Reading is one of our favourite pastimes and something we intend to indulge more in during 2023. It’s a great way to unwind at the end of the day and has proven benefits for your personal development and mental health.
Your New Year’s resolution may be to read more in 2023, so we thought we’d make some book recommendations for every month. We’ve included a good mix of books, which we think will add value to your life. That includes everything from mental health guides to whimsical fiction that will suck you into a fantastical world, away from the grind of everyday life. So take a look at our top books to read in 2023 below and give them a go.
As the New Year chimes in, many of us will be making New Year’s Resolutions and setting goals that we want to achieve in 2023. But perhaps we should be focusing on how to prepare ourselves for the trials and tribulations that 2023 will undoubtedly hold. The periods of stress, self-doubt and anxiety that are all part of being human.
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by clinical psychologist Dr Julie Smith is a mental health toolbox to help you through challenging periods of life. Smith, best known for her videos on TikTok, breaks the book down into sections on various emotions. That includes motivation, fear and grief. Each section is then broken down into chapters explaining where this emotion comes from and how to manage it.
The tips are tried and tested in Smith’s therapy sessions with her patients. They are practical, easy to understand and easy to apply to daily life. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to take better care of their mental health in 2023.
Our book recommendation for February has to be a romance novel, of course. Normal People by Sally Rooney is a best seller in its own right, made even more popular by the BBC TV series in 2020.
It follows Connell and Marianne from secondary school through university and into their early twenties. They have an on-and-off romance throughout their formative years, which frustratingly never quite turns in to a proper relationship. There are the added complications of class, religion, friendship and other romantic relationships. This will-they-won’t-they will make you smile, cry and want to pull your hair out. Follow it up with the BBC series, which is one of the best book-to-screen adaptations we’ve seen in years.
International Women’s Day falls in March, so we thought Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng would be the perfect read. This book covers complicated women’s issues, as well as family dynamics, race and class. It is a thought-provoking and enthralling read, which will leave you unsure of which side you stand on.
The story primarily follows two women, Elena and Mia, who take very different approaches to motherhood and life. Their quiet town soon becomes divided when Elena’s friends try to adopt a Chinese baby left on their doorstep, only for her biological mother to return and try to regain custody. Elena and Mia find themselves on opposite sides of the debate, with dark secrets about Mia’s past revealed. This book raises the question, what makes someone a mother? Something we never really find out the answer to.
April is our first real taste of Spring. After months of heavy winter meals, we could all do with taking a look at our diet. Gut health has been the buzzword of 2022; just try and log on to TikTok without seeing a video about it. And that’s because it has been so long overlooked by Western medicine. How Not To Die by Michael Greger MD is a real eye-opener, which will change your approach to food.
Dr Greger looks at the top 15 leading causes of death in the US and how diet can be used to prevent and even reverse them. He presents scientific evidence to back his claims and provides us with a list of the ‘Daily Dozen’ foods we should try to eat every day. This is one of those rare books with the power to really change our lives. Just don’t be surprised if you end up going down a gut health rabbit hole.
You must have seen It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover on social media at some point over the last year. Whether you spotted someone reading it on their story or a viral BookTok review; it’s been everywhere. And there’s a reason for that: it’s brilliant.
This isn’t your typical romance novel; serious themes of abuse are explored. It helps us understand that age old, oversimplified question: why don't they just leave? Hoover explores the nuances of relationships beautifully, with wonderfully flawed characters that you often can't help but love. It is an impactful read which will leave its mark on you.
June is one of our favourite months. The blue skies and buzzing bees; it’s hard not to be hopeful. And as the weather picks up, we’re all starting to enjoy more time outdoors. Wild Swim by Kate Rew is like your very own adventure guide.
As the title suggests, Wild Swim picks out the very best wild swimming spots across Britain, with beautiful accompanying photography by Dominick Tyler. There are over 300 swimming spots, from sea and rivers to lakes and lidos. Rew intertwines personal stories throughout the book, recalling the people she’s met along her wild swimming journey.
This book will have you itching to get outside and dive headfirst into the nearest pool of water you can find. Wild swimming is having a moment, as people praise it for not only its physical but mental benefits. So get your swimming gear on and reconnect with the natural world around you.
We’re halfway through the year and have reached the start of summer; a time of sunshine and adventures. It’s only fitting that our book recommendation for July is an uplifting read about a couple who up and move to a Spanish farm, entirely unqualified for the job.
Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucía by Chris Stewart is a brilliant summer read that inspires the wanderlust in all of us. Stewart’s story starts when he buys a Spanish sheep farm, a complete surprise to his pregnant wife Ana. They pack up and move to the farm, which has no road, electricity or water. He tells the story of how they rebuild the farm, with laugh out loud tales of runaway sheep along the way.
This lighthearted, easy read is sure to leave you yearning to travel this summer. It might even inspire you to pack your bags and move for good.
Looking for a book you can read lounging by the pool? Our August book recommendation is perfect! Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is full of humour and wit, as well as making important comments about gender politics.
Lessons in Chemistry follows Elizabeth Zott, a female chemist leading an all-male team at a university. It charts her journey through love, motherhood and career progression. When she’s forced to switch careers, she ends up as a TV cooking show host, of all things. She teaches women that their daily cooking is really an act of chemical science, introducing them to the world of science and exposing them to their own potential.
This is the perfect book for August! Throw it in your hand luggage and enjoy it as you sip a margarita. If you’re looking for other summer books to read by the pool, you can check out more recommendations on our blog.
January isn’t the only time of year for making resolutions. The start of the academic years marks another opportunity to pledge ourselves to self-improvement. Whether you’re a student or not, that September mindset tends to hang around. Reading Atomic Habits by James Clear is the first step to making lasting change in your life.
Atomic Habits reminds us that real change is affected not through big actions, but through repeated smaller ones. Clear walks us through the steps to change our behaviour, from environmental cues to satisfying rewards. This book will provide the motivation you need to get started.
Halloween’s coming, Halloween’s coming! It had to be a horror for October. The Exorcist is one of the scariest horror films of all time, but did you know it was originally a book by William Peter Blatty? And the book is just as terrifying.
11 year old Regan’s mother has taken her daughter to numerous doctors and psychologists until finally turning to the church. Father Kerrin and Father Karras perform the exorcism, learning as much about themselves as the demon as they go. And Batty’s atmospheric writing truly makes you feel like you’re in the room with them. It’ll raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
You can see some more horror book recommendations on our blog, just don’t blame us if you have nightmares.
As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, November is the perfect time of year to settle down with a good book. That’s why we’ve saved one of our longest reads for November, which is particularly poignant around Remembrance Day. We, The Drowned by Carsten Jensen is a Danish masterpiece, revolving around tales of the sea, manhood and war.
The book is episodic and follows four main characters whose lives are shaped by the sea, three seafarers and the widow of a seafarer. It spans nearly a century, opening with gorily descriptive scenes of the German-Danish war in 1848. The First World War is also covered from afar as the town profits from booming exports thanks to Danish neutrality. It doesn’t matter how many sailors die on these journeys; the rich just avoid the grieving. Then we’re right in the throes of the Second World War. It’s not all war though, boyhood, marriage and money are all explored as well.
We, The Drowned is too long and too beautiful to sum up in a few paragraphs. If you have the time to dedicate to an almost 600 page long novel, read it. The characters touch near every human emotion, as you share moments of triumph and utter heartbreak.
Christmas is truly the most magical time of year. Escape into childhood whimsy by reading (or rereading) Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. This beloved children’s book is a great read for both young and old.
The book follows Lyra Belacqua, a parentless girl who has grown up in Oxford College. It is a tale of magic and adventure, as Lyra sets off to the North to rescue her best friend, Roger, who has been kidnapped. She is accompanied by her Daemon, Pan, a reflection of her soul who constantly changes form. She encounters cruel adults, Gyptians and even an ice bear on her adventure.
The Golden Compass is a lovely read over Christmas and you can check out our top 10 Christmas books of all time on our blog.
So there you have it! 12 months of book recommendations - and we’re sure there will be lots of new releases to add to our reading list as we go. We hope this has given you some ideas for books to read in 2023 and that you enjoy them as much as we did!