Top 10 Holiday Reads for 2023
As we approach the holiday season of 2023, it’s time to start thinking about what books to pack for your vacation.
Whether you’re planning a beach getaway or a mountain retreat, there are plenty of great books to choose from.
Everyone loves a good book, especially when they’re on holiday. Reading is a great way to relax, unwind, and escape from the stresses of everyday life. But with so many books to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top 10 holiday reads for 2023.
1. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a captivating novel that follows the life of Evelyn Hugo, a fictional Hollywood icon. The story is told from the perspective of Monique Grant, a journalist who is chosen by Evelyn to write her memoir.
As Monique interviews Evelyn, she learns about her rise to fame, her seven marriages to some of Hollywood’s most famous men, and the secrets and scandals that she kept hidden from the public eye. The story is full of twists and turns as Monique and the reader uncover the truth about Evelyn’s past.
What makes this book so compelling is not just the plot, but also the depth of the characters. Both Evelyn and Monique are complex and well-developed, with their own flaws and struggles. The book explores themes of love, loss, ambition, and identity, and does so in a way that is both thought-provoking and emotional.
Overall, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is a must-read for fans of historical fiction, romance, and Hollywood glamour. It’s a book that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
2. “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides
“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides is a gripping psychological thriller that tells the story of Alicia Berenson, a famous artist who has been convicted of murdering her husband. Alicia hasn’t spoken a word since the murder, and her motive for the crime is a mystery.
The story is told from the perspective of Theo Faber, a forensic psychotherapist who becomes obsessed with understanding Alicia’s psyche and finding out the truth behind the murder. As he delves deeper into Alicia’s past and her relationship with her husband, he begins to uncover shocking secrets and discovers that nothing is as it seems.
The novel is full of suspense and twists, with a shocking ending that will leave readers stunned. Michaelides’ writing is masterful, creating a haunting atmosphere that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
What sets “The Silent Patient” apart is its exploration of the human psyche and the nature of trauma. The characters are complex and flawed, with their own demons to face. The book raises questions about the reliability of memory, the consequences of trauma, and the power of the mind to heal or destroy.
Overall, “The Silent Patient” is a thrilling and thought-provoking read that will leave a lasting impression on its readers.
3. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is a beautiful and haunting novel that tells the story of Kya Clark, a young girl who grows up in the marshes of North Carolina. Abandoned by her family and left to fend for herself, Kya must learn to survive in the harsh wilderness, relying on her wits and the natural world around her.
As Kya grows older, she becomes isolated from the rest of society, earning her the nickname “Marsh Girl.” However, when a young man is found dead in the marsh, Kya becomes the prime suspect. The novel follows Kya’s journey as she navigates the complexities of love, loss, and betrayal, while also defending herself against accusations of murder.
What makes “Where the Crawdads Sing” so special is the way Owens weaves together the natural world with the human experience. The marsh becomes a character in itself, with Owens’ vivid descriptions bringing it to life. The novel also explores themes of identity, prejudice, and the power of education.
The book has received critical acclaim for its stunning prose and captivating storyline. It spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into over 40 languages.
Overall, “Where the Crawdads Sing” is a poignant and unforgettable novel that will leave readers reflecting on the power of the human spirit and the beauty of the natural world.
4. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah
“The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah is a sweeping and emotional novel set during the Great Depression in America. The story follows the life of Elsa Martinelli, a young woman living in Texas during the Dust Bowl era.
Elsa is trapped in a loveless marriage and struggling to provide for her family, but she refuses to give up. When the drought worsens and her land is destroyed, Elsa makes the difficult decision to leave everything behind and journey to California in search of a better life.
The novel portrays the struggles and hardships faced by migrant workers during this period, as they faced discrimination and exploitation while working long hours for low wages. Elsa and her family must learn to navigate a new way of life, while also facing personal tragedies and heartbreak.
What sets “The Four Winds” apart is Hannah’s beautiful and evocative writing, which brings the characters and setting to life. The novel is both heart-wrenching and uplifting, with a powerful message about the strength of the human spirit and the importance of family and community.
The book has been well-received by readers and critics alike, with praise for its historical accuracy, strong characters, and moving storyline. It was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into multiple languages.
Overall, “The Four Winds” is a poignant and inspiring novel that captures the struggles and triumphs of a generation during one of America’s most difficult periods in history.
5. “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman
“Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman is a heart-warming and thought-provoking novel that explores themes of grief, love, and mental health. The story follows a group of people who become hostages in a failed bank robbery, and the unexpected ways in which their lives intersect.
The novel is narrated by an unknown individual who observes the events of the hostage situation and provides insight into the thoughts and feelings of the characters involved. Through the use of humour and wit, Backman addresses serious topics such as suicide, addiction, and anxiety in a sensitive and empathetic way.
One of the strengths of “Anxious People” is its well-developed characters, each with their own unique struggles and backstories. The novel explores the impact of past traumas on the present, and how even the most unlikely people can provide support and understanding to one another.
The book has received critical acclaim for its humorous and touching portrayal of mental health issues. It has been praised for its relatable characters and poignant messages, and has been translated into multiple languages.
Overall, “Anxious People” is a captivating and heartfelt novel that will make readers laugh, cry, and reflect on the human condition. It is a testament to the power of empathy and connection, and reminds us that even in the most difficult of situations, there is always hope for redemption and healing.
6. “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig
“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig is a poignant and uplifting novel that explores the power of choice and the importance of living in the present. The story follows Nora Seed, a young woman who is struggling with depression and the feeling that her life has been a series of missed opportunities.
