I recommend a lot of beautiful books on this website. Recently, I’ve shared my book gifts guide for 2023 (mostly populated with pretty new books, including non-fiction) and updated my collection of the most beautiful books in the world.
This new fiction collection sits somewhere between the two. If you love pretty books and want to know what’s new this year, I think you’ll love these recommendations.
Read on for my roundup of the most beautiful books published in 2023, featuring new releases from Penguin, Harper Muse Painted Editions, and MinaLima. I’ve also included the best new books from The Folio Society for extra special books with gorgeous binding, illustrations, and of course, writing.
If you’re searching for beautiful book gifts for the book lovers in your life, all of these recommendations would be excellent presents. But they’re also just as perfect to treat yourself to one of the greatest literary pleasures: a new pretty book for your shelves.
The most beautiful fiction books of 2023: a gift guide for book lovers
Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami (Murakami Collectible Classics)
Featuring some of the most delightfully vibrant cover illustrations of the year, I adore the new Murakami Collectible Classics series by Penguin. They’re not quite as special as the new Folio Society editions of Murakami (read on for one of those), but they’re quirky, affordable, and include new introductions from Murakami himself.
The first batch of books was released in 2022 (Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle). However, this year brings some new additions: Sputnik Sweetheart, A Wild Sheep Chase, and After Dark. They’re some of the best new beautiful books for 2023 by the beloved author of Japanese fiction.
Each of the new editions has been redesigned by separate Japanese artists, and they all feature bold graphics and a wrap-around Obi (or paper band, the same term is also used for the traditional sash in Japanese clothing).
The Hobbit: Illustrated by the Author by J.R.R. Tolkien (William Morrow)
When I’m craving nostalgia and comfort reading, I pick up The Hobbit. If you want to add a new hardcover edition to your collection, this edition published by William Morrow for 2023 is simply beautiful.
Complete with stunning full-color illustrations by J.R.R. Tolkien, it’s a wonderfully thoughtful gift for yourself or a loved one who adores Middle-earth.
The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton (The Folio Society)
All of the books in The Folio Society Christmas collection this year are exquisite, but I especially love this new edition of The Enchanted Wood. Featuring a new introduction by Michael Morpurgo, it’s a welcome gift of nostalgia for any fond readers of Enid Blyton’s ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ trilogy.
Accompanied by magically playful artwork by award-winning illustrator Jonathan Burton, this charming edition will enchant readers of all ages as they follow Jo, Bessie, and Fanny in discovering the magical world in the woods behind their new house.
The special hardcover is bound in blocked cloth with a plain slipcase. Inside, you’ll find full-colour printing throughout, 4 full-page colour illustrations, and chapter motifs.
Circe by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury Anniversary Special Edition)
Published to mark the fifth anniversary of Madeline Miller’s mesmerising bestseller, this red and gold hardcover edition by Bloomsbury is one of the best new pretty books of 2023 for fans of Circe. The beautiful hardcover also features a new foreword by Madeline Miller.
If you prefer The Song of Achilles, Miller’s earlier bestselling novel, Bloomsbury published a gorgeous anniversary edition in blue and gold in 2021.
Remember by Joy Harjo and Michaela Goade (Random House)
“Remember the sky you were born under,/Know each of the star’s stories...”
One of the most beautiful children’s books of 2023, Remember is a book to treasure for readers of any age.
This special book is the gorgeous merging of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s iconic poem “Remember” with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade, inviting young and grown readers to pause and reflect on the wonder of the world.
Beloved by Toni Morrison (Vintage Quarterbound Classics)
Vintage Quarterbound Classics is one of the newest collections of beautiful classics this year, as announced in September 2023 by Penguin. As of October, nine gorgeous books in beautiful hardcover gift editions are available, including this stunning edition of Beloved, Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winner, with a cover illustration by Sophy Hollington.
Other books in the Vintage Quarterbound Classics series:
- Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
- Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
- If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
- Stoner by John Williams
- The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (The Folio Society)
I mentioned earlier that there was a very special Murakami edition on this list, and here it is. Look at that cover! This new Folio Society edition of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is included in their Autumn 2023 collection and features the translation by Jay Rubin.
The artwork by conceptual artist Daniel Liévano (winner of a prestigious Society of Illustrators Silver Medal for his work on Kafka on the Shore) is vibrant, quirky, and not quite of this world, perfectly complementing Murakami’s trademark narrative style and surreal-meets-slice-of-life plot.
The Folio hardcover is bound in blocked cloth, features metallic printed endpapers, and is presented in a die-cut slipcase. Inside, you’ll find The Folio Society’s usual stunning production quality with 6 colour illustrations, including 3 double-page spreads and 44 illustrated motifs.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (Harper Muse Painted Editions)
Harper Muse Classics Painted Editions is one of the best new collections of beautiful classics, with each of the pretty books featuring a whimsical painted cover by artist Laci Fowler.
I love the late-summer feel of this beautiful new edition of Anne of Green Gables for 2023; with Anne on a picnic rug surrounded by fallen apples, it’s a perfect addition to the library of any fan of this children’s classic.
Alongside delicate embossing on the cover of all of the Painted Editions, other features include gold foil title and page edges, a beautiful ribbon marker, and quote pages throughout.
Other additions to the Harper Muse Painted Editions series in Summer 2023:
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
- Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Underworlds by Stephen Ellcock (Thames & Hudson)
Stephen Ellcock is best known for his unparalleled skill in bringing together remarkable images for spellbinding, thematically-organized visual journeys. In his new book for 2023, Underworlds, Ellcock curates a darkly captivating compendium of images exploring natural, constructed, imaginary, and subconscious underworlds.
With a unique visual odyssey through centuries of imagined hellscapes and dreamscapes, this impressive new hardcover is a thought-provoking merging of philosophy, literature, art, and spirituality.
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (The Folio Society)
Another of the most beautiful new books in The Folio Society’s Christmas Collection 2023 is this astonishingly impressive edition of Dante’s The Divine Comedy.
Bound in printed and blocked textured paper, the monumental work features gold metallic printed endpapers, a ribbon marker, and a stunning printed slipcase with illustrations by Neil Packer.
Packer’s captivating illustrations continue inside the hardcover with illustrations for all 100 cantos, including 3 full-page colour artworks.
The hardcover also includes the acclaimed translation by Robin Kirkpatrick (with three-line rhyming stanzas to follow Dante’s terza rima scheme) and an exclusive essay by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (MinaLima)
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, exploring Hogwarts doesn’t get much better than with these captivating hardcovers by MinaLima, complete with vibrant full-color illustrations on nearly every page, a gold embossed cover, and interactive paper craft elements.
Three of the MinaLima books are out so far, including this dazzling new addition to the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which has just been released in October 2023. Here’s my review of these wonderfully nostalgic books.
For more of the most beautiful books of 2023, head over to…