40 Books from 2023 You Need to Read in 2024

Posted by Bijal Shah on


Best Literary Fiction Books of 2023 so far…

The Covenant of Water (Literary Fiction) by Abraham Verghese

The Covenant of Water: An Oprah's Book Club Selection by [Abraham Verghese]

The Covenant of Water is a sweeping novel by talented novelist Abraham Verghese that spans three generations of a family in Kerala, India. The family is cursed with a strange affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning. The matriarch of the family, Big Ammachi, witnesses the effects of this curse firsthand as she watches her loved ones die. She also witnesses the changes that come to Kerala as the country modernizes. The novel is a moving story of love, faith, and medicine, and it is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Here are some of the key themes of the novel:

  • The power of love in the face of tragedy. Big Ammachi's love for her family helps her to cope with the loss of loved ones.
  • The importance of faith. Big Ammachi's faith in God helps her to find strength and hope during difficult times.
  • The power of medicine. Big Ammachi's grandson, Dr. Verghese, is a doctor who uses his skills to save lives.
  • The changes that come with modernization:The novel also shows the changes that come with modernization and it's impact on a family, in a country (Kerala) that is undergoing rapid change.

The Covenant of Water is a beautifully written novel that is full of heart and wisdom. A literary masterpiece, this novel will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

My favourite quotes: 

“Fiction is the great lie that tells the truth about how the world lives!”

“Secrecy lives in the same rooms as loneliness.”

“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”


Yellowface (Literary Fiction) by R. F. Kuang

Yellowface is a satirical novel by R.F. Kuang that tells the story of June Hayward, a white woman who passes off a Chinese-American woman's novel as her own. The novel explores themes of race, identity, and cultural appropriation.

June is a struggling writer who is desperate for success. When her friend Athena Liu, a Chinese-American writer, dies in a freak accident, June sees an opportunity. She steals Athena's unpublished manuscript and publishes it as her own under the name Juniper Song.

June's novel becomes a bestseller, and she is hailed as a literary prodigy. But her success is short-lived. When Athena's family and friends discover what she has done, they are outraged. June is forced to confront the consequences of her actions, and she must decide whether she is willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of her career.

Yellowface is a sharp and funny novel that explores the complex issues of race, identity, and cultural appropriation. It is a timely novel that is sure to spark conversation.


The Collected Regrets of Clover (Literary Fiction) by Mikki Brammer

Clover Brooks has always felt a stronger connection with the dying than the living. Ever since she saw her kindergarten teacher drop dead during a dramatic telling of Peter Rabbit, Clover has been drawn to the end of life. After her beloved grandfather dies alone while she is traveling, Clover decides to become a death doula, someone who helps people die peacefully.

Clover throws herself into her work, spending long hours with the dying. She helps them to make peace with their lives and to die with dignity. But as she spends more and more time with the dying, Clover realizes that she is neglecting her own life. She has no close relationships, and she feels like she is missing out on something important.

One day, a feisty old woman named Claudia asks Clover to help her fulfill a final wish: to seek closure on the love of her life, whom she left when she married. Clover agrees, and along the way, learns about love, loss, and the importance of living a full life.

By the end of the journey, Clover has come to realize that she can't help others find peace in death if she can't find peace in her own life. She decides to make some changes, and she begins to build a life for herself that is full of love, friendship, and adventure.

The Collected Regrets of Clover is a heartwarming story about the importance of living a full and meaningful life. It is a reminder that death is a natural part of life, but it doesn't have to be something to be afraid of. If we live our lives to the fullest, then we can face death with peace and acceptance.

If you loved Matt Haig's The Midnight Library, you'll devour this one.

Lady Tan's Circle of Women (Literary Fiction) by Lisa See


Lisa See's latest historical fiction novel draws inspiration from the true story of Tan Yunxian, a woman physician in 15th-century China. Tan Yunxian, born into privilege but burdened by death and loneliness, is groomed by her grandparents to be 'useful'. Her grandmother, one of China's few female doctors, imparts the wisdom of Chinese medicine to Yunxian, including the Four Examinations—looking, listening, touching, and asking—which a man cannot perform on a female patient.

Growing up alongside Meiling, a young midwife-in-training, Yunxian becomes well-versed in women's health, forging a deep friendship and shared purpose. Their commitment to each other transcends societal norms, thriving on the belief that beauty can emerge from adversity, much like the lotus from the mud.

However, Yunxian's arranged marriage disrupts this idyllic existence. Forbidden by her mother-in-law to interact with Meiling or aid the women in her new household, Yunxian is confined to the prescribed roles of a proper wife within the family compound, the Garden of Fragrant Delights.

The narrative unfolds as Yunxian navigates the complexities of breaking free from tradition. Her journey involves treating women from all walks of life, defying societal expectations, and leaving a lasting impact through remedies still in use centuries later. The novel explores the enduring power of friendship and its role in supporting or complicating Yunxian's revolutionary efforts.

Lady Tan's Circle of Women weaves a captivating tale of women empowering each other. It reimagines the extraordinary life of a Ming dynasty woman, demonstrating her relevance in today's world.

A superbly researched piece of historical fiction at its finest.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store (Literary Fiction, African American Literature) by James McBride


The heartwarming narrative penned by the award-winning American author of The Good Lord Bird and Deacon King Kong is a compassionate exploration of compassion and community. Set in the 1920s and 30s, The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store chronicles the lives of a community comprising Jewish immigrants and African Americans residing on Chicken Hill in Pottstown, Pennsylvania living side-by-side. Moshe, a Romanian Jew and owner of the local theatre and dance hall, falls for Chona, a spirited Jewish American.  After 12 years of blissful marriage, As Chona faces a mysterious illness, she and Moshe become distracted by Moshe's  handyman Nate Timblin and his wife, Addie, in protecting Dodo, a 12-year-old orphan confined to Pennhurst, an abusive mental institution, as they seek to help him leave the place.