After attempting suicide, Nora finds herself in the Midnight Library, a place between life and death where she is given the opportunity to explore different versions of her life if she had made different choices. Through this journey, Nora discovers the true meaning of happiness and the importance of living without regrets.
The novel is beautifully written, with a mix of humour and heart-wrenching moments that will leave readers deeply moved. Haig’s writing is sensitive and empathetic, and he explores themes of mental health, self-discovery, and the human condition with skill and insight.
“The Midnight Library” has been widely acclaimed by readers and critics alike, with praise for its unique concept, relatable characters, and powerful message. It has been a bestseller in multiple countries and has been translated into over 30 languages.
Overall, “The Midnight Library” is a touching and inspiring novel that reminds us of the infinite possibilities that exist in life, and the importance of making the most of every moment. It is a book that will stay with readers long after they have finished it, and is a testament to the power of hope and resilience in the face of adversity.
7. “The Push” by Ashley Audrain
“The Push” by Ashley Audrain is a haunting and unsettling novel that explores the complexity of motherhood and the impact of family trauma across generations. The story follows Blythe Connor, a young mother who is struggling to bond with her daughter, Violet.
As the novel progresses, Blythe’s mental state deteriorates and she becomes convinced that there is something deeply wrong with her daughter. She begins to question whether Violet is simply difficult or if there is something more sinister at play.
Through a series of flashbacks and present-day events, the novel delves into the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, and the long-lasting effects of family secrets and abuse. Audrain’s writing is sharp and visceral, with a powerful sense of tension and unease that builds throughout the book.
“The Push” has received critical acclaim for its raw and unflinching portrayal of motherhood, and has been praised for its ability to delve into the darker aspects of human nature with sensitivity and nuance. It has been a bestseller in multiple countries and has been translated into numerous languages.
Overall, “The Push” is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that will leave readers questioning their own perceptions of motherhood and the legacy of family trauma. It is a testament to the power of storytelling and the importance of confronting difficult truths, even when they are uncomfortable.
8. “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro
“Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro is a beautifully written and thought-provoking novel that explores the nature of artificial intelligence and its relationship with humanity. The story is told through the perspective of Klara, an Artificial Friend designed to keep children company and help them learn.
As Klara observes the world around her, she begins to develop a unique perspective on human emotions and relationships. She becomes especially attached to a young girl named Josie, who is struggling with a serious illness. Through her interactions with Josie and her family, Klara begins to question the meaning of love, sacrifice, and what it means to be truly alive.
Ishiguro’s writing is masterful, with a keen eye for detail and a powerful sense of empathy that brings the characters to life. The novel is both haunting and uplifting, with a deep sense of melancholy that is balanced by moments of hope and wonder.
“Klara and the Sun” has been widely praised by readers and critics alike, with particular praise for its exploration of the boundaries between human and machine, and its ability to convey complex emotions through the eyes of an artificial being. It has been a bestseller in multiple countries and has been nominated for several prestigious literary awards.
Overall, “Klara and the Sun” is a beautiful and thought-provoking novel that challenges readers to question their own understanding of humanity, technology, and the nature of consciousness. It is a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring appeal of the human experience.
9. “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir
“Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir is a thrilling and thought-provoking science fiction novel that explores the possibilities of space exploration and the search for extra-terrestrial life. The story follows Ryland Grace, a scientist who wakes up on a spaceship with no memory of how he got there or why he’s been sent on a mission to save Earth.
As Ryland explores his surroundings and begins to piece together his memories, he discovers that he is the last hope for humanity. With the help of a small team of astronauts and a mysterious alien lifeform, he sets out on a perilous journey to a distant star system in search of a solution to the catastrophic events threatening Earth.
Weir’s writing is fast-paced and engaging, with a focus on scientific accuracy and attention to detail. The novel is filled with fascinating concepts and ideas, from the intricacies of space travel to the complexities of the human mind.
“Project Hail Mary” has been praised by both readers and critics for its compelling storyline, well-developed characters, and imaginative world-building. It has been compared to Weir’s previous work “The Martian” for its emphasis on scientific accuracy and survival in extreme environments.
Overall, “Project Hail Mary” is an exciting and thought-provoking novel that is sure to delight fans of science fiction and space exploration. It is a testament to the power of imagination and the enduring appeal of human curiosity and exploration.
10. “The Rose Code” by Kate Quinn
“The Rose Code” by Kate Quinn is a historical fiction novel set in England during World War II. The story follows three women who work at Bletchley Park, a top-secret government facility tasked with breaking German codes and intercepting their communications.
The main characters are Osla, a wealthy debutante with a talent for code-breaking, Mab, a timid girl from the East End of London with a photographic memory, and Beth, a brilliant but troubled young woman who harbours a dark secret. Together, they form an unlikely friendship and work tirelessly to break the Nazi’s most complex codes.
The novel is meticulously researched and vividly portrays the intense pressure and dangerous work of code-breaking during the war. It also delves into the complex social issues of the time, including class differences, gender roles, and the impact of war on everyday life.
“The Rose Code” has been praised for its well-drawn characters, intricate plot, and immersive historical detail. It is a compelling and emotional story of friendship, love, and sacrifice in the midst of war.
Overall, “The Rose Code” is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and anyone interested in the stories of the remarkable women who helped win the war. Kate Quinn’s skilful writing and attention to detail make for a gripping and unforgettable read.
These are just a few of the top holiday reads for 2023. Whether you’re looking for a thriller, a romance, or a thought-provoking read, there’s something on this list for everyone.
So, pack your bags, grab your favourite book, and get ready for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday.