Fiction will always be my greatest literary love. But that said, some of the most interesting and enlightening books are non-fiction, and I try to always have a non-fiction book on the go.
From gripping true crime to enlightening memoirs, there are plenty of great new non-fiction books to enjoy this year. In this collection, I’ve shared my must-reads to add to your reading list.
Whether you want to learn more about the world, yourself, our society, or other interesting topics, I hope you can find your next best non-fiction book recommendation below. Enjoy!
The best new non-fiction books of 2023 for fascinating reading
The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann
This unputdownable new non-fiction book for fans of Endurance tells the story of the 1740s Wager Mutiny, when the British warship HMS Wager was wrecked on a desolate island off the south coast of present-day Chile.
You’ll uncover a seemingly impossible story of survival, a group of either heroes or mutineers, and a cinematic exploration of the human psyche that culminates in a court martial and a shocking truth.
Future of Geography by Tim Marshall
Read The Future of Geography for… a thought-provoking look at the direction of today’s space race and the countries that will benefit most from space exploration.
You might have heard of Prisoners of Geography, Tim Marshall’s 2015 bestseller that uses ten maps of crucial regions to explain the geo-political strategies of the world powers.
But what about the future of geography – and in particular, power and politics in space? Tim Marshall’s new non-fiction book for 2023, The Future of Geography, explores all you need to know.
The Art Thief by Michael Finkel
Read The Art Thief for… an unputdownable story of the world’s most prolific art thief from the bestselling author of The Stranger in the Woods.
With more than two hundred heists over nearly eight years to his name, master thief Stéphane Breitwieser never stole for money. Instead, he was driven by an insatiable hunger to possess beauty at any cost, leading to elaborate and audacious heists in museums and cathedrals all over Europe.
This new non-fiction release for 2023 is the remarkable true-crime narrative of Breitwieser’s strange and fascinating world and the act of hubris that finally brought everything crashing down.
Abroad in Japan by Chris Broad
Read Abroad in Japan for… Chris Broad’s wanderlust-inspiring exploration of a decade of living in Japan, with all of the chaos and culture clashes he encountered along the way.
When Englishman Chris Broad landed in a rural village in northern Japan, he wondered if he’d made a huge mistake. How could he teach English with no knowledge of Japanese and zero teaching experience?
Spanning ten years and all forty-seven prefectures, this is the story of Chris’s time in Japan, from the lush rural rice fields to the neon streets of bustling Tokyo.
All the Beauty in the World by Patrick Bringley
Read All the Beauty in the World for… an uplifting reminder of the comfort of art, told by someone who knows the treasures of the Met better than almost anyone.
After receiving news that shattered everything, former New Yorker staffer Patrick Bringley sought solace in the most beautiful place he knew: the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
As Patrick shares in this new memoir for 2023, he spent the next decade working there as a museum guard, his days marked by quiet contemplation, healing, and marvelling at the beautiful works in his care. This book is really quite special.
The Possibility of Life: Searching for Kinship in the Cosmos by Jaime Green
Read The Possibility of Life for… a fascinating examination of how the possibility of life on other planets shapes our understanding of humanity.
In this new non-fiction read for 2023, acclaimed science journalist Jaime Green intertwines cutting-edge astronomy research with philosophical inquiry and thought-provoking insights on present-day culture.
Immerse yourself in the pages of this mind-opening book and ponder: Are we alone in the cosmos? But also, what does it mean to be human?
The Half-Known Life: Finding Paradise in a Divided World by Pico Iyer
Read The Half-Known Life for…. a mesmerizing investigation of the different ideas of paradise and what they can teach about living well.
In this book of journeys – many of them inwards – Pico Iyer upends conventional ideas of what a travel book should be. Read this unique exploration of the paradoxes of paradise and reflect on what utopian living means to you.
The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments by Hadley Vlahos R.N.
Read The In-Between for… a poignant look at how we can find meaning, dignity, and comfort during life’s final moments.
