What does a magazine editor, who spends all day looking at adjusting, and perfecting words, do once they get home? Read, of course. If you’re looking for something to read this holiday season, or you’re wanting to compile a list of WL editor-approved books, this is it. Let’s all get on the same page.

The Best Books Our Editors Read in 2023

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

This was a tough debate for me, because between print (sweet, sweet print) and audiobooks, I’ve read 67 mostly excellent books this year. A new record! I’m mainly a fiction obsessive, with the odd autobiography thrown in (the heartachingly beautiful A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney is a recent fave). I couldn’t put down Carrie Soto Is Back (more on this in senior editor Stacey’s writeup below), