What to Read in 2023

Fiction, biographies, memoirs, mysteries and more to look forward to in the new year

With 2022 behind us, it’s time to look ahead to what we’ll be reading in the new year. Below, we’ve organized forthcoming releases by category and included a few suggestions for what you might enjoy based on your favorite reading experiences of recent times. Publishers’ fall schedules will come into clearer view as the year progresses, so this list leans heavily on the first half of 2023. We’d be eager to hear what you’re looking forward to most, whether it’s on this list or not. Here’s to another 12 months of reading pleasure.


If you liked “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida,” by Shehan Karunatilaka, read “Victory City,” by Salman Rushdie (Feb. 7)

In his first novel to be published since he was attacked and gravely injured at a public appearance in August, Rushdie flashes his usual ambition and flair. It begins in 14th-century India, where a 9-year-old girl named Pampa Kampana, grieving the death of her mother, becomes the vessel for a goddess. This spirit informs Pampa that she will play an important role in the history of a city called Bisnaga. The novel then follows Pampa through more than two event-filled centuries of magical developments and corrupt human behavior.

If you liked “Lessons in Chemistry,” by Bonnie Garmus, read “The Society of Shame,” by Jane Roper (April 4)

When Kathleen Held returns early from a trip to find her garage on fire and her politician husband outside in his underwear alongside his disheveled young staffer, the middle-aged wife and mother can’t imagine being more humiliated. But then photos of the scene surface, revealing a menstrual stain on the back of Kathleen’s pants. Practically overnight, her mishap launches a feminist movement — #YesWeBleed — forcing Kathleen to decide whether she should lean into her newfound fame or hide from the humiliation.

If you liked “Black Cake,” by Charmaine Wilkerson, read “The Covenant of Water,” by Abraham Verghese (May 2)

Verghese, the doctor-author behind the bestseller “Cutting for Stone” (2009), returns with a multigenerational family saga set in Kerala, on India’s Malabar Coast. The characters are bound by their connection to the sea (hence the title) — but not in a good way: Someone from each generation dies in a water-related incident. Verghese explores the evolution of this family and its strange fate using his medical expertise, as well as deep research into time and place and his understanding of the human heart.

If you liked “Either/Or,” by Elif Batuman, read “The Late Americans,” by Brandon Taylor (May 23)

Taylor’s second novel, following his Booker Prize-finalist debut, “Real Life,” concerns relationships among a group of friends during a formative year in their lives, when they’re confronting hard truths about work, sex, creativity and independence. The book continues Taylor’s investigation of Midwestern social life. “Real Life” was set in an unnamed university town clearly modeled on Madison, Wis. “The Late Americans” is set in Iowa City — named, this time — where Taylor attended the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

If you liked “The Overstory,” by Richard Powers, read “Birnam Wood,” by Eleanor Catton (March 7)

Ten years ago, Catton won the Booker Prize for “The Luminaries,” a cerebral 800-page novel set in 19th-century New Zealand (the author’s home country). “Birnam Wood,” her long-awaited next act, is more of a lean, cinematic thriller. Its title is the name of an activist group that plants crops in out-of-the-way places. The group’s founder, Mira, becomes interested in a large abandoned farm, only to find that an American billionaire has his own plans for it as an end-times refuge. Psychological drama ensues.

More fiction coming in 2023

JANUARY | The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley In this TV comedy writer’s debut novel, a young Black lawyer navigates a new relationship and various forms of American anxiety • Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey A comic debut novel about a 29-year-old trying to hold things together after the end of her brief marriage • This Other Eden by Paul Harding The third novel by Pulitzer Prize winner Harding (“Tinkers”) is set on a Maine island that’s a pioneer in racial integration • Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell Winner of the 2022 International Booker Prize, this novel follows the adventures of an 80-year-old woman magically brought out of a deep depression


If you liked “River of the Gods,” by Candice Millard, read “The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder,” by David Grann (April 18)

The most rousing adventure stories are rarely just about destinations and discoveries: They’re also about the human conflicts that play out along the way. In “The Wager,” Grann explores the tension between two sets of survivors of an 18th-century shipwreck who made their way back to dry land with two very different stories to tell. Though the tale Grann lays out is true, the book packs in all the twists you’d expect of a nautical thriller.

If you liked “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019,” by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, read “The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History,” by Ned Blackhawk (April 25)

In accounts of American history, Indigenous peoples are often treated as largely incidental — either obstacles to be overcome or part of a narrative separate from the arc of nation-building. Blackhawk, a professor at Yale University, challenges those minimalizations and exclusions, showing that Native communities have, instead, been inseparable from the American story all along. This book invites us to reconsider our received stories about events from independence through the Civil War and beyond.

If you liked “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America,” by Clint Smith, read “The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church,” by Rachel L. Swarns (June 6)

In a series of articles for the New York Times, Swarns probed slavery’s role in the financing of Georgetown University, prompting the American Jesuits to vow to raise $100 million to atone for their actions. Now Swarns, a journalist and professor, widens her lens to explore how slavery helped the Catholic Church expand in the United States over more than three centuries. She brings to life not just this essential history but also the lives of the enslaved individuals.

Current Affairs

If you liked “Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in an American City,” by Andrea Elliott, read “We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America,” by Roxanna Asgarian (March 14)

Asgarian humanizes a sensational 2018 murder-suicide case involving two women and their six adopted children from Texas. She delves deeply into not only the stories of the people involved — including one sibling left behind — but also the flawed child-welfare system that allowed abuse and neglect to escalate to this shocking conclusion.

If you liked “His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice,” by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, read “Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable,” by Joanna Schwartz (Feb. 14)

In an era of high-profile police misconduct, Schwartz lifts the lid on why cops so often evade accountability. Schwartz, a law professor at UCLA, relies on more than two decades of research to reveal the protections the legal system affords police who ignore the law and violate civil rights. She exposes the biases of Supreme Court decisions and of federal juries, and takes particular aim at qualified immunity, which prevents officers from incurring monetary damages for their abuses.

If you liked “Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation,” by Linda Villarosa, read “Poverty, by America,” by Matthew Desmond (March 21)

Desmond, who won a Pulitzer Prize for “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” returns with an impassioned polemic arguing that the poor remain poor in this country because it benefits the affluent. The better off among us, Desmond says, “knowingly and unknowingly” maintain a status quo that keeps many people trapped in financial distress. In addition to laying out his case through research and reporting, Desmond outlines steps he believes might help finally alleviate poverty.

More history and current affairs

FEBRUARY | Saying It Loud: 1966 — The Year Black Power Challenged the Civil Rights Movement by Mark Whitaker Holding Fire: A Reckoning With the American West by Bryce Andrews • The Diary Keepers: World War II in the Netherlands, as Written by the People Who Lived Through It by Nina Siegal • The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration by Jake Bittle

Biography & Memoir

If you enjoyed “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century,” by Beverly Gage, read “King: A Life,” by Jonathan Eig (May 16)

Eig’s biography is the first comprehensive treatment of King in more than a generation. Drawing on a wealth of new material, Eig casts King as a beloved, courageous icon who wore the robes of his humanity uneasily. Eig’s King is wracked by his doubts and frailties; he is still the fiery preacher and civil rights leader, but he’s dogged by government surveillance, conflicted by his complicated relationship with his wife and given to periods of dark reflection.

If you liked “Mike Nichols: A Life,” by Mark Harris, read “True West: Sam Shepard’s Life, Work, and Times,” by Robert Greenfield (April 11)

Shepard was among the most acclaimed playwrights of the 20th century, known for bleak family dramas like “Fool for Love,” “True West” and “Buried Child,” for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979. He also found renown as an actor, most notably in Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven” and as Chuck Yeager, his Oscar-nominated role in “The Right Stuff.” This full-dress biography covers his upbringing, his groundbreaking work, and his storied relationships with Patti Smith and his longtime partner Jessica Lange.

If you liked “Finding Me,” by Viola Davis, read “Chita: A Memoir,” by Chita Rivera (April 25)

Rivera’s professional accomplishments are well documented: After originating several scene-stealing Broadway roles (Anita from “West Side Story” and Velma Kelly in “Chicago” among them), she won three Tony Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Now, nearing 90, she gives fans a view of her personal life in a memoir that relays how D.C.-born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero became a legend, a journey that led her to collaborate with Bob Fosse, Leonard Bernstein, Liza Minnelli and other superstars.

More biography and memoir

JANUARY | Spare by Prince Harry The estranged member of Britain’s royal family writes the story of his life • Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson Anderson writes of her early years on Vancouver Island, her rise to become a superstar sex symbol and tabloid fodder, and her more recent life as a parent and activist

Mysteries & Thrillers

If you liked “City on Fire,” by Don Winslow, read “Small Mercies,” by Dennis Lehane (April 25)

Boston-born Lehane has long made the city his own in fiction, and his latest novel is set during a particularly tense moment — the summer of 1974, when a heat wave arrived as the city was planning to implement a court-ordered desegregation of its public schools. “Small Mercies” follows two slowly converging mysteries: the disappearance of an Irish American teenage girl and the death of a young Black man hit by a subway train.

If you liked “Anywhere You Run,” by Wanda M. Morris, read “All the Sinners Bleed,” by S.A. Cosby (June 6)

The next novel from the author of “Razorblade Tears” and “Blacktop Wasteland” is another Southern noir. Former FBI agent Titus Crowne returned to his hometown to take care of his family but ended up becoming Charon County’s first Black sheriff. Aspects of the job, such as protecting Confederate pride marchers, wear on him, but his expertise proves valuable after a student kills a teacher. The investigation leads Titus on a hunt that reveals sordid secrets and a serial killer.

If you liked “A Sunlit Weapon,” by Jacqueline Winspear, read “The White Lady,” by Jacqueline Winspear (March 21)

Of course, if you like one Winspear, you’ll like another Winspear. (You might also like “All That Is Hidden,” by Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles, publishing March 14.) But this time Winspear has set aside her beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs for a new character, Elinor White, a former wartime spy who is enjoying a quiet life in Kent, England, when she gets pulled into a case involving organized crime in London. As in her many endearing novels, Winspear captures period details — of World War I and 1947 London — while spinning a captivating mystery with a strong and lovable female sleuth at its center.

More mysteries and thrillers

JANUARY | Exiles by Jane Harper Everybody Knows by Jordan Harper The Cabinet of Dr. Leng by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child • The House at the End of the World by Dean Koontz


If you liked “Circe,” by Madeline Miller, read “The Iliad,” translated by Emily Wilson (September)

Wilson’s 2017 translation of “The Odyssey” quickly achieved canonical status, thanks to its combination of scholarly precision and elegant, accessible language. Wilson will bring similar artistry to Homer’s other great epic, the story of Achilles’ doomed petulance in the 10th year of the Trojan War. Where “The Iliad” can sometimes seem staid, Wilson is sure to enliven its most famous episodes — the death of Patroclus, Achilles’ brutal vengeance — while also helping readers feel the rhythms of the poem’s many other bloody battles and vociferous debates.

More poetry

JANUARY | Was It for This by Hannah Sullivan