The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (2023)

The best fiction released this year reminded us to value our relationships with one another, no matter what form they take. These books emphasized how we are shaped by the people who surround us, as well as those who are no longer physically present but whose memories we continue to carry. They are stories about friendship and love, growing up and growing older, loss and living, all centered on characters reckoning with how their people do and do not show up for them. There’s a bruising portrait of grief told through an adult daughter remembering her mother, a gritty account of a young woman who forms a community at the depths of her loneliness, a celebration of friendship between two creative geniuses, and more. Here, the top 10 fiction books of 2022.

10. Signal Fires, Dani Shapiro

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (1)

Signal Fires, Dani Shapiro’s first novel in 15 years, begins with a horrible ending. It’s 1985 and three intoxicated teenagers go for a car ride that proves fatal. The details of the accident are kept secret—and will haunt one family forever. Decades later, the doctor who ran to the scene of the accident befriends his 11-year-old neighbor, right near the spot where it happened. As Shapiro draws connections between seemingly disparate threads, she creates a moving portrait of guilt, grief, and fate. And she shows, in aching terms, how life is made up of random moments—missed opportunities and curious circumstances—and that it only takes a second for everything to change.

Buy Now: Signal Fires on Bookshop | Amazon

9. Trust, Hernan Diaz

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (2)

In 1920s New York, everyone who’s anyone knows Benjamin and Helen Rask, the wealthy couple sitting pretty at the top of the financial world. But how exactly did they accumulate so much power and wealth? That question is the driving force of the immensely popular 1937 novel Bonds—one of four distinct texts within Hernan Diaz’s Trust. The story of the Rasks (or the Bevels, depending which book-within-the-book you’re reading) contains mysterious multitudes. Their relationship and their privilege are undermined, examined, and rewritten as Diaz spins a dazzling story about subjectivity and greed.

(Video) Top 5 Fiction Books of 2022

Buy Now: Trust on Bookshop | Amazon

8. Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, Kim Fu

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (3)

The 12 stories that make up Kim Fu’s bold collection feature characters dealing with scenarios that border between reality and fantasy. In the spaces where lines blur, Fu reveals quietly profound commentary on the intersections of technology, love, and loss. In one narrative, a girl mysteriously sprouts wings, a development that forces her friend group to consider their ever-changing adolescent bodies. In another, an insomniac grows dependent on sporadic visits from a strange man made of sand who might be the secret to her finally falling asleep. And in a wildly twisted tale, a couple kills each other, over and over again, to keep their relationship alive. These stories, surreal and clever, all point to crises that sit below the surface. Fu brings magical realism to exciting heights, positioning her characters’ relatable emotional battles within wonderfully constructed worlds.

Buy Now: Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century on Bookshop | Amazon

7. Young Mungo, Douglas Stuart

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (4)

Douglas Stuart’s follow-up to his 2020 Booker Prize-winning debut Shuggie Bain is every bit as crushing as his first novel. Young Mungo is another visceral depiction of 20th-century working class Glasgow, this time centered on the impossible first love between two teenage boys. Homophobia and violence surround them, and the sensitivity that the young men possess is not welcome in their world of hostile masculinity. Through rich dialogue and rhythmic prose, Stuart brings to life a captivating portrayal of 1990s Scotland and the struggles faced by queer men who are learning how to live in the face of it all.

Buy Now: Young Mungo on Bookshop | Amazon

(Video) TOP TEN MOST POPULAR FICTION BOOKS 2022 || TOP 10 || BEST FICTION BOOKS IN THE WORLD ||

6. If I Survive You, Jonathan Escoffery

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (5)

The first entry in Jonathan Escoffery’s lyrical and kaleidoscopic debut If I Survive You introduces the character at the short story collection’s center: Trelawny, the sole American-born member of a Jamaican family. In the seven linked narratives that follow, Escoffery follows Trelawny as he grapples with his identity as the son of Black immigrants living in Miami, where he never feels Black enough. Escoffery writes with urgency and heart as he illustrates his protagonist’s struggles to fit in, especially as his family falls apart in the wake of a devastating hurricane and recession. If I Survive You, longlisted for a 2022 National Book Award, is a timeless story of a young person wrestling with big questions about race and class, captured in intricately drawn scenes of everyday life.

