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The Best Books We Read in 2023

best books 12.1.23
Another year has come and gone—which means it’s time to review the year in books. We asked the team: what were the best books you read in 2023?

Fable editors' top book recommendations for the year

“Tremor” by Teju Cole:
This book took me on a journey across time and space, exploring everything from classical music to Nigerian clubs to art museums. “Bach was not merely arranging notes,” says one character in this novel about one of our greatest composers. “He was conveying a living and intentional search.” Even though I’ve finished the book, that search has continued through playlists, photograph collections, and other essays. – Jason Boog
“The Biography of X” by Catherine Lacey:
This book was a wild ride. A fictional biography of a performance artist being put together by her widow, “Biography of X” is also a mystery, a thriller, and an alternative history, in which the American South has ceded into what’s known as the Southern Territories, a fascist theocracy that split from the rest of the country during WWII with the erection of a Berlin Wall-esque barrier. Given that chaotic premise, the novel’s quietly confident voice, laced with a widow’s authentic grief, is a grounding balm. The final reveal has stuck with me for months (and made me strangely grateful that my husband is not a performance artist). – Alex Posey
“What You Are Looking for is in the Library” by Michiko Aoyama:
This book now brings instant comfort to me whenever I think about it. Following the lives of 5 different people, who all find what they’re looking for at the library (when they weren’t even looking for it), fills me with hope that it’s never too late to keep finding pieces of who you are. – Desiree Worrall-Belanger
“All The Fighting Parts” by Hannah V. Sawyerr:
This book is a mixed media novel in verse that follows a young girl dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault within her church community. As a young Black woman, I found it to be incredibly powerful in the way it deals with the reclaiming of the self and finding a voice when so often, Black women are ignored–especially when it comes to their pain. Sawyerr is also a personal friend of mine and I’m constantly blown away by her talent. – Hayley Dennings
"Doppelganger" by Naomi Klein:
Klein begins her book by analyzing people's tendency to confuse her with another writer named Naomi, using this seemingly simple problem to show how social media, device addiction, and the after-effects of the pandemic have nearly destroyed the foundations of our democracy. Everyone concerned about 2024 should read this book, both to understand how we got here and to start reflecting on solutions to our most difficult problems. I’m trying to hand off this book to everyone I know.
– Jason Boog “Talking at Night” by Claire Daverely:
If you’ve had an irreplaceable hole in your heart after reading Sally Rooney’s books, you know the hunt for a book with a similar vibe has been constant. “Talking at Night” by Claire Daverely is a tender love story layered with adolescent anxiety, mistakes, heartache, and the nail-biting wreck of caring so deeply about another person. It’s a perfect read after your Sally Rooney binge—I have not been the same since reading it. – Cameron Capello
“The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride:
James McBride cemented his place as one of our greatest living writers with “The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store.” The story of a historically Black and Jewish neighborhood in Pennsylvania known as “Chicken Hill” and its inhabitants from the ’20s through the ’70s, it’s at once a social critique, a murder mystery, and a history. It’s also the funniest book I read this year. And if you don’t trust me, just ask LeVar Burton—he selected it for his book club on Fable. – Alex & Jason
“The Seven Year Slip” by Ashley Poston:
Ashley always manages to turn grief and love into the most beautifully breathtaking piece of literature I’ve read. The vibes, the prose, the romance, the small details, the food!! Absolutely stunning. – Desiree Worrall-Belanger
“Roman Stories” by Jhumpa Lahiri:
To know Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories is to love them. Her latest collection is no exception: a series of tales that center around her adopted Italian home, and those who find themselves as some form of foreigner there. The stories are sad and wistful and lighthearted by turns, but always grounded by her graceful and precise language—which is especially impressive, given that she wrote the stories in her adopted language of Italian, only to translate them back into English for this edition. – Alex Posey
“Same Bed Different Dreams” by Ed Park:
A failed novelist becomes a 21st-century detective, exploring a dense manuscript that synthesizes decades of unhappy Korean history. As he goes deeper into this once-lost book, historical facts mingle with science fiction novels, conspiracy theories, movies, video games, and other story worlds (both real and fictional). – Jason Boog
Tremor by Teju Cole digital book - Fable


By Teju Cole

An “extraordinary, ambitious” (The Times UK) novel that masterfully explores what constitutes a meaningful life in a violent world—from the award-winning author of Open City.

Biography of X by Catherine Lacey digital book - Fable

Biography of X

By Catherine Lacey

From one of our fiercest stylists, a roaring epic chronicling the life, times, and secrets of a notorious artist.

What You Are Looking For Is In The Library by Michiko Aoyama digital book - Fable

What You Are Looking For Is In The Library

By Michiko Aoyama

For fans of Before the Coffee Gets Cold, a charming, internationally bestselling Japanese novel about how the perfect book recommendation can change a readers’ life.

All the Fighting Parts by Hannah V. Sawyerr digital book - Fable

All the Fighting Parts

By Hannah V. Sawyerr

In the vein of Grown and The Poet X, a searing and defiant novel in verse about reclaiming agency after a sexual assault within the church community.

Doppelganger by Naomi Klein digital book - Fable


By Naomi Klein

Combining comic memoir with chilling reportage and cobweb-clearing analysis, Klein seeks to smash that mirror and chart a path beyond despair. Doppelganger asks: What do we neglect as we polish and perfect our digital reflections?

Talking at Night by Claire Daverley digital book - Fable

Talking at Night

By Claire Daverley

Talking at Night tells a story of sudden connections, missed opportunities, the many loves we have over a lifetime--and the one that keeps us coming back, again and again, for more.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride digital book - Fable

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

By James McBride

From James McBride, author of the bestselling Oprah’s Book Club pick Deacon King Kong and the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, a novel about small-town secrets and the people who keep them

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston digital book - Fable

The Seven Year Slip

By Ashley Poston

An overworked book publicist with a perfectly planned future hits a snag when she falls in love with her temporary roommate… only to discover he lives seven years in the past, in this witty and wise new novel from the author of he Dead Romantics.

Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri digital book - Fable

Roman Stories

By Jhumpa Lahiri

The first short story collection by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author and master of the form since her number one New York Times best seller Unaccustomed Earth

Same Bed Different Dreams by Ed Park digital book - Fable

Same Bed Different Dreams

By Ed Park

A wild, sweeping novel that imagines an alternate secret history of Korea and the traces it leaves on the present—loaded with assassins and mad poets, RPGs and slasher films, pop bands and the perils of social media.

Keep reading on Fable

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