It’s that time of year, when Christmas lists are being written, rewritten and cross-checked to make sure you’re not doubling up on last year’s efforts.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best books of 2023 so you know you’re wrapping up some surefire literary delights.
Click through for a full synopsis of each of these 2023 releases.
Hyped books that are worth your time
Yellowface by R.F Kuang – the kind of page turner you’ll burn through on Boxing Day, Yellowface asks questions about race and the literary world, while challenging ideas of who has the right to tell certain stories.
The Bee Sting by Paul Murray – following a family in Ireland, The Bee Sting is a classic family drama told from multiple perspectives that will have you completely invested until the last page. A door-stopper novel, this is perfect for those who have been waiting all year to settle into their armchair and just read.
Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah – pitched as Squid Game meets The Handmaid’s Tale, this one’s for the dystopian lovers. We haven’t met a person who didn’t love this fast-paced, can’t-tear-your-eyes-away from it novel.
Millennial angst novels
Good Material by Dolly Alderton – with a reputation for crafting funny and painfully relatable novels, Alderton has done it again with Good Material as she explores heartbreak, friendship and the ever-tumultuous nature of your 30s.
The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue – this novel puts the focus on shifting relationship dynamics between friends and lovers as a fascinating cast of characters come of age and grapple with secrets, big decisions and life changes.
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfield – writer of popular late-night sketch comedy show “The Night Owls” meets adored pop music sensation and they fall in love. Sittenfield, with her trademark flair of bringing complex women to life, explores the social rituals of love and romance and normalises those all-consuming pre-dating anxieties.
Books to lose yourself in over the holidays
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano – lovers of Little Women will adore this modern retelling as it invites you to dive deep into four close-knit but very different sisters. Tackling complex family dynamics, mental health and the dedication to life dreams, Hello Beautiful carries you along with ease.
North Woods by Daniel Mason – a tale of one house and its occupants over the years, North Woods transports you, effortlessly working with the natural landscape as well as the very foundations of the building. One for those who can’t get enough of historical fiction, Mason asks us all to consider what it means to leave a legacy in our wake.
Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton – when a guerilla gardening group looks to expand their impact and grow their income, they find themselves wondering whether they’re willing to compromise their ideals and ideologies and whether they can really trust each other. This environmental mystery is a must read from a beloved NZ author.
Non-fiction to get the conversation started around the dinner table
Bite Back by Hannah Ferguson – essential reading for anyone interested in feminism, media, and politics, Ferguson expertly captures the mood of younger millennials and Gen Z as they come of age. This one was a huge bestseller, so, if your gift recipient already has it, we suggest gifting Consent Laid Bare by Chanel Contos which furthers the conversation.
Pageboy by Elliot Page – a beloved actor, Elliot Page takes control of his own story in Pageboy, sharing his experiences of gender, love, mental health, relationships and Hollywood.
Right Story, Wrong Story by Tyson Yunkaporta – there is so much to learn about Indigenous thinking and Yunkaporta is determined to make sure all of that knowledge is shared with the world. Right Story, Wrong Story, is the perfect gift for the insatiable knowledge seeker in your life.
For the hobbyist
The Milkwood Permaculture Living Handbook by Kirsten Bradley – perfect for kickstarting those New Year resolutions, this book is here to help you make small changes in your life to make a big difference in the world and embrace sustainable living.
More is More by Molly Baz – there’s nothing better than a holiday gift that makes you want to crack it open and get into the kitchen as soon as possible to try all the recipes. Your 2024 dinner parties are covered with Molly Baz’s new cookbook!
Looking for a last-minute gift? Don’t know what to get the person in your life who already has everything?
WellRead Literary Subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving. Each month, we handpick the best new literary titles and deliver them to your door. We’re committed to curating diverse selections and stimulating the reading lives of our subscribers one quality book at a time.
Available as a 3, 6, 9 or 12 month subscription, these are available every day of the year, so they’re perfect for those last-minute gifts.
Want more ideas? This post doesn’t feature any of our selections from 2023– we’re hoping you’ve already got those on the shelf! You can browse our journal to see what we’ve chosen to send our subscribers this year, to gather more inspiration for your literary Christmas gifts.