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The 23 most popular books of the past year, according to Goodreads members

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  • If you're looking for a great new book, it can be difficult to know where to start.
  • The books on this list are the most popular reads among Goodreads members in the past year.
  • The titles range from new romances to classics and everything in between.

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Because there are nearly infinite books in the world, it can be difficult to know which one to pick up next. When I don't know what to read, I turn to fellow readers for the books they've read and adored, gravitating towards the titles I hear my friends mention over and over again. 

Similarly, the internet can provide plenty of word-of-mouth reviews and rankings. The books on this list come from the most popular Goodreads members picked up in the last year, according to the 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge (where readers aim to read as many books as they can in one year). Goodreads is the world's largest platform for readers to rate, review, and discover new book recommendations, with over 125 million members sharing their favorite reads.

If you're looking to start off the new year right with a great new read, here are some of the most popular books readers are snagging right now. 

The 23 most popular books right now, according to Goodreads members:

"the midnight library" by matt haig.

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.29

Nora Seed feels stuck in her life, bound to the choices she made that she still isn't sure were right. When Nora is ready to leave it all behind, she finds herself in a peculiar library, where each of the infinite books offers a portal to a parallel world, showing her all the many ways her life could have been slightly or drastically different, had she made other decisions.

"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V.E. Schwab

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.19

" The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue " is a genre-bending fantasy book about a young woman named Addie who, in 1714, makes a bargain with a dark god and becomes cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Addie's story spans three centuries and countless countries — until she meets a boy in New York City in 2014 who can finally remember her.

"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.42

Evelyn Hugo was an iconic Hollywood actress, just as notoriously remembered for her seven marriages as she was for her movie performances. Finally ready to tell her story, Evelyn Hugo chooses a little-known journalist named Monique, who goes to Evelyn's luxurious apartment to hear the truth behind Evelyn's lifetime of friendships, ambitions, and many loves.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.19

Considered one of the greatest novels of all time , " To Kill a Mockingbird " is an unforgettable historical fiction novel from 1960 that follows young Jean Louise Finch during a time of great racial inequality in her community. Her father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer defending a Black man wrongly accused of a terrible crime as he faces a community desperate for a guilty conviction.

"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $12.44

" The Great Gatsby " is a classic about the wealthy Jay Gatsby, set during the Jazz Age in New York. When Nick Carraway moved to Long Island to find a job in New York City as a bond salesman, he meets his next-door neighbor, Jay Gatsby, who throws extravagant parties and is constantly in pursuit of the stunning Daisy Buchanan.

"Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.98

Kya Clark is known to most as the "Marsh Girl," running barefoot and wild in her quiet fishing village, having attended only one day of school. When a popular young boy is murdered, Kya's story unravels as the town accuses her of causing his death.

"1984" by George Orwell

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.48

" 1984 " is an iconic science fiction novel that imagines a dystopian future ruled by a totalitarian state, perpetually at war and at the mercy of strong propaganda. Winston Smith works at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting historical records to conform to the state's version of events while secretly dreaming of rebellion and imagining what life would be like without Big Brother.

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $5.47

" Pride and Prejudice " is a cherished, classic Jane Austen romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Loved for their unique relationship comprised of witty banter and flirting, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy fall for each other in this story of class, wealth, and the duty of marriage.

"The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.35

In this Greek mythology-inspired tale , Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled by his father because of a misunderstanding when he meets the legendary Achilles. As the two form a unique relationship, Helen of Sparta is kidnapped and Achilles, along with all the heroes in Greece, joins the cause against Troy as they face a choice between love and fate.

"The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett

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Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $15.70

Though the Vignes twin sisters grew up identical in their small, southern community, their lives split in young adulthood as one sister now lives in the same community with her Black daughter while the other passes for white in a white community. A beautiful story of influence and decisions emerges as their lives intersect over generations when their daughters finally meet.

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What Book Should You Read Next?

Finding a book you’ll love can be daunting. Let us help.

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By The New York Times Books Staff

At The New York Times Book Review, we write about thousands of books every year. Many of them are good. Some are even great. But we get that sometimes you just want to know, “What should I read that is good or great for me ?”

Well, here you go — a running list of some of the year’s best, most interesting, most talked-about books. Check back next month to see what we’ve added.

(For more recommendations, subscribe to our Read Like the Wind newsletter, check out our romance columnist’s favorite books of the year so far or visit our What to Read page.)

I want a historical masterpiece

The fraud , by zadie smith.

Based on a celebrated 19th-century criminal trial in which the defendant was accused of impersonating a nobleman, Smith’s novel offers a vast, acute panoply of London and the English countryside, and successfully locates the social controversies of an era in a handful of characters.

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Introduce me to a family I’ll love (even if they break my heart)

The bee sting , by paul murray.

This tragicomic novel follows a once wealthy, now ailing Irish family, the Barneses, as they struggle with both the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash and their own inner demons.

I want a great American book full of humanity

The heaven & earth grocery store , by james mcbride.

McBride’s latest opens with a human skeleton found in a well in the 1970s, and then flashes back to the past, to the ’20s and ’30s, to explore the remains’ connection to one town’s Black, Jewish and immigrant history. But rather than a straightforward whodunit, McBride weaves an intimate tale of community.

I want a novel that reads like a ’70s heist film

Crook manifesto , by colson whitehead.

In this new novel, a follow-up to “Harlem Shuffle,” Whitehead once again uses a crime story to illuminate a singular neighborhood at a tipping point — here, Harlem in the 1970s.

Give me a horror-soaked remix of a classic

A haunting on the hill , by elizabeth hand.

In this homage to Shirley Jackson’s classic, “The Haunting of Hill House,” you’ll find plenty of apparitions, black hares and time warps.

Actually, give me a horror-soaked thriller from an American master

Holly , by stephen king.

King’s latest stars Holly Gibney, a private investigator who appeared in “The Outsider” and several other novels. She’s pulled into a missing-persons case with unlikely fiends at the center: two retired professors, who keep a cage in their basement. As our reviewer put it, “What makes King’s work so much more frightening than that of most other suspense writers, what elevates it to night-terror levels, isn’t his cruelty to his characters: It’s his kindness.”

I’d like a cozy story that appreciates the little things

Tom lake , by ann patchett.

Set on a cherry orchard during the recent pandemic, this novel has echoes of both Anton Chekhov and Thornton Wilder. It follows three sisters in their 20s quarantining with their mother and drawing out stories from her past as an actress.

I’m in the mood for a fizzy novel of manners

Pineapple street , by jenny jackson.

Jackson’s smart, dishy debut novel embeds readers in an upper-crust Brooklyn Heights family — its real estate, its secrets, its just-like-you-and-me problems (which threaten to weaken the clan’s stiffest upper lip). Does money buy happiness? “Pineapple Street” asks a better question: Does it buy honesty?

How about a crackling, fast-moving literary thriller?

Birnam wood , by eleanor catton.

In this action-packed novel from a Booker Prize winner, a collective of activist gardeners crosses paths with a billionaire doomsday prepper on land they each want for different purposes. The billionaire decides to support the collective, citing common interests, but some of the activists suspect ulterior motives.

I love Elena Ferrante, and have time to get lost in a rich family saga

Lies and sorcery , by elsa morante.

Morante’s novel was written in 1948, but until now it has never been published in English in its entirety. It was worth the wait: This multigenerational Sicilian family saga may run to nearly 800 pages in Jenny McPhee’s fantastic new translation, but it’s so pleasurable that you’ll welcome the scope.

I want to hear Britney’s side of the story

The woman in me , by britney spears.

Spears is stronger than ever in her long-awaited memoir. She reveals plenty about her life in the spotlight, but tempers well-earned bitterness with an enduring, insistent optimism.

Give me a swashbuckling tale of survival

The wager: a tale of shipwreck, mutiny and murder , by david grann.

After the H.M.S. Wager, a British man-of-war, was shipwrecked off the coast of Patagonia in 1742, surviving crew members returned to England with dramatic — and starkly conflicting — tales about what had transpired. Grann recreates the voyage in all its enthralling horror.

I’d like a dishy, well-reported book about a brand I see everywhere

Glossy: ambition, beauty, and the inside story of emily weiss’s glossier , by marisa meltzer.

This book recounts the millennial makeup company’s rise and unglamorous plateau. Glossier’s success was fueled by the entrepreneurial savvy of its founder, Weiss, who transformed it into the rare billion-dollar company helmed by a woman. Our reviewer called the book “a compulsively readable narrative of beauty, business, privilege and mogul-dom.”

I love movies, superheroes and superhero movies

Mcu: the reign of marvel studios , by joanna robinson, dave gonzales and gavin edwards.

This engaging book captures how movies based on comic-book properties came to dominate pop culture — at least until now.

I want a revelatory biography of someone I thought I knew everything about

King: a life , by jonathan eig.

The first comprehensive biography of Martin Luther King Jr. in decades, Eig’s book draws on a landslide of recently released government documents as well as letters and interviews. This is a book worthy of its subject: both an intimate study of a complex and flawed human being and a journalistic account of a civil rights titan.

I want a dramatic history that reads like a novel

Master slave husband wife: an epic journey from slavery to freedom , by ilyon woo.

Woo’s book recounts a daring feat: the successful flight north from Georgia in 1848 by an enslaved couple disguised as a sickly young white planter and his male slave. But her meticulous retelling is equally a feat — of research, storytelling, sympathy and insight.

I want a riveting international investigation

Some people need killing: a memoir of murder in my country , by patricia evangelista.

The Philippine journalist Patricia Evangelista recounts her yearslong investigation into the campaign of extrajudicial murders under former President Rodrigo Duterte.

I want to read about art!

The slip: the new york city street that changed american art forever , by prudence peiffer.

From Ellsworth Kelly to Agnes Martin to Robert Indiana, a group of scrappy artists gathered in illegal studios at the tip of Lower Manhattan in the 1950s, trying to provide an answer to Abstract Expressionism. This group biography reflects the excitement of those years — and our debt to them.

I’d like a moving memoir about friendship and mental illness

The best minds: a story of friendship, madness, and the tragedy of good intentions , by jonathan rosen.

In his engrossing new memoir, Rosen pieces together how he and his brilliant childhood friend, Michael Laudor, ended up taking sharply divergent paths. (Laudor came to prominence as a Yale Law School graduate working to destigmatize schizophrenia, but later killed his pregnant girlfriend.) Rosen brings plenty of compassion to this gripping reconstruction of Laudor’s life and their friendship.

Honestly, I really like reading about animals

What an owl knows: the new science of the world’s most enigmatic birds , by jennifer ackerman.

There are some 260 species of owls spread across every continent except Antarctica, and in this fascinating book, Ackerman explains why the birds are both naturally wondrous and culturally significant.

Take down a dazzling, erudite rabbit hole

Doppelganger: a trip into the mirror world , by naomi klein.

After she was repeatedly confused online with the feminist scholar turned anti-vaxxer Naomi Wolf, Klein, the author of “The Shock Doctrine” and other progressive books, turned the experience into this sober, stylish account of the lure of disdain and paranoia.

Explore More in Books

Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..

Barbra Streisand’s 970-page memoir, “My Name is Barbra,” is a victory lap past all who ever doubted or diminished her, our critic writes .

Rebecca Yarros drew on her experience with chronic illness and life in a military family to write “Fourth Wing,” a huge best seller that spawned a spicy fantasy series .

Dann McDorman, the executive producer of “The Beat With Ari Melber,” gave up writing fiction in his 20s. Now, he’s publishing his first novel at age 47 .

Do you want to be a better reader?   Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .

Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review’s podcast to talk about the latest news in the literary world. Listen here .

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The Best Books of 2022

Yes, this list features more than one book set in a postapocalyptic world, but have you looked around lately.

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In a year when mega-best-selling authors and literary heavy hitters published new books (it’s okay — Cormac McCarthy won’t be reading this), how thrilling to see less familiar names and voices flourish. It’s a perfect time to pick up a book by a writer you’ve never read before. And, yes, this list features more than one book set in a postapocalyptic world, but have you checked social media lately?

10. X , by Davey Davis

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Davey Davis’s neo-noir novel reads like a cross between Raymond Chandler and Jean Genet. The book follows Lee, a sadist, through a near-future underground queer scene as they go on the lookout for X, a woman they met at a warehouse party and can’t stop thinking about. Rumor has it that the fascist government has served her export papers (an Orwellian term for what is essentially expulsion of undesirables), and if Lee doesn’t find her soon, they never will. Davis is an excellent stylist who skillfully blends the hard-boiled tone of classic detective novels with the ironic detachment of millennials raised on the internet. Equal parts funny, insightful, and ruthless, X is a sexy and paranoid thriller about the lengths we go to get what we want — and the toll obsession can take. —Isle McElroy

9. Seduced by Story , by Peter Brooks

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Society’s obsession with the résumé, and its use to construct an aura of credibility, is such a pervasive element of contemporary life that it inevitably implicates even the author and his own field of “literary humanities.” But that dynamic is exactly what Peter Brooks parses in his terrific critical survey: the essential differences between surface stories and the ways in which they’re constructed. It culminates in a postscript about how narratives impose themselves on the American judicial system that articulates a deeper parable about the ease of manipulating facts to one’s ends. The parameters of one’s story are personal; the onus of calling bullshit rests on us. —J. Howard Rosier

8. All This Could Be Different , by Sarah Thankam Mathews

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Set in the wake of the Great Recession, All This Could Be Different is primed for a long life as a canonical queer coming-of-age novel. It follows Sneha, a woman who moves to Milwaukee after college for a job she despises and who decides, in her words, to “be a slut.” Sneha is a perfectly imperfect narrator. Her mistakes are massive, her desires contagious, her lies unjugglable. Sarah Thankam Mathews’s debut, written in prose as sharp and bright as a sword in the sun, offers an honest portrait of how alluring it is to hide from yourself in the process of finding yourself. And though Mathews includes a gripping romantic thread in the novel, All This Could Be Different truly shines as a love letter to the role that friendships play in times of crisis, as Sneha must reluctantly accept how deeply she needs community to survive. —I.M.