Buy Now: If I Survive You on Bookshop | Amazon

5. Vladimir, Julia May Jonas

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (6)

The protagonist of Julia May Jonas’ electric debut novel, an unnamed English professor, is grappling with the public fallout of her husband’s past affairs with students at the college where they both teach. The narrator is more annoyed than anything else—she and her husband had an open marriage—and she is quite preoccupied with an extramarital activity of her own: crushing hard on her department’s latest recruit. As the professor grows closer to her young new colleague, her desire festers into gnawing obsession. Jonas’s explosive novel asks timely questions about power and campus politics.

Buy Now: Vladimir on Bookshop | Amazon

4. All This Could Be Different, Sarah Thankam Mathews

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (7)
(Video) Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Fiction Books of 2022

In Sarah Thankam Mathews’ tender debut novel All This Could Be Different, a finalist for a 2022 National Book Award, recent college graduate Sneha has just moved to Milwaukee and started an awful job as a corporate consultant. Though the work is soul-crushing, there’s a recession swirling and the money keeps Sneha afloat. Plus, she can send some of it to her parents in India. But Mathews’ contemplative protagonist is desperately lonely in this new life, despite a burgeoning romance with an older ballet dancer named Marina. As Sneha questions why she finds it so difficult to open up to others, she is forced to confront the inescapable trauma that she’s buried deep inside. Mathews explores this tension, and the community that Sneha builds for herself in the Midwest, in an incisive and surprising coming-of-age narrative.

Buy Now: All This Could Be Different on Bookshop | Amazon

3. The Book of Goose, Yiyun Li

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (8)

Agnès has just heard the news that her childhood best friend, Fabienne, is dead. Now an adult living in America, Agnès reflects on growing up in France with Fabienne by her side and a decision Fabienne made that changed both their lives: when they were kids in the war-ravaged countryside, Fabienne wrote a fictional account of their experiences, and published it under Agnès’ name. The move catapulted Agnès to literary fame—and to a London finishing school where she suffered tremendously without Fabienne nearby—and now, she’s finally ready to tell her version of the events that defined her adolescence. Yiyun Li dissects the girls’ achingly intimate and, at times, unsettling friendship, and asks if Agnès ever really knew the person she was so devoted to. In detailing the answer, she unveils a cutting portrait of girlhood.

Buy Now: The Book of Goose on Bookshop | Amazon

2. The Hero of This Book, Elizabeth McCracken

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (9)
(Video) My Top 10 Fantasy Series (As Of 2022)

An unnamed writer arrives in London for a trip. She feels her recently deceased mother’s absence—and presence—everywhere she goes. As she walks around the city, she’s reminded of her mother’s complicated life, the memories they shared, and the curious, ever-evolving relationship between child and parent. But, the unnamed writer repeats, even though she’s constructing a deeply felt tribute to her mother, this is, in no way, a memoir. Her mother hated those. And so goes Elizabeth McCracken’s latest work of fiction, poking holes in the very idea of fiction itself as the story unfolds. The prolific author, whose own mother shared many similarities with the one described in the book, delivers a potent meditation on processing loss. Along the way, she makes startling revelations about what it really means to write, and how fiction can help us understand the most challenging parts of life.

Buy Now: The Hero of This Book on Bookshop | Amazon

1. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, Gabrielle Zevin

The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (10)

In his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur runs into Sadie Green on a subway platform. They’ve known each other since childhood, when they first bonded over a shared love of video games, but a rift set them apart. In Gabrielle Zevin’s inventive and sweeping novel, the estranged friends reconnect and rebuild their relationship, becoming creative partners on a video game that shoots them to fame before they turn 25. As Sam and Sadie wrestle with their growing ambitions over the years, they cultivate a friendship much more meaningful than any romance. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a celebration of the narratives, in video games and in life, that reinforce just how important connection really is. In following Sam and Sadie’s journey from Massachusetts to California and into the imagined worlds of their games, Zevin writes the most precious kind of love story.

