The end of the year is a time to reflect back, and what better thing to reflect on than our reading lives? Almost every major publication puts out their own annual Best Books of the Year list, from The New York Times to Barnes and Noble to NPR and so much more. The latest addition to this list of lists is Esquire’s. They have selected their top 20 books of 2023, including both fiction and nonfiction picks.
Some of the titles will look familiar: Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah has made several best of lists, The Wager by David Grann was one of the titles that made Grann Barnes and Noble’s inaugural Author of the Year, and the Biography of X by Catherine Lacey was also named a favorite by Time, Vulture, and Publisher’s Weekly.
Others are unique (or almost unique) to this list, like Wrong Way by Joanne McNeil, which they describe as a “chilling portrait of economic precarity, and a disturbing reminder of how attempts to optimize life and work leave us all alienated,” and America Fantastica by Tim O’Brien, which Esquire says “peers straight into the dark heart of the American psyche, and it’s unafraid of the comedy and tragedy staring back.”