There's nothing quite like curling up with a good book and being totally transported to a different place. As a team of writers and editors, we're big into reading around here. These are some of the best books that were out there in 2023, according to our staff. Not every one of these titles was published in 2023, but we read them all this year and loved them so much.
Whether you want to learn something new, see a totally different perspective, or just be wonderfully entertained, we've got you covered with this list of our favorite titles.
This is my own personal favorite book I read in 2023, and it's actually the best book I've read in the past decade. It's based on David Copperfield by Charles Dickens but is a totally modern take on that beloved classic. It has all the pathos and page-turning awesomeness you might expect from a modern Dickens reboot, but it goes way beyond the reimagining of a classic. It's its own thing: heartbreaking, hilarious, and incredibly relatable.
It follows the story of a kid growing up in Appalachia in the 1990s as he goes in and out of foster care homes and struggles with the opioid crisis. Sounds very dark (and it will make you cry), but it's also really hopeful too. I had to make myself read it slowly so I could savor it, and I literally never do that.
Barbara Kingsolver won the Pulitzer Prize for this book, which made me really happy.
Allison, one of our writers, loved the nonfiction book, The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life's Final Moments. This New York Times Bestseller handles one of the most difficult topics out there: the last moments of being alive. It includes touching stories of wisdom and lessons learned from perspective of someone who has seen this transition first hand many times.
"It's written by a hospice nurse," Allison said, "and even though it takes an afternoon to read, it was perfect."
Another great nonfiction title, The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn't, and Get Stuff Done, was the best book Amy Finley, one of our editors, read in 2023. It's also a New York Times Bestseller, and it covers figuring out what really matters to you so you can focus on that in your life.
"This came out in 2020, but I read it this year and loved it," Amy said. "It has so much practical, real-life application, and it really values the idea that we're all different as people and it's important to figure out what matters to us as individuals."
Another writer on our team, Saleema, loved Verity by Colleen Hoover. This page-turner is a dark psychological thriller about a writer finishing the work of another novelist and discovering some long-hidden truths.
"I'm late to the CoHo (Colleen Hoover!) train," Saleema said, "but Verity was hands-down my favorite read of the year."
Carrie, our Managing Editor, loved Hang the Moon by Jeannette Walls. One of the best books of 2023, it was an instant New York Times Bestseller and a favorite with critics. This page-turner is historic fiction at its best.
"It has great, relatable characters, and her storytelling is top-notch," Carrie said.
Another of my own favorite books this year was Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. Like Carrie's pick, it's historical fiction and has incredible characters. It's about a fictional female aviator that has a lot in common with Amelia Earhart. You get to follow her life from when she's a little girl until the flight where everything changes.
I read this book on vacation, which meant I didn't have to put it down. And I didn't — not even for a second. It's not really a beach read in the classic sense, but there's so much action and such great characters that it's just as compelling.
The best book our General Manager, Amy Boshnack, read in 2023 was Black Cake: A Novel. It's a multigenerational story that explores the idea of what we consider identity, and it's a page-turner too.
"It drew me in immediately," Amy said. "The characters were mysterious and relatable at the same time. I loved learning about the historical meaning and love of a food within a different culture — and for this family in particular."
For Casey, another writer on our team, the best book she read in 2023 was nonfiction. Good Morning, Monster: A Therapist Shares Five Heroic Stories of Emotional Recovery delves into the whole story of five patients who sought out therapy and made breakthroughs in their own mental health with the help of a therapist.
"It's incredible," Casey said. "It gets very dark and deep at certain points, but it is inspiring to see how therapy has helped people heal from the worst types of trauma."
Even though it wasn't specifically recommended by someone on our team, the best selling book of 2023 on Amazon is another nonfiction title worth mentioning. Atomic Habits is all about how to change small things in your life to create habits you want. It's a positive and productive book that offers a ton of potential for making life better, and it's definitely on my to-read list.
One of our writers, Heidi, had a super interesting pick for the best book she read this year. It's nonfiction, and it's about scientific research on human cadavers. It's funny and entertaining and a great choice for an audiobook in particular.
"This book is old (published in 2003)," Heidi said, "but I love it."
Even though she was still reading it, Allison recommended The September House as one of the best books of 2023. This haunted house story is hard to put down and is way more than a simple ghost story.
"The September House is very much in the running for my favorite book this year," Allison says.
Our picks for the best books of 2023 range from serious nonfiction to page-turning stories we read on vacation. Each of these books is worth putting on your to-read list, so stock up and enjoy!