Best books of 2023: The Marie Claire reading list of the must-reads and page-turners

Chosen by a book-obsessed writer

A montage of the best books of 2023
(Image credit: Courtesy)

Kindles at the ready, Readers, when it comes to books –our round-up of new releases and recommended favourites for 2023 is designed to give you a TBR—to be read—list to treasure this year. 

The best books to read in December

Yes, it’s that time of year. We know – you must be exhausted. Time to step away from the tinsel and curl up with a good book and some brandy butter-soaked mince pies for some literary me-time – and we have a sprinkling of festive-themed gems (old and new) in with this month’s featured new releases to assist with precisely that.

With fewer new releases in December, we’ve taken the opportunity to use the latter part of this month’s round-up to include a handful of 2023 titles we missed first time round that have since gone on to pick up some starry accolades (Booker and Goldsmiths Prize-winners among them). Enjoy – and see you next year!

The best books to read in November

If the drawing in of November nights has your world feeling a little smaller, this month’s selection of new releases does the opposite, leading your imagination to destinations as far flung and unknown as the International Space Station and into worlds past, present and future, with a sprinkling of funny-sad romance and high gothic in between.

The best books to read in October

In the month that celebrates both Black History and the annual fright-fest that is Halloween, our offering of new literary releases serves up plenty of both – sometimes (as in Jordan Peele’s anthology of new Black horror writing) in one book. Jump scares not your preferred form of entertainment? Never fear – there is plenty to entertain and enlighten you too, including a surreal hike into the Mojave Desert, a handful of brilliant new short story collections, and a delicately drawn tale in which a young woman with no memory of her past journeys deep into her own secret history.

The best books to read in September

Just as you’re likely to be hitting the refresh button on your wardrobe, September is the perfect month to bring some new-season energy to your reading list. From sensual near-future dystopias and the Manhattan Project physicist who predicted the distinct existential threat posed by AI, to genre-defying historical releases and a darkly funny gothic feminist fairy tale – consider it the ultimate ‘capsule wardrobe’ for your autumn bookshelf. 

The best books to read in August

August is the month of escape. And you don’t have to board a plane or a train or even climb into an automobile to head off into frontiers unknown. All you need to transport you to lands from Casablanca to Malaysia to Down Under and – in one of our picks, whole new universes – is to arm yourself with this month’s round-up of new releases and must-reads. Lucky you!