The best books of 2023 | Best books of the year

The best books of 2023 | Best books of the year


Fiction

Three book jackets

Zadie Smith’s first foray into historical fiction, medieval magical realism from Salman Rushdie and Paul Murray’s Booker-shortlisted tragicomedy – Justine Jordan looks back on the year in fiction.

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Children’s books

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From poignant stories of love and grief to picture books about rockets and ogres, Imogen Russell Williams picks the best books for children, including titles by Carnegie-winning Katya Balen and children’s laureate Joseph Coelho.

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Young adult books

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Imogen Russell Williams highlights five of the best books for teenagers, including a superb graphic memoir, a poignant family saga and a chilling murder mystery.

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Crime and thrillers

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Laura Wilson’s pick of the year’s page-turners, from cosy crime by Richard Osman and Janice Hallett to spy novels, historical crime and psychological thrillers.

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Science fiction and fantasy

Three book jackets
Composite: Guardian

A Booker-longlisted story of cosmic exploration, a historical multiverse novel and a military tale in space – Adam Roberts chooses five of the best science fiction and fantasy books.

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Translated fiction

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John Self’s top five novels in translation, including a colourful and eccentric South Korean tale and the late Spanish author Javier Marías’s final page-turner.

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Romance

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Jilly Cooper’s take on the world of football, a film tie-in edition of Red, White & Royal Blue, and Rebecca Yarros’s romantasy bestseller – Jenny Colgan showcases five of the best novels about love and romance.

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Biography and memoir

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From vivid accounts of siblings and grief to Barbra Streisand’s doorstopper, Fiona Sturges selects the best books about people’s lives.

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Politics

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Gaby Hinsliff on memoirs and biographies across the political spectrum, an insider account of Trump’s White House and a humorous take on the tumultuous last two years in No 10.

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Sport

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Emma John picks five of the year’s best sport books, including the story of how Graham Taylor and Elton John turned Watford Football Club around, a biography of tennis heroine Althea Gibson and an oral history about the brutality of horse racing.

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Ideas

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Feminism, the climate crisis, artificial intelligence and vaccines are just some of the topics explored in Steven Poole’s roundup of books that take on the world’s big questions.

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Poetry

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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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A new memoir from Pulitzer winner Darrin Bell, a story about an imagined world in which wishes can be granted and an affecting collection of manga – James Smart picks out the finest comics and graphic books.

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Music

Three book jackets

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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Food

Three book jackets

Rachel Roddy on five of the best food books of the year, which include a study of food’s role in national identity, a brilliant vegetarian cookbook and an engrossing history of rice.

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