7. 2 A.M. in Little America , by Ken Kalfus

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Ken Kalfus has spent his decades-long career mostly out of the mainstream — a writer’s writer with a blurb from David Foster Wallace to prove it — but 2 A.M. in Little America belongs among the year’s biggest hits. The speculative novel finds Ron Patterson, a humble security technician, in a world post–America’s fall. Avoiding specifics about what exactly happened to destroy the U.S. — does it really matter? — and how the rest of the world is responding, Kalfus follows Patterson as he moves from country to country, searching for asylum in a place that hasn’t closed its borders to U.S. citizens. Throughout, a sense of paranoia pervades, growing as Patterson is thrust unwillingly into the center of a conflict between factions that refuse to take advantage of their new ad hoc homes on the margins of a country that barely tolerates them. It’s bewildering and alarming and often darkly funny at the hapless Patterson’s expense, a scarily believable future. But it’s also a humbling glimpse of the circumstances millions of refugees are actually facing — a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God experience that shouldn’t be necessary to evoke empathy but certainly maximizes it. —Arianna Rebolini

6. The Furrows, by Namwali Serpell

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Namwali Serpell’s provocative second novel follows C, a young biracial girl in Baltimore who witnesses the death of her younger brother, Wayne. What seems like a simple premise quickly becomes dark and twisted through the author’s expert use of repetition: Every few chapters, the book resets and C is forced to watch Wayne die yet again. As the book progresses, C finds more ways to attempt to cope with her grief — from distancing herself from her mother’s delusions that Wayne will one day return to developing an intimate relationship with a man who deeply reminds her of Wayne — but in the end, C and her family are forced to face their sorrows head-on. Unflinching first-person narration and lyric prose make C’s grief feel visceral, allowing the reader to mourn along with her each time Wayne passes away. At once heartfelt and dizzying, The Furrows is a powerful meditation on riding out the waves of grief. —Mary Retta

5. Siren Queen , by Nghi Vo

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In an alternate version of pre-Code Hollywood, in which aspiring actors often meet their ends as fodder for the sinister ritual magic that powers the studio system, Luli Wei is determined to be a star. The odds, of course, are stacked against her as a gay Chinese American woman, but, driven by her ambition and willingness to play the studio heads’ dark game, she finds her breakout role — not as a heroine but as a monster. As she sinks further into the murk of the industry, risking her own soul in the process, Luli finds love (and a greater purpose, if she has the strength to see it through). Coming hot on the heels of last year’s The Chosen and the Beautiful , a queer, immigrant reimagining of The Great Gatsby , Siren Queen establishes Vo as an uncommonly talented new voice in fantasy, one who writes from a place of anger, insight, and deep compassion. — Emily Hughes

4. Strangers to Ourselves , by Rachel Aviv

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Rachel Aviv set herself a seemingly impossible task in her mindful debut: to write about people who occupy the “psychic hinterlands, the outer edges of human experience, where language tends to fail.” Her language assuredly does not fail. Strangers to Ourselves plaits personal narrative — it opens with Aviv being hospitalized at age 6 for anorexia — with stories of other tough cases, including a Brahman woman diagnosed with schizophrenia and a nephrologist who ran a successful dialysis business until he was institutionalized for depression (“a Horatio Alger story in reverse,” as he wryly puts it). Where conventional case studies might freeze erratic or socially deviant behaviors in the aspic of pathology, Aviv sensitively fills in what those narratives leave out. The result is a work of fierce moral intelligence: In withholding judgment and letting her subjects speak for themselves, Aviv grants them the dignity that society has so often denied. —Rhoda Feng

3. The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On , by Franny Choi

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The notion, so enthusiastically propagated by many news outlets, that our current moment is careering toward catastrophe may leave an audience on high alert. But to a certain reader — BIPOC/ALAANA, diasporic, marginalized — that’s old news. That position animates Franny Choi’s latest collection of poetry, which neutralizes the feeling of apocalyptic panic by showing that xenophobia and brutality within an unequal society are, indeed, nothing new. Compounding the weariness of the past several years with that of the ages flies rather close to despair, but World eludes cynicism to cast generational trauma as a paean to survival: “Every day, an extinction misfires, and I put it to work.” — J.H.R.

2. Easy Beauty , by Chloé Cooper Jones

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Pulitzer Prize finalist, doctor of philosophy, and general multi-hyphenate Chloé Cooper Jones’s debut shifted my understanding of a world I’ve experienced only while able-bodied. Easy Beauty follows Jones — who was born with a rare congenital condition known as sacral agenesis, a disability that visibly sets her apart from the general population and that has caused a lifetime of underlying pain — through a series of trips in pursuit of meaning, both personal and existential. This narrative propels the book while providing detours for the exploration of her life, and theories about beauty, a concept that has defined much of it. The through-line is the titular theory and its opposite — i.e., easy versus difficult beauty; i.e., beauty that is obvious versus beauty that makes you work for it — and the genius of Easy Beauty is in its functioning as the latter. It’s heady but accessible. Jones puts us through the wringer a bit, trusting us to keep up with her analyses and forcing us to stay close to her physical and emotional pain, but the result is extraordinary. —A.R.

1. Manhunt , by Gretchen Felker-Martin

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In an era of cultural remakes, remixes, knockoffs, and infinite bland variations on corporate IP, it’s all too rare to encounter a book like Manhunt — a true original that not only eviscerates an existing subgenre (gender-based apocalypse stories like Y: The Last Man , in this case) but also plants a flag in its steaming corpse and says, “This is the future of queer horror.”

Anger simmers underneath every word of Gretchen Felker-Martin’s prose as she tells a story of trans women and men fighting for survival after a plague transforms anyone with a certain amount of testosterone in their system into a feral monstrosity. In the world of Manhunt , the already life-or-death nature of transition is taken to new heights: Protagonists Beth and Fran have to scavenge enough estrogen to keep from succumbing to the virus, while Robbie tries to forge a life in a state of persistent dysphoria since taking testosterone is a death sentence. Their odyssey across a postapocalyptic New England showcases an array of threats, from feral men to militant TERFs, self-loathing chasers to rich-idiot survivalists. The book is timely, visceral, grotesque, unflinching, and unexpectedly fun, full of sex and gore and messy, beautiful humanity; think of it as The Road with a sense of humor and 110 percent more queer sex. —E.H.

Honorable Mentions

All books are listed by U.S. release date.

Fiona and Jane , by Jean Chen Ho

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Fiona and Jane , by Jean Chen HoIn the short stories of Jean Chen Ho’s Fiona and Jane , the author tracks the titular characters’ childhood friendship into adulthood through everything from romantic betrayal to grief to dropping out of law school. The pair reinforce one another’s foibles — oversharing and navel-gazing — by feeding on one another’s psychic supply: An interchangeable sister-mother-friend-annelid dynamic ripe for transference is constructed in alternating perspective shifts that are like jump scares in their abrupt changeover. The result is a confidently nonlinear debut collection that sluices through the interiority of its protagonists without diminishing the passion and powerfully mysterious intimacy of female friendship. — Safy-Hallan Farah

Last Resort , by Andrew Lipstein

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Last Resort tells the story of Caleb, a frustrated writer who, after being told a gripping, true story by a college friend, Avi, steals the tale to serve as the plot of his own novel. What follows, at first, is entertaining drama — industry hype builds around the manuscript, Avi angrily finds out about the theft, and in one memorable scene, a bizarre contract is made between the two to resolve the dispute. But Last Resort really starts flying once that Faustian bargain has been made, and we’re left with Caleb in the wreckage. Strip away the insider-y publishing references (readings at Greenlight, the novelist Rachel Cusk, day trips to Storm King), and this is really a brilliant morality tale about what happens when a person refuses to learn from their mistakes, all the way down to the final scene, which had me laughing out loud and punching the air, even if it was at Caleb’s expense. — Louis Cheslaw

Dilla Time , by Dan Charnas

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Dan Charnas’s biography of the late legendary producer J Dilla is both a meticulously compiled, compellingly illuminative retread of his long path to stardom and a manifesto on the beatmaker’s true legacy. (To wit: In dragging his kick drums ever so slightly behind the rest of the beat, Dilla helped recontextualize the entire idea of rhythm in hip-hop.) Charnas turns what might be your run-of-the-mill chronicle into an exploration of the history of the producer’s native Detroit, a thoroughly detailed analysis of music production and genre, and a rumination on how a voracious, unassuming kid from Conant Gardens went on to become his generation’s Beethoven. — Alex Suskind

Pure Colour , by Sheila Heti

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Sheila Heti’s last two novels, How Should a Person Be? and Motherhood , treated self-doubt as a formal project: What shape can a writer give her own indecisiveness? Then, just as some parents of newborns find purpose and clarity, she emerged with a book full of declarations. In Pure Colour , God is preparing to scrap the first draft of existence and replace it with something better — a state of being that’s more humane, more egalitarian, and perhaps less vain. In the meantime, Heti relates the life of Mira, an aesthete, a critic, and a seller of fine lamps, as she grieves her father, whose corpse she’s taken up residency with inside of a leaf. The directness of Heti’s writing renders even her most twee scenes into something affecting. Of Mira’s work in the lamp store, for example, she writes, “The red and green stones shed its light upon her dark face and the white walls. And she loved her meager little existence, which was entirely her own.” — Maddie Crum

Read Jennifer Wilson’s review of Pure Colour .

Vladimir , by Julia May Jonas

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Julia May Jonas’s debut novel is an intimate portrait of a failing marriage, yes, but it’s also a look at the reconstruction of a life meticulously built whose foundation begins to crack, then crumble. A middle-aged lit professor has to decide whether to stick beside her husband, also a middle-aged professor at the same liberal arts college, who is being investigated by the school for sexual misconduct with former students. Enter the titular Vladimir, an accomplished younger writer who’s the newest tenured professor. Suddenly, she’s bursting with desire — the kind that inspires her to write a book, masturbate, and ignore her increasingly needy husband. It’s self-conscious in the best way, sharp and observant without being didactic, something I’ve found to be increasingly rare. — Tembe Denton-Hurst

Then the War , by Carl Phillips

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In Then the War , Carl Phillips’s newest poetry collection, he continues his exploration of love’s power dynamics. Clearing, garden, backyard, forest, path: Transitive spaces of nature act as both shelter, in which Phillips can cultivate his feelings of shame, longing, and queer desire into the fruit of self-expression, and battlefield, where destruction of the self and the other fertilize the ground for new forms of interior life. Through concise lyricism — in “Blue-Winged Warbler,” he locates “a nest of swords” somewhere “deep in the interstices // where dream and waking dream and what, between the two, I’ve called a life” — this produce is as likely to be imbued with the bitter weight of regret as it is to have sweet evanescence, mirroring back at us ideals, desires, and other possible selves, lost to us or left behind the very moment they’re glimpsed. — Alex Watkins

The Employees , by Olga Ravn

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Aboard the Six-Thousand Ship, sometime in the 22nd century, employees are encouraged to be present-minded lest they lose themselves to memories of Earth and of their left-behind loved ones. Such nostalgia is not productive and is bound to interfere with their work performance. The Employees , translated from Danish by Martin Aitken, is made up of interviews with these workers, some of whom are human, others humanoid, although the distinction is at times made unclear. To stave off melancholy — another deterrent to work — they’re given child holograms and stimulating objects with which to interact. Unsurprisingly, labor peace eludes the ship, and a workplace novel devolves into a full-blown horror story, leaving behind few survivors. This is more than a clever reframing of sci-fi tropes, although it’s that, too; the employees’ voices themselves, some of them desperate, some of them meditative, form a touching, alienated chorus, narrating a tragedy that for many will ring eerily true. — M.C.

Checkout 19 , by Claire-Louise Bennett

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As in her first book, the exuberant and formally inventive Pond , Claire-Louise Bennett’s second novel is moving in its sentence-level, voice-driven rhythms that relate scenes from a British schoolgirl’s first and most formative encounters with books and with invention — silly, strange, and touching moments in their intimacy. The epigraph for one chapter is an excerpt from John Milton’s pamphlet Areopagitica on the vitality of books that are free to be expressive, confessional, heretical, even; they project “a potency of life” and “preserve as in a vial the efficacy … of that living intellect that bred them.” It’s a familiar premise, that reading and creativity are life-giving, but in her stylish künstlerroman, Bennett gives the premise new life. — M.C.

