on love, creativity, art, romance, friendship, fame and more – which explains its extraordinary word-of-mouth success.
I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did but once I got into it the book just sucked me in and kept me intrigued until the very last page
In Memoriam by Alice Winn
It’s 1914. Henry and his best friend Sidney are in love, but neither can express it, so neither knows – that is, until both are enlisted to fight in the trenches, where, against the horrific spectre of death and wartime, a forbidden romance blooms.
❤️ Henry and Sidney will stay with me forever - just a heart-wrenching and breathtaking story
Bad Dreams and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley
Sometimes, the most compelling stories are the ones that ring truest to real life – and English author Tessa Hadley is the master of realistic, domestic storytelling. These are some of her best short stories.
A lovely collection of short stories about life and its nuances. No major drama, no love story, just life. Loved every second of it 💛✨
The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn
A whale carcass, washed ashore, changes the lives of three imaginative children forced to raise themselves – but its their journey into adulthood that this whimsical, epic yarn of a book tracks so elegantly.
I read some fabulous books this year but I think the one that tops them all is this.
Girl, Goddess, Queen by Bea Fitzgerald
A retelling of the Persephone myth that puts the titular character firmly in the driver’s seat – and has shaken TikTok to its core. This is one of the year’s biggest books, for good reason.
I'm a massive fan of the story of Persephone and love this retelling, the portrayal of relationships was one of my favourite things, and I loved the characters 🥰
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Politically sharp and beautifully written, Kingsolver’s latest novel was nominated for a handful of prizes – and took home this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, too.
The story of a boy with everything against him with just his talent and character to get him through (and a bit of luck). Unforgettable characters amid a story of the opioid crisis in the US. Just brilliant.
Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
An imaginative, captivating, and irresistibly addictive book about family, love, war, school – and learning to bond with dragons, this is the first in a feverishly beloved new series from Yarros.
❤️ I am always fascinated with dragons and enemies to lovers story❤️
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
A gripping novel about representing someone else’s work as one’s own, and the lengths one woman will go to protect what she thinks she deserves.
An amazing insight into writing and author lives and so eerie and thrilling!