Author Novelist WW2 obsessive Biofiction nerd Feminist Postgrad researcher
The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,681 authors and super readers for their 3 favorite reads of the year.

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My favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Demon Copperhead

Clare Harvey Why did I love this book?

Barbara Kingsolver, what a storyteller. Her writing is sublime, and we root for her eponymous hero in every line she writes, every fictitious breath he takes.

I defy any reader not to be moved by this epic human drama of an ordinary boy’s battle to overcome the hand life has played him.

What’s more, through reading this, I learned so much about contemporary life in the rust-belt USA and the widespread prescription drug addiction ravaging the community.

This novel has been described as Dickens’ David Copperfield, retold in the context of American ‘white trash’ in the 21st century, but to my mind, it’s so much more than that. If you only read one book this year, read this!

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

58 authors picked Demon Copperhead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Demon's story begins with his traumatic birth to a single mother in a single-wide trailer, looking 'like a little blue prizefighter.' For the life ahead of him he would need all of that fighting spirit, along with buckets of charm, a quick wit, and some unexpected talents, legal and otherwise.

In the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, poverty isn't an idea, it's as natural as the grass grows. For a generation growing up in this world, at the heart of the modern opioid crisis, addiction isn't an abstraction, it's neighbours, parents, and friends. 'Family' could mean love, or reluctant foster…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Silence of the Girls

Clare Harvey Why did I love this book?

Pat Barker is a fantastic author, but what I especially love about this book is that it’s re-telling a well-known Greek myth through the eyes of a woman.

This subtle shift in perspective changes the story from one of heroism to one of survival. It is a cleverly conceived and beautifully rendered adaptation from the epic to the personal, from the grand narrative to the intimate.

This book is highly recommended.

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Silence of the Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Chilling, powerful, audacious' The Times

'Magnificent. You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers' Evening Standard

There was a woman at the heart of the Trojan War whose voice has been silent - until now. Discover the greatest Greek myth of all - retold by the witness that history forgot . . .

Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is a slave to the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Alias Grace

Clare Harvey Why did I love this book?

Margaret Atwood has got to be my favorite author, so it’s always a joy to read anything by her.

However, I read this book primarily as research (I’m currently working towards a PhD, which looks at biographical novels and the ways authors blend fact and fiction). This novel re-imagines the life of an 18th-century alleged murderess.

What’s fascinating for me is seeing the interplay between historical evidence and the writer’s imagination. Atwood is a wonderful storyteller, and this is a masterclass in how to write compelling bio-fiction. Even if you don’t share my obsession with biographical novels, you’ll love this one.

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Alias Grace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By the author of The Handmaid's Tale

Now a major NETFLIX series

Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor.' Grace Marks. Female fiend? Femme fatale? Or weak and unwilling victim? Around the true story of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the 1840s, Margaret Atwood has created an extraordinarily potent tale of sexuality, cruelty and mystery.

'Brilliant... Atwood's prose is searching. So intimate it seems to be written on the skin' Hilary Mantel

'The outstanding novelist of our age' Sunday Times

'A sensuous, perplexing book, at…

Plus, check out my book…

The Escape

By Clare Harvey,

Book cover of The Escape

What is my book about?

Germany, 1945: One winter morning, Detta, a young German woman, passes a group of exhausted British PoWs being force-marched through her village. One of the prisoners catches her eye, and afterward, she cannot forget him. Then, she receives an urgent message from the local priest: an escaped prisoner needs her help.

Berlin, 1989: After witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall, photographer Miranda flees through the rubble to East Germany, escaping a violent boyfriend and finding a hidden connection to a forgotten past.

Two women share a history and a secret: can they save each other now the time has come to reveal it?