Run and Hide , by Pankaj Mishra

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Asian immigrant narratives in American fiction tend to follow a familiar script: Person arrives in the West wiped clean of caste tension, the relationships they had to money, class, and ambition in their home country subsumed by the fact of their recent arrival. In Pankaj Mishra’s second novel, Run and Hide , he reorients this narrative of escape to tell a stickier tale. His protagonist Arun is a poor young Indian man whose life becomes intertwined with two ladder-climbing university classmates and, eventually, a wealthy younger lover — the kind of expat for whom borders hold little transformative power. Mishra is a public intellectual and regular contributor to the London Review of Books as well as a rare and talented fiction writer: Here, he braids a headlong plot with commentary on what you lose while trying to make it big — and what you gain when you opt out. — Madeline Leung Coleman

Oedipus Tyrannos , by Sophocles

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Emily Wilson is one of my favorite working classicists; I’ve followed her since she wrote a deliciously biting review of a Hesiod translation for the New York Review of Books . The new Norton Library edition of her translation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannos (also known by its Roman title, Oedipus Rex , which Wilson describes as a spoiler) is full of the historiographical precision and literary clarity I associate with Wilson’s other works, including her 2018 translation of The Odyssey . Wilson’s translation notes alone are a delight — translating Sophocles, she aims for an idiom that is “fluent, humane, natural, and also markedly artful; sometimes conversational, but never slangy … sometimes odd, but never stiff or unintentionally obscure.” Wilson’s verse captures the rich density of ancient poetry, and her notes also offer surprisingly funny insights into the play’s original context: An abundance of foot puns would sound less ridiculous to Athenian ears, and a final line she describes as “hokey” is characteristic of the “simplistic moralizing” that is “fairly common at the end of Athenian tragedy.” — Erin Schwartz 

The Doloriad , by Missouri Williams

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Missouri Williams’s debut novel begins after humanity has been destroyed by a natural catastrophe, the details of which we’re spared. Unlike in, say, Station Eleven , pre-apocalypse days aren’t the focus; instead, we spend our time with a struggling, sordid, incestuous family, possibly the last family left on earth. A woman — the Matriarch — and her brother take on the task of remaking humanity with a crew of their own children. Williams’s book bears resemblances to William Faulkner in its conceit, in its wending sentences, and in its images: Noses point “off to one side like a rudder.” At one point, the Matriarch disposes of a daughter’s body not in a casket but with a wheelbarrow. And what could be more Gothic, more suffocating and cloistered, than an apocalypse that left behind only you and your most overbearing family members? — M.C.

Glory, by NoViolet Bulawayo

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There is a long tradition in literary criticism of evaluating a new book by a writer from a marginalized community from the vantage point of an older book — usually by a white male writer. The supposed advantages of this approach are manifold: The older book might provide a point of entry for readers who are unwilling to do the work of understanding the newer book on its own terms, and the newer book can shine in the reflected glory of the older one as the wan moon to the older book’s sun. I mention this because just about every appraisal — including this one, unfortunately — you will read of NoViolet Bulawayo’s latest, brilliant novel, Glory , will reference Animal Farm by George Orwell. In this case, the comparison is warranted but also limiting. Bulawayo’s book traverses new territory on its own radically creative terms. This book, like Orwell’s, is made up of a cast of animals, but the comparisons grow weaker from there. My recommendation: Pick this up, leave any preconceptions aside, and dive right in. — Tope Folarin

The Candy House , by Jennifer Egan

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With The Candy House , Jennifer Egan accomplishes the rare feat of making a series of linked short stories feel like a complete, cohesive novel, one that imagines a parallel future where people are able to externalize their memories and upload them into a cloud. There are pluses: Murders are solved, the tragically separated are reunited, children get to truly know their parents. But there are downsides, too, mainly society’s collective immersion into a massive entangled web of constant surveillance. It feels like a slightly exaggerated version of our own current dilemma, down to shadowy countermovements desperate to dismantle the entire thing — if only we could all be so organized! Kaleidoscopic and epic and never boring, this sequel of sorts to 2010’s A Visit From the Goon Squad takes us from a country club to a tech start-up to a government operation on a remote island that we learn about through an instruction manual narrated in the second person. It’s a book unafraid of changing form because it’s married to this central cluster of ideas, and Egan thoroughly convinces us to come along for the ride. — T.D.H.

Read Mallika Rao’s review of The Candy House , by Jennifer Egan, and The Immortal King Rao, by Vauhini Vara.

Constructing a Nervous System , by Margo Jefferson

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If every foray into writing about one’s life constitutes a tense negotiation between the past and the present, Margo Jefferson’s latest, Constructing a Nervous System , refuses those terms . A sequel of sorts to her award-winning 2015 memoir,  Negroland , Jefferson takes the form and blows it up — in the smoldering debris, synapses of memory make new connections. Constructing blends autobiography and criticism to gift readers with reflections and ruminations on the place of music, aesthetics, and celebrity in one’s personal and shared racial history. The sweat of Ella Fitzgerald, the audacity of Ike Turner, the genius of Josephine Baker, the virtuosity of Bud Powell — interwoven here are the mystifying qualities and talents of those and many other artists, all of which come together to tell of a life that has been influenced by and in turn influenced so many others — Omari Weekes

Read Jasmine Sanders’s profile of Margo Jefferson.

A Tiny Upward Shove, by Melissa Chadburn

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On the first page of this startingly unconventional novel, we learn that the protagonist has been murdered and her body possessed by an avenging spirit called an aswang. This premise establishes the stakes of the story as an unflinching tale that privileges the brutal realities of its battered characters. The western impulse is to wave away or demystify anything that defies rational explanation, but this book advances a subtle, potent idea: The abuse that countless women — especially women of color — face is so extreme, so sadistic, that it cannot be classified as anything but supernatural, and so the response to this abuse must be supernatural as well. Melissa Chadburn’s is a harrowing and utterly unforgettable story.  — T.F.

Love Marriage , by Monica Ali

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When we meet 20-something Yasmin, her life appears to be approaching the precipice of perfection. She’s a doctor marrying a more senior, even-more-attractive doctor who worships the ground she walks on. Soon we meet her parents, Shaokat and Anisah, Indian immigrants who have managed to achieve their slice of the British dream. But when Yasmin introduces her family to his, their differences of class (and race — he and his family are white) are abundantly clear, and Yasmin, who goes through much of the book misunderstanding or being ashamed of her mother, is shocked to find that her husband’s accomplished feminist artist mother is completely taken with her son’s future mother-in-law. The book is always interrogating perfection, asking if everything peachy is as it seems. The answer is often no, but it doesn’t matter because there’s something so much more interesting in its place. — T.D.H.

The Women’s House of Detention , by Hugh Ryan

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Wild to think that within living memory, in the center of Greenwich Village’s present-day prettiness and wealth, stood one of the country’s most notorious prisons. The Women’s House of Detention, opened in 1932 at the foot of Greenwich Avenue and demolished in 1974, was grim, overcrowded, violent — and, in Hugh Ryan’s telling, a significant incubator of the Village’s queer history. Ryan has dredged social workers’ extensive documentation of life inside, and from their files, he has excavated horrifying stories of inmates’ abuse at the hands of the staff and other residents; he also reveals just how many of them awakened, while incarcerated, to their sexual identities. (A great many of those women were arrested for either sex work or public expressions of homosexuality, like cross-dressing.) Ryan argues that despite its miseries and dangers, the House of D, as it was often called, had the advantage of being a space where queer life could exist somewhat on its own terms. The building becomes a literary device, a vehicle for the recovered stories of its incarcerated as well as another affirmative point in the broader argument for prison abolition. — Christopher Bonanos

It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World that Made Him , by Justin Tinsely

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In all the barbershop arguments that shore up the Notorious B.I.G.’s deserved place as the greatest rapper of all time, it can be easy to lose sight of the human behind the lyrics. With It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him, Justin Tinsley goes to great lengths to provide an extensively well-researched and empathetic look at Christopher Wallace’s tremendous but brief career. The book gets at not just the trivia but the structural and cultural circumstances of his life, from growing up in Brooklyn’s public-housing projects during the Reagan era to living in America as a first-generation Caribbean man to entering the rap game during its innovative, lucrative 1990s heyday. Tinsley does as much as he can to get into Wallace’s dark exclamation mark, the fatal East Coast–West Coast rap beef — it’s still a hard narrative to crystallize, 25 years later — but throughout brings a journalist’s rigor to capturing the murky details of Biggie’s story, putting the legendary Brooklyn maestro in the proper context of the times he lived in. This is more than a biography, it’s a snapshot of both the record industry and America itself at crucial junctures for both. — Israel Daramola

DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution , by Lance Scott Walker

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Robert Earl Davis Jr., better known as DJ Screw, helped define the ’90s and early aughts Texas rap sound with the advent of his warped, hypnotic cassette playlists, and this book is the ultimate word on both him and his seismic imprint — one that continues to linger in modern music, from the aesthetic of Travis Scott to the slowed-and-reverbed production behind the likes of Justin Bieber and Frank Ocean. His expertly curated playlists of the era’s best hip-hop and R&B tracks (with the occasional rock record thrown in) — tweaked with his namesake technique of slowing down and chopping them up — paired well with Houston’s drug and nightlife culture; Lance Scott Walker transubstantiates Screw’s lore into something more permanent and tangible, interviewing just about everyone that ever knew the DJ, along with a number of aficionados and famous fans of his that helped make the Screw tape the hip-hop fetish objects that they have become in the decades since Davis’s death. — I.D.

An Island , by Karen Jennings

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This slim, capacious novel, recently longlisted for the Booker Prize , is an allegorical meditation on colonialism and its enduring aftermath. As the novel opens, we meet Samuel, the lone inhabitant of and lighthouse keeper on a harbor island. His isolation is interrupted by an unexpected visitor — a man who washes ashore. This stranger’s sudden appearance prompts Samuel to consider the span of his life and reflect on the events that led him to the island. The wonder of this novel is how expansive it is despite its length; Samuel’s life doubles as beachhead for an intense examination of postcolonial African politics, xenophobia, family and its discontents, and, inevitably, the nature and meaning of love. Everything coheres because of Jennings’s immaculate understanding of craft. Each polished narrative piece perfectly complements the next. This is a novel of contrasts: understated and bold, spare and sweeping, slender and grand. — T.F.

Avalon , by Nell Zink

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Have you heard? The zoomers are anxious, savvy, and very online, circulating bits of out-of-context theory and cultural references: How can such a thing as an IRL love story — or a plot of any kind — emerge from this carnival? Nell Zink’s Avalon is a valiant attempt; her crew of young artists bicker confidently about Marx and their dystopian screenplays, and they exist offline, too, on their parents’ couches, on a road trip to the desert, and in the lean-to on a biker gang’s farm. The Dickensian heroine, Bran, is an orphan at the heart of a smart and funny künstlerroman. She may know that the word used to describe her story’s genre is having a moment, but she’s too busy falling in love and evading danger to dwell long on trends. Like The Wallcreeper , Zink’s first book , Avalon is both fast paced and overtly interested in its ideas, challenging the false dichotomy of plot versus depth. — M.C.

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty, by Akwaeke Emezi

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Akwaeke Emezi’s novels tend to begin with a bang, and this one’s no different. The first sentence reads, “Milan was the first person Feyi fucked since the accident.” It immediately sends the mind spinning. Who is Milan? Who is Feyi? What accident? Was the sex any good? This explosive entrance to the book sets the tone for what follows: a not-so-traditional love story that asks: How does someone love after their world ends? Emezi takes us to an unnamed Caribbean island to find out, in a lush journey filled with beautiful paragraphs about art and so many vivid food descriptions it’s best to read on a full stomach. Like Emezi’s previous novels, Freshwater and The Death of Vivek Oji, the book isn’t just about one thing. Sure, there’s a pretty scandalous take on the forbidden love trope that pushes it firmly into the romance space (it also gets a bit steamy!), but it’s also a snapshot into grief many years after a life-changing incident. — T.D.H.

Fruiting Bodies , by Kathryn Harlan

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It is perhaps fitting that several of the short stories in Fruiting Bodies , science-fiction writer Kathryn Harlan’s debut, center on mushrooms: Much like the fungus, the characters in Harlan’s eight tales live among constant death and rot, and yet, somehow, they find surprisingly beautiful ways to keep growing. Harlan’s plots are impressively diverse: “Agal Bloom,” which follows two young girls daring each other to swim in a mysteriously contaminated lake against their families’ wishes, bleeds effortlessly into “Hunting the Viper King,” wherein a young girl and her father go on a yearslong search for a snake whose venom grants ultimate understanding of the universe. The worlds Harlan creates feel both expansively fantastical and palpably real. A stunning literary portrayal of the climate apocalypse, Fruiting Bodies provides a window into how we can make life out of decay. — Mary Retta 

Mothercare: On Obligation, Love, Death, and Ambivalence, by Lynne Tillman

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When Lynne Tillman’s mother, Sophie, was diagnosed with a brain disorder called normal-pressure hydrocephalus at age 86, the writer began a long journey through the complexities of elder care. The condition, which left Sophie forgetful and unsteady, required a series of invasive surgeries, and she lived for 11 years after its sudden, startling onset. Her tenacity was confounding to the many doctors she encountered who were unaccustomed to prioritizing the lives of the elderly, and much of this memoir is about the defiance required of caretakers like Tillman in the face of the medical Establishment. At the center of it all is Tillman’s relationship with her mother, whom she describes as a competitive, distant personality she must nonetheless fight for fiercely. Her honesty about their irreconcilable disconnect is electrifying. — Emma Alpern

Afterlives , by Abdulrazak Gurnah

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Abdulrazak Gurah, the most recent recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, has crafted a wide-ranging, orchestral novel. Afterlives is set in East Africa in the early 20th century after the European powers of the day carved up Africa according to their colonial ambitions. Gurnah’s narrative approach is to foreground how colonialism infects and undermines every aspect of society by training our attention on the intimate details of his characters’ lives — every action they take is consciously (and oftentimes unconsciously) influenced by their desire to escape its grasp. His scenes are polished, elegant, and masterfully constructed, each building effortlessly upon the last until the final pages, when his glittering narrative mosaic, glimpsed only in flashes throughout the story, is fully revealed. You will want to start over so you can experience it again. — T.F.

My Phantoms , by Gwendoline Riley

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Gwendoline Riley’s latest novel opens with Bridget’s childhood recollections of her blustering, dodgy father, but the character’s real fixation is her mother, Helen “Hen” Grant, a hopelessly naïve and needy figure. Bridget, now in her 40s, is hyperaware of all her mother’s little manipulations, and each of her verbal tics — the repeated “Mmm”s and “I don’t know”s, the botched jokes, the clumsy fake accents — are recorded in icy detail. Riley transcribes what other authors often skip , making her dialogue uncannily lifelike. The book is a study in irritation that unfolds with thrillerlike tension, except the central moments are less bank heist and more adversarial family dinner (a particularly memorable scene takes place in a vegetarian restaurant where Hen falls quiet while choking down a “detox salad”). By the end, the unjustness of the mother-daughter relationship takes on an unsettling new dimension. — E.A.

Read Rachel Connolly’s profile of author Gwendoline Riley .

Bright Unbearable Reality , by Anna Badkhen

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In the opening pages of Bright Unbearable Reality , the latest collection of essays by Anna Badkhen, the writer poses a question that she promptly answers: “What is place? A memory of our presence, a memory of our absence.” In these lines one can glimpse the narrative design of this book and its primary obsession. Each of these essays is animated by questions that inspire Badkhen to immerse herself in various global contexts — the book is set on four continents — to understand how the places she visits have been shaped by humans, and how humans have been altered by them. We follow along as she leaves behind a trail of precise, glistening prose, and each time we arrive somewhere else we consider, once again, humanity’s shifting, unstable, and essential relationship with place. We have planted flags and drawn maps, but — as Badkhen brilliantly demonstrates — the intersecting challenges of the 21st century (climate, economic, epidemic) might force us to reconsider our conclusions. — T.F.

Toad , by Katherine Dunn

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Before 1989’s Geek Love shot her to success, Katherine Dunn spent years trying to find a publisher for her third book, a semi-autobiographical novel following Sally Gunnar, a woman who spent her college years on the fringes of the 1960s counterculture scene in Portland, Oregon. In a state of middle-age isolation, Sally looks back bitterly at the unfocused idealism of her young friend group: “The hermit has an evil eye that chills the memory and upsets the digestion,” she says in her narration. The central event from her student years is an ill-fated pregnancy involving the object of Sally’s affection, bright-eyed, philosophy-quoting Sam, that is drawn out with savage humor. After extensive revisions to the manuscript of Toad , which the author began writing in 1971, Dunn received a final rejection letter in 1977: “I love TOAD as much as ever, more, actually,” her editor wrote, but she was overruled by her colleagues. Long consigned to a drawer, the book has finally been posthumously published ( Dunn died in 2016 ). The novel is frightfully lovable, a brutal and baroque treatise on loneliness that shares a grotesque core with Dunn’s most famous novel. — E.A.

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The 20 Best Books of 2022 For Your Next Read

Nick Hilden

Some say that reading any book is better than reading no books at all, and while that might be true, why settle for subpar storytelling when you can enjoy something truly great? To that end, we’re taking a look at the best books of 2022.

The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Animal by lisa taddeo, let me tell you what i mean by joan didion, second place by rachel cusk, the push: a novel by ashley audrain, this is your mind on plants by michael pollan, the wife upstairs: a novel by rachel hawkins.

  • The Employees: A Workplace Novel of the 22nd Century by Olga Ravn

A Crooked Tree: A Novel by Una Mannion

Summerwater: a novel by sarah moss, life among the terranauts by caitlin horrocks, the removed: a novel by brandon hobson, girl a: a novel by abigail dean, my year abroad by chang rae-lee, no one is talking about this by patricia lockwood, klara and the sun by kazuo ishiguro, the lost apothecary by sarah penner, caul baby by morgan jenkins, how beautiful we were by imbolo mbue, filthy animals by brandon taylor.

There’s been some fantastic literature released this year from both renowned authors and debut novelists. So without further ado, let’s get to the books .

Five years ago, Viet Thanh Nguyen won the Pulitzer Prize for his debut novel The Sympathizer , which followed the experiences of a refugee and double agent from the Vietnam War grappling with the fallout from the conflict. In his thrilling sequel The Committed , Nguyen picks up the narrative to take a hard look at the consequences of colonialism.

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While Lisa Taddeo had already made a name for herself in the realm of journalism — especially with her bestselling book Three Woman — her debut novel Animal has instantly established her as one of the most confident fiction writers of our time. In Animal , Taddeo tells the story of a young woman who attempts to reassert control over her life after multiple traumas inflicted by men.

As one of the greatest writers of her generation — and the 20th century in general — it’s an event any time a Joan Didion book is released. Here we have a collection that characteristically spans a diverse range of topics, from Gamblers Anonymous to Martha Stewart.

When a woman invites a renowned artist to stay with her family at their remote home, she becomes fixated on the idea that his work provides some clue to a mystery that’s been plaguing her. This examination of art, family, and fate is a must-read from Rachel Cusk, who many already know from The Outline trilogy.

When Blythe is pregnant, she promises herself that she will bond with her daughter in a way that she and her own mother never did. Once Violet is born, however, Blythe begins to suspect that there is something horribly wrong with her. In this audacious psychological thriller, writer Ashley Audrain puts a new twist on a classic story.

Michael Pollan — one of the most acclaimed journalists of our time — has tackled the issue of how food affects the human body before. Now he turns his analytical eye on three specific plants and the chemicals they contain: Coffee and caffeine, poppies and opium, and San Pedro cacti and mescaline.

When money-troubled dog-walker Jane sets her sights on a rich man named Eddie, it isn’t long before she learns that they’re both hiding secrets that could either doom any hope of a relationship or bring them together. The latest from the bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, this brings a contemporary feminist approach to a classic gothic romance.

The Employees: A Workplace Novel of the 22 nd Century by Olga Ravn

On the Six-Thousand Ship, the crew consists of both humans and their humanoid creations. While transporting bizarre objects from the planet New Discovery, humans and non-humans alike find themselves strangely obsessed with them. Hailed for its unique structure, The Employees has already garnered author Olga Ravn a nomination for the prestigious Booker Prize.

After a mother becomes tired of arguing with her 12-year-old daughter, she pulls over and orders her out of the car, telling her to walk home. The consequences destroy the girl’s life, reveal the horrible truth about the seemingly peaceful small town in which they live, and raise important questions about fate.

In this slow-building novel set in rural Scotland, several families go to stay in a collection of isolated cottages. Bored by the lack of cell phone service, they begin watching one another through their blinds. In Sarah Moss’s slow-burning thriller, a gradual atmosphere of unease pays off in a stunning finale.

Having made a splash with her novel The Vexations , Caitlin Horrocks follows up with a collection of short stories that will appeal to diverse tastes, from sci-fi to realism. In Life Among the Terranauts , we see a series of all-too-human experiences set against somewhat fantastic backdrops.

After the Echota family loses son Ray-Ray in a police shooting, their lives descend into an abyss of mental illness, drug addiction, and relationship troubles. With the anniversary of Ray-Ray’s death on the way, the family fosters a son who brings unexpected change to the situation.

Lex might have thought she escaped her abusive childhood, but after her imprisoned mother dies and leaves her home to Lex and her siblings, suddenly she’s forced to return and confront the past. Girl A is a captivating look at the complex nature of family.

In a novel that skips around in terms of geography and genre, dismally mediocre Tiller heads out on adventure with an exciting international businessman named Pong. Later as we watch Tiller navigate a relationship with a single mom who is hiding out in witness protection, he tries to determine the meaning behind all his travels.

Taking a look at how social media is impacting our lives through a lens that fuses realism with science fiction, Patricia Lockwood tells the tale of a woman who finds unexpected fame online and a strange new piece of technology called “the Portal.”

In 2017, Kazuo Ishiguo was honored with the Nobel Prize for Literature because, as the Nobel committee explained, his work “uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” In his latest work Klara and the Sun he does it again via a narrative that makes the future seem strangely familiar.

In Sarah Penner’s latest, she borrows elements from gothic romance to tell a thoroughly modern tale that is nevertheless set in 18 th century England. The story of an underground apothecary who provides poisons for the victims of abusive men to get revenge, The Lost Apothecary is a novel take on the timeless theme of women scorned.

When Leila asks the Harlem Melacons — a family that holds power thanks to its magically healing caul — to save her baby, no one could foresee how this simple request for help could have such profound consequences. The latest from bestselling author Morgan Jenkins, Caul Baby will grab the attention of anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

A highly imaginative tale from the renowned writer Imbolo Mbue, How Beautiful We Were looks at a fictional African village as it fights back against destruction at the hands an American oil company. This is essential reading for anyone who is interested in colonialism, capitalism, and where the two intersect.

In Filthy Animals —the latest from the much-heralded author Brandon Taylor—we watch as a young man attempts to navigate the relationships of a trouble crew of Midwestern artists. It’s a story of sex, violence, and bad babysitting gigs, and it’s one of the most engaging reads of the year.

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Nick Hilden

Wizards. Dragons. Fairies. Kings. Queens. Epic battles. Amulets. Magic wands. Quests. With its ability to allow us to suspend belief and enter otherworldly realms where anything can happen and anything is possible, fantasy is one of the most popular and beloved literary genres. However, the exact same reasons it’s so loved can also make it a difficult genre to break into.

Many readers feel like they've fallen into their own sci-fi horror stories if they dive into a long book that involves multiple families, kingdoms, and events that may be difficult to track and remember. And since the many details of the worlds of fairies and goblins are not always properly explained in books that function as sequels or prequels of original novels, it might feel even harder to figure out where exactly to begin. If you’re looking for how to get into new fictional worlds in a way that highlights the best of the fantasy genre but is still accessible, these best fantasy books are the best places to start.

When you think of and envision the classic American novelists, there are certainly those who stick out with works that have stood the test of time. One such individual is none other than John Steinbeck. Few writers have championed the poor and downtrodden with the passion and commitment as Steinbeck. Whether one looks to his masterpieces, such as The Grapes of Wrath or East of Eden; his numerous novels and novellas; or his broad number of nonfiction accounts, the author never failed to chronicle the plight of the poor, thereby changing refined society's perception of what may have only been a caricature and brought it to life.

Born in Salinas, Calif., around the turn of the 20th century, much of Steinbeck's work was based in that area as it went through rapid change. Other great writers may have passed through, but he froze its culture in amber, defining its unique community for many before it changed forever. Sure, Steinbeck sold a hell of a lot of books, and he was recognized in his lifetime by the glittery institutions of the age — the National Book Award, the Pulitzer, and the Nobel Prize for Literature, to name a few.

Writing a great biography is no easy task. The author is charged with capturing some of the most iconic and influential people on the planet, folks that often have larger than life personas. To capture that in words is a genuine challenge that the best biographers relish.

The very best biographies don't just hold a mirror up to these remarkable characters. Instead, they show us a different side of them, or just how a certain approach of philosophy fueled their game-changing ways. Biographies inform, for certain, but they entertain and inspire to no end as well.

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Here Are the 9 New Books You Should Read in November

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These are independent reviews of the products mentioned, but TIME receives a commission when purchases are made through affiliate links at no additional cost to the purchaser.

If you're in need of some Thanksgiving reading or looking to pick up an early holiday gift for the lit lovers in your life, this month’s slate of new books offers everything from a dystopian thriller to two standout works of COVID-19 fiction to a memoir from the best-selling female recording artist in history. In investigative deep-dive Endgame , journalist Omid Scobie delves into the British royal family’s fight for survival in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's death . In essay anthology Critical Hits , an array of writer-gamers explore the cultural significance of the past 50 years of video games. Here are the best new books to read in November.

The Future , Naomi Alderman (Nov. 7)

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After a trio of tech billionaires are forewarned of an apocalyptic superbug and flee to a secret doomsday bunker to save only themselves, an unlikely group of friends embark on an intrepid mission to take down the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. Beginning with the end of civilization and jumping back and forth through time, Naomi Alderman, the award-winning author of 2016's The Power , weaves a cautionary tale of what society stands to lose in a near-future where AI has transformed all walks of life.

