2023 Reading Plans

In this post, I’ve picked twelve 2023 releases that I am particularly looking forward to, then, as always, added a further eighteen books that I want to read in 2023, whether they are new this year or not.


Leigh Bardugo, Hell Bent (January 2023). Back in 2019,  I loved Bardugo’s Ninth House, set in a Yale secretly run by supernatural societies. Hell Bent is the sequel, and promises a series of mysterious deaths among faculty members. Always a fan of a spooky campus novel. I may have to re-read Ninth House first though, as I’ve pretty much forgotten it!


Rebecca Makkai, I Have Some Questions For You (February 2023). I’ve not read anything by Makkai before, but I was attracted by this story of a film professor who starts looking into the death of a classmate that happened back in 1995; the school’s athletics coach was convicted of her murder, but did he really do it? This sounds like it might resonate with Becky Cooper’s non-fiction account of a murder at Harvard, We Keep The Dead Close.


Ayòbámi Adébáyò, A Spell of Good Things (February 2023). I admired Adébáyò’s debut, Stay With Mea tremendously moving tale of one woman’s experience of marriage and infertility in Ilesa, south-west Nigeria. A Spell of Good Things is also set in Nigeria but sounds more structurally ambitious: it follows two young people whose lives become intertwined when a local politician takes an interest in one of them.


Jessica Johns, Bad Cree (February 2023). This debut novel follows a young Cree woman whose dreams continually return her to a weekend she spent at her family’s lakefront campsite before her sister Sabrina’s death. This sounds both atmospheric and thought-provoking.


Priya Guns, Your Driver Is Waiting (March 2023). I loved the blurb for this debut: Damani, a female taxi driver, meets Jolene, a rich white woman who claims to be an ‘ally’, and falls in love, but then Jolene does something unforgivable. Has been compared to Taxi Driver, but I haven’t seen that so I can’t comment! (Also, is orange a thing in 2023? Look at the last few covers!)


Parini Shroff, The Bandit Queens (March 2023). Another great blurb for what’s described as ‘a feminist revenge thriller’. ‘For Geeta, life as a widow is more peaceful than life as a wife… Until the other wives in her village decide they want to be widows, too’. I’m hoping this will bring the dark satire that, for me, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, The Serial Killer failed to deliver.


Meg Clothier, The Book of Eve (March 2023). And now for something completely different. I love books about nuns so I had to request this from NetGalley: it follows Beatrice, the convent’s librarian, who discovers a bewitching and powerful book.


Cecile Pin, Wandering Souls (March 2023). A debut novel about three siblings who flee Vietnam to Hong Kong, ultimately arriving in Thatcher’s Britain. Sounds like it has the resonance of something like Sharon Bala’s brilliant The Boat People.


Liv Little, Rosewater (April 2023). LOVE the cover. This sounds like the kind of ‘rootless millennial woman’ book I usually avoid, but I’m giving this one a pass because it’s about a black lesbian rather than the usual straight white protagonist.


Erum Shazia Hasan, We Meant Well (April 2023). Another debut novel about a woman whose colleague is accused of assaulting a local girl in Likanni [a fictional African village], where they operate a charitable orphanage. I hope this will capture some of the prickly moral tensions of Nikita Lalwani’s The Village.


Curtis Sittenfeld, Romantic Comedy (April 2023). Sittenfeld is always worth reading (unless it’s her bizarre Eligible) so I’m looking forward to her latest, about a TV script writer who thinks she’s over romance, until an unlikely love interest upends all her assumptions. Love the UK cover, as well.


Emma Donoghue, Learned By Heart (August 2023). After venturing into the seventh century, Donoghue is back on her familiar historical territory with this novel about Anne Lister and her love affair with a fellow schoolgirl in York at the very beginning of the nineteenth century.

The Rest of the List

Guy Gunaratne, Mister, Mister (May 2023). I had mixed feelings about Gunaratne’s acclaimed debut, In Our Mad and Furious City, but they’re obviously a talented writer and I’m intrigued by this story set in a UK detention centre.

Ann Napolitano, Hello Beautiful (July 2023). I enjoyed Napolitano’s Dear Edward and this book promises to focus on the complex relationship between four Italian-American sisters.

Emma Törzs, Ink Blood Sister Scribe (July 2023). LOVE the blurb for this, which combines a number of my obsessions: two sisters, magical books, the woods of Vermont PLUS an Antarctic research base.

Jenn Ashworth, Notes Made While Falling. I’ve been meaning to get round to this memoir for years. It focuses on a traumatic childbirth but moves beyond that to cross genres and subjects.

Karen Russell, Orange World and Other Stories. I loved Russell’s short story collection Vampires In The Lemon Groveso I don’t know why I haven’t read this already.

Geraldine Brooks, March. I’m intrigued by this retelling of Little Women from Mr March’s perspective after watching Jennifer’s (Insert Literary Pun Here) video on YouTube.

Albert Sanchez Pinol, Cold Skin. A horror novel in translation from Catalan set on a remote Antarctic island just after WWI. Giving me Dark Matter vibes.

Yan Ge, Strange Beasts of China.In the fictional Chinese city of Yong’an, an amateur cryptozoologist is commissioned to uncover the stories of its fabled beasts.’ I was won over by ‘cryptozoologist’.

Hasanthika Sirisena, Dark Tourist. This non-fiction book examines dark tourism—visiting sites of war, violence, and other traumas experienced by others – but links this to Sirisena’s retracing of her own places of trauma. Sounds SO interesting.

Elissa Washuta, White Magic. A collection of essays by a Native woman that examines both the appropriation of Native spiritual traditions and her own work as a witch.

Angela Chen, Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society and the Meaning of Sex. I’m keen to learn more about asexuality this year and this exploration of the experiences of a diverse group of asexual people sounds brilliant.

Meghan O’Rourke, The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness. This investigates the history of chronic illness and considers why it has been ignored and misunderstood. I’m keen to find out more.

Robin George Andrews, Super Volcanoes: What They Reveal About Earth and The Worlds Beyond. I fancied a fun popular science book and this one sounds good!

Scholastique Mukasonga, Our Lady of the Nile. I came across this on the Big Jubilee Read list and liked the sound of it. It’s set in a Rwandan boarding school run by white nuns. Fifteen years prior to the genocide, tensions between Hutu and Tutsi students are ever-present, creating a microcosm for the country as a whole.

Ray Nayler, The Mountain in the Sea. This sounds GREAT, like a twenty-first century update of John Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes. A species of hyperintelligent, dangerous octopus is discovered, and humans try to establish communications.

Ryan Lee Wong, Which Side Are You On. Spotted on Rebecca’s blog, this sounds so interesting on activism and generation. A young Asian-American activist is depressed and angry as he tries to fight police violence against black people; his mother, once the leader of a Korean-Black coalition, offers him a different perspective.

Erica Ferencik, Girl In Ice. Ferencik is a superior thriller writer – I loved her The River At Night – and this sounds great. ‘Set in the unforgiving landscape of the Arctic Circle… a brilliant linguist struggling to understand the apparent suicide of her twin brother ventures hundreds of miles north to try to communicate with a young girl who has thawed from the ice alive.’

James Smythe, The Ends. I was a bit disappointed by the third in Smythe’s Anomaly Quartet, The Edge, but I’m obviously going to finish out the series. In this final book, the Anomaly has enveloped Earth, bringing an end to death and forcing people to repeat their lives many times over!

Do any of these sound good to you? What books are you most looking forward to in 2023?


29 thoughts on “2023 Reading Plans

  1. The Adébáyò, Johns and Pin books look most interesting to me and I will watch for your reviews eagerly. I love your boundaries with rootless millennial books – I am the same, and I’ll read one (and be disappointed still) if the protagonists are Global Majority People and/or LGBTQIA+. I’m reading a book about the Ace experience at the moment (Ace Voices by Eris Young) so hopefully I can recommend that one, too (still bogged down in looking up a million definitions from the introduction at the moment). Happy reading for 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. I’m pleased Which Side Are You On made it onto your list. The Invisible Kingdom was one of my most anticipated books last year, but I never managed to find it. I’ll have to order it in the USA next time I’m there. I can vouch for the Ashworth and Brooks. I’ll look out for what you think about some of these other 2023 releases to see if I want to add them to the TBR.

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  4. I attended an online author event with Robin George Andrews and loved his energy and how he got into writing after studying to be a volcanologist. I tried reading the book, but it didn’t click with me. I may have been in the wrong frame of mind.

    I’d never realized before just how much of your interests gravitate toward horror/dead people books, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hell Bent and A Spell of Good Things are also two of my most anticipated releases. I didn’t know about the new Donoghue, though, and now I am very excited for it! I really must prioritize reading more of her backlist. Notes Made While Falling, White Magic, Strange Beasts of China, and Karen Russell’s short stories have also been on my TBR for ages. I’m looking forward to reading your reviews over the course of the year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great list! I really loved White Magic, but as a heads up, the book isn’t quite what it was pitched at, it’s a lot more about her own trauma, more so than the appropriation angle. Well worth reading though!

    Liked by 1 person

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