Half African-American and half Jewish Polish, McBride transports readers to another era, drawing on his own musical background—and exquisitely weaving together a narrative that pulls together a collective cast of characters that showcases the power of hope and community. I highly recommend  that you start with the audiobook. 

Best Business and Leadership Books of 2023 so far…

When Machines Become Customers (Nonfiction) by Don Scheibenreif and Mark Raskino  

When Machines Become Customers: Ready or not, AI enabled non-human customers are coming to your business. How you adapt will make or break your future. by [Don Scheibenreif, Mark Raskino]

Surprising as it may seem, many businesses will soon be selling to intelligent software and hardware machines as they rapidly become the 'new customers', making buying decisions for major businesses. And it is anticipated that by 2030, these 'machine customers will comprise up to 20% of company revenues. In anticipation of this, this book considers some of the key changes companies need to prepare for:

  • Marketing and selling to machines will be data-science-oriented. You'll no longer be able to schmooze company staff or use persuasive tactics - all decisions will be based on data and therefore marketing campaigns need to reflect this.
  • Sales will be largely programmatic and automated. Salespeople will still be needed, but they will primarily focus on B2B and large accounts. They will need to understand machine behavior and use this information to inform their sales strategy.
  • Machine customers will operate based on rules and logic. Machines don't have emotions, so they'll behave logically and rationally based on their programming. This means that they will be more reliable and efficient than human customers.
  • Machine customers represent a multi-trillion dollar opportunity. By 2025, there will be, conservatively, at least 15 billion connected products with the potential to behave as customers. Companies such as Amazon, HP, Tesla, Bosch, Siemens, Kenmore, and Sub-Zero are already incorporating this in their practices with many more companies to follow.

This books offers a way to prepare for this anticipated change in customer demographic and how all companies can better understand the behaviour and needs of machine customers so that marketing and sales campaigns reflect this in the pursuit of business and revenue growth.

The Creative Act: A Way of Being (Nonfiction) by Rick Rubin

The Creative Act: A Way of Being: The Sunday Times bestseller by [Rick Rubin]

Rick Rubin, the stellar music producer brings this incredibly informative and eye-opening guide on how creativity is harnessed. It's not about the final creative product - it's really about our relationship with our inner selves and everything around us that gives birth to creativity. He carefully  and thoughtfully carves out a creative path that we can all follow that brings forth a creative power that can change the world and our own selves for the better. By transcending our own self-imposed beliefs and expectations and finding our true, authentic selves we can reach a higher self where creativity lives. Filled with gems it's perfect for whether you are about to start your creative journey or are already an experienced artist.

My favourite quote: 

“Living life as an artist is a practice.
You are either engaging in the practice
or you’re not.

It makes no sense to say you’re not good at it.
It’s like saying, “I’m not good at being a monk.”
You are either living as a monk or you’re not.

We tend to think of the artist’s work as the output.

The real work of the artist
is a way of being in the world.”


Best Mystery & Thriller Books of 2023 so far…

Death of a Bookseller (Crime Fiction) by Alice Slater 

A psychological thriller, this novel follows two booksellers, Roach and Laura, who work in a fictional Walthamstow bookshop in the autumn of 2019. Laura is the model employee; if she were a drink she'd be a rose chai latte. She's always smiling, always helpful, and always knows exactly what book you're looking for. Roach, on the other hand, is the loner. She's not interested in making friends, and she'd rather spend her time reading true crime books and listening to murder podcasts.

When Laura joins the bookshop, Roach is immediately drawn to her. She's everything Roach is not: beautiful, popular, and seemingly perfect. But as Roach gets to know Laura better, she begins to suspect that there's more to her than meets the eye. Laura is hiding something, and Roach is determined to find out what it is.

As Roach and Laura's relationship grows more complicated, the bookshop becomes a hotbed of secrets and lies. When a body is found in the basement, Roach is the prime suspect. But she knows that she's innocent, and she's determined to clear her name.

The Death of a Bookseller is a dark and twisted tale of obsession, betrayal, and murder. One thing's for certain it will keep you guessing until the very end.


Black Thorn (Thriller) by Sarah Hilary


Another psychological thriller, six families move into a unique and dreamy new housing development on some cliffs overlooking the Cornish sea in the hope of living a peaceful existence. However things could not be more different - six weeks later, six people are dead. As each of the murders are investigated, we learn more about the families and each one harbours a secret. And as these are reveal, with each family being faced to confront their pasts, we're led to a gripping narrative of family, secrets and betrayal. A beautiful exploration of society and human nature, that's incredibly engrossing.

All The Sinners Bleed (Mystery) by S. A. Cosby


A compelling and gritty novel that delves into the inevitable reckoning of sins, this book captivated me from start to finish. Titus, the central character and Black sheriff, emerges as a moral compass, guiding the narrative through the aftermath of a high school shooting that unveils a ruthless serial killer in their midst. As the killer targets everything dear to Titus, the novel weaves through his personal traumas, as well as themes of racism and social injustice, navigating the intricate politics of a Southern small town.

The relentless action keeps the pace dynamic, and the novel stands out for its gripping portrayal of a town grappling with its own shadows, told through incredibly compelling characters. If you're looking for a dark, riveting read, this one's for you.

None Of This Is True (Psychological Thriller) by Lisa Jewell

A captivating new psychological thriller from Lisa Jewell about a popular true crime podcaster who becomes the subject of her own podcast!

When celebrating her birthday at a local pub, she also finds another woman called Josie Fair celebrating hers - and coincidentally they are both celebrating their 45th birthday! What unfolds is even more dramatic! Josie begins to appear everywhere - and they first bump into each other at Alix's kids school. Josie's listening to Alix's podcast and wants to come on as a guest. Alix agrees and the deeper she goes into Josie's story, the more she realises how dark and complicated Josie's life is! Then suddenly Josie disappears and Alix soon realises that she and her family might be in serious danger as she comes to be the subject of her own podcast!