Buy Now : The Future on Bookshop | Amazon

The Vulnerables , Sigrid Nunez (Nov. 7)

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Set against the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, National Book Award winner Sigrid Nunez's tender and humorous new novel explores the abiding power of connection during an era of unprecedented isolation. The Vulnerables centers on an aging, solitary female writer (the story's narrator) who moves into a friend of a friend's Manhattan apartment. There, she cares for a pet macaw named Eureka while its owner is stuck in California. When the bird's previous sitter, a collegiate Gen Z-er, unexpectedly shows up at the apartment after getting kicked out of his parents' house, the trio form an unexpected bond that carries them through a time of widespread fear and uncertainty.

Buy Now : The Vulnerables on Bookshop | Amazon

Same Bed Different Dreams , Ed Park (Nov. 7)

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From the acclaimed author of the 2008 novel Personal Days comes a sprawling work of meta speculative fiction. In Same Bed Different Dreams , Ed Park imagines an alternate history in which the Korean Provisional Government established during Japanese occupation secretly persisted beyond the end of Japanese rule in 1945 and into today. Through riveting prose, Park describes how its members work behind the scenes to unite a fractured Korea. In doing so, the author weaves together three intersecting narratives to create a poignant, postmodern epic that turns 20th century history on its head.

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To Free the Captives : A Plea for the American Soul , Tracy K. Smith (Nov. 7)

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Former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivers a searing manifesto on the power of collective ritual in confronting the persistence of violence and racism against Black people in America. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Smith combines lyrical reflections on her personal experiences as a Black woman, mother, and educator with a historical examination of how her ancestors endured in the face of overwhelming oppression and subjugation. In writing a book about "Black strength, Black continuance, and the powerful forms of belief and community that have long bolstered the soul of my people," Smith says she came to believe that "all of us, in the here and now, can choose to work alongside the generations that precede us in tending to America’s oldest wounds and meeting the urgencies of our present.”

Buy Now : To Free the Captives on Bookshop | Amazon

My Name is Barbra , Barbra Streisand (Nov. 7)

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Over the course of nearly 1,000 pages, living legend Barbra Streisand tells the story of her life and decades-spanning career as one of the most iconic figures of the stage and screen. Titled after her Emmy Award-winning first TV special, Streisand's much-anticipated memoir offers what is being touted as a “frank, funny, opinionated and charming" account of her unparalleled showbiz success. From breaking into superstardom as Fanny Brice in the 1964 original Broadway production of Funny Girl to earning the most coveted honor in all of Hollywood, an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), Streisand candidly reflects on her storied past.

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The New Naturals , Gabriel Bump (Nov. 14)

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Following the death of their infant daughter, grieving parents and Black academics Rio and Gibraltar decide they need to make a change. Weary of campus racism at the Boston liberal arts college where they both teach, the duo leaves the city in pursuit of a new dream. With the help of a wealthy benefactor, the couple begin constructing an underground world with the aim of creating a utopia where people can feel accepted and protected. Dubbed the New Naturals, the sanctuary is located under an abandoned restaurant on a hill off a highway in Western Massachusetts. But as their subterranean haven grows—and begins to attract a motley crew of guests, from a dejected former college soccer star to two unhoused men who travel from Chicago by bus to reach the facility—questions of what really makes for a true safe space for all threaten to derail the burgeoning experiment.

Buy Now : The New Naturals on Bookshop | Amazon

Day , Michael Cunningham (Nov. 14)

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Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours , delivers a quietly profound portrait of a Brooklyn family navigating love and loss before, during, and after COVID-19 upends their existence. Day , Cunningham's first book in nearly a decade, is divided into three sections, each set during a snapshot of time on a single day over three successive years—“April 5, 2019: Morning,” “April 5, 2020: Afternoon,” and “April 5, 2021: Evening”—and handles recent history with care and nuance. Although the words COVID and pandemic never appear in the novel, Cunningham told the New York Times that he felt compelled to center the story around the outbreak of the virus. “How does anybody,” he said, “write a contemporary novel that’s about human beings that’s not about the pandemic?”

Buy Now : Day on Bookshop | Amazon

Critical Hits: Writers Playing Video Games , edited by J. Robert Lennon and Carmen Maria Machado (Nov. 21)

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In this incisive anthology, short story masters J. Robert Lennon ( Pieces for the Left Hand ) and Carmen Maria Machado ( Her Body and Other Parties ) compile a collection of essays that reflect on the pivotal role video games play in our culture and celebrate the medium as an art form. Entries include musings from a diverse lineup of writer-gamers, from a piece by memoirist Elissa Washuta on how the central plot of 2013's The Last of Us mirrors her early COVID-19 pandemic search for a medical diagnosis to a story from novelist Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah on how playing 2019's Disco Elysium helped him come to terms with his father's passing.

Buy Now : Critical Hits on Bookshop | Amazon

Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy's Fight for Survival , Omid Scobie (Nov. 28)

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After being delayed three months so it could include details on the coronation of King Charles III , journalist Omid Scobie's investigative look into the inner turmoil and global reputation of the British royal family in the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II's death will be released later this month. Endgame arrives on the heels of Scobie's best-selling 2020 blockbuster Finding Freedom : Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family , a highly positive accounting of the relationship between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex . The new book is expected to delve into the early days of King Charles' reign, feud between Prince William and Harry , and allegations of sexual abuse against Prince Andrew , among other topics.

Buy Now : Endgame on Bookshop | Amazon

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The 20 best books of 2023 so far, according to Amazon's book editors

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An image of 12 book covers, selected from a list of the top 20 of amazon Book Editor's picks for '2023 Best Books of the Year So Far'

Every year—for more than 15 years running—Amazon editors come together to decide on the 20 Best Books of the Year So Far. This process is months in the making. Amazon editors read hundreds of books, paying attention to the titles that stick with them most and that they know will fascinate readers. From there, they create a list of favorites, whittling it down from 60 to 40 and then finally to 20, during a heated debate in Seattle. It’s a passionate, lengthy process where emotions run high.

A photo of Amazon editors in a meeting room, sitting around a table that has multiple books and laptops on it, viewing a spreadsheet of notes on a screen.

Al Woodworth, a senior editor on the Amazon Books Editorial Team, said, “Our list is about books that you can’t stop and don’t want to stop talking about. We’re aiming for books that are conversation starters and books that will keep you up all night reading—whether it’s a juicy romance, heart-pounding narrative nonfiction, or a pacey thriller.”

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In addition to the overall top 20 Best Books of the Year So Far, the Amazon Books Editorial Team also put together the top 20 picks in popular categories like biography and memoir, literature and fiction, history, mystery and thriller, romance, cookbooks, and children’s books (by age)—making it the perfect list to discover your next favorite read. You can see the full list on Amazon.com , and below are the top 20 picks, along with quotes from the editors.

by Ann Napolitano

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"With gusto and compassion, Ann Napolitano crafts a tear-jerker of a story that centers on the Padavano sisters, who are thick as thieves—until they aren’t. Hello Beautiful offers big emotion, and that’s exactly what makes it so powerful and so page-turning, which is why we named it the Best Book of 2023 So Far." —Al Woodworth

by S.A. Cosby

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"This Southern Gothic serial killer mystery comes out of the gate dark, and S.A. Cosby rarely takes his foot off the gas, but his storytelling—lean but vivid, and emotionally intelligent—nails every beat. I couldn’t read it fast enough." —Vannessa Cronin

by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D.

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Mind-changing revelations, fascinating facts—Jean M. Twenge's compulsively readable book will transform the way you see yourself and everyone you know, and finally put all those tired tropes about baby boomers, millennials, and more to rest. You’ll quote it every day." —Lindsay Powers

by Emilia Hart

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Though divided by centuries, three women, who share a unique connection to the natural world and to one another, tell their fascinating stories of persecution, danger, and resilience in a beautifully written novel that is a fierce and dazzling read." —Seira Wilson

by Paul Kix

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"This is the best kind of narrative nonfiction: Your heart will pound, your blood will boil, you’ll feel the rush of adrenaline as Paul Kix tells the history—complete with the unsung heroes, villains, and funders—of how Martin Luther King Jr., his team, and thousands of children in Birmingham, Alabama, changed America." —Al Woodworth

by Helen Elaine Lee

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Sorry/not sorry for the simile: This empathy-expanding novel, a sly paeon to the power of great fiction and its ability to be a Trojan horse delivering the truth, is like a pomegranate—open it and you’ll find a treasure trove inside." —Erin Kodicek

by Deepti Kapoor

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Power, pleasure, drugs, and violence collide in this page turner with Crazy Rich Asians , Narcos , and The Godfather vibes. From extreme wealth to extreme poverty, and narrated by a cast of characters on both sides of the spectrum, Deepti Kapoor’s juicy novel centers on a sprawling Indian family that controls—or attempts to control—all that’s around them, at any cost." —Al Woodworth

by David Grann

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Batten down the hatches, this true story of mayhem and murder, adventure, and reckless ambition on the high seas is a thrill to read. You can almost feel the salt spray on your skin as the HMS Wager and its hurly-burly crew fight the elements and each other in pursuit of fame and fortune. David Grann, once again, has made history come alive." —Al Woodworth

by Abraham Verghese

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"We didn’t want this book to end—told over the course of three generations, Abraham Verghese weaves a magnetic story of how cultural, social, and racial politics play out in the lives of wives, doctors, and artists who strive to find a home and purpose in a shifting and dangerous world. Filled with characters who love deeply and dream big, this novel will sweep you off your feet." —Al Woodworth

by Emily Henry

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Emily Henry's latest has all the feels! More than your standard second-chance romance, Happy Place is about the beauty, pain, and joy that come with biological families, chosen families, growing up and apart, and how—as adults—we deal with this thing called life." —Kami Tei

by Jonathan Eig

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Eig’s definitive and engrossing portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. is a remarkable feat of writing and research, revealing the gutting hardships and heroics of a man who changed the world. This is biography at its absolute finest." —Al Woodworth

by Lisa See

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"I will not soon forget Lady Tan. A historical fiction grounded in women, medicine, and tradition, Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is immersive and relatable, and I found myself underlining throughout this absorbing read." —Kami Tei

by Dennis Lehane

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

" Small Mercies comes in quiet, as a missing-daughter story set in Boston’s Southie neighborhood, but as it picks up steam and readers ride shotgun with Mary Pat Fennessy, a "tough Irish broad," as she hunts for her girl, an explosive story of racism, revenge, and reckoning ignites and leaves readers slack-jawed to the very last page." —Vannessa Cronin

by Jeannette Walls

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"A feisty tomboy, bootleggers, wheelin’ and dealin’ family members, quickie marriages, and a shootout juice the pages of Jeannette Walls’ beguiling new novel. Set in Virginia during prohibition, Hang the Moon charts the life of Sallie Kincaid, a young woman with grit and gumption, who wrestles with the legacy of her family—however good, bad, and ugly it may be." —Al Woodworth

by Brendan Slocumb

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Engrossing and heart pounding, this one had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the end. A cautionary tale about how some secrets can grow and create havoc for generations. A must read!" —Kami Tei

by Angeline Boulley

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Boulley brilliantly weaves together a suspenseful heist thriller about the theft of Indigenous peoples’ ancestral objects and human remains with an eye-opening look at repatriation, injustice, and the lengths one young Native American woman will go to right terrible wrongs." —Seira Wilson

by Rachel Heng

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

“Coming-of-age story, love story, historical fiction—Heng manages to do it all. You’ll ache for these characters, and the ending will leave you feeling equally satisfied and bereft. The Great Reclamation begs to be a classic” —Sarah Gelman

by Matthew Desmond

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

“In 200 searing pages, Matthew Desmond lays out a clear explanation of inequality that will make you rage, sob, capitulate, and feel shame. This book may not be the easiest read, but it's one of the most important ones.” —Lindsay Powers

by R.F. Kuang

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

"Satire at its finest! Yellowface puts a spotlight on the pressure some authors face trying to quickly and consistently produce the next great novel. Challenges around public opinion and cultural appropriation, specifically within the Asian community, are consistent themes throughout. Smart, cheeky, immersive, and thought-provoking." —Kami Tei

by Curtis Sittenfeld

An image of a book photo cover from the Amazon Book editors' top 20 list of the 2023 Best Books of the Year so far.

“Sittenfeld shape-shifts her talent yet again in this fun and thought-provoking romantic comedy. A fun summer read that is begging to be made into a movie, Romantic Comedy also proves, once more, that Sittenfeld is a writer who can’t be put in a box.” —Sarah Gelman

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11 Books to Read: The Best Reviews of October

The future of warfare, the dangerous work of ruling rome, nights at the movies with gene and roger, and more..

