23 books to read in 2023

Nothing beats visiting a bookshop, with book tokens at the ready and a long list in your hand.

The National Book Tokens team are back to highlight 23 fantastic new books that will arrive in bookshops during the first half of the year, from fictional delights to compelling non-fiction. Discover your local bookshop using our handy tool.

Don't forget, if you spend some of your National Book Tokens – or Bookily card – before 28th February, you can enter to win £500/€500 in cash (to spend on more books… or to treat yourself to Oliver Bonas trinkets? It's up to you!).

 

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

January
The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

Janice Hallet, bestselling author of cosy crime novels The Appeal and The Twyford Code, returns with another tricksy mystery, this time about the Alperton Angels, a cult-like group being investigated by a true-crime author.

For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain by Victoria MacKenzie

For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain by Victoria MacKenzie

This astonishing debut cracks history open to reveal the lives of two extraordinary women: Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich, who meet in the year 1413. Their meeting will change everything.

The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel

The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel

An Indie Book of the Month for January, as chosen by independent booksellers, The Things That We Lost is a beautifully tender exploration of family, loss and the lengths to which we go to protect the ones we love.

My Father's House by Joseph O'Connor

My Father's House by Joseph O'Connor

Based on an extraordinary true story, My Father's House is a powerful literary thriller from a master of historical fiction, author of Star of the Sea, Joseph O’Connor.

A Spell of Good Things by Ayobami Adebayo

February
A Spell of Good Things by Ayobami Adebayo

Ayobami Adebayo, the Women's Prize-shortlisted author of Stay With Me, unveils a dazzling story of modern Nigeria and two families caught in the riptides of wealth, power, romantic obsession and political corruption.

Victory City by Salman Rushdie

Victory City by Salman Rushdie

An epic tale of a woman who breathes a fantastical empire into existence, only to be consumed by it over the centuries. Victory City is from the transcendent imagination of Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie.

Maame by Jessica George

Maame by Jessica George

'Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi, but in my case, it means woman'. A deeply moving, achingly funny debut about finally finding where you belong.

The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler

The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler

A pioneering marine biologist travels to a remote archipelago to investigate a highly intelligent, dangerous octopus species. The octopuses hold the key to unprecedented breakthroughs in extrahuman intelligence and there are vast fortunes to be made by whoever can take advantage of their advancements. But no one has asked the octopuses what they think. And what they might do about it.

The Earth Transformed: An Untold History by Peter Frankopan

March
The Earth Transformed: An Untold History
by Peter Frankopan

Ground-breaking historian Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads, reconnects us with our ancestors who, like us, worshipped, exploited and conserved the natural environment - and draws salutary conclusions about what the future may bring.

Who Gets Believed? When the Truth Isn't Enough by Dina Nayeri

Who Gets Believed? When the Truth Isn't Enough by Dina Nayeri

Intent on exploring ideas of persuasion and performance, Nayeri takes us behind the scenes in emergency rooms, corporate boardrooms, asylum interviews and into her own family, to ask - where lies the difference between being believed and being dismissed? What does this mean for our culture?

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

A darkly irreverent and fresh take on a feminist revenge thriller. For Geeta, life as a widow is more peaceful than life as a wife… Until the other women in her village decide they want to be widows, too.

 

Bookily

Bookily: the monthly National Book Token

Give booklovers the joy of choosing a new book every month with Bookily. Just choose how much you want to give them and for how long, and they'll receive a Bookily card ready to spend on the books they want, when they want them.

 

Shy by Max Porter

April
Shy by Max Porter

From the award-winning author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers and Lanny comes a polyphonic story of a troubled teenager.

Happy Place by Emily Henry

Happy Place by Emily Henry

Harriet and Wyn are the perfect couple. Except, they broke up six months ago. And they still haven't told anyone. Which is how they end up sharing a bedroom at the cottage that has been their yearly getaway with their best friends for the past decade. Happy Place is another feelgood romcom from the author of Book Lovers and Beach Read.

The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller

The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller

The author of Unsettled Ground returns with a novel narrated by Neffy, who’s introduced to a pioneering and controversial technology which allows her to revisit memories from her life before. She increasingly turns away from her present, but in this new world, is she jeopardising any chance of a future? A taut and emotionally charged story about freedom and captivity, survival and sacrifice and whether you can save anyone before you save yourself.

Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater

Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater

Roach has all the company she needs in her serial killer books, murder podcasts, and pet snail, Bleep. That is, until Laura joins the bookshop and becomes everyone's new favourite bookseller. But beneath the shiny veneer, Roach senses a darkness within Laura, the same darkness Roach possesses.

Greek Lessons by Han Kang

Greek Lessons by Han Kang

A tender story of two ordinary people brought together at a moment of private anguish - the fading light of a man losing his vision meeting the silence of a woman who has lost her language, from the author of The Vegetarian.

The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

May
The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

A nice house, a carefree life, a husband who adores you, a best friend who never leaves your side. What more could you ask for? There's just one problem, your husband and best friend love you, but they hate each other. Set over the course of a single day, the three protagonists toe the lines of compromise and betrayal.

The Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan

The Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan

From the author of Exciting Times comes a ferociously clever and supremely enjoyable novel. As a wedding approaches and the lives of the soon-to-be-married couple, the best man, the bridesmaid and a guest intersect, each character will find themselves looking for a path to their happily ever after - but does it lie at the end of an aisle?

Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Set over the course of three summers, from London to Ghana and back again, Small Worlds is an exhilarating and expansive novel about the worlds we build for ourselves, the worlds we live, dance and love within, from the author of Open Water.

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

A darkly funny literary thriller from the bestselling author of Babel. Athena Liu is a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. Who wants stories by basic white girls anyway? But now Athena is dead. And June has her unfinished manuscript...

Morgan is My Name by Sophie Keetch

June
Morgan is My Name by Sophie Keetch

An atmospheric, feminist retelling of the early life of famed villainess Morgan le Fay, set against the colourful chivalric backdrop of Arthurian legend.

The Year of the Locust by Terry Hayes

The Year of the Locust by Terry Hayes

If you thought I Am Pilgrim was good, you be excited to hear that the 10-year wait is now over: Terry Hayes has written an amazing new thriller, The Year of the Locust (plot yet to be revealed!).

(Un)civilised by Subhadra Das

(Un)civilised by Subhadra Das

Taking 10 core values of Western Civilisation in turn, (Un)civilised examines the root of the idea, how it developed, and how it's impacted the way we live. Most importantly it will reveal how each of these ideas was either created in opposition to another group of people, or based on ideas they had first (and better).

 

Caboodlers' Corner

Caboodlers' Corner

Browse quizzes, reading lists, and recommendations from our guest Book Doctors.

Caboodlers' Corner
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