Riot Headline The Most Read Books on Goodreads This Week

Paperback to the Future: Must-Read Paperbacks to Kick Off 2023

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Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

So many books, so little time…If you’re an avid reader, you probably have a long list of books that you want to read — and you probably wish you had more time to read them. There are so many great books out every week! And time goes by so fast that many of them are released in paperback before you had a chance to get to them in hardcover. If you like to buy print copies of books, paperbacks are great, because you can get more for your money. Who doesn’t want more books??? And you can find a lot of great ones being released soon in this list of must-read paperbacks out in January–March 2023!

These 40 titles contain many award-winners and reader favorites that were released in hardcover and are now coming out in paperback format. There is also a section of paperback original titles that are being released in paperback format right from the start. A lot of publishers do this for many different reasons, like cost, or maybe it’s a genre that sells better in paperback. No matter the reason, get ready to topple your TBR with all these awesome paperback releases. Now if there was only a way to stop time so we could read them all!

Hardcovers Now in Paperback

cover of Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho; painting of two young Asian women done in pink and yellow against a green background

Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho (Penguin Books, January 3)

This connected collection of stories about two young Taiwanese American women spanning two decades was one of TIME’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2022.

cover of The Boy with a Bird in His Chest; wave pattern in shades of blue

The Boy with a Bird in His Chest by Emme Lund (Atria, January 3)

A mother hides her son from the world out of love, afraid that he will be taken away if it’s discovered that he has a bird living in his chest.

Cover of Don't Cry For Me showing an illustration of a Black man looking down a road

Don’t Cry for Me by Daniel Black (Hanover Square Press, January 10)

In this powerful novel, a Black father on his deathbed writes letters to try and make amends with his gay son for the hurt he has caused him.

The Swimmers cover; an overhead photo of people swimming laps in a pool

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka (Anchor, January 24)

A beautiful meditation on routine, family, and memory, in this novel, readers follow Alice, an elderly swimmer from the local community pool who has dementia.

cover of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi; black with words each in a different color font

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (One World, January 31)

This #1 New York Times Best Seller addresses ways to combat racism, by offering new ways of seeing ourselves and each other, and examining the space we occupy in the world.

the cover of Sankofa; a colorful illustration of a Black woman holding a book behind her back

Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo (Catapult, February 7)

A middle-aged woman finally has the chance to discover who her father is after she finds his identity among her mother’s things when she dies. But is she really ready for the truth?

Secret Identity cover; a collage of black and white noir photos and comic panels

Secret Identity by Alex Segura (Flatiron Books, February 7)

A young woman hoping to break into the male-dominated world of comics sees her hopes dashed when her secret comic book collaborator is murdered.

illustrated cover of Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez, featuring a woman made out of collage

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez (Flatiron Books, February 7)

Brooklyn wedding planner Olga and her local politician brother Pedro brace for the upheaval of their lives when they learn their mother will be visiting from Puerto Rico. This was the winner of the Brooklyn Public Library prize.

paperback cover of Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang; mint green with black font and a stethoscope on it

Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang (Random House, February 7)

This concise, smart novel, about a 30-something ICU doctor who discovers she doesn’t have it all together after her father dies, was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie medal.

cover of Booth by Karen Joy Fowler; purple with white font, blue flowers, and pink birds

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, February 7)

This epic, in-depth look at the celebrated and scandalous family of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, was longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize.

the cover of Caste; a black and white overhead photo of a crowd

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House, February 14)

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns discusses the unspoken, unacknowledged caste system in America that fosters division in our lives.

What My Bones Know cover; an illustration of layered bones and flowers

What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma by Stephanie Foo (Ballantine Books, February 21)

Foo’s moving memoir is a look at the trauma and PTSD that has shaped her over the years, and how she seeks the answers and treatments to help reclaim her life.

paperback cover of Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett; blue with cartoon foxes chasing a white dog

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett (Ballantine Books, February 28)

In this delightful, heart-squeezing novel, a young woman returns to her small New Hampshire hometown to help care for her dying father and take some time to figure out what she really wants.

A graphic of the cover of True Biz; a colorful illustration of a hand signing

True Biz by Sara Nović (Random House, February 28)

A fantastic story of disability, injustice, love and loss, this is about two students and the headmistress at the River Valley School for the Deaf, whose lives are both complicated and changed forever by their time there.

cover of The Invisible Kingdom; an illustration of the nervous system against a blue background

The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O’Rourke (Riverhead, February 28)

This one was a finalist for the 2022 National Book Award for nonfiction. It’s a riveting exploration of the rise of chronic illness and autoimmune diseases, as told through the lens of O’Rourke’s own experiences.

the cover of Checkout 19 showing a woman in bed pulling a blanket tightly over her face

Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett (Riverhead, February 28)

This is a dazzling short work about a young girl in London who fills up her notebooks and her life with stories. It was just named one of the five best novels of the year by The New York Times.

paperback cover of The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James; picture of a car sitting with its driver's side door open at night in front of a large house

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James (Berkley, February 28)

A true crime podcaster gets the chance to interview the reclusive suspect in her town’s cold murder case. But will she survive to tell the story?

abstract All My Rage cover showing two overlapping half circles

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill, March 7)

This passionate, brilliant story of love, immigration, and forgiveness by the always-amazing Tahir was the 2022 winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

the cover of Woman of Light, showing an illustration of a person on horseback riding into the sunset

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (One World, March 7)

The debut novel from the award-winning author of the story collection Sabrina & Corina, this follows five generations of the Lopez family.

The Candy House cover, made up of blocks of different colors

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan (Scribner, March 7)

More than a decade after A Visit from the Goon Squad won the Pulitzer Prize, Egan followed it up with this sequel. It was named one of the five best novels of 2022 by the New York Times.

cover of The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa; old-fashioned illustration of a cat walking through a book

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa, Translated by Louise Heal Kawai (HarperVia, March 14)

In this international best seller from Japan, a young man inherits his grandfather’s bookstore, and meets a cat who requests he accompany it on a quest to save books.

cover of To Paradise, showing a painting of a Hawaiian man's face

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Anchor, March 21)

The long-awaited follow-up to Yanagihara’s A Little Life is set in three times periods in an alternative version of the United States.

Disorientation book cover, showing a pink room with clothing and papers falling through the air

Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou (Penguin Books, March 21)

This is a delightful college campus satire about a PhD student who cannot wait to finish her dissertation on an old poet. Then she finds an unusual note in a book that changes everything.

the cover of The Lincoln Highway, showing a black and white photo of a train by a highway

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Penguin Books, March 21)

From the author of A Gentleman in Moscow comes a riveting novel about three wards of the state and an adventure across America in the 1950s.

cover of Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart; photo of bottom half of a young man's face under water

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (‎Grove Press, March 21)

Stuart’s debut novel, Shuggie Bain, won the Booker Prize. This much-lauded follow-up is a queer coming-of-age story set a housing estate in Glasgow.

Crying in H Mart book cover, showing noodles held in chopsticks forming an H

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner (Vintage, March 28)

Zauner, writer and member of the band Japanese Breakfast, looks back on her life with her mother, in which many of their experiences and her memories involve food.

cover of Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel, image of a moon rising over a grassy field

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (Vintage, March 28)

An utterly gorgeous, slim novel about shifting time, a writer, a detective, and more, spanning 500 years from Canada to the moon.

A graphic of the cover of Ten Steps to Nanette, showing a black and white photo of the author

Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation by Hannah Gadsby (Ballantine Books, March 28)

Comedian and writer Gadsby’s first memoir builds on her stories of her life from her award-winning stage show Nanette.

Paperback Originals

cover of Tell Me I'm Worthless by Alison Rumfitt; painting of woman's eyes showing through lace with a dark mansion resting above

Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt (Tor Nightfire, January 17)

This amazing work of trans fiction about houses, hauntings, and horrors is going to be the horror book everyone is discussing next year.

the cover of The Red-Headed Pilgrim showing someone in a bear suit posing

The Red-Headed Pilgrim by Kevin Maloney (Two Dollar Radio, January 24)

A web developer embarks on a journey of enlightenment and indulgence to find out who he really is. A new release from the wonderful indie press Two Dollar Radio.

The Black Guy Dies First cover, showing a Black power fist punching out from a grave

The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar by Robin R. Means Coleman, Mark H. Harris (Gallery / Saga Press, February 7)

From the voices behind the acclaimed documentary Horror Noire comes an examination of Black roles in horror films, and the frequent tropes and stereotypes, as well as a look at modern Black horror cinema.

the cover of Eastbound, showing a black and white photo of train tracks

Eastbound by Maylis De Kerangal, Translated by Jessica Moore (Archipelago, February 7)

Two strangers fleeing their lives become unlikely soulmates, even though they don’t speak the same language.

cover of The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest; Black man and woman standing on a fire escape, each holding one side of a book

The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest (Berkley, February 28)

A shy book lover chats up her handsome neighbor in the hopes of scoring a date to a wedding, unaware he’s the author of her favorite fantasy series.

the cover of Fat Off, Fat On, showing the author sitting in front of a scale, with cupcakes on one side and veggies on the other. She is wearing a crown and holding a cupcake, frowning

Fat Off, Fat On: A Big Bitch Manifesto by Clarkisha Kent (The Feminist Press at CUNY, March 7)

Cultural critic Clarkisha Kent has written a brilliant candid memoir about her life as a fat, Black, queer woman in America, and how she freed herself of societal expectations.

the cover of The Fifth Wound, showing a mythological illustration of a wounded person bleeding

The Fifth Wound by Aurora Mattia ‎(Nightboat Books, March 7)

A speculative trans roman à clef about an interdimensional search for love, agency, and freedom from violence for trans people.

the cover of A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon, showing a woman and man back to back, arms crossed, surrounded by a witchy border of plants, a moon, a snake, and a potion

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley (Berkley, March 7)

Mariel Spark discovers being the most powerful witch in generations come with perks and problems. One problem appears in a form of a handsome demon who wants her soul — who isn’t going to leave until he gets it.

cover of Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto; illustration of an old Asian woman peeking through window blinds

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto (Berkley, March 14)

From the author of bestsellers such as Dial A for Aunties comes the story of an elderly tea shop owner in San Francisco’s Chinatown who finds a body in her shop and decides to solve the case herself.

the cover of Bitter Medicine, showing an Elf man embracing a woman doing magic

Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai (Tachyon Publications, March 14)

A Chinese immortal and a French elf try to make their relationship work in this romantic fantasy debut.

the cover of A Darker Wilderness; showing a black and white photo of a Black woman outdoors with a serious expression outside

A Darker Wilderness: Black Nature Writing From Soil to Stars by Erin Sharkey (Milkweed Editions, February 14)

This is a collection of personal and lyric essays exploring nature and the lives of Black people in the United States over hundreds of years.

the cover of The Book of Eve, showing a yonic pattern of colorful radiating ovals, with a small circle at the top

The Book of Eve by Carmen Boullosa, Translated by Samantha Schnee (Deep Vellum Publishing, March 20)

From the award-winning Mexican author Boullosa comes a novel about an apocryphal manuscript that alleges that the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was wrong.

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