Once again, we asked the library staff to share their favourite books of 2023 and compiled them for you in a list! It is as usual an eclectic record of people’s different tastes and interests, and you can check them yourselves by borrowing them from Richmond Libraries. Let us know in the comments what are your favourite reads of 2023.

The cover of The creative act by Rick Rubin


The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin – Whatever the creative direction you are embarking on, this book is affirmation for that journey. With Rick Rubin’s Zen like being and ethos of living, you accompany with him through his own experiences and individuality, of understanding the process to ultimately become your own master of creativity.

A cover of The Housekeepers by Alex HayCover of My Lady Parts by Doon MackichanThe cover of The Little Liar by Mitch Albom


The Housekeepers by Alex Hay – Great page-turner, like a 19th century Oceans 11.

My Lady Parts: A Life Fighting Stereotypes by Doon Mackichan – I actually read this for the laughs, of which there turned out to be few.  But it does provide a very interesting insight into the world of female comedians, (i.e. ‘We don’t need any more of you, we’ve got that covered’ – pointing to a picture of French and Saunders). And a fab’ expose on the ego of Ricky Gervais…

The Little Liar by Mitch Albom – It’s not often that an author finds a different take on the evils of the holocaust.  This novel, based largely in Salonika, Greece, manages to do just that.

The over of The Overstory by Richard PowersThe cover of Mindwalker by Kate DylanThe cover of When shadows fall by Sita BrahmachariThe cover of Forget Me Not by Julie Soto


I read some brilliant books last year but the one that sticks out the most is The Overstory by Richard Powers. I’d been meaning to read this for years and I’m so glad I finally did. It’s a moving (I cried a lot) novel that follows a wide variety of characters who are all connected to one another through their love of nature. At times it’s heartbreaking, others, uplifting and overall just a beautiful book that made me want to move to a cabin in the woods!

I can’t be a Children’s Librarian without mentioning some brilliant Teen fiction, and it’s so hard to choose between Mindwalker by Kate Dylan, a sci-fi thriller reminiscent of Black Widow from Marvel mixed with the dystopian world of The Hunger Games, and When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari that features a young boy struggling to cope after the death of his little sister. Very different books but both excellent.

Lastly, romance! It’s so hard to pick but I think Forget Me Not by Julie Soto wins. Published in 2023, it’s a second chance romance featuring a florist as the male love interest. Ama is a wedding planner forced to work with her ex who has she hasn’t spoken to in two years and Elliot Bloom is a grumpy but loveable character who is clearly not over Ama. Highly recommend!

A cover of Killers of the Flower Moon by David GrannA cover of Children of time by Adrian Tchaikovsky A cover of Windowpane by Joe Kessler


Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann – Utterly fantastic book. The prose grips you right through, but it doesn’t cheapen the horror of what the Osage nation went through, especially Mollie. Strongly advise reading this before watching the film, as the film takes a different (but for the better) approach than the book.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Had I known properly the premise of this book before I started it, I wouldn’t have touched it. BIG MISTAKE! This book is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. For that reason, I recommend you go in blind.

Windowpane by Joe Kessler  – You don’t really read something like Windowpane for the writing – it’s all in the visuals and Joe Kessler is endlessly creative with them. An uncanny and beautiful graphic novel.

The cover of Gwen & Art are not in love by Lex Croucher The cover of Nimona by N. D. Stevenson The cover of To all the boys I've loved before by Jenny Han


Gwen and Art Are Not In Love by Lex Croucher – A fun spin on classic rom-com tropes in a medieval setting, aimed at Young Adults. The characters are well-written, and the dialogue is witty. The book maintains a light-hearted tone whilst dealing with topics such as internalised homophobia, the pressures of society and family troubles. (I also got the author to sign my book at comic con, and they were very nice!)

Nimona by N.D. Stevenson – Both funny and moving, Nimona is an exciting adventure story about friendship and acceptance. A shapeshifter and a ‘villain’ team up to take down the corrupt government of their kingdom. With an intriguing art style and vivid colouring, this graphic novel is captivating and unique.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – A modern teen classic, and an entertaining read. While it is a romantic love story, there is also focus on the family relationships between the main character and her two sisters, which feels heartfelt and genuine. The pacing and writing style make the novel engaging, and the main couple are very sweet together.

The cover of Babel by R.F. Kuang The cover of Kala by Colin WalshThe cover of The Good Liars by Anita Frank


Babel, or, The necessity of violence: an arcane history of the Oxford translators’ revolution by R.F. Kuang – An impressive and complex book which deals with difficulties of a true translation, struggles against colonialism and exploitation of native resources. Highly engrossing, moving and shocking novel about a nature of friendship, connections and belonging.

Kala by Colin Walsh – A tense, beautifully written novel, part thriller, part coming of age story about small town communities, connections between people, secrets lurking in the background and forgiveness. A striking, unforgiveable debut.

The Good Liars by Anita Frank –  A historical fiction set in a remote house full of unlikeable characters, mysteries and grief. I particularly loved the atmosphere of the book – an intense, suffocating in places feeling that something is going to happen, a tension growing as the book progressed.

The cover of What My Bones Know by Stephanie Foo The cover of Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan The cover of The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson


What my bones know by Stephanie Foo – This was an extremely interesting book on the lesser -known subject of Complex PTSD.  I found it helpful and enlightening. Beautifully written, I will definitely read it again.

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan  – Great story, kept me guessing right up until the end, I was not expecting that! Very well written and tactfully done.

The girl on the 88 bus by Freya Sampson  – A lovely uplifting story. I could not put this book down until I finished it.

The cover of Peace Talks by Tim Finch The cover of Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe The cover of My fourth time, We Drowned by Sally Hayden


Peace talks by Tim Finch – liked this book because it is original, understated, nuanced and well written, and has stayed with me for a long time.

Empire of pain: the secret history of the Sackler dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe – I loved this book because the story of the background to the opiate crisis in the USA is so fascinating and because the author writes in a very engaging way, making weighty topics read like a thriller. It was interesting to learn about the development of antidepressants and pain medication, and the many strategies which were employed to ensure that sales were huge and profits astronomical. Meanwhile, the Sackler name started to appear on many cultural and educational institutions in both the US and the UK. The scope of the book is huge; it covers several generations of the Sackler family.

My fourth time, we drowned: seeking refuge on the world’s deadliest migration route by Sally Hayden – This is definitely among my top three books read last year. Sally Hayden presents a devastating account of how people seeking asylum and a better life in Europe are failed, above all by political leaders of destination countries and by the very organisation whose remit is to protect refugees, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). A very effective combination of personal stories of individual asylum seekers, and migrants, many of whom had been in direct contact with the author, and factual, well-referenced data, this book, while not a comfortable read, taught me a lot.

The cover of Beyond Clouds vol 1 by Nicke The cover of Starter Villain by John Scalzi The cover of The Martian by Andy Weir


Beyond the Clouds vol. 1 by Nicke – A very sweet story, filled with found family and adventure – it feels like a warm hug in book form!

Starter Villain by John ScalziCharlie is thrown into a world of super villains and sentient cats when he inherits his uncle’s business… which coincidentally is the business of villainy. It’s completely ridiculous, but so fun!

The Martian by Andy WeirArguably the best book of all time! Mark Watney is the most hilarious and resilient protagonist. I laughed, I cried, and I couldn’t put it down. The film adaptation is also wonderful.