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The best books of 2023


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Justine Jordan reflects on the year in fiction, including Zadie Smith’s debut in historical fiction, a blend of medieval magical realism by Salman Rushdie, and Paul Murray’s tragicomedy that was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

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Children’s books

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Imogen Russell Williams has curated a list of excellent children’s books, featuring heartfelt tales of love and loss, as well as lighthearted stories about space travel and fantastical creatures. This collection includes works by acclaimed authors such as Katya Balen, winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal, and Joseph Coelho, the current children’s laureate.

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Young adult books

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Five of the top books for teenagers, as selected by Imogen Russell Williams, feature a fantastic graphic memoir, a moving story of family, and a suspenseful murder investigation.

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Crime and thrillers

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Laura Wilson has chosen the most gripping books of the year, including mysteries by Richard Osman and Janice Hallett, as well as spy stories, historical crime novels, and psychological thrillers.

Please peruse all literature related to crime and suspense.

Science fiction and fantasy

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Adam Roberts has handpicked five science fiction and fantasy books that are worth checking out: a Booker-longlisted tale about cosmic exploration, a novel set in a historical multiverse, and a military story set in outer space.

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Translated fiction

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Top five translated novels chosen by John Self, featuring a vibrant and unique story from South Korea and the last gripping novel by the late Spanish writer Javier Marías.

Please peruse all translated works of fiction.


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Jenny Colgan presents five top-rated books on the themes of love and romance, including Jilly Cooper’s perspective on the football world, a movie adaptation of Red, White & Royal Blue, and Rebecca Yarros’s popular romantic fantasy novel.

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Biography and memoir

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Fiona Sturges curates a list of top books that delve into the experiences of individuals, ranging from poignant stories of siblings and loss to Barbra Streisand’s lengthy tome.

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Gaby Hinsliff discusses the range of memoirs and biographies from various political perspectives, including an insider’s perspective on Trump’s time in the White House and a humorous look at the chaotic events in No 10 over the past two years.

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Emma John has selected five top sport books of the year. These include a tale of Watford Football Club’s transformation by Graham Taylor and Elton John, a biography of tennis star Althea Gibson, and a chronicle of the harsh realities of horse racing through oral accounts.

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Steven Poole’s collection of books delves into various global issues such as feminism, the climate crisis, artificial intelligence, and vaccines.

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Rishi Dastidar chooses the year’s best collections, from a new translation of The Iliad to Forward prize winners that examine race and identity.

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Graphic novels

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James Smart highlights the best comics and graphic novels, including a new Pulitzer-winning memoir by Darrin Bell that explores a world where wishes can come true and a moving compilation of manga.

Please read all graphic novels.


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Alexis Petridis chooses his five favourite music books of the year, from homages to dance music and 90s/00s pop to a look at the role LGBTQ people played in the early days of blues.

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Rachel Roddy discusses her top picks for food books this year, covering a range of topics such as the influence of food on national identity, a fantastic vegetarian cookbook, and a captivating exploration of the history of rice.

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Source: theguardian.com