Every so often, a book about living well comes along that quickly becomes a must-read. The In-Between is 2023’s addition to this shortlist, penned by hospice nurse Hadley Vlahos.
As Hadley shares in this moving and deeply personal memoir, end-of-life care can teach us just as much about how to live as it does about how we die.
In these wonderfully wise pages, you’ll find an honest and open celebration of one of life’s few guarantees – and a guide to approaching it with wisdom, respect, and even joy.
Mother, Nature by Jedidiah Jenkins
Read Mother, Nature for… the upcoming travel memoir for November 2023 by bestselling writer Jedidiah Jenkins, author of To Shake the Sleeping Self.
Jedidiah and his mother, Barbara, were divided by her version of a faith that views his sexuality as a sin. But when Barbara turned seventy, Jedidiah realised that his mother wouldn’t always be there. Could they reconcile their differences?
This was the time for the trip they’d always talked about, and they knew exactly what they’d do: retrace the thousands of miles Barbara trekked with Jedidiah’s father in the 70s. For more like this, here’s my collection of the best travel books for 2023.
You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith
Read You Could Make This Place Beautiful for… poet Maggie Smith’s story of rebuilding a life when all seems shattered.
Tackling the devastation of a broken marriage and the healing journey of rebuilding her life, Maggie Smith’s memoir echoes the gorgeous lines from her poem “Good Bones”: “This place could be beautiful, / right? You could make this place beautiful.”
They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us by Prachi Gupta
Read They Called Us Exceptional for… a searing look at the perils of the model minority myth.
What is on the flip side of overachievement? This is what Prachi Gupta explores in this much-needed memoir for 2023, deconstructing the dangerous myth that tight-knit and high-achieving Asian Americans are immune to hardship.
Complement this with another fantastic non-fiction book for 2023, Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic-and What We Can Do About It by Jennifer Breheny Wallace.
Discipline Is Destiny: The Power of Self-Control by Ryan Holiday
Read Discipline is Destiny for… ancient lessons to help you harness more discipline in every area of your life.
Published in late 2022, Discipline is Destiny is Ryan Holiday’s latest addition to his bestselling Stoic Virtues Series that’s inspired millions of readers.
With this self-improvement book, make 2023 the year you become laser-focused on your goals and most important work, inspired by the historical figures who mastered self-control to live incredible lives.
Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia MD with Bill Gifford
Read Outlive for… the latest science-backed ways to get your body and mind in the best shape for health and longevity.
Outlive is leading longevity expert Peter Attia’s groundbreaking manifesto on living better – and longer – for March 2023.
Like Peter’s popular podcast, this book will challenge conventional medical thinking and reveal a new approach for health. Learn how to prevent chronic disease and extend healthspan, not just lifespan.
We Should Not Be Friends: The Story of a Friendship by Will Schwalbe
Read We Should Not Be Friends for… a warm and funny memoir that follows the course of an improbable and life-changing college friendship over forty years.
I adored Will Schwalbe’s 2013 celebration of the comfort of reading, The End of Your Life Book Club. Now in 2023, Will has shared a rare and joyful view of male friendship, starting with the first time he met Maxey as a junior in college.
While Will was nerdy and creative, Maxey was physically imposing, loud, and a star wrestler who was determined to become a Navy SEAL. But thanks to a little-known secret society at Yale, the two forged a bond that transcended their differences and would remain throughout each others’ lives.
Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May
Read Enchantment for… a spellbinding look at how we can awaken our wonder and marvel at the world when we’re feeling anxious.
Katherine May’s bestselling book Wintering is one of the most beautiful memoirs of rest and recuperation for burnout. Now in 2023, Katherine has released this gorgeous new book about wonder in an anxious age.
For more of the best non-fiction books to read in 2023, head over to…
If you adore books, need a bit of a boost, and would love some gentle comfort and guidance, check out The Sanctuary, a seven-day course from Tolstoy Therapy.