Addictive, and gripping you'll be in for a treat - and a twist! Right to the end.

Don't Let Her Stay (Psychological Thrillers) by Nicola Sanders

Another one with a glorious twist, Joanne is convinced that someone wants her dead. Married to the most incredible husband (Richard) with a beautiful baby girl (Evie) in a wonderful house, she thanks her lucky stars everyday. Alas, this seemingly idyllic situation is about to be stirred when twenty-two-year-old Chloe turns up. Chloe is Richard's estranged daughter. In a bid to make peace, she appears to want to come and help the family with baby and put things right. However Joanne can't help questioning Chloe's motives and is wondering whether it would be better if she leaves.

Full of suspense and intrigue, you'll find yourself questioning every move Chloe makes and thought Joanne has!

A fast-paced psychological thriller, this one will keep you hooked right to the end AND will deliver the perfect ending!


Best Political Books of 2023 so far… 


An incredible persuasive narrative on why and how we need to act five times faster to to counteract the imminent impact of climate change on the planet. Greenland and Antarctica is beginning to melt, Australia burns with its forest fires and Greenhouse Gas emissions are rising - Simon Sharpe who's spent a decade navigating policy decisions through his work with the UN and the UK Government, outlines a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing the issues that could accelerate the progress towards beating climate change, across science, economics and diplomacy.


Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World (Political Non-fiction) by Richard Cockett

Once a dazzling city in the East, Vienna was once responsible for so many of the West's intellectual and cultural How can one European capital be responsible for most of the West’s intellectual and cultural accomplishments of the 20th century.

Even today we can find the origins of many of the scientific, cultural and historical ideas of the modern world stemming from Vienna. This includes modern advertising, shopping models, fitted kitchens, orgasms, and modern-day architecture. Afterall, the cultural and academic heavy weights of the early twentieth century from Freud, Wittgenstein, Mahler, and Klimt come from this metropolitan city that was ahead of its time. It's ideas spread as the advent of the World War II and the rise of fascism and to this day they continue to have a .

The city of Freud, Wittgenstein, Mahler, and Klimt was the melting pot at the heart of a vast metropolitan empire. But with the Second World War and the rise of fascism, the dazzling coteries of thinkers who squabbled, debated, and called Vienna home dispersed across the world, where their ideas continued to have an impact today.
Richard Cockett traces this incredible story piecing together its history from psychoanalysis to Reaganomics - offering a 
sweeping bird's eye view of how Vienna's has literally created the modern-world as we know it today, with its lasting influence.

Best Romance Book of 2023 so far…

Happy Place (Contemporary Romance) by Emily Henry


Harriet and Wyn were the perfect couple. They were inseparable, and everyone who knew them thought they were meant to be together. But then, six months ago, they broke up. They still hadn't told anyone, and they were dreading the annual holiday they'd been taking with their friends for the past decade.

This year, the cottage they'd been renting was for sale, so it would be the last time they'd all be together. Harriet and Wyn didn't want to break their friends' hearts, so they decided to fake it for one more week. They would pretend to be in love, even though they weren't.

It seemed like a flawless plan, but it turned out to be more difficult than they thought. They were constantly bickering, and their friends started to notice. But they were determined to see it through, even if it meant putting their own feelings aside.

As the week went on, they started to remember why they fell in love in the first place. They laughed together, they cried together, and they shared some of their deepest secrets. Will they get together again for real? Not giving away any spoilers this is the perfect beach read this summer.


Betting on You (Contemporary Romance) by Lynn Painter


When Bailey, a seventeen-year-old, begins working at a hotel waterpark, her excitement diminishes when she realises that an old acquaintance is among her coworkers. A year ago, on the lengthy flight to Omaha, Bailey met Charlie when she relocated there after her parents' divorce. Charlie's cynicism clashed with Bailey's composed demeanor, and his incessant commentary aggravated an already emotionally taxing journey.

Now, Bailey and Charlie remain complete opposites, but instead of finding everything about him bothersome, Bailey starts anticipating their hangouts and gossip sessions about the waterpark guests and their fellow coworkers. Particularly intriguing to them are two individuals who constantly flirt with each other. Bailey and Charlie make a wager regarding whether this cozy duo will actually become a couple. Charlie firmly believes that members of the opposite sex cannot simply be friends, while Bailey is determined to prove him wrong.

Bailey and Charlie closely monitor the romantic developments of others, all the while Charlie tries to suppress the growing feelings he has developed for Bailey. Fearful of losing her if his crush becomes known, Charlie's efforts are not aided by the fact that Bailey and he decide to pretend to date in order to disrupt the awkward pleasantries between Bailey's mom and her new boyfriend. Before long, what Charlie had hoped to avoid becomes a reality as Bailey starts to view him not only as a reliable friend amidst family drama, but also as someone who makes her hands tremble and her heart race. However, Charlie harbours a secret—a secret involving Bailey and another bet that he may have made. Can the two of them pursue a genuine relationship, or has Charlie's secret already doomed their chances before they even had a chance to begin?

Best Biography & Memoir Books of 2023 so far…

You Could Make This Place Beautiful (Memoir) by Maggie Smith 


In this exquisitely honest and refreshing memoir, poet Maggie Smith delves into the break up her marriage and the new, exciting life that was borne as a result full of self-discovery, hope and enlightenment. Through elegant vignettes, she eloquently captures the experience of heartbreak going beyond her own unique experience, encompassing modern-day womanhood, challenging conventional gender roles, and the unshifting power dynamics that continue to exist even in the most forward-thinking of households still.

With deep reflection and self-exploration, she beautifully draws together a Drawing upon her renowned spirit of self-exploration and empathy, Smith intertwines glimpses of her life with reflections on secrets, anger, forgiveness, and the very nature of storytelling. The potency of these fragments grows exponentially, accumulating into a profound meditation of relationships, family, work, and patriarchy.

