• The Ultimate Fall 2023 Books Preview

    106 Books The Critics Think You Should Read This Season

    As the weather gets colder, the sweaters come out, the tea gets brewed, and the TBR stacks start being photographed next to pumpkins, it seems like pretty much everybody has a book recommendation for you. And why not? After all, it’s the biggest season in the literary universe, the time when publishers bring out their flashiest offerings—so there are plenty of good books to gush about. But which books are at the top of everyone’s lists? Well, as is Lit Hub tradition, I have read all the lists to find out (and also done all the math for you).

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    This season, I read through a total of 40 lists from 33 publications, which collectively recommended a total of 533 books (of course, I never get all the lists, those things are like mushrooms—scroll down to find the list of lists included in this accounting). I then collated the results to find the 106 (!) books that were recommended three times or more, which I present here for you in descending order of popularity. If nothing else, it’s a place to start:


    25 lists:

    Zadie Smith, The Fraud

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    Zadie Smith, The Fraud

    24 lists:

    jesmyn ward let us descend

    Jesmyn Ward, Let Us Descend

    16 lists:

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    Lauren Groff, The Vaster Wilds

    Lauren Groff, The Vaster Wilds
    C Pam Zhang, Land of Milk and Honey

    13 lists:

    Alice McDermott, Absolution

    Alice McDermott, Absolution

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    12 lists:

    stephen king holly

    Stephen King, Holly

    11 lists:

    Jessica Knoll, Bright Young Women

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    Jessica Knoll, Bright Young Women
    Ayana Mathis, The Unsettled
    Bryan Washington, Family Meal

    10 lists:

    rouge mona awad

    Mona Awad, Rouge
    John Grisham, The Exchange
    Viet Thanh Nguyen, A Man of Two Faces
    Barbra Streisand, My Name Is Barbra

    9 lists:

    happiness falls

    Angie Kim, Happiness Falls
    Safiya Sinclair, How to Say Babylon
    Britney Spears, The Woman in Me

    8 lists:

    Naomi Alderman, The Future
    Cassandra Clare, Sword Catcher
    Teju Cole, Tremor
    Michael Cunningham, Day
    Walter Isaacson, Elon Musk
    Benjamín Labatut, The MANIAC
    Sigrid Nunez, The Vulnerables

    7 lists:

    Tim O'Brien, America Fantastica

    Tim O’Brien, America Fantastica
    Richard Osman, The Last Devil to Die
    Nita Prose, The Mystery Guest

    6 lists:

    Tananarive Due, The Reformatory

    Tananarive Due, The Reformatory
    Jhumpa Lahiri, tr. Todd Portnowitz, Roman Stories
    Michael Lewis, Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon
    Daniel Mason, North Woods
    Molly McGhee, Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind
    V.E. Schwab, The Fragile Threads of Power
    Tracy K. Smith, To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul

    5 lists:

    Lydia Davis, Our Strangers

    Lydia Davis, Our Strangers: Stories
    Tan Twan Eng, The House of Doors
    Diana Evans, A House for Alice
    Mary Gabriel, Madonna: A Rebel Life
    Alix E. Harrow, Starling House
    Will Hermes, Lou Reed: The King of New York
    Nathan Hill, Wellness
    Paulette Jiles, Chenneville
    Naomi Klein, Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World
    Jean Kwok, The Leftover Woman
    Stephanie Land, Class
    Sandra Newman, Julia
    Ed Park, Same Bed Different Dreams
    Justin Torres, Blackouts
    Rebecca Yarros, Iron Flame

    4 lists:

    Travis Baldree, Bookshops & Bonedust

    Travis Baldree, Bookshops & Bonedust
    Martin Baron, Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and the Washington Post
    Gabriel Bump, The New Naturals
    Roz Chast, I Must Be Dreaming
    Curtis Chin, Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant
    Alicia Elliott, And Then She Fell
    Annie Ernaux, tr. Alison Strayer, The Young Man
    Ben Goldfarb, Crossings: How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of Our Planet
    Myriam Gurba, Creep: Accusations and Confessions
    Michael Harriot, Black AF History
    Werner Herzog, tr. Michael Hofmann, Every Man For Himself and God Against All
    Taylor Lorenz, Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet
    Marisa Meltzer, Glossy: Ambition, Beauty, and the Inside Story of Emily Weiss’s Glossier
    Jonathan Raban, Father and Son
    Courtney Thorsson, The Sisterhood: How a Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture
    Kerry Washington, Thicker Than Water

    3 lists:

    Mitch Albom, The Little Liar

    Mitch Albom, The Little Liar
    Elena Armas, The Long Game
    Isa Arsén, Shoot the Moon
    Kate Atkinson, Normal Rules Don’t Apply: Stories
    Mary Beard, Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient Roman World
    Melissa Broder, Death Valley
    Kacen Callender, Stars in Your Eyes
    Ann Cleeves, The Raging Storm
    J.M. Coetzee, The Pole
    Marie Darrieussecq, tr. Penny Hueston, Sleepless: A Memoir of Insomnia
    David Diop, tr. Sam Taylor, Beyond the Door of No Return
    Anne Enright, The Wren, The Wren
    Ken Follett, The Armor of Light
    Lexi Freiman, The Book of Ayn
    Stephanie Garber, A Curse for True Love
    Roxane Gay, Opinions: A Decade of Arguments, Criticism, and Minding Other People’s Business
    Tess Gerritsen, The Spy Coast
    Gregg Hecimovich, The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of the Bondwoman’s Narrative
    Mick Herron, The Secret Hours
    Homer, tr. Emily Wilson, The Iliad
    Leslie Jones, Leslie F*cking Jones
    Sophie Kinsella, The Burnout
    Amy Kurzweil, Artificial: A Love Story
    Jonathan Lethem, Brooklyn Crime Novel
    Yiyun Li, Wednesday’s Child: Stories
    Bettina L. Love, Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal
    Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson, American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15
    Tiya Miles, Wild Girls: How the Outdoors Shaped the Women Who Challenged a Nation
    Marie NDiaye, tr. Jordan Stump, Vengeance Is Mine
    Margaret Renkl, The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year
    Staci Robinson, Tupac Shakur: The Authorized Biography
    Ali Rosen, Recipe for Second Chances
    Etaf Rum, Evil Eye
    John Scalzi, Starter Villain
    Jada Pinkett Smith, Worthy
    Patrick Stewart, Making It So
    Sly Stone with Ben Greenman, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
    Vauhini Vara, This Is Salvaged: Stories
    Martha Wells, System Collapse
    Henry Winkler, Being Henry: The Fonz…and Beyond
    Adrienne Young, The Unmaking of June Farrow
    Ghassan Zeineddine, Dearborn: Stories


    List of Lists Surveyed:

    Vulture’s 24 Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Fall • TIME’s The 36 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2023 • The New York Times’ 34 Works of Fiction to Read this Fall and 33 Nonfiction Books to Read This Fall • The Washington Post’s 29 Books to Read This Fall • The Los Angeles Times’ 30 Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Fall • People’s List of Must-Read Books for Fall 2023 • Town & Country’s The 60 Must-Read Books of Fall 2023 • Oprah Daily’s The Five Novels You Need to Read This Fall • Amazon Book Review’s Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2023 • Observer’s The Most-Anticipated Must-Read Books of Fall 2023 • Cosmopolitan’s The 8 Books You Need to Read This Fall • The Week’s 6 Books to Get Cozy With This Fall • Goodreads’ Readers’ 55 Most Anticipated Books of Fall • The Boston Globe’s 20 Books We’re Excited to Read This Fall • The Guardian’s What to Read This Autumn: 2023’s Biggest New Books • Country Living’s 28 Best Fall Books to Put at the Top of Your Reading List for 2023 • Bustle’s The 35 Best New Books of Fall 2023 • Good Housekeeping’s 13 Most Anticipated Fall Books of 2023 • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s 40 New Books for Fall Reading • The Toronto Star’s 30 (Plus!) New Reads We Can’t Wait to Cosy Up With This Fall • AARP’s The Big Fall 2023 Book Preview • SheReads’ Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2023 • Library Journal’s Fall Book Preview • Kirkus’ 10 Fiction Must-Reads and 10 Nonfiction Must-Reads and 150 Most Anticipated Books of Fall • The Walrus’ The Best Books of Fall 2023 • Libby Life’s Fall Books Preview 2023 • BookPage’s Most Anticipated Nonfiction and Most Anticipated Fiction and Most Anticipated Mystery and Suspense and Most Anticipated Romance and Most Anticipated Science Fiction and Fantasy • Southern Living’s 20 New Books to Put On Your Fall Reading List • The Seattle Times’ A Dozen Must-Read New Books for Fall 2023 • BookBub’s The 22 Best Books of Fall • The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Top Book Picks for the Season • Bibliolifestyle’s The Fall Reading List 2023 Minimalist Edition • and of course, Lit Hub’s 25 Novels You Need to Read This Fall. (Whew.)

    Emily Temple
    Emily Temple
    Emily Temple is the managing editor at Lit Hub. Her first novel, The Lightness, was published by William Morrow/HarperCollins in June 2020. You can buy it here.

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