Buy Now: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow on Bookshop | Amazon

More Must-Reads From TIME

(Video) My Top 10 Historical Fiction Books of All-Time

  • How to Help the Victims and Community After the Monterey Park Shooting
  • The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2023 Oscar Nominations
  • The Artist Behind the New MLK Jr. Sculpture Has a Message for Its Critics
  • Talking Less Will Get You More
  • Kamala Harris Subtly Emerges as Powerful White House Asset
  • HowAvatar: The Way of WaterBecame the 6th Movie in History to Make $2 Billion
  • Is There Really No Safe Amount of Drinking?
  • How Our Cells Strategize To Keep Us Alive
  • 9 Ways to Squeeze in More Steps Every Day

Write to Annabel Gutterman at annabel.gutterman@time.com.

FAQs

What is the number 1 most read book? ›

The Holy Bible is the most read book in the world. In the past 50 years, the Bible has sold over 3.9 billion copies. It is the most recognizable and famous book that has ever been published. The Bible is a collective book with many different preachings based on God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is the most read fiction book? ›

Having sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling is the best-selling book series in history. The first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, has sold in excess of 120 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books of all time.

Who is the most popular author 2022? ›

Colleen Hoover's 2016 novel It Ends With Us is the best-selling book of 2022 according to NDP BookScan.

What is one book everyone should read? ›

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Anne Frank. "1984" by George Orwell. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling.

Which book no one can read? ›

The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an otherwise unknown writing system, referred to as 'Voynichese'.

What is the number 2 most read book in the world? ›

The second most read book in the world is the Holy Quran.

Which fiction book should I read first? ›

1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee. Set during an era of racism, this novel offers a perspective into what it was like to fight against social prejudice. The story is narrated by the daughter of Atticus Finch, who is one of literature's greatest moral heroes.

What book has been on the NYT best seller list the longest? ›

The longest duration on the New York Times best-seller list (founded 1935) is that for The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, which on 14 Apr 1995 had its 598th week on the lists. Over 5 million copies of the book, which is published by Touchstone (a division of Simon  Schuster), are currently in print.

What is a 5 star read? ›

Five stars is, for many, the highest accolade a book reviewer can give. Some people are generous with their ratings, throwing them to any book that they enjoyed. Some readers reserve the sought after five stars for only the greatest reads.

What is the best-selling book of all time according to Guinness? ›

The best-selling book of all time is the Christian Bible.

Who is the #1 best-selling author 2022? ›

Colleen Hoover's 2016 novel It Ends With Us is the best-selling book of 2022 according to NDP BookScan.

What book has been on the NYT best-seller list the longest? ›

The longest duration on the New York Times best-seller list (founded 1935) is that for The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, which on 14 Apr 1995 had its 598th week on the lists. Over 5 million copies of the book, which is published by Touchstone (a division of Simon  Schuster), are currently in print.

Who is the best-selling female author? ›

Named “Queen of Crime”, Agatha Christie is considered the best selling female author of all time, with a sales record of over 2 billion books. She wrote about 78 novels that have been translated into 44 languages, in addition to 19 plays.

What is Amazon best-selling author? ›

There's a question I sometimes hear debated in publishing: Is an Amazon best-seller a “real” best-seller? By Amazon best-seller, they mean when your book goes to the top of an Amazon category, and Amazon starts putting a “best-seller” tag on your book.

Videos

1. My Top Fiction Books of the Year- 2022!
(Bob The Bookerer)
2. the best books of 2022 !!
(The Book Leo)
3. 12 books you need to read in 2022 *fiction*
(Jack Edwards)
4. THE BEST FICTION READS OF 2022 | BOOKS TO READ IIN 2023
(Shelly Swearingen)
5. The Best General Fiction & Classics I Read in 2022
(bookslikewhoa)
6. the 7 best books of the year | poetry, plays, fiction, and much more!
(uncarley)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Melvina Ondricka

Last Updated: 01/30/2023

Views: 5917

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Melvina Ondricka

Birthday: 2000-12-23

Address: Suite 382 139 Shaniqua Locks, Paulaborough, UT 90498

Phone: +636383657021

Job: Dynamic Government Specialist

Hobby: Kite flying, Watching movies, Knitting, Model building, Reading, Wood carving, Paintball

Introduction: My name is Melvina Ondricka, I am a helpful, fancy, friendly, innocent, outstanding, courageous, thoughtful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.