By WSJ Books Staff

Oct. 31, 2023 4:54 pm ET

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The Malian writer Yambo Ouologuem’s 1968 epic—now in a new edition that reintroduces readers to his provocative work—was a dramatic rejoinder to nostalgic visions of African history. Review by Sam Sacks

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The 44 Best New Books of 2023 You Won't Put Down

a collage of the year's best books in a guide to the best new books of 2023

From fizzy summer beach reads to highbrow literary fiction, 2023’s most noteworthy releases so far are highly personal and deeply memorable. At the start of the year, readers were treated to heartfelt debut novels by Jessica George and Delia Cai. Throughout the spring and summer, modern literary forces like Brandon Taylor, Ann Patchett, and Zadie Smith returned with highly-anticipated novels that were worth the wait. The momentum isn’t ending with the calendar year, either. Books arriving in fall and winter include Elizabeth Hand’s bone-chilling A Haunting on the Hill and Class , Stephanie Land’s follow-up to her best-selling memoir Maid. From a study of Brooklyn’s gilded upper class in Pineapple Street to a scammer’s anxiety-inducing lurch through the Hamptons in Emma Cline’s The Guest , this year’s best new books hook you from the first scene. Their characters are so memorable, you’ll want to revisit them again in the not-too-distant future. (Even the anti-heroes.)

Read on for the best books of 2023 to add to your reading list now and read a second time later, organized by release date. You won’t want to put them down from the moment you pick them up. And if there’s a book lover in your life, any one of these titles would fit their definition of a luxury gift for the holiday season.

The Survivalists: A Novel

The Survivalists: A Novel

The Survivalists is one of the year's most noteworthy new books on premise alone . Aretha, a partner-track lawyer who thrives on corporate success, descends into the world of armageddon bunkers and doomsday arms-dealing after she begins dating a coffee entrepreneur whose roommates are preparing for all sorts of unknown catastrophes while managing the roastery in their shared brownstone. On execution, The Survivalists delivers with a portrait of an underground corner of Brooklyn that's so vividly captured, you may question what's going on behind your favorite coffee shop.

Maame: A Novel

Maame: A Novel

Maddie, the narrator of Jessica George's stirring debut novel, has spent most of her twenties caring for her father, who has Parkinson's disease. Her mother is in Ghana; her brother is on the road with a musician; neither offer much in terms of money or help. But a moment for Maddie to finally figure out what she wants from life, independent of her family, is on the horizon—just not in the way Maddie initially anticipates. This is a coming-of-age novel that finds beauty in the messiness and complexity of growing up, with a narrator whose singular voice instantly captivated readers and reviewers.

There's more where Maame came from: The novel has already been picked up for a TV adaptation.

Central Places: A Novel

Central Places: A Novel

Heroines who travel from a bustling city to their flyover state hometown for the holidays often find trouble and maybe a new love interest in their old zip code. But Audrey Zhou, the narrator of Central Plac es, isn't on the Hallmark trajectory when she books a Christmas trip back to Hickory Grove, Illinois, for her first visit since high school. Audrey intends to spend the week introducing her Chinese immigrant parents to her white fiancé and helping them feel like one family—a tough order, considering Audrey and her mother aren't on the best terms. Instead, after run-ins with a past crush and old acquaintances, Audrey embarks on a self-reckoning that's hilarious at some times, heartfelt at others, and impossible to put down the whole way through.

Wolfish: Wolf, Self, and the Stories We Tell About Fear

Wolfish: Wolf, Self, and the Stories We Tell About Fear

Wolfish 's explorations of predators and prey in the natural world and in the man-made world defies easy categorization. The way Berry weaves an ecological adventure story about OR-7 , a wolf that makes a record-breaking journey away from its Oregon pack, with tales from her own coming-of-age, asks readers to reconsider their relationships with fear and the creatures who cause it.

I Have Some Questions for You: A Novel

I Have Some Questions for You: A Novel

Is I Have Some Questions for You a campus novel, a noir murder mystery, or a literary dissection of #MeToo social dynamics? With literary sensation Rebecca Makkai steering journalist Bodie Kane back to her high school alma mater to teach a workshop and, eventually, sift back through the files of a former classmate's death to potentially exonerate a wrongly accused killer, the answer is all of the above.

Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock

Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock

In 2019, Jenny Odell drew our collective attention to the attention economy's downsides with her book How to Do Nothing. Saving Time, due in March, offers another chance to shift our perspective on the systems we accept as the standard—specifically time, and how we structure and spend it. You might just put this book down with a whole new outlook on how you measure your days.

Pineapple Street: A Novel

Pineapple Street: A Novel

Comedies skewering the one percent have borderline overstayed their welcome in film, but this novel's take on the sub-genre in fiction is laugh-out-loud good. It follows three women connected to the wealthier-than-wealthy Stockton family and their Brooklyn Heights brownstone: two Stockton siblings, Darley and Georgiana, and their sister-in-law with a middle-class background, Sasha. Love and money have always mixed like oil and water (not well), but Jackson finds new humor and warmth in her particularly witty debut.

Brother & Sister Enter the Forest: A Novel

Brother & Sister Enter the Forest: A Novel

Richard Mirabella braids two timelines into one propulsive narrative about survival. In the first: Justin, a queer teen, sets off on a catastrophic road trip with his first boyfriend after his love interest gets into violent trouble. In the second: It's several years later, and Justin has arrived on his sister Willa's doorstep, desperate for refuge but at risk of damaging them both with the aftereffects of his trauma.

Hello Beautiful: A Novel

Hello Beautiful: A Novel

Little Women fans will be endeared by Hello Beautiful's homage to the March siblings, in the form of the four Padavano sisters. Any lover of a sweeping family saga will be moved by the Padavano's unraveling after the eldest daughter, Julia, meets Will, a man whose tragic past comes back to disrupt the entire family.

Romantic Comedy: A Novel

Romantic Comedy: A Novel

The title doesn't lie: Curtis Sittenfeld sets up her latest novel with a plot that demands a fizzy on-screen adaptation, ASAP. Sally Milz, a writer on a fictional SNL twin, The Night Owls , has more or less given up on romance when popstar Noah Brewster signs on to host the show. Over a week of writing jokes and rehearsing the week's lineup, Sally feels something that's a lot like love—but you'll have to read to see if their connection is real or just another sketch.

A Living Remedy: A Memoir

A Living Remedy: A Memoir

On one level, Nicole Chung's second memoir is an elegy for her adoptive parents. On another, it's an indictment of the broken healthcare systems that prevent a disappearing middle class from receiving the affordable care they desperately need. Chung writes about and through her grief with clarity and wisdom. Her reflection on her early life and her parents' last days is a salve for any reader who has experienced the specific devastation that is losing a parent.

Happy Place

Happy Place

Happy Place is a different kind of Emily Henry romance. Harriet and Wyn, its leading duo, aren't a couple in the making. They're partners since college who quietly broke up months ago—and didn't tell any of their friends before an annual group trip to Maine. Back at their usual summer escape, Harriet and Wyn have to fake that they're still together for the friends the haven't clued in to the truth and maybe come to a new understanding with one another in the process. Don't be surprised if you're weeping through the last few chapters (in a cathartic way, we promise).

Homebodies: A Novel

Homebodies: A Novel

Tembe Denton-Hurst's debut novel astutely captures what it's like to fight for yourself in a world that's stacked against you. Unfairly ousted from her job, Mickey Hayward puts her experiences as a Black woman in media to paper in the hopes it'll wake up the industry to the racism and sexism she endured. Instead, it hardly makes a ripple—until Mickey has left New York for her Maryland hometown and her letter reappears amid a larger scandal involving her old workplace.

Wildflower: A Memoir

Wildflower: A Memoir

How did Aurora James found her CFDA Award-winning label Brother Vellies and galvanize retailers to take a stand for Black-owned brands through The Fifteen Percent Pledge? James' forthcoming memoir recounts the peaks and valleys from childhood to adulthood that led her to the fashion industry—where she changed it for the better.

The Guest: A Novel

The Guest: A Novel

Emma Cline's best-selling novel became the book of the summer for a reason. The Guest invites you to follow a down-on-her-luck scammer through one chaotic week in the Hamptons—where each day takes her to more desperate means of survival and manipulation than the one before.

Yellowface: A Novel

Yellowface: A Novel

The unexpected death of acclaimed author Athena Liu presents (what looks like) an opportunity for struggling writer June Hayward to finally break through—by stealing Liu's last manuscript and inventing an Asian American identity to pass off Liu's masterwork as her own. Posing as "Juniper Song," June gets a taste of the literary success she stole and definitely doesn't deserve. And as she soon learns, she can't keep up the lie forever—can she?

R.F. Kuang's satirical thriller covers everything from white privilege to internet culture with increasingly eviscerating precision the further June/Juniper spirals away from the truth.

The Late Americans: A Novel

The Late Americans: A Novel

Brandon Taylor's third book is the most dazzling example of his sharp pen and keen observations of human nature yet. The Late Americans assembles a troupe of Iowa City student-artists and their lovers, friends, and neighbors in a novel that tracks their shifting relationships over the course of a single year. Taylor develops his characters so precisely, they feel like close friends: recognizable, sometimes infuriating, and always worth following to the book's last page.

(Double-recommendation: Check out Taylor's literary newsletter while you wait for The Late Americans to arrive.)

Girls and Their Horses

Girls and Their Horses

Tensions have always run high in the elite (and usually, rich) equestrian world. Girls and Their Horses dials up the intrigue by several degrees, embedding a new-money family into an insular and highly competitive horseback riding community—where deceit, romance, and even murder aren't out of the question in pursuit of a blue ribbon.

The Mythmakers

The Mythmakers

Keziah Weir's debut novel takes an age-old literary question—is this fiction actually based off reality?—and twists it into a compelling story about art, perspective, and the line between inspiration and transgression. The Mythmakers isn't from the perspective of a novelist, though: It begins with a down-on-her-luck journalist who recognizes herself in a short story by an acclaimed, and recently deceased, author.

Adult Drama: And Other Essays

Adult Drama: And Other Essays

Three years after an essay about her (unhealthy) friendship with influencer Caroline Calloway went viral, Natalie Beach is delving into other can't-look-away dramas—in her relationships, in her work, and in the world at large—with the same captivating voice that landed her on so many readers' radars. This isn't a debut essay collection to miss.

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  • Empyrean, Book 2
  • By: Rebecca Yarros
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Soler, Teddy Hamilton
  • Length: 28 hrs and 16 mins
  • Overall 5 out of 5 stars 360
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 352
  • Story 5 out of 5 stars 352

Everyone expected Violet Sorrengail to die during her first year at Basgiath War College―Violet included. But Threshing was only the first impossible test meant to weed out the weak-willed, the unworthy, and the unlucky....

  • 5 out of 5 stars

The person reading sucks.

  • By miranda on 11-07-23

1. Iron Flame

  • Narrated by: Rebecca Soler , Teddy Hamilton
  • Series: Empyrean , Book 2
  • Release date: 11-07-23
  • Language: English
  • 5 out of 5 stars 360 ratings

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The Woman in Me Audiobook By Britney Spears cover art

The Woman in Me

  • By: Britney Spears
  • Narrated by: Michelle Williams, Britney Spears - introduction
  • Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
  • Overall 5 out of 5 stars 15,486
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 15,016
  • Story 5 out of 5 stars 15,007

In June 2021, the whole world was listening as Britney Spears spoke in open court. The impact of sharing her voice—her truth—was undeniable, and it changed the course of her life and the lives of countless others. ...

Thank you Britney.

  • By Anonymous User on 10-24-23

2. The Woman in Me

  • Narrated by: Michelle Williams , Britney Spears - introduction
  • Release date: 10-24-23
  • 5 out of 5 stars 15,486 ratings

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Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing Audiobook By Matthew Perry cover art

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing

  • By: Matthew Perry
  • Narrated by: Matthew Perry
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 19,977
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 18,138
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 18,083

The beloved star of Friends takes us behind the scenes of the hit sitcom and his struggles with addiction in this candid memoir.

  • 1 out of 5 stars

Mad at myself for getting sucked in

  • By betty on 11-03-22

3. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing

  • Release date: 11-01-22
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 19,977 ratings

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Fourth Wing Audiobook By Rebecca Yarros cover art

Fourth Wing

  • Empyrean, Book 1
  • Length: 20 hrs and 43 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 12,363
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 11,561
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 11,565

Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Yarros....

Great story narrator is congested

  • By Johanna Leasiolagi on 05-13-23

4. Fourth Wing

  • Series: Empyrean , Book 1
  • Release date: 05-02-23
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 12,363 ratings

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My Name Is Barbra Audiobook By Barbra Streisand cover art

My Name Is Barbra

  • By: Barbra Streisand
  • Narrated by: Barbra Streisand
  • Length: 48 hrs and 14 mins
  • Overall 5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story 5 out of 5 stars 11

Barbra Streisand is by any account a living legend, a woman who in a career spanning six decades has excelled in every area of entertainment....

A must “hear”

  • By Daniel Baños on 11-07-23

5. My Name Is Barbra

  • 5 out of 5 stars 13 ratings

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Defiant Audiobook By Brandon Sanderson cover art

  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Suzy Jackson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 49 mins
  • Overall 0 out of 5 stars 0
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Spensa made it out of the Nowhere, but what she saw in the space between the stars has changed her forever. She came face to face with the Delvers, and finally got answers to the questions she’s had about her own strange Cytonic gifts....