If you enjoy the work of Deborah Levy and Rachel Cusk, then you'll love the detail and intricacies of the narrative, accurately examining womanhood, love, self-regard and how we can transform loss into something that can change us and even lead to us to a place of inner strength and creativity. A must-read, the memoir was full of quotes, I found myself :

My favourite quotes:

"I am out with lanterns, looking for myself. - Emily Dickinson" 

“When you lose someone you love, you start to look for new ways to understand the world.”

“Marriages are nesting dolls, too. We carry each iteration: the marriage we had before the children, the marriage of love letters and late nights at dive bars and train rides through France; the marriage we had after the children, the marriage of tenderness but transactional communication—who’s doing what, and when, and how—and early mornings and stroller walks and crayon on the walls and sunscreen that always needs to be reapplied; the marriage we had toward the end before we knew there was an end, the marriage of the silent treatment and couch sleeping and the occasional update email. Somewhere at the center is the tiniest doll. Love. The love that started everything. It’s still there, but we’d have to open and open and open ourselves—our together selves—to find it. I can’t bear to think of it in there somewhere, the love. Like the perfect pit of some otherwise rotten fruit.” 

How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures (Biography, Essays, Science) by Sabrina Imbler


Sabrina Imbler, a queer, mixed-race writer navigating the predominantly white, male realm of science and conservation journalism, has consistently felt a magnetic pull towards the enigmatic life within the sea. This fascination extends to creatures inhabiting hostile or distant spaces. This debut collection comprises essays, each profiling a unique sea creatures and how pointing out different and radical models of family and community, contrasting conventional human models of family and community. Then there are organisms that don't need sunlight to survive. For example, deep-sea crabs are sustained by heat and chemicals deep within the earth rather than sunlight. Bringing together themes of adaptation, survival, sexuality, and care, Imbler intertwines the marvels of marine biology drawing parallels with her own personal narratives of family, relationships, and the journey to adulthood. A fabulous invitation to consider different ways of living with ourselves and others.

Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2023 so far…

 The Future (Science Fiction) by Naomi Alderman


A cautionary tale of the future, this is brilliant new novel by Naomi Alderman (author of The Power) that's out later this year. Prepare to embark on a thrilling and gripping journey that unveils our current world and provides a tantalizing glimpse into our trajectory.

Within these pages, you will discover that The Future is a realm coveted by the wealthiest individuals on Earth. It is a place where the allure of wealth is paramount, compelling a select few billionaires to steer humanity towards its own demise while securing their personal survival through opulent hidden bunkers.

In The Future, you will encounter private weather manipulation, technological soothsaying, and clandestine weaponry—a realm of possibilities shrouded in plausible deniability.

At the heart of The Future lies a group of unlikely allies: the progeny of a charismatic cult leader, a non-binary hacker, a visionary ousted from Silicon Valley, the apprehensive wife of a dangerous CEO, and an internet-famous survivalist. Together, they devise a daring and audacious plan, which could either culminate in the greatest heist ever executed or trigger a cataclysmic downfall of civilization.

In The Future, truth lies ahead, obscuring the past. It compels individuals to act, offering the sole object of desire worth pursuing.

Prepare yourself, for The Future has arrived.


Victory City (Fantasy) by Salman Rushdie

Victory City: The new novel from the Booker prize-winning, bestselling author of Midnight’s Children by [Salman Rushdie] 

In the aftermath of an insignificant battle between two kingdoms that time had forgotten in fourteenth-century southern India, the trajectory of history takes an extraordinary turn. A nine-year-old girl named Pampa Kampana experiences a spiritual encounter that changes history forever. Amidst the heart-wrenching loss of her mother, Pampa channels a goddess, who imparts upon her a profound message: she will play a pivotal role in the emergence of a magnificent city known as Bisnaga - a name that embodies victory itself.

For the next two and a half centuries, Pampa Kampana's life becomes intricately intertwined with the fate of Bisnaga. Driven by the goddess's directive, she endeavors to empower women in a world dominated by patriarchy. However, as the passage of time unravels its mysteries, Bisnaga undergoes its own transformative journey. Rulers ascend and descend from power, victories and defeats shape destinies, and loyalties shift like the sands of an ever-changing landscape. Bisnaga, like all grand narratives, possesses a tendency to transcend the intentions of its creator.

In this remarkable saga, the tale of Pampa Kampana and the city of Bisnaga unfolds, weaving a tapestry that encompasses the triumphs and tribulations of generations. It explores the enduring struggle to bestow women with agency amidst the ebb and flow of history's tides. As the legacy of Bisnaga evolves, the story serves as a testament to the unpredictable nature of narratives and the profound impact they can have on the world.

Clytemnestra (Fantasy/Mythology) by Costanza Casati

An incandescent narrative unfolds in the backdrop of Ancient Greece, narrated through the perspective of its most formidable female figure, Clytemnestra. This riveting story delves into themes of power, prophecies, love, and hatred, showcasing the indomitable Queen who ruthlessly meted out justice to those who crossed her. 

The story traces Clytemnestra's journey from her youth as a Princess of Sparta, exploring her connections with siblings, her initial marriage, and the sorrowful incidents that culminate in her union with Agamemnon. In the world of Spartans, women were bred as warriors, and Clytemnestra emerged as one of the most formidable. Recognizing her strength, Agamemnon was unwavering in his determination to claim her. Seeking her father's assistance, he orchestrates the demise of her first husband and infant son. From that moment onward, Clytemnestra's existence revolves around the pursuit of revenge. She embodies patience, giving credence to the notion that revenge is a dish best served cold. Agamemnon's actions only deepen her resentment. It unfolds the chapters of her life as his spouse and mother to his children, and the revenge that she plans for so long, and dishes out superbly. Casati skillfully brings Clytemnestra to life, portraying her as a vivid and pulsating woman. A fabulous debut novel.

The Fragile Threads of Power (High Fantasy) by V. E. Schwab

There was once a time when four mystical worlds existed, each throbbing with fantastical power, interconnected by a solitary city: London. However, the rapid surge of magic compelled these worlds to urgently seal their doors, a desperate bid to safeguard their individual realms. Over time, the once numerous magicians capable of opening these doors dwindled, leaving only three recent Antari in memory: Kell Maresh of Red London, Delilah Bard of Grey London, and Holland Vosijk of White London.

Yet, sightings of these Antari have been scarce in the past seven years, and a new figure named Kosika has risen in White London, seizing the throne during Holland's absence. This young queen is prepared to sustain her city with blood, even her own, but her intensifying religious zeal threatens to drown them instead.

Meanwhile, in Red London, King Rhy Maresh faces a mounting rebellion, determined to topple the throne. As all these events unfold a girl by the name of 'Tes', possessing an extraordinary magical ability acquires a device that could reshape the destiny of all four worlds, either reuniting the world or letting it fall into chaos.

A fantastical literary masterpiece, V. E. Schwab once again does not disappoint.


The Book That Wouldn’t Burn (High Fantasy Fiction) by Mark Lawrence


Mark Lawrence's latest novel, The Book That Wouldn't Burn, is akin to experiencing a mind-expanding revelation. The first in the Library Trilogy series, the narrative gracefully shifts perspectives between two central characters. Livira Page, an animated and insightful girl who comes from the impoverished Dust outside the city, faces a harrowing attack on her village by 'sabber' soldiers. As she manages to escape she comes to the city of Crath. It's the first time she has seen civilisation. The city itself is ruled by King Oanold, a dictatorial figure who breeds nepotism and xenophobia. Curious and determined to know more, she earns a place in the never-ending library. Evar Eventari, a young man in his twenties, has spent his entire existence confined within the chambers of this expansive library with four other adopted siblings and is raised by an Assistant—an android-like figure made of porcelain. The library is founded by Irad, the great-grandson of Adam and Eve and the grandson of Cain, and serves as humanity's collective memory, representing our legacy as a civilisation. Within the library there's a book that cannot be burned, and you can transcend worlds and time travel. However Evar has spent his entire life trapped in the library. One day who stumbles upon a book that is directly addressed to him and it changes everything. Livira and Evar's lives cross, blending worlds and times - all connect through this infinite library.

The library becomes a battleground symbolising the age-old struggle between knowledge and ignorance, as mirrored in contemporary society's battles over censorship, curriculum manipulation, and the suppression of dissenting views.

Beautiful world-building and storytelling, if you like Philip Pullman, you'll love this one.

Best LGBTQIA Book of 2023 so far…

Lesbian Love Story: A Memoir in Archives (Memoir) by Amelia Possanza

Amelia Possanza embarks on a personal journey to explore the hidden tales of lesbian role models from the past. Within the archives, she unearths seven extraordinary love stories that captivate her imagination. Drawing upon the authentic words of her subjects and immersing herself in meticulously researched historical records, Possanza skillfully intertwines these accounts, crafting a vibrant narrative that delves into the intricate tapestry of lesbian identity.

In her quest, she invites us to accompany her on a poignant exploration of each lesbian's unique story. Together, we experience their yearning, their longing, and bear witness to their profound impact on the world. This book a heartfelt homage to those who have defied societal norms, existing beyond conventional notions of sexuality and gender. Through their individual paths, these women have not only illuminated a forgotten and stigmatized history, but have also offered us a fresh perspective on the essence of love, transcending material gains.

In the tapestry of their lives, these remarkable individuals navigated the world on their own terms, leaving an indelible mark on society. Their stories serve as beacons, guiding us toward a deeper understanding of love when it surpasses materialistic pursuits. Within these pages, we celebrate their resilience, courage, and the enduring power of their love, forever challenging the confines of heteronormativity.

Family Meal (Novel) by Bryan Washington

Cam's life is crumbling in the aftermath of losing the love of his life. However, his torment doesn't cease as Kai's ghost continues to haunt him, appearing in wild, tender, and unforeseen ways. Seeking solace, Cam decides to return to his hometown of Houston, only to collide once again with his former best friend, TJ, but TJ finds himself at a loss, unsure how to navigate this transformed Cam—aloof, self-destructive, and burdened by their strained relationship. Can they overcome the weight of their unspoken words and salvage their bond? Is it possible for them to find solace and healing, either rediscovering their former state of contentment or forging an entirely new connection?

In the face of overwhelming secrets and deep-seated wounds that threaten to consume them, a glimmer of hope, sustenance, and friendship emerges from an unexpected source. Spanning across the vibrant cities of Los Angeles, Houston, and Osaka, "Family Meal" unravels a tale about how those who have known us the longest have the potential to hurt us the most profoundly, yet they also possess the power to set the benchmark for love. Bryan Washington, renowned for his perceptive portrayal of food, sex, love, and the intricacies of our shared humanity, returns with a magnificent new novel, weaving together moments that make us undeniably human and illuminating the intricate connections that bind us all.

Orphia and Eurydicius (Greek Mythology, Fantasy) by Elyse John


Orphia's heart yearns for a life beyond the confines of warrior crafts imposed upon her. On a distant island, her spirit brims with the beauty of verse, her words possessing the ability to awaken blossoms and bring forth lush forests. However, her father, Apollo, the sun god, forbids her from embracing this artistic power. It is through an unexpected encounter with Eurydicius, a talented shield-maker, that Orphia finds the courage to unleash her voice. Empowered by her unique gifts, she defeats a final challenger, drawing the attention of the gods themselves.

In a mesmerizing display of her poetic prowess, Orphia captures the favor of the mighty Muses, goddesses of inspiration, who grant her protection within their sanctuary atop Mount Parnassus. Here, Orphia refines her talents, weaving words infused with enchantment, history, love, and tragedy. As Eurydicius joins her on this path, Orphia wrestles with her ambitions for fame and the blossoming affection between them. With her bond to the gentle shield-maker growing stronger, she embarks on a perilous journey alongside the Argonauts in their quest for the legendary Golden Fleece. Along the treacherous voyage, they face dragons, sirens, and merciless warriors, and Orphia's name resonates far and wide, earning her unparalleled renown. Yet, amidst the glory, her heart yearns to be reunited with Eurydicius.

However, destiny has a darker path in store for Orphia, one that will require her to fight for her love with the full force of her poetic prowess. It is a journey that delves into the depths of her soul, where she must confront her deepest fears and unleash the full power of her verses. As Orphia's poetic might reaches its zenith, she confronts the ultimate challenge, seeking a path back to her beloved Eurydicius and the profound love that binds them.

Best Young Adult Books of 2023 so far…

The Davenports (Young Adult) by Krystal Marquis

The Davenports

Inspired by the remarkable real-life tale of C.R. Patterson and his family, step into the year 1910, where the Davenports stand as one of the rare Black families of immense wealth and influence in a transforming United States. The legacy of their prosperity traces back to William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who defied the odds and established the renowned Davenport Carriage Company. Within their opulent world of servants and extravagant soirées, the Davenports navigate the labyrinth of societal expectations propels them into finding love in the most surprising of places.

Olivia, the enchanting elder daughter, finds herself on the precipice of fulfilling her societal duty through an arranged marriage. However, fate takes a turn when she crosses paths with Washington DeWight, a charismatic leader in the civil rights movement, igniting a powerful connection that sets their hearts ablaze. Meanwhile, Helen, the younger daughter, devotes her passions to the art of fixing automobiles rather than succumbing to romance, unless it involves her sister's interest, Washington DeWight. Amy-Rose, a childhood friend who also serves the Davenport sisters as a maid, secretly longs for John, Olivia and Helen's brother—a love that seems impossible. Unbeknownst to all, Ruby, Olivia's closest confidante, also harbours her own desires for John, desperately vying for his attention until a twist of fate leads her in another direction.

Marking the inception of an exhilarating series, "The Davenports" offers a rare and unique coup d'oeil into a chapter of African American history often forgotten and glossed over of four determined and passionate young Black women, carving out their own destinies in a world marked by prejudice and societal constraints. Amidst the swirling tides of life and love, the Davenports' story unfurls with gripping intensity, captivating hearts and minds alike.

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night (Young Adult) by Amélie Wen Zhao

In a fallen kingdom where secrets lie dormant, one girl becomes the key to unlocking her nation's past and awakening the demons that slumber within. This epic fantasy series draws inspiration from the rich mythology and folklore of ancient China, transporting readers to a world teeming with magic and mystery.

Lan, once known by a different name, now exists under the identity bestowed upon her by the Elantian colonizers who overtook her kingdom, extinguished her mother's life, and outlawed her people's magic. By night, she performs as a songgirl in the transformed city of Haak'gong, and during the day, she scours for remnants of the past in a quest to decipher the enigmatic mark seared into her arm by her mother before her final breath.

This mark, an untranslatable Hin character, is visible only to Lan. However, her life takes a drastic turn when a boy appears at her teahouse, saving her from danger. Zen, a practitioner from the Last Kingdom, possesses the ancient magic that was believed to have been derived from the demons they once communed with. Now, this magic must be kept concealed from the Elantians, who pose a significant threat.

Recognizing the hidden power within Lan's mark, Zen embarks on a journey alongside her, aware that the answers they seek lie deep within the misty mountains and pine forests of the Last Kingdom. There, an order of practitioning masters plots to overthrow the Elantian regime, and Lan and Zen must navigate a treacherous path, concealing their own secrets while simultaneously unraveling the truths buried within themselves.

Fate has intertwined their lives, yet their destiny remains unwritten. Both Lan and Zen possess the potential to liberate their land or bring about its destruction. As the battle for the Last Kingdom unfolds, their intertwined fates will test their resilience and determination, shaping the course of their world and the lives of those around them

Warrior Girl Unearthed (Young Adult) by Angeline Boulley 

Perry Firekeeper-Birch had anticipated a carefree summer. However, her plans take an unexpected turn when she attends a meeting at a local university and learns about a fascinating ancestral figure known as the "Warrior Girl." Her bones and knife are currently housed in the museum archives, and Perry feels a deep calling to return her to her tribe. With unwavering determination, she immerses herself in understanding NAGPRA, the federal law that empowers tribes to request the repatriation of ancestral remains and sacred objects. Perry discovers that the university has been exploiting legal loopholes to retain Warrior Girl and twelve other Anishinaabe ancestors' remains. The Misfits, led by Perry, refuse to let this injustice persist.

Harnessing their collective skills and resources, the Misfits realize that a daring heist is the only way to ensure the stolen artifacts and remains are brought back where they rightfully belong. However, as their plan takes shape, they uncover hidden secrets and mysteries. The number of missing women continues to rise, and Pauline's pursuit of perfection begins to spiral out of control. As the truth unravels, Perry and the Misfits find themselves in a race against time to rectify the situation—for the sake of the ancestors and their community.

In this gripping tale, Perry and her allies must confront their own inner demons while fighting for justice and the restoration of ancestral heritage. Through a thrilling blend of camaraderie, resilience, and discovery, they embark on a journey that tests their mettle and challenges them to make things right in a world where secrets cast long shadows.


Best Psychology Books of 2023 so far…

Build the Life You Want (Psychology Non-fiction) by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey

The book Build the Life You Want by Harvard Professor Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey serves as a guide for individuals seeking greater happiness, regardless of the challenges they may face. Drawing on their extensive experience studying happiness, the authors offer practical insights to help readers enhance their lives in the present moment, rather than waiting for external circumstances to change. The key aspects covered in the book include:

1. Emotional Management: Learn how to take control of your emotions, shaping your outlook and behavior.

2. Transforming Challenges: Discover ways to turn life's inevitable difficulties and challenges into opportunities for personal growth.

3. Family Strengthening: Manage expectations and build trust to strengthen your family ties.

4. Friendship Development: Create and maintain deep and lasting friendships, irrespective of age.

5. Work-Life Satisfaction: Develop an approach to work that aligns with your life and brings a sense of satisfaction.

6. Inner Peace: Find inner peace through the incorporation of a spiritual practice into your life.

The book is presented in an accessible manner, incorporating cutting-edge science to bring about positive changes. The authors share practical strategies while also drawing on their own life experiences and careers, offering valuable insights on every page. Build the Life You Want serves as a blueprint for readers looking to create a better and more fulfilling life.


The Book You Want Everyone You Love To Read (Psychology Non-fiction) by Philippa Perry

The essence of life revolves around relationships and the quality of those connections, encompassing family, partners, friends, colleagues, and, significantly, your relationship with yourself. Achieving functional and harmonious relationships lays the foundation for navigating the challenges that life presents.

In her No.1 Sunday Times bestselling book, psychotherapist Philippa Perry combines warmth, practicality, and wit to guide readers in approaching life's significant challenges. The book addresses key questions such as: How do you discover and maintain love? What strategies can you employ to handle conflicts more effectively? How do you navigate through feeling stuck and cope with inevitable changes and losses? What does true contentment mean to you? And, in moments of frustration, is it others who are simply annoying, or might you be contributing to the issue?

Philippa Perry's advice is not only compassionate but also grounded in sanity, offering a roadmap for readers to become happier and wiser individuals. By delving into the intricacies of relationships and providing insights on managing life's complexities, Perry's book aims to empower readers to lead more fulfilling lives.

My favourite quotes: “There are three main styles of coping: thinking, feeling, and doing. If someone you love is going through a difficult time, try to understand what their coping style is and then feel with them rather than trying to deal with it from the start.”

“Embrace moments of change not as a frightening unknown but as an opportunity to uncover and pursue your desires. At first it will feel like letting go of a rope and not knowing where the ground is. It can be scary. But more often than not, solid ground is only two inches below your feet.”

Travellers to Unimaginable Lands: Dementia, Carers and the Hidden Workings of the Mind (Psychology) by Dasha Kiper

Professor June Andrews is a demential expert and brings this much-needed book that showcases the impact of looking after somebody with dementia has on the brain of the carer.

Travellers to Unimaginable Lands captures the incredibly demanding and complicated psychology of caregiving, through case studies of carers' experiences, through neuroscience and psychology to highlight the incredible difficulties and choices that carers are faced with and how the healthy brain's biases and intuitions make caring for people with dementia disorders complex and often heart-breaking.

My favourite quote: “Memory is so integrated into every aspect of life—from thinking, to communicating, to forming and sustaining relationships, to creating continuity, meaning, and coherence—that its disappearance is incomprehensible. We simply have no cognitive framework that allows for its absence in others.”

On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good (Psychology, Feminism, Self-help) by Elise Loehnen


She brilliantly asks us to re-consider what would happen if we stopped being 'good'. A fascinating examination on the history and current cultures of how women have internalised this behaviour, to the point that we unconsciously reinforce it. Through Loehnen's own story and the wisdom of many cultures and traditions, she shows us how we can release ourselves from this both self-imposed but also 'other-imposed 'burden' and live a more liberated and satisfying way.

My favourite quotes:  “We are coached, above all, to prioritize our likability as the surest path to safety and survival.”

 “We can denounce religion and reject its beliefs at a literal level, but its traditions, these tenets of “good” and “bad,” are woven into the fabric of society. They don’t need our approval or subscription to hold us captive. They operate in us on a subconscious level.”

“In essence, we’ve agreed to be valued for less because we’ve been sold a story of shame around money, and we don’t know how to ask for it, get comfortable with it, or demand it.”

“himpathy,” a term coined by philosophy professor Kate Manne to describe the ways in which we prioritize the emotions, health, and happiness of men over their female victims.”

Best Translated Books of 2023 so far...

Honeybees and Distant Thunder (Novel) by Riku Onda (Author) and Philip Gabriel (Translator)

In this Japanese bestseller, winner of the Naoki Prize and the Japan Booksellers' Award, and boasting over a million copies sold in Japan, Philip Gabriel's English translation opens the door to a mesmerizing world reminiscent of The Night Circus and Lonely Castle in the Mirror.

Set in a quaint coastal town near Tokyo, a prestigious piano competition unfolds, shaping the destinies of three friends over two intense weeks. Aya, once a piano prodigy who vanished from the stage, stands at the center of a tug-of-war between the tall and gifted Makun and Jin, a nature-inspired pianist carrying the hum of his father's bees wherever he goes.

As they defy conventions, captivate their audiences, and teeter on the edge of their abilities, the narrative unfolds with both tenderness and cruelty. Honeybees and Distant Thunder weaves a compelling tale of love, courage, and rivalry, exploring the price each must pay for pushing boundaries. This unflinching story delves into the highs and lows of friendship, as three young individuals grapple with the true meaning of camaraderie in the face of life's challenges. As described by critics, it's a thrilling and often nail-biting portrayal of music, friendship, and personal demons, offering a propulsive and poetic journey into the intricacies of their lives. AN FT Best Summer Read 2023, this multi-award-winning novel is set to be a major movie release in Japan.

My favourite quote: Even if a person experiences enviable peaks of happiness, a fulfilled life, all happiness still carries with it the loneliness inherent in being human.”

No Edges: Swahili Stories (Short Story collection) by Fatma Shafii (Author), Lusajo Mwaikenda Israel (Author), Mwas Mahugu (Author), Clara Momanyi (Author), Fadhy Mtanga (Author), Hassan Kassim (Translator), Richard Prins (Translator), Idza Luhumyo (Translator), Enock Matundura (Translator), Jay Boss Rubin (Translator)

No Edges: Swahili Stories pioneers the first-ever collection of Swahili literature, showcasing the voices of eight talented East African writers hailing from Tanzania and Kenya. Within its pages, readers are immersed in narratives that traverse sorcery, Nairobi's junkyards, cross-country matatu journeys, and spaceships propelling prisoners into eternity. This anthology extends an invitation to delve into the tumult of life on an overcrowded Earth and the enigmatic realms just beyond our grasp. Through vibrant translations into English, pulsating with rhythm and vivid Africanfuturist imagery, these writers emerge as architects of an expansive future yet to unfold. This one has a special place in my heart given my own childhood growing up in Nairobi, Kenya. Many of the stories ring true to home :)


Best Sports Book of 2023 so far…

Fearless: Adventures with Extraordinary Women (Sports Non-fiction) by Louise Minchin

Motivated by a desire to spotlight stories of female courage and achievement, Louise Minchin pushes herself to the limits, embarking on exhilarating endurance adventures alongside pioneering women.

In Finland, she undertakes dark, sub-ice freediving with Cath, the first woman to swim a mile in the Antarctic Circle. Cycling across Argentina, she joins Mimi, a globally renowned female endurance runner. In the waters off Alcatraz, she swims alongside Anaya and Mitali, two young sisters who have fearlessly navigated shark-infested waters over 70 times.

Infused with natural empathy and humor, Louise forms deep connections with 18 extraordinary women. She delves into their motivations and explores the resilience and determination that propel them forward despite life's adversities. Lizzie, having overcome a life-threatening illness, now paddleboards while leading community-driven planet-cleaning initiatives; Rhian, facing grief, establishes a charity and raises funds through hiking; and Zee, balancing a busy nursing career and motherhood, takes up rugby.

Louise's narrative serves as a poignant reminder of the bravery inherent in all of us and underscores the importance of celebrating women's accomplishments. Prepare to be moved and inspired by the indomitable spirit of these fearless women.

Best Travel Book of 2023 so far…

Tender Maps: Travels in Search of the Emotions of Place (Travel Non-fiction) by Alice Maddicott


Alice Maddicott, takes us on a splendid journey in pursuit of a specific scene, emotion, or atmosphere, inspired by music, literature, and art. Delving into the profound realm of our emotional and creative responses to places, this remarkable book chronicles the author's ceaseless travels, ranging from the warmth of Sicily to the peaks of Japan. A celebration of psycho-geography, Maddicott probes the fundamental connection between humanity and landscape, a bond that lies at the core of human creativity, and beautifully captures it here through her soulful writing.

From the salons of seventeenth-century Paris to the subterranean culture and weathered balconies of contemporary Tbilisi, weaving through the works of diverse figures such as Italo Calvino, L. M. Montgomery, Ana Mendieta, amongst everyday folk, Tender Maps unfolds as a sumptuous exploration of travel, culture, and imagination. This book carries readers across time and place, offering a captivating journey through the intersections of creativity and the landscapes that inspire it.

The perfect gift for the traveller in your life :)

A Stranger in Your Own City: Travels in the Middle East's Long War (Travel Non-fiction) by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad 


Written by an Iraqi journalist, this is an insider's perspective of how the West's influence on the Middle East have shaped its last twenty years offering a noteworthy understanding the history and current circumstances of the region: the human toll, the evolving alliances, and the generational transformations. This is a chilling and thought-provoking narrative of the impact of the West on the Middle-East and highly recommended read.

The Half Known Life: Finding Paradise in a Divided World (Travel Non-fiction) by Pico Iyer

After fifty years of traversing the globe, Pico Iyer reflects on the elusive nature of paradise in a world marked by perpetual conflict. Embarking on a remarkable journey, both introspective and expansive, he explores diverse landscapes—from Jerusalem to Belfast, North Korea to crowded mosques in Iran, and a sacred mountain in Japan. By the journey's conclusion, Iyer defies our preconceptions, boldly proposing that paradise can be discovered within the very core of our tumultuous and perplexing world. These journeys not only provide beautiful access to paradise in conflict areas, but also offer a path to an inner spiritual journey as we immerse ourselves in the hear and now. A delight for anyone interested in the power of travel to transform and heal.


Best Food & Cook Books of 2023 so far…

The Flavour Thesaurus: More Flavours: Plant-led Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for Cooks (Cookbook) by Niki Segnit

In her debut cookbook, The Flavour Thesaurus, Niki Segnit enlightened readers about the imaginative possibilities of flavour pairings, demonstrating that ingredients, whether "grassy" like dill, cucumber, or peas, or "floral fruity" like figs, roses, or blueberries, can be combined in creatively surprising ways. Building on her acclaimed culinary exploration, she now leverages her "phenomenal body of work" (as quoted by Yotam Ottolenghi) to present a fresh treasury of pairings, focusing this time on plant-led ingredients.

More Flavours delves into the distinctive characteristics and tasting notes of ingredients such as chickpea, fennel, pomegranate, kale, lentil, miso, mustard, rye, pine nut, pistachio, poppy seed, sesame, turmeric, and wild rice. It also reintroduces favourites like almond, avocado, garlic, lemon, and parsley from the original collection. Segnit then skilfully guides readers on how to pair these ingredients with others that complement them. Employing her celebrated blend of science, history, culinary expertise, engaging anecdotes, and a signature sense of humor, Niki Segnit's More Flavours stands as a contemporary culinary classic. This brilliantly useful reference book is an essential addition to every cook's kitchen, offering valuable insights for creating delightful and harmonious flavour combinations.


You might also enjoy the following articles:

40 Books from 2022 You Need to Read in 2023

40 Books from 2021 You Need to Read in 2022

Bibliotherapy Techniques - What Are They and Do They Work?

Bibliotherapy: The Magical Healing Quality of Literature

How Can Re-writing Your Narrative Help You Gain Closure

Is Bibliotherapy Effective? It is Evidence-based?


And also our online courses:

Bibliotherapy, Literature & Mental Health

Children's Bibliotherapy Skills


A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish a book called The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at bijal@booktherapy.io or www.booktherapy.io.

Book Therapy is a participant in the Amazon EU, US and Canada Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

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