Each year, Orem Library staff compile a list of our favorite books, movies, and music released in that year. Here’s our list of the best adult books of 2023. This list includes fiction and nonfiction books. Add these new releases to your “To Be Read” list, or check them out from the library today!

Best Adult Fiction of 2023

Tress of the Emerald Sea

By Brandon Sanderson
Adult Fiction

The only life Tress has known on her island home in an emerald-green ocean has been a simple one, with the simple pleasures of collecting cups brought by sailors from faraway lands and listening to stories told by her friend Charlie. But when his father takes him on a voyage to find a bride and disaster strikes, Tress must stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea. Amid the spore oceans where pirates abound, can Tress leave her simple life behind and make her own place sailing a sea where a single drop of water can mean instant death?

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi

By Shannon Chakraborty
Adult Fiction

Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural. But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.

Romantic Comedy

By Curtis Sittenfeld
Adult Fiction

Sally Milz is a sketch writer for The Night Owls, the late night live comedy show that airs each Saturday. With a couple of heartbreaks under her belt, she’s long abandoned the search for love.

Enter Noah Brewster, a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models, who signed on as both host and musical guest for this week’s show. Dazzled by his charms, Sally hits it off with Noah instantly, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, she begins to wonder if there might actually be sparks flying. But this isn’t a romantic comedy–it’s real life. And in real life, someone like him would never date someone like her… right?

Pink Lemonade Cake Murder

By Joanne Fluke
Adult Fiction

The Tri-County Summer Solstice Celebration has come to town, and even among local artisans, athletes, and marching bands, Hannah attracts fans of her own while serving lip-smacking pink lemonade desserts. But the mood sours when a body turns up, leading revelers to wonder if the festivities mark both the longest day of the year and the deadliest.

Love, Theoretically

By Ali Hazelwood
Adult Fiction

Rival physicists collide in a vortex of academic feuds and fake dating shenanigans in this delightfully STEMinist romcom. The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs. Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig-until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down.

Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and broody older brother of her favorite client, sits on the hiring committee at MIT, right between Elsie and her dream job. Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?

Best Adult Nonfiction of 2023

Baking Yesteryear

By B. Dylan Hollis
Adult Nonfiction

A decade-by-decade collection of wild, wacky, and wonderful recipes from the 20th century.

The Creative Act: A Way of Being

By Rick Rubin
Adult Nonfiction

The Creative Act is a series of meditations that illuminate the path of the artist as a road we all can follow. It is a beautifully generous offering of the wisdom gleaned from a lifetime’s work spent in the service of exhilaration and transcendence, distilled into a timeless classic that puts those feelings within closer reach for all of us.

Of Time and Turtles: Mending the World, Shell by Shattered Shell

By Sy Montgomery
Adult Nonfiction

When acclaimed naturalist Sy Montgomery and wildlife artist Matt Patterson arrive at Turtle Rescue League, they are greeted by hundreds of turtles recovering from injury and illness. Endangered by cars and highways, pollution and poachers, these turtles–with wounds so severe that even veterinarians would have dismissed them as fatal–are given a second chance at life. The Leagues founders, Natasha and Alexxia, live by one motto: Never give up on a turtle.

Pageboy: a Memoir

By Elliot Page
Adult Nonfiction

The Oscar-nominated star who captivated the world with his performance in Juno finally shares his truth. Full of behind the scenes details and intimate interrogations on sex, love, trauma, and Hollywood, Pageboy is the story of a life pushed to the brink. But at its core, this beautifully written, winding journey of what it means to untangle ourselves from the expectations of others is an ode to stepping into who we truly are with defiance, strength, and joy.

I’m No Philosopher But I Got Thoughts

By Kristin Chenoweth
Adult Nonfiction

From television actress, Broadway star, and New York Times bestselling author Kristin Chenoweth comes a book featuring philosophical-ish musings on connection, creativity, loss, love, faith, and closure. Just like Kristin’s grandmother inspired her to trust her heart and develop her own belief system, you’ll be inspired to develop your own life philosophies, as you journey through some of Kristin’s most vulnerable and humorous personal stories, in her constant pursuit to make the most out of life.