Great reads in 2023: Rushdie, Russo, Whitehead and more

The Jan. 6 report, new books from Margaret Atwood and James Lee Burke, plus a bunch of titles from Florida authors are on the way.
Salman Rushdie's new novel "Victory City" will be published in February. He is still recovering from a stabbing attack in August.
Salman Rushdie's new novel "Victory City" will be published in February. He is still recovering from a stabbing attack in August. [ Rachel Eliza Griffiths ]
Published Jan. 1

Based on the numbers from recent publishing years, we can expect a million, or maybe 2 million, new books to be published in 2023.

Nobody can keep up with all of them, not even your hard-working book editor. But here are some of the standout titles I’m looking forward to this year. (Publication dates are subject to change.)


The first batch of bestsellers of 2023 will be several books that offer readers the report of the United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. The committee released its report on Dec. 22, and it’s available online.

But six commercial publishers have raced to print the report in book form, most with introductions and/or commentary, and several of those books are already bestsellers based on preorders. (Publishers know there’s precedent — several book versions of the Mueller report became bestsellers in 2019.)

Three publishers released e-book editions within days of the report’s release, with print books following days later. Harper’s book, with an introduction by MSNBC anchor Ari Melber, came out on Dec. 24, as did publisher Twelve’s edition with analysis and reporting by New York Times writers. Celadon/Macmillan’s version, which was published Dec. 27, includes a preface by New Yorker editor David Remnick and an epilogue by committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin.

Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff wrote the foreword for Random House’s edition, due Jan. 6. Skyhorse will have two editions of the report, each with a foreword from a very different political perspective: one by Darren Beattie, an ex-speechwriter for former President Donald Trump, and the other by Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Democratic representative who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon. And if you just want the primary document, Melville House will publish the report without commentary. All three of those books publish Jan. 10.

Two nonfiction books coming in January address political and social problems. Paul Auster’s “Bloodbath Nation,” a powerful examination of American gun violence, is due Jan. 10. Tracy Kidder’s “Rough Sleepers,” a compelling look at efforts to solve the crisis of homelessness, comes out Jan. 17.

Also out on Jan. 17 is Irish novelist and critic Colm Toibin’s essay collection ”A Guest at the Feast,” which covers cancer, religion, homosexuality, literature and more.

Local writer Peter Kageyama’s first novel, “Hunters Point,” will be out Jan. 17. On Jan. 21, Florida writer Patricia Engel will publish her latest story collection, “The Faraway World.”

And if you’re on the gigantic Colleen Hoover bandwagon — she sold 12.5 million books in 2022 — the fiction phenom born of TikTok has a new romance, “Heart Bones,” on Jan. 31, plus another, “Never Never,” co-written with Tarryn Fisher, due Feb. 28. And, no doubt, another every month of the year.

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One of the biggest literary events of 2023 will be the publication on Feb. 7 of “Victory City,” the latest novel by Salman Rushdie. The novel, written before Rushdie was the victim of a life-threatening knife attack on stage in August, is a return to his earlier magic realist style, spinning the wondrous tale of a young Indian girl and the city she loves and lives in for more than 200 years.

Related: Read a review of Salman Rushdie's "Quichotte."

National Book Award finalist Rebecca Makkai’s literary thriller “I Have Some Questions for You” will be out on Feb. 21. And beloved Florida author Tim Dorsey brings us the latest adventures of Serge Storms in “The Maltese Iguana” on Feb. 28.


Margaret Atwood delivers “Old Babes in the Wood,” a new collection of short stories full of her usual wit and insight, on March 7.

Margaret Atwood's new book is the story collection "Old Babes in the Wood."
Margaret Atwood's new book is the story collection "Old Babes in the Wood." [ EVAN AGOSTINI | Evan Agostini/Invision/AP ]

Two local authors have books coming out this month: Tara Lush’s third cozy in her Coffee Lovers series, “Live and Let Grind,” on March 8, and Sarah Penner’s second historical novel, “The London Seance Society,” on March 21.


Bestselling historical novelist Charles Frazier (”Cold Mountain”) returns on April 11 with “The Trackers.” Frequent Tampa Bay Times contributor Roy Peter Clark’s newest guide for writers, “Tell It Like It Is: A Guide to Clear and Honest Writing,” will also be out April 11.

On April 18, nonfiction ace David Grann (”Killers of the Flower Moon”) publishes another amazing story, “The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder.” And April 25 will bring us “Small Mercies,” the riveting new novel by crime fiction master (and former St. Pete resident) Dennis Lehane.

Related: Read a review of Dennis Lehane's "Small Mercies."


A couple of bestselling Florida writers kick off this month. Dave Barry’s zany novel “Swamp Story” emerges May 2, and “Megalops,” the latest in Randy Wayne White’s Sharks Incorporated series for kids, will make a splash on May 9.

Dave Barry's new novel is "Swamp Story."
Dave Barry's new novel is "Swamp Story." [ Michelle Kaufman ]

Look for actor-turned-novelist Tom Hanks’ “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece” on May 9. The latest from novelist Luis Alberto Urrea, “Good Night, Irene,” comes out May 30. (He’ll probably talk about it when he gives a keynote speech at Writers in Paradise at Eckerd College on Jan. 21.)


Southern noir phenomenon S.A. Cosby publishes “All the Sinners Bleed” on June 6. Two novelists will have books looking at the experiences of immigrants, Cristina Garcia’s “Vanishing Maps” on June 6 and “The Apartment” by Ana Menendez on June 27.

Related: Read a review of S.A. Cosby's "Razorblade Tears."

On June 20, look for award-winning writer Lorrie Moore’s first novel in 14 years, “I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home.”

Colson Whitehead's upcoming novel "Crook Manifesto" is a sequel to "Harlem Shuffle."
Colson Whitehead's upcoming novel "Crook Manifesto" is a sequel to "Harlem Shuffle." [ Chris Close ]


This month is a fireworks display of books by talented writers, kicked off on July 11 by the mighty James Lee Burke’s Civil War novel, “Flags on the Bayou.” Next up, on July 18, is double Pulitzer winner Colson Whitehead with “Crook Manifesto,” the sequel to “Harlem Shuffle.”

Two books by thriller masters hit shelves on July 25: “Prom Mom” by Laura Lippman and “The Honest Man” by Michael Koryta. (You can catch both of them at the Writers in Paradise readings,

And the brilliant Richard Russo follows up two of my favorite novels, “Nobody’s Fool” and “Everybody’s Fool,” with “Somebody’s Fool” on July 28.

Related: Read a review of Richard Russo's "Everybody's Fool."

Beyond July, publication dates get a little soft. But there are more promising books to look forward to, like Lauren Groff’s American frontier novel “The Vaster Wild” and Zadie Smith’s “The Fraud,” based on a Victorian trial, in September. Also in September, Florida favorite Carl Hiaasen has a new book for kids, “Wrecker.”

In November, look for a couple of as-yet untitled novels from a couple of masters: a Mickey Haller book featuring Harry Bosch from Michael Connelly and another novel about Holly Gibney from Stephen King.