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Best Books of 2023 • Episode #154

What were the best books of 2023? Listen in to our review of the year to find out our absolute favourites. Join me (Kate), Laura and Phil as we look back over a year of reading – over 300 books between us, from new releases to backlist gems. Find out our overall book of the year, plus the books we’re looking forward to in 2024. If you’re wondering what to read next, this is the show for you, with over fifty tried and tested recommendations.

Listen via the media player above, or on your preferred podcast app with this Podfollow link. Don’t forget to rate and review if you enjoy the show.

Book list for Best Books of 2023

Favourite New Release

August Blue by Deborah Levy

The Rainbow by Yasunari Kawabata, and we also discussed Snow Country

Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton

Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan


Favourite backlist title

Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Charlotte by David Foenkinos

A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd


Favourite non-fiction

This Much is True by Miriam Margolyes

A House of Air (collected writing, ed. Hermione Lee) by Penelope Fitzgerald

The Palace Papers by Tina Brown

How to Talk About Books you Haven’t Read by Piere Bayard

Carmageddon by Daniel Knowles

Free by Lea Ypi


Favourite Book Club Read

Super Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell

The Years by Annie Ernaux


Favourite comfort reads

Went to London, Took the Dog by Nina Stibbe

The Grove: A Nature Odyssey in 191/2 Front Gardens by Ben Dark

Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire

Madensky Square by Iva Ibbotson

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

Going Zero by Anthony McCarten

Most disappointed by

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (but do read Sabrina and Corina)


Patreon recommends

Loot by Tania James

Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen

Cider House Rules by John Irving

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung

The Axman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey

Not Now Not Ever by Julia Gillard

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

The Boy and the Dog by Seishu Hase

Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham

The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey

Machines Like Me by Ian McKewan

Death and the Penguin by Andrei Kurkov

The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting


Overall Book(s) of 2023

Septology by Jon Fosse (and we mentioned Morning and Evening)

Stay True by Hua Hsu

How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo

The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff

Monsters by Claire Dederer


Books we’re looking forward to

Arturo’s Island by Elsa Moranti

Rememberance of Things Past by Proust (vol. 3)

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford

Tremor by Teju Cole

The Maniac by Benjamin Labatut



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