  • Series: The Skyward Series , Book 4
  • Release date: 11-21-23
  • Not rated yet

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Atomic Habits Audiobook By James Clear cover art

Atomic Habits

  • An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  • By: James Clear
  • Narrated by: James Clear
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Overall 5 out of 5 stars 128,500
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 104,540
  • Story 5 out of 5 stars 103,488

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving - every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones....

  • 2 out of 5 stars

Author went overboard hawking his site

  • By CHughes on 06-25-19

7. Atomic Habits

  • Release date: 10-16-18
  • 5 out of 5 stars 128,500 ratings

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Prequel Audiobook By Rachel Maddow cover art

  • An American Fight Against Fascism
  • By: Rachel Maddow
  • Narrated by: Rachel Maddow
  • Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
  • Overall 5 out of 5 stars 365
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 346
  • Story 5 out of 5 stars 344

Inspired by her research for the hit podcast Ultra, Rachel Maddow charts the rise of a wild American strain of authoritarianism that has been alive on the far-right edge of our politics for the better part of a century....

The fight to keep democracy alive

  • By Rex on 10-19-23
  • Release date: 10-17-23
  • 5 out of 5 stars 365 ratings

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Resurrection Walk Audiobook By Michael Connelly cover art

Resurrection Walk

  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Peter Giles, Titus Welliver, Christine Lakin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 136

Defense attorney Mickey Haller is back, taking the long shot cases, where the chances of winning are one in a million. He agrees to represent a woman in prison for killing her husband, a sheriff’s deputy. Despite her conviction four years earlier, she still maintains her innocence....

Brilliantly written, explicitly performed

  • By Victor @ theAudiobookBlog dot com on 11-07-23

9. Resurrection Walk

  • Narrated by: Peter Giles , Titus Welliver , Christine Lakin
  • Series: A Lincoln Lawyer Novel , Book 7
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 144 ratings

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All the Light We Cannot See Audiobook By Anthony Doerr cover art

All the Light We Cannot See

  • By: Anthony Doerr
  • Narrated by: Zach Appelman
  • Length: 16 hrs and 2 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 61,791
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 54,892
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 54,846

When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home....

  • 3 out of 5 stars

Afraid to Write a "Less-Than-Positive" Review

  • By Elizabeth on 08-06-14

10. All the Light We Cannot See

  • Release date: 05-06-14
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 61,791 ratings

Murtagh Audiobook By Christopher Paolini cover art

  • The World of Eragon
  • By: Christopher Paolini
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle, Christopher Paolini
  • Length: 24 hrs and 32 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 47
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 46

Master storyteller and internationally bestselling author Christopher Paolini returns to the World of Eragon in this stunning epic fantasy set a year after the events of the Inheritance Cycle. Join Dragon Rider—and fan favorite—Murtagh and his dragon as they confront a perilous new enemy....

Didn't Disappoint

  • By Tara on 11-08-23

11. Murtagh

  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle , Christopher Paolini
  • Series: Inheritance Cycle , Book 5
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 47 ratings

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Audiobook By Suzanne Collins cover art

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

  • A Hunger Games Novel
  • By: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Santino Fontana
  • Length: 16 hrs and 16 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 25,807
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 22,806
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 22,760

A decade before he became the ruthless president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow played a different role in the Hunger Games: mentor.

The narration is the worst I’ve heard

  • By Rj on 05-19-20

12. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

  • Series: Hunger Games
  • Release date: 05-19-20
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 25,807 ratings

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Killers of the Flower Moon Audiobook By David Grann cover art

Killers of the Flower Moon

  • The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
  • By: David Grann
  • Narrated by: Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 18,975
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 16,677
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 16,631

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe....

An outstanding story, highly recommended

  • By S. Blakely on 06-22-17

13. Killers of the Flower Moon

  • Narrated by: Will Patton , Ann Marie Lee , Danny Campbell
  • Release date: 04-18-17
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 18,975 ratings

Tom Lake Audiobook By Ann Patchett cover art

  • By: Ann Patchett
  • Narrated by: Meryl Streep
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 4,554
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 4,239
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 4,224

In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake....

So incredibly boring

  • By Rhonda Morrison on 08-05-23

14. Tom Lake

  • Release date: 08-01-23
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4,554 ratings

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Lessons in Chemistry Audiobook By Bonnie Garmus cover art

Lessons in Chemistry

  • By: Bonnie Garmus
  • Narrated by: Miranda Raison, Bonnie Garmus, Pandora Sykes
  • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 27,438
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 24,192
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 24,116

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one....

Science vs Religion

  • By TX Amazon Shopper on 04-29-22

15. Lessons in Chemistry

  • Narrated by: Miranda Raison , Bonnie Garmus , Pandora Sykes
  • Release date: 04-05-22
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 27,438 ratings

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Elon Musk Audiobook By Walter Isaacson cover art

  • By: Walter Isaacson
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb, Walter Isaacson
  • Length: 20 hrs and 27 mins
  • Overall 5 out of 5 stars 3,081
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 2,824
  • Story 5 out of 5 stars 2,816

When Elon Musk was a kid in South Africa, he was regularly beaten by bullies. One day a group pushed him down some concrete steps and kicked him until his face was a swollen ball of flesh....

  • 4 out of 5 stars

megalomania on display

  • By JP on 09-12-23

16. Elon Musk

  • Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb , Walter Isaacson
  • Release date: 09-12-23
  • 5 out of 5 stars 3,081 ratings

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Hidden Potential Audiobook By Adam Grant cover art

Hidden Potential

  • The Science of Achieving Greater Things
  • By: Adam Grant
  • Narrated by: Adam Grant, Maurice Ashley, R. A. Dickey, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 119

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again illuminates how we can elevate ourselves and others to unexpected heights....

A poorly done podcast!

  • By Reza Toghraee on 10-25-23

17. Hidden Potential

  • Narrated by: Adam Grant , Maurice Ashley , R. A. Dickey , Evelyn Glennie , Sara Maria Hasbun , Francis Idehen , Alison Levine , Benny Lewis , Kari Louhivuori , Nelli Louhivuori , Brandon Payne , Richard Pine , Gil Winch , full cast
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 127 ratings

None of This Is True Audiobook By Lisa Jewell cover art

None of This Is True

  • By: Lisa Jewell
  • Narrated by: Kristin Atherton, Ayesha Antoine, Louise Brealey, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 3,157
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 2,898
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,890

Lisa Jewell returns with a scintillating new psychological thriller about a woman who finds herself the subject of her own popular true crime podcast....

Victim shaming a teen girl?

  • By Lisa & Travis on 08-11-23

18. None of This Is True

  • Narrated by: Kristin Atherton , Ayesha Antoine , Louise Brealey , Alix Dunmore , Elliot Fitzpatrick , Lisa Jewell , Thomas Judd , Dominic Thorburn , Nicola Walker , Jenny Walser
  • Release date: 08-08-23
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 3,157 ratings

Demon Copperhead Audiobook By Barbara Kingsolver cover art

Demon Copperhead

  • By: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Narrated by: Charlie Thurston
  • Length: 21 hrs and 3 mins
  • Overall 5 out of 5 stars 17,619
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars 15,906
  • Story 5 out of 5 stars 15,841

The story of an Appalachian boy born to a single mother, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair.

Wow! It’s a Masterpiece

  • By Billy on 10-25-22

19. Demon Copperhead

  • Release date: 10-18-22
  • 5 out of 5 stars 17,619 ratings

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A Court of Thorns and Roses Audiobook By Sarah J. Maas cover art

A Court of Thorns and Roses

  • By: Sarah J. Maas
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda
  • Length: 16 hrs and 7 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 38,964
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 34,523
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 34,465

A completely original retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a strong female lead, faeries, and an amazingly inventive world.

I REALLY thought I was going to love this one.

  • By Bookworm on 05-21-15

20. A Court of Thorns and Roses

  • Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses , Book 1
  • Release date: 05-05-15
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 38,964 ratings

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PEOPLE's Best New Books to Read in November 2023 — From Mark Harmon’s WWII History to Jeff Tweedy’s Non-Fiction Stories

Cozy up with PEOPLE's picks for the best new books of November 2023

Love against odds, music to live by, and an indomitable student's journey — here are PEOPLE's picks for the best new books of November 2023.

Ghosts of Honolulu by Mark Harmon and Leon Carroll Jr.

Harper Select

The NCIS star teamed up with the show 's technical advisor — and former NCIS special agent — to write a story straight out of the police procedural. This riveting account of American and Japanese intelligence agents details the moral conflict many Japanese American officers faced at war time, as well as the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), which impacted the real-life NCIS.

Above the Salt by Katherine Vaz

Flatiron Books

As children on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the 1850s, John and Mary form a magnetic bond. Religious persecution forces them to flee, but they meet again as immigrants in Illinois, and their paths continue to cross and diverge through America's convulsive history, from the Civil War to the Jazz Age. Will their love prevail? Vaz explores the complexities of duty, passion and sacrifice in an engrossing narrative that celebrates life's abiding beauty. — Robin Micheli

World Within a Song by Jeff Tweedy

The Wilco frontman delves into his inspiring relationship with music through 50 songs (from "Gloria" to "Free Bird") and adds heart-wrenching memories of childhood friendship, gun-wielding tour bus drivers and more. If life's a movie, Tweedy's has a pretty great soundtrack. — Theo Munger

Class by Stephanie Land

Atria/One Signal Publishers

In this sequel to the mega-selling Maid , single mom Land struggles to fulfill her lifelong dream of getting an MFA to build a writing career, even as she battles poverty and — worse — people's judgement that she's being self-indulgent and impractical. Raw and inspiring. — Caroline Leavitt 

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45 new books we can't wait to read in 2023

best rated books right now

We may not be able to predict everything the near year will bring. But based on 2023's new book releases, we have a feeling we'll be reading all year long.

Below, we’re highlighting just a few of the new books coming out in 2023 that you may want to check out. Of course, Prince Harry’s anticipated memoir “Spare ” makes an appearance, as do sequels and follow-ups from authors like Carley Fortune and Elizabeth Acevedo. We have novels and memoirs from Latinx authors ; poetry collections to peruse before bed or first thing in the morning; and more captivating reads.

Keep in mind this is far from an exhaustive list. Think of it as an introduction to the literary delights that 2023 has to offer, selected by book critic and bookstagrammer Lupita Aquino along with TODAY editors — not to mention all the books Jenna Bush Hager will choose for her Read With Jenna book club , like "Sam," the first of 2023 .

We’ll be updating this list with more of our favorites as the year goes on.

'Sam' by Allegra Goodman (Jan. 3)

Sam by Allegra Goodman

Sam by Allegra Goodman

The first Read With Jenna pick of the year , "Sam" is a coming-of-age story with language that reflects its protagonist's growing up, evolving as Sam does. Describing the book to TODAY.com, Jenna Bush Hager says, "It explores what happens when one girl loses the wonder of childhood — the innocence of her early years only to reclaim her power and hope."

— Elena Nicolaou

'Age of Vice' by Deepti Kapoor (Jan. 3)

Age of Vice

Age of Vice

An epic in every sense of the world, "Age of Vice" will take you on a years-long whirlwind in a character's life ... and then back again, to show the same events from a different character's perspective. As the picture comes into focus, and all the elements of greed, loss, pleasure and love fueling the New Delhi-set story, you'll feel heartbreak for the characters and thrill at the capacity of Kapoor's mind.

'The Survivalists' by Kashana Cauley (Jan. 10)

The Survivalists

The Survivalists

Aretha knows she can't prepare for every tragedy, especially in the wake of her mother's death. But there are some she can plan for "The Survivalists" follows one lawyer's detour into an underground world of people who believe the apocalypse is coming and are trying to get ahead of it.

'Spare' by Prince Harry (Jan. 10)


Prince Harry's anticipated memoir is billed as being an "honest and captivated personal portrait " of a person the public has seen grown up, but is only recently getting to know on an intimate level. Poised to tell his story "at last," the memoir is expected to cover the death of his mother, Diana, and why he left royal life behind with his wife Meghan Markle.

'Hell Bent' by Leigh Bardugo (Jan. 10)

Hell Bent

The second installment in her Alex Stern series, "Hell Bent" returns to a magic-infused Yale University campus, where secret societies cast magic and unleash monsters. Alex Stern was brought from California to the cloistered Ivy League school to keep a watchful eye on them. And in book two, she has to venture to hell to rescue her partner. Read a preview here .

The Faraway World' by Patricia Engel (Jan. 24)

The Faraway World: Stories

The Faraway World: Stories

In 2021, "Infinite Country," Engel’s latest novel, hit the New York Times bestseller list and took a strong hold over book clubs everywhere. Any fan of Engel’s work will tell you to prepare yourself for unique and intimate layered storytelling. You'll find that and so much more in this new short story collection exploring themes of community, regret and migration.

— Lupita Aquino

'Central Places' by Delia Cai (Jan. 31)

Central Places: A Novel

Central Places: A Novel

It's "Meet the Parents" for a new generation. Since moving away from the central Illinois town she grew up in, Audrey Zhou has gotten a high-powered job and found the perfect man. Now, she's bringing her fiancé back to meet her Chinese immigrant parents. There, her past and present collide, as do her parents' expectations for her and her hopes for herself.

'Love, Pamela' by Pamela Anderson (Jan. 31)

Love, Pamela

Love, Pamela

After a life in the headlines, you might think you know Pamela Anderson. In this revealing memoir, Anderson describes what it was like to be in her shoes during her ascent to fame and scrutiny, and how she found herself.

'Maame' by Jessica George (Jan. 31)


"Maame" is a coming-of-adulthood with an unforgettable narrative voice. By page one, you'll be invested in Maame's journey as she navigates caring for her ailing father and living at home in her mid 20s; her mother's nosy phone calls from Ghana that can't make up for her absence; her friendships; disappointing work interactions; and more.

'The People Who Report More Stress' by Alejandro Valero (Feb. 7)

The People Who Report More Stress: Stories

The People Who Report More Stress: Stories

Alejandro's debut novel "The Town of Babylon" came out in 2022, and this forthcoming short story collection, full of memorable personalities, explores similar themes: community, relationships, modern queer life, racism and parenthood.

'When Trying to Return Home' by Jennifer Maritza McCauley (Feb. 7)

When Trying to Return Home: Stories

When Trying to Return Home: Stories

Spanning between Puerto Rico, Pittsburg, Louisiana and Miami, this debut short story collection explores the complexities of belonging and the true meaning of home. Each individual story and the themes mentioned are written through the Black American and Afro-Latino experience.

'The Last Tale of the Flower Bride' by Roshani Chokshi (Feb. 14)

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride

Roshani Chokshi's transfixing first novel for adults is a fairytale-infused story about marriage and the secrets couples keep from each other. That, and an enchanted house off the coast of Washington and hotel fortune . Read a preview here .

'I Have Some Questions for You' by Rebecca Makkai (Feb. 21)

I Have Some Questions for You

I Have Some Questions for You

Imagine if your life was the stuff of a true crime documentary. Bodie Kane has tried to move on past the 1995 murder of her boarding school roommate. When she returns to the boarding school as an adult, Bodie realizes there are still lingering mysteries about how the case was wrapped up and justice was served.

'Black Candle Women' by Diana Marie Brown (Feb. 28)

Black Candle Women (Original)

Black Candle Women (Original)

If you watched "True Blood" or "Practical Magic," you're sure to enjoy this family saga about a group of women with magic in their blood and secrets in their past. Augusta, the family matriarch, can't speak due to aphasia, but her daughter, grand-daughters and great-granddaughter are living with the ramifications of a decision she made and the powers she passed onto them.

'What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez' by Claire Jimenez (March 7)

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

The Ramirez sisters were a tight-knit trio until the sudden disappearance of Ruthy, the middle child, shattered the family. Years after her disappearance, Ruthy seems to reappear in a reality TV show using the name Ruby. This debut novel is a funny and heartbreaking examination of sisterhood, generational trauma and the bonds that hold families together.

'The Mimicking of Known Successes' by Malka Older (March 7)

The Mimicking of Known Successes

The Mimicking of Known Successes

Exploring communities in conflict and the loss of ecosystems, this science fiction novella — part sapphic romance, part murder mystery — imagines what life would be like in a human colony on Jupiter.

'Hello Beautiful' by Ann Napolitano (March 14)

Hello Beautiful

Hello Beautiful

Read With Jenna author Ann Napolitano's follow-up to "Dear Edward " is centered on a lonely basketball player and the warm family of four sisters (think "Little Women") that he marries into. Read a preview of the redemptive novel here .

'Take What You Need' by Idra Novey (March 14)

Take What You Need: A Novel

Take What You Need: A Novel

Leah returns to her home in the Allegheny Mountains to clean house after her estranged stepmother's death. Upon arriving, Leah learns that her stepmother had a secret: an inner artist who left behind large, mysterious sculptures out of scrap material. Idra Novey created the portrait of an artist, seen through the eyes of someone who only knew her as a flawed stepmother.

'The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts' by Soraya Palmer (March 28)

The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts

The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts

This debut coming-of-age story weaves in folktales and spirits through the lens of two Jamaican-Trinidad sisters who struggle to understand each other, exploring the power of storytelling and complexities of sisterhood.

'Evil Eye' by Etaf Rum (March 28)

Evil Eye

Read With Jenna author Etaf Rum's newest novel follows three generations of Palestinian American women, and was inspired by the idea of a curse. Read a preview here .

'White Cat, Black Dog' by Kelly Link (March 28)

White Cat, Black Dog: Stories

White Cat, Black Dog: Stories

Kelly Link is the master of the modern fairy tale. This collection of short stories is deceptively easy to read – you'll be turning the pages of strange events quickly, but the stories and their strange events are liable to linger in your mind.

'The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise' by Colleen Oakley (March 28)

The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise

The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise

Imagine a classic heist story, but the people at the center of it are a geriatric jewelry thief and her younger roommate, and you'll get Colleen Oakley's next novel. The page-turner will inspire you to think about the secret histories we all carry. Read a preview here .

'Above Ground: Poems' by Clint Smith (March 28)

Above Ground

Above Ground

In this new collection of poems, Smith examines the ways in which parenthood has altered his view on life. He now tries to see the world through his children's eyes. Expressive and intimate, this collection flawlessly captures the vulnerability of the human experience on the page.

'Camp Zero' by Michelle Min Sterling

Camp Zero

The climate apocalypse happens — and people keep going. This inventive novel follows the people after the world as we know it has been changed irrevocably, living in the far north.

'Carmen and Grace' by Melissa Coss Aquino (April 4)

Carmen and Grace

Carmen and Grace

Cousins Carmen and Grace share a traumatic childhood that has bonded them together tightly. That is, until they meet a sisterhood of women known as the D.O.D, who are guided by a leader of an underground drug empire, Doña Durka. This plot-driven novel explores the bonds of found family and the ways into which power and ambition can sever relationships.

'Homecoming' by Kate Morton (April 4)


The author of "The Clockmaker's Daughter" returns with her first book in four years. Another epic, "Homecoming" follows the decades-long reverberations of a crime in South Australia for one family.

'Chain Gang All Stars' by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

"Chain-Gang All Stars"

"Chain-Gang All Stars"

Jenna Bush Hager says her May 2023 book club pick is "not like anything I’ve read before."

Two women prisoners become gladiators, battling each other for their lives and their freedom, in this dystopian novel.

'A Living Remedy' by Nicole Chung (April 4)

A Living Remedy: A Memoir

A Living Remedy: A Memoir

This riveting and tender memoir is a stunning meditation on grief and guilt, driven by the ways in which the U.S. healthcare system, one of the highest costs of healthcare in the world, fails those that cannot afford it. Detailing her father's inability to access healthcare and his premature death, Chung illuminates the hardships many Americans face caring for aging parents and loved ones in a broken system.

'The Haunting of Alejandra' by V. Castro (April 18)

The Haunting of Alejandra

The Haunting of Alejandra

Weaving in the popular Mexican folklore legend of La Llorona, this horror novel centers on a woman exploring her family’s past deals with an unexplainable inner darkness that wants to consume her. The provocative novel is haunting and packed with dark secrets.

'The Last Animal' by Ramona Ausubel (April 18)

The Last Animal

The Last Animal

Stop us if you've heard this one before: A single mother and her two teenage daughters head to the Arctic to attempt to "de-extinct” the woolly mammoth. There, they find a nearly perfectly preserved mammoth ... and embark on a process to bring it back to life. Yes, this book is about scientific discovery, but it's also about being a mom to teenage girls and enjoying the chaos of life with family by your side.

'The Skin and Its Girl' by Sarah Cypher (April 25)

The Skin and Its Girl

The Skin and Its Girl

In this family saga that explores exile and immigration, Betty, a queer Palestinian American woman, discovers a series of notebooks from her late aunt that help her navigate a difficult decision. Her aunt's notebooks reveal a complex life filled with secrets beyond anything Betty could imagine along with the answer to if she should leave her home country to follow the love of her life.

'The Fitful Sleep of Immigrants' by Orlando Ortega-Medina (April 25)

The Fitful Sleep of Immigrants

The Fitful Sleep of Immigrants

Set in San Francisco in the 1990s, this thriller follows attorney Marc Mendes as he navigates addiction and the approaching deportation of his life partner, Isaac. Full of twists and turns, this novel explores the inhumanity found in immigration law and the true meaning of loyalty.

'Rosewater' by Liv Litte (April 25)


Elise, the protagonist of this debut novel, is a 28-year-old living in south London struggling with the possible dread of not knowing if she will ever be able to pursue her passion for poetry full time. She is dealt an additional blow after she is suddenly evicted. Turning to her childhood best friend for help, Elise rediscovers the beauty of the relationships that have always sustained her.

'Meet Me at the Lake' by Carley Fortune (May 2)

Meet Me at the Lake

Meet Me at the Lake

Like Carley Fortune's hit debut novel "Every Summer After", "Meet Me at the Lake" is a lake-set romance. After an intense, 24-hour meeting a decade ago, Fern and Will meet up again in the lakeside town where she inherited her mother's inn. Read a preview here .

'In Vitro: On Longing and Transformation' by Isabel Zapata (May 9)

In Vitro: On Longing and Transformation

In Vitro: On Longing and Transformation

In this essay-like collection, Zapata examines in vitro fertilization and the narratives that drive societal expectations and pressures in conception and pregnancy. Unveiling a nuanced view of motherhood and fertility treatment, "In Vitro" will illuminate aspects of pregnancy not often discussed.

'Quietly Hostile: Essays' by Samantha Irby (May 16)

Quietly Hostile: Essays

Quietly Hostile: Essays

Blogger-turned-bestselling author Samantha Irby is back with a new and hilariously relatable essay collection. The essays depict what it's like to balance writing for hit shows like HBO’s reboot of "Sex and City" with the reality of living in a human body. Irby will have you crying and laughing as she writes about exploring therapy, reiki and much more.

'Yellowface' by R. F. Kuang (May 18)


R. F. Kuang is the creator of intricate fantasy novels like "Babel" and the Poppy War series. In "Yellowface," she tells the story of two competitive authors, Athena Liu and June Hayward, whose careers take off at the same time — but only one's star rises. When Athena dies in a freak accident, June takes her chance to steal her manuscript about Chinese laborers during WWII and pass it off as her own.

'The Late Americans' by Brandon Taylor (May 23)

The Late Americans

The Late Americans

Previously listed as a nominee for the Booker Prize longlist with his debut novel, "Real Life", Taylor’s sophomore novel "The Late Americans" follows a group of friends as they challenge each other to find themselves.

'The Celebrants' by Steven Rowley (May 30)

The Celebrants

The Celebrants

The author of "The Guncle" is back with a big-hearted saga about friendship and what makes a life worth living. A group of college friends decide to throw funerals for each other.

'The Male Gazed' by Manuel Betancourt (May 30)

The Male Gazed

The Male Gazed

Raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Betancourt examines the societal pressures surrounding masculinity as a gay man. This memoir-in-essays weaves in pop culture and cultural criticism within Betancourt’s own story to provide sharp insight into the pitfalls of internalized toxic masculinity.

'Girls and Their Horses' by Eliza Jane Brazier (June 6)

Girls and Their Horses

Girls and Their Horses

The author of "Good Rich People" returns with a novel set in the cloistered world of the wealthy — this time, among competitive show jumpers, where big wallets tend to outweigh talent. After coming into a fortune, Heather Parker wants her daughters to have the chances she didn't to become horse-riding stars. Someone winds up dead in the barn — but who?

'When The Hibiscus Falls' by M. Evelina Galang (June 13)

When the Hibiscus Falls

When the Hibiscus Falls

Centering the lives of Filipino American women in seventeen stories, Galanga explores the complexities of ancestry, identity, and community, resulting in a collection that honors the deep connections that exist between descendants and ancestors.

'Save What's Left' by Elizabeth Castellano (June 13)

Save What's Left: A Novel

Save What's Left: A Novel

When her husband Tom leaves her without warning to go on an around-the-world cruise, Kathleen is left with a gaping hole — and a chance to reinvent herself. So she decides to move to a small beachside town across the country and becomes pulled into its ecosystem. Laugh-out-loud funny, "Save What's Left" is a novel about life in a town that makes the perfect escape.

'Rivermouth: A Chronicle of Language, Faith, and Migration' by Alejandra Oliva (June 20)

Rivermouth: A Chronicle of Language, Faith, and Migration

Rivermouth: A Chronicle of Language, Faith, and Migration

Alejandra Oliva, a translator and advocate for Latin American migrants seeking asylum and citizenship, reflects on the different physical spaces migrants encounter as they navigate the immigration system. Illuminating the difficulties and gaps within the system, she poses crucial questions about American citizenship and the need for radical empathy.

'Family Lore: A Novel' by Elizabeth Acevedo (Aug. 1)

Family lore.

In 2018, Acevedo received the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for her novel-in-verse "The Poet X," which also became a New York Times bestseller. "Family Lore" is Acevedo's first novel for adults and it tells the story of a Dominican-American family exploring their shared history as they approach the wake of one of its members.

Elena Nicolaou is a senior entertainment editor at Today.com, where she covers the latest in TV, pop culture, movies and all things streaming. Previously, she covered culture at Refinery29 and Oprah Daily. Her superpower is matching people up with the perfect book, which she does on her podcast, Blind Date With a Book.


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