Texas Living

5 of the Best Books of 2023 for Holiday Gifting

By Katie Stroh 12.1.23

Books are a universal holiday gift. There’s a book out there for every reader — including titles exciting enough to turn any nonreader into a bookworm. However, matching the right book to each person on your gift list can be difficult. Turn what might be a filler gift into a thoughtful surprise with just a little research.

Here’s a sampling of the best books of 2023 for every kind of reader on your list.


“Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver
This winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in fiction should be at the top of your list for lovers of literary fiction. Kingsolver sets her Dickensian coming-of-age epic in the hollers of Appalachia, following Damon Fields, aka Demon Copperhead, as he grows up in foster care and faces endless trials and tribulations with a survivor’s spirit. Demon’s resiliency, wisdom, and wit are sure to inspire everyone who reads his story.

“All the Sinners Bleed: A Novel” by S.A. Cosby
Even the most reluctant reader won’t be able to resist this tightly plotted thriller set in rural southeast Virginia. Titus Crown, former FBI agent turned sheriff of his hometown, races to discover the identity of a serial killer targeting local children while grappling with his own troubled past and the racial and social dynamics of his small Southern town.

“The Survivalists: A Novel” by Kashana Cauley
Fans of dark humor and literary fiction will eat up this story of politics, personal ambition, and environmental apocalypse. Following the death of her parents, driven Brooklyn lawyer Aretha falls in love with coffee entrepreneur Aaron. She slowly abandons her career — and her morals — when Aaron and his ragtag group of housemates slowly draw her into an underground world of urban doomsday preppers and conspiracy theorists. This highly praised debut novel by a former lawyer and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” writer will surely intrigue a range of readers on your list.

“Happy Place” by Emily Henry
Fans of romance will swoon over this modern love story centered on a group of friends who meet at the same vacation house every year. Except this year, the friend group’s golden couple, Harriet and Wyn, have secretly broken up and are doing their best to keep up the ruse of their relationship for the sake of their friends and their vacation. Will they be able to hide their breakup for the entirety of the weeklong trip? And could playing the part of a happy couple in love bring Harriet and Wyn back together?


“The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder” by David Grann
If the object of your gift-giving prefers nonfiction to novels, you can’t go wrong with a title written by the king of narrative historical nonfiction: David Grann. The author of “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” has written another thrilling real-life tale — this time focused on a 1742 maritime scandal involving a stranded British warship off the coast of Brazil and the 33 crew members who survived to tell the tale.

For more gift-giving inspiration, check out the ultimate Texas holiday gift guide.

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