Amazon Books Editors have chosen their annual Best Books of the Year, hand selected from amongst the best releases of the last 12 months. Unlike previous installments, this year's list sees two lists to reflect both fiction and non-fiction picks, allowing readers to delve deeper into their recommendations.
The Amazon Editorial team’s best picks of the year span genres including literary fiction, cookery, memoir and crime thriller; featuring beloved authors such as Stephen King and Barbara Kingsolver, irresistible new cookbooks from Nadiya Hussain and Sabrina Ghayour, and unforgettable fiction debuts from Bob Mortimer and Bonnie Garmus. Whether you are drawn to tales of forbidden love or triumph against adversity, or prefer real-life historical narrative or mind-bending insight into psychology, both sides of the list offer something for every kind of reader.
Amazon Books Editors are dedicated to helping customers discover books and authors – whether that be new releases, or books they may not have explored yet – and, in the process, find their next great read. Discover both lists below and take inspiration for your own reading list, or to give to a loved one.
Best Books of the Year: Fiction
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Set in the world of video gaming, this is a thoroughly modern story about Sadie and Sam, who first meet in a hospital gaming room in 1987 and bond over their love of video games. A chance encounter eight years later on a subway platform sets them on an entirely new path of rekindled friendship, creativity, and collaboration alongside Sam’s roommate Marx. Gaming is just what draws these three together, and while the virtual worlds they escape to and create feature heavily in the story, it’s the focus on their real-life relationships and challenges that is the most memorable part of this charming novel.
Lessons in Chemistry
An accomplished debut, one of several on our list. Elizabeth Zott is an ambitious and accomplished scientist and is determined to be just that—and only that. But as we all know, life has a way of upending plans, and that’s exactly what happens to Zott: Cupid’s arrow hits and the next thing you know she’s a mother and a TV cooking star. But as a fearless and strong-willed woman changing the kitchens of 1960’s America, Zott also challenges the status quo and that’s not welcome in some circles…
The Satsuma Complex
Bob Mortimer, beloved comedian and author of one of 2021’s most popular memoirs 'And Away…' is back, this time with his debut novel, The Satsuma Complex. A humorous and entertaining (if somewhat surreal) mystery, featuring hapless Gary Thorn, who becomes embroiled in a murder investigation after drinking with a work acquaintance in the pub. When Gary meets a girl who subsequently disappears, he is left to search for her throughout South London to get the answers – and hopefully the love – he deserves.
Wrong Place Wrong Time
Wrong Place Wrong Time is the gripping story of a mother whose happy, innocent teenage son murders a complete stranger, completely out of character. All seems lost, until she falls asleep and wakes up the day before the murder, and later, wakes again the day before that. Each time, a chance to prevent the murder from happening. How far will she go to save her son?
Tara M. Stringfellow
Three generations of unforgettable Black women dominate the pages of Tara M. Stringfellow’s knockout debut. Memphis is the story of their hopes and dreams, their love affairs, the good men and the bad men in their lives, and how hope, joy, and hurt can be passed from one generation to the next. You will fall in love with these women who gather strength from one another’s care amidst a world of heartbreak, racism, and violence.
We love a police procedural and one of our favourites this year came from Damien Boyd. The latest in his bestselling DI Nick Dixon crime series, Carnival Blues, explodes into action almost immediately, with a killer making a bold public statement at a winter carnival. Soon, it becomes apparent this is not a one-off and Dixon is racing to stop more killings happening in nearby towns. Peppered with the usual humour we see in DI Dixon novels, and with an unpredictable storyline and dramatic conclusion, this is a great read for any crime lover.
Our Missing Hearts
The author of best-selling Little Fires Everywhere has given us a gift with this beautiful novel. A truly believable dystopian setting gives this novel an unsettling edge, as the story features a family that has been separated by a nationalistic movement in a way often seen before in period of political turmoil. Margaret, a young Asian-American mother disappears without a word, and a few years later, her young son bird is pulled into a quest to find her and discover why she left. A thought-provoking story, full of brave characters trying to influence change in a system that is inherently broken.
Barbara Kingsolver has a strong following as the author of Unsheltered, The Poisonwood Bible and Flight Behaviour, but even readers who haven’t discovered her novels before will enjoy this beautifully written book, inspired by David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Effectively reimagined in contemporary life, Demon Copperhead is a harrowing tale of a life lived in poverty, surrounded by the horrors of drug addiction – Demon grows up in the time of the rise of OxyContin, the pill that contributed strongly to America’s opioid crisis, and almost contributes to Demon’s downfall. Political, horrifying, yet also tender at times, the pace of the novel never lets up. If you’ve read David Copperfield, you might anticipate the ending, but in true Kingsolver style, things are never truly predictable.
Douglas Stuart’s absorbing follow-up to the Booker Prize-winning Shuggie Bain. In 1980s Glasgow, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James should be sworn enemies on their poverty-stricken housing estate: but seeking solace away from the hyper-masculine world in which they reside, they find themselves becoming best friends, and soon, falling in love. Mungo’s mother sends him on a fishing trip away from James, and it’s a weekend that changes Mungo’s life forever.
Stephen King is still popular after so many decades for good reason – a legendary storyteller, his novels rarely fail to deliver a thrilling ride, and in this case, it’s a ride into another world through a shed in the yard of Charlie’s neighbour. Charlie warns that the story he’s about to tell is unbelievable, and yet this coming-of-age, good-vs-evil story, is such a perfect blend of fantasy and the simple pleasures of real life (a boy and his dog, going on a quest) that it somehow opens your imagination enough to make it seem more than just a ‘fairy tale’.
Best Books of the Year: Non-Fiction
I'm Glad My Mom Died
Jennette McCurdy has written a heart-breaking memoir, covering her former career as a child actor in hit TV shows such as iCarly and Sam & Cat, and the impact of child stardom and an overbearing mother who would give anything for her daughter to be a star. Her unflinching honesty about the abusive relationship with her mother and her struggles with eating disorders and anxiety will make this a tough read at times. Regardless, it’s an extremely important, open look at how the entertainment industry can fail its child stars and how the fallout from this neglect can ripple throughout their adult lives.
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?
Dr Julie Smith
You may recognise Dr Julie's name from TikTok, where the Clinical Psychologist has become something of a sensation, sharing bite-sized mental health and motivational videos and amassing over 3 million followers. Written in short, to-the-point chapters and stripping away a lot of the jargon found in similar expert guides, Dr Julie's first book is a refreshingly accessible handbook for optimising your mental health and reframing life's challenges that made an impact on several members of our Books team.
Unlawful Killings: Life, Love and Murder
Her Honour Wendy Joseph QC
Unlawful Killings is an intriguing and compelling non-fiction read by debut author, Wendy Joseph QC, that gives insight to the daily workings of a Crown Court. Until March 2022 she was a judge at the Old Bailey, sitting on criminal cases – mainly allegations of homicide. The interesting narrative perspective makes her account stand out: Joseph focuses on showing how our justice system works and demystifying the Crown Court process through sharing anonymised stories based on cases she has presided over. She skilfully provides accessible explanations on the processes and laws that have such a big impact on so many lives, while not losing compassion for the human at the centre of every case who has ended up in such a terrible situation.
Nadiya's Everyday Baking
Nadiya’s Everyday Baking features everything from beautiful celebration bakes to effortless weeknight dinners; easy sweet and savoury tray bakes to quick-fix lunches and snacks. Nadiya has an uncanny ability to write mouth-watering yet simple recipes that everyone will love, meaning this cookbook quickly found itself in our list of go-to cookbooks.
The Escape Artist
Nominated for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2022, The Escape Artist tells the largely unknown but utterly compelling story of the only two Jews to break out of Auschwitz. After his escape, Rudolf Vrba's mission became revealing to the world the truth of the Holocaust, as he had become an eyewitness to the mechanics behind the Auschwitz death factory. That information would form a priceless thirty-two-page report that would reach Roosevelt, Churchill and the pope and eventually save over 200,000 lives.
Jeffrey Boakye has been both a Black student and Black teacher in the British education system, giving him a unique perspective from a lifetime navigating places of learning that are white by default. This is a groundbreaking and eye-opening account of the inequality still embedded in our schools, and should be required reading for all educators in Britain.
If you’re looking for showstopping, full-of-flavour recipes which are still easy to pull together, then Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana Everyday is a good place to start. With both quick-prep and one-pot dishes, from small plates to celebrating the humble vegetable, Ghayour’s recipes can fit into any busy lifestyle and will still be impressive and flavourful.
This is an engrossing exploration into how modern life has consistently demanded more and more of our attention in recent years, meaning it’s so much harder to concentrate and keep focus. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with information, it’s hardly any surprise that our attention spans have slowly degraded. Hari delves into this phenomenon, and suggests how we can address it – with individual changes, of course, but also with significant collective action.
Davina McCall, Dr. Naomi Potter
There have been an increasing number of books published on the subject of menopause in the last few years, but Davina McCall’s Menopausing (written with Dr. Naomi Potter) is remarkable in how approachable and positive it makes a subject that is unbelievably still considered a taboo, despite affecting 51% of the population. This is a mixture of personal stories from Davina McCall and also other women going through ‘the change’ as well as insights into the science, unpicking myths and making sure that women have all the information they need to get the support they deserve during such a huge upheaval in their life.
Whether you’re a fan of award-winning actor Viola Davis or not, it would be impossible not enecccbtkgjhlceennvhukbgrnivnhiktdtcggjjrjtb
to be horrified after reading her frank account of the poverty and abuse she suffered as a child, but also impressed by her determination to become an actor on stage in New York, and later in Hollywood, after discovering acting with her sister. With an Oscar, an Emmy and Tony Award to her name, it’s safe to say she succeeded. Her memoir is one of the most memorable of the year, and will inspire you to find yourself, too.
Learn more about Amazon’s commitment to literature and our 2023 Literary Grant