The 10 Best Books of 2023

Across all categories and genres, these 10 books are standout selections from an excellent reading year.

The latest enthralling historical narrative from National Book Award-winning author Timothy Egan focuses on the rapid rise and spectacular collapse of the KKK in the 1920s.

KJ Charles concludes her Doomsday Books duology with the masterfully crafted, deliciously adventurous and so, so horny Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel.

By Nikki Grimes, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Nikki Grimes, Brian Pinkney and his late father, Jerry Pinkney, have gifted us a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book about loss and grief.

S.A. Cosby’s All the Sinners Bleed is a nerve-jangling, thought-provoking, often heartbreaking read that follows the first Black sheriff of a rural county in Virginia.

As it honors all parts of the queer experience, this book will make readers feel seen and leave their hearts full.

A powerful study in setting and character with a healthy dose of horror, Lone Women will forever change the way you think about the Wild West.

The prose in Rachel Heng’s second novel, set in 20th-century Singapore, is alive. Each character is rich with complexity and depth, each snapshot brimming with imagery.

James McBride is a lyricist and musician, and there’s a rhythmic quality to his unique sixth novel, a riveting historical tale full of all kinds of love.

By David Bowles, Illustrated by Amanda Mijangos

Weaving history and fiction together, David Bowles fashions a rich story of political intrigue, ferocious battles, beautiful landscapes and the enduring hope of humanity.

Tahir Hamut Izgil’s beautifully written memoir is one of the only firsthand accounts available of the ongoing genocide of Uyghur people by the Chinese government.

Best Books by genre

Previous Best Books lists

Recent starred reviews

By recognizing imperfection and refusing to shy away from struggles—including the stigmas surrounding queer love and identity—Bellies soothes the imperfect, struggling parts of ourselves.

Author Tahir Hamut Izgil and narrator Greg Watanabe give a voice to a silenced community and, together, call for listeners to bear witness to the persecution of the Uyghur people.

In the dreamlike Underworlds, Stephen Ellcock pulls off an impressive feat in gathering material from sources as diverse and multifaceted as an underground ecosystem.

Elevated word choice and spirited phrasing give a timeless quality to Blexbolex’s fantastic graphic novel, which muses upon mercy, change and possibility.