8 titles from 2023 you should read this year
We have listed the paperback release dates as well!
Sometimes it feels like we should only read books published in that year to stay ‘trendy’ but we are here to tell you eight books released in 2023 that you should read in 2024. And the bonus is that seven will get a paperback release this year.
Kala by Colin Walsh
Kala is shortlisted for Waterstones’ Debut Fiction Prize. The story flips between 2003 and present day as three friends tell the story of how their friend Kala disappeared from Kinlough without a trace. The book reads like literary fiction, but also a murder mystery, and it is this combination that makes Kala so gripping. However, you will definitely want to take the time to enjoy the language used by Colin Walsh, as it is gorgeous, often relying on run-on sentences to drive the emotions. The paperback is out July 2024. See it on Amazon.
Prophet Song by Paul Lynch
Prophet Song won the Booker Prize last year, so of course, we have to check it out. The book is set in a dystopic Ireland but the atmosphere created by Paul Lynch is universal to any place that has suffered through the same suppression. And in this day and age where there are so many horrible things happening around the world that we are desensitized to violence, the claustrophobic environment created by the run-on paragraphs hopefully brings back some empathy in all of us. The paperback will be released in May 2024. See it on Amazon.
Second Self by Chloe Ashby
Motherhood is a question that women get asked about a lot, and it’s a question that women ask themselves a lot. It is a big decision, especially when some people’s relationships hinge on this decision. Cathy and Noah’s marriage is exactly affected by this. Second Self is thought-provoking as it explores how much of women’s answer to this question is actually affected by society. Chloe Ashby also did a wonderful exploration of Cathy’s relationship with her ageing mother, which is not discussed in books. The paperback will be released in April 2024. See it on Amazon.
Strangers at the Port by Lauren Aimee Curtis
Lauren Aimee Curtis was recently named one of the Best of Granta Young British Novelists, so we were intrigued by Strangers at the Port. Loosely based on the Aeolian island of Salina in the late 19th century, Lauren Aimee Curtis spun the tale into something of her own as she explores communities that are often isolated and forgotten. Curtis selected an interesting set of characters, and we thoroughly enjoyed this examination of dislocation. We just wish the story was slightly longer to tie up any loose ends. The paperback will be released in May 2024.
Learned by Heart by Emma Donoghue
Learned by Heart is a romantic novel detailing the love story between Eliza and Lister, and Emma Donoghue did a wonderful job writing about their growing relationship and their lives in the 1800s. We especially love how some parts of the book are written in the form of letters, as they are interwoven beautifully with the rest of the tale. Our love for the book grew even more as we read the 15-page long author’s notes, as readers get a glimpse of how Emma Donoghue researched the story. The paperback will be released in June 2024. See it on Amazon.
weirdo by Sara Pascoe
Sophie Collins is one of those characters that you want to shake awake, but she is so real that she just sounds like your friend and you can’t be mean to your friend now, can you? Sara Pascoe gives readers a detailed view into every angle of Sophie’s life, from her debt (as shown through mixed media! which we always adore), to her bodily functions, so probably more than what you want to know about any of your friends but you can’t help but want to know. A super quick and witty read. The paperback will be released in April 2024. See it on Amazon.
So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan
This is such a short read (only 64 pages!), but it is so cleverly paced. So Late in the Day follows Cathal who is having a bad day at work. As readers start feeling sympathetic towards poor Cathal, Claire Keegan starts revealing to readers more and more about the misogynistic side of Cathal. You will find yourself making excuses for Cathal much longer than you would have otherwise — super brilliant storytelling. See it on Amazon.
Open Throat by Henry Hoke
This book doesn’t have too many words, but it is one that you will need quite a bit of time to reflect upon after reading. The book reads like Overheard in LA, except the person who is overhearing is not a person, but a mountain lion, and thinks LA is something called “ellay”. And just like Overheard in LA provides people with a glimpse of what life in LA is like, Henry Hoke examined the problem of housing crisis, climate change etc via the perspective of, well, a mountain lion. This is super brilliant, especially since the mountain lion offers a perspective that sometimes we humans have lost sight of. The paperback is to be released in July 2024. See it on Amazon.