11 Literary(ish) Fiction Books I Want To Read This Year

Published by The Connected Reader on

Let’s be real. My reading life would not have survived the last few years without comfort like Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series and Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club books.

And lately, I feel a little tired of only reading these delightful, cozy comforts. 

It’s one of those “two conflicting things are simultaneously true” moments that make adulthood so dang complicated. 

This month on the blog I’m sharing three lists of books I want to read in 2023: a general non-fiction list, a list of books about women, time, and creativity (because I’m really interested in these things right now), and today’s list: literary (or literary-ish) fiction.

Thank you to The Connected Reader community on Instagram for sharing so many recommendations that informed these lists!

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Happy 2023 reading, y’all!

  • The Survivalists – Ever since reading Station Eleven – and living through an actual pandemic – I am fascinated (fearful?) by how easily society can crumble. This book is the story of a newcomer to a group of friends in New York City who, having been traumatized by Hurricane Sandy, have become preppers. It sounds like a good balance of plot and commentary on society and I’m excited to read it.
  • Yellow Face – This one comes out in May and it sounds like a wild ride, y’all. I’m interested because of the publishing world setting and the commentary on the power held by white leaders and authors in this business that harms BIPOC leaders and authors.
  • The Signal To Noise – I loved Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic and I’m interested in reading her backlist titles, starting with her debut. A late 80s setting, following a character through decades of their life, and a little magic thrown in sounds like a good time to me.
  • Pet – Akwaeke Emezi has written several adult novels (that I have on my shelf and haven’t read, of course). This is their award-winning YA debut from 2019 that literally a million of you have told me to read. It is described as “genre-defying” and I’m so curious to see what that means.
  • Night of the Living Rez – I’m always looking for more Indigenous authors and stories to read. This one came out in 2022 and it’s a collection of stories about a Penobscot community in Maine. I don’t generally like short stories, but I love a collection of connected stories so this sounds like a book for me.
  • Underground Railroad – This came out in 2018 and won the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, so obviously I have not yet read it. In fact, I haven’t read any Colson Whitehead and I’m going to change that this year.
  • If I Had Your Face – The story of four women who are friends in present day Korea. I love books with this setup; reading about female friendship and the different paths that women take is so interesting to me. 
  • Unlikely Animals – I read Annie Hartnett’s debut, Rabbit Cake, in 2017. It is one of my all-time favorite books, so picking up this new one is a no-brainer for me. 
  • One Two Three – I loved Laurie Frankel’s This Is How It Always Is and was taken with how she writes about family. This newer one is about triplets in a small town; I’m predisposed to love stories about three sisters as the mother of three girls, so I’m excited to finally get to this one.
  • How To Not Drown In A Glass of Water – How can you not read a book described as “structurally inventive and emotionally kaleidoscopic”? (Shoutout to the book summary writer!) I’ve seen this one all over #bookstagram and based on what I’ve heard, I’m going to try to listen to the audiobook.
  • The Covenant of Water – I read Abraham Verghese’s Cutting For Stone a few years back and it’s the type of epic, interconnected story I love but don’t often find the energy to read. Verghese’s newest novel follows several generations of a family in Kerala, a region in southern India where my husband’s family is from. I feel connected to this story and I can’t wait to read this one when it comes out in May.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Even if you don’t use the links, I highly recommend checking out Bookshop.org for access to tons of titles while still supporting an indie bookstore.

Categories: Book Lists


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