Learn about the hottest fiction subgenres and titles you can hear on your favorite audiobook platform.
Best fiction books to read in 2023
Literary fiction is arguably the most popular genre when it comes to books, short stories, and book series. It can entertain readers more than real events and memoirs because they allow the author’s imagination to run wild.
Best fiction books
Here are some recommendations for fiction books to read or listen to in 2023.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Published in 1813, this fiction novel is one of the most appreciated pieces of fiction writing. It’s a book about discovering acceptance and appreciation for actual goodness.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – One of the last novels by Charles Dickens, Great Expectations features a colorful cast of characters and powerful imagery, and it still finds its way into many book club reading lists.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer – Written between 1387 and 1400, The Canterbury Tales is Chaucer’s greatest collection of verse stories.
A Clergyman’s Daughter by George Orwell – The 1935 George Orwell novel follows Dorothy Hare, a clergyman’s daughter who suffers an amnesia attack.
1984 by George Orwell – The dystopian story by George Orwell takes place in a totalitarian superstate called Oceania. The author depicts a world ravaged by war, propaganda, and omnipresent surveillance. Many new books and movies take inspiration from this work of fiction.
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Few crime novels stand the test of time, like books following legendary private detective Sherlock Holmes.
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith – Patricia Highsmith’s psychological thriller and crime novel deals with obsession, imitation, and identity. The popular book has four sequels.
The Reversal by Michael Connelly – In The Reversal, a defense attorney switches sides to aid the prosecution in a high-profile retrial of a child murderer.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins – Many modern detective novels took inspiration from The Moonstone. Collins’s novel helped establish this fiction subgenre with this story of diamond thieves and mysterious characters.
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy – Despite the simplistic writing style, the author’s use of interweaving storylines and multiple central characters resulted in a thrilling crime novel set against the backdrop of the Mexican-American border.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – The first in an exciting trilogy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone combines supernatural elements, magic, and mythological creatures to create a thrilling romantic fantasy.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – Red Queen is Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel. It’s a New York Times bestseller and a popular fiction book among young adults. The author also penned sequel novels and tie-in novellas that expand on the lore and explore various character relationships.
The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White – Focused on King Arthur’s youth, The Sword in the Stone is an interesting piece of historical fiction. Although Arthurian lore rarely involves real people and actual events, the historical accuracy of medieval practices and magical elements make for a fantastic story.
The Elementals by Michael McDowell – The prolific horror writer puts a new spin on the haunted house theme. Follow a family of New Yorkers as they bite off more than they can chew in a Victorian summer house of nightmares.
It by Stephen King – When it comes to horror, Stephen King is the undisputed master. And it’s no secret that even modern movie productions can’t come close to matching the author’s ability to give a reader chills down their spine. What better way to delve into horror books or audiobooks than with It and the iconic murderous clown Pennywise?
The Cipher by Kathe Koja – The 1991 novel combines cosmic horror and body horror themes in a rare genre masterpiece.
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells – Many people know British author H. G. Wells for his work in science fiction and time travel novels. But The Island of Doctor Moreau takes things to a new level with horror elements many readers wouldn’t expect.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Victor Frankenstein’s unorthodox scientific experiment is a gothic fiction horror classic with science fiction elements. It hits all the right notes for an 1818 novel. And its numerous movie, book, and TV adaptations prove the story stood the test of time.
Death on the Riviera by John Bude – The eccentric characters, exotic backdrop, and hunt for counterfeiters mark one of the most exciting works of author John Bude.
An English Murder by Cyril Hare – The 1951 novel uses numerous elements of the Golden Age murder mystery in post-war Britain.
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith – This psychological introduces the “trading murders” and makes for a highly entertaining read.
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen – Despite its many fantasy elements, the magical theme plays second fiddle in this charming romance novel.
Do You Take This Man by Denise Williams – This Denise Williams novel follows a female wedding officiant and a sports event manager as they inevitably grow closer to each other. It’s a story of how the circumstances influence the outcome.
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase – This Regency period romance novel follows an immoral aristocrat as he finally meets his match in an intellectual woman.
Dune by Frank Herbert – Whether you call it a space opera, coming-of-age story, or classic science fiction, Dune is one of the staples in this genre. It uses all the right sci-fi tropes while still enabling exceptional character development.
The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold – What would happen if time travel were possible? David Gerrold explores the physical, personal, and psychological issues in one of the best books on time travel fiction.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells – At the time, this book was one of the hottest new releases among fiction writers. The revolutionary time travel story propelling a heartbroken inventor thousands of years in the future is one of the most appreciated sci-fi stories of all time.
Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney – The plot of Rock, Paper, Scissors constantly keeps readers guessing and makes you think. How well do you know the person closest to you?
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews – This spy thriller is an award-winning masterpiece, well deserving of its 2018 movie adaptation.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman – Three retirees take it upon themselves to solve a murder mystery. But the ingenious plot has many twists and turns.
Listen to the best fiction audiobooks on Speechify
There are many works of fiction to read or listen to, from fairy tales to science fiction to chilling horror stories. And if you want a massive collection of audiobook titles, Speechify Audiobooks is the best service for you. Read a book review, find your next title, and play the audiobook version of your next favorite book on almost any device at your leisure. Even better, your first audiobook is free when you join Speechify Audiobooks.
What is fiction vs. nonfiction?
Fiction stories rely on imaginary settings and characters, while nonfiction tends to rely on facts, actual events, and real people.
What is the difference between a novel, a short story, and a memoir?
Novels often start with an early negative plot, have a complex middle, and end on a positive note. Short stories can have a similar plot structure but fewer pages. Memoirs offer the author’s narrative and perspective on important life events.
What is the definition of fiction?
Fiction can be something untrue or invented, and you can find it in both prose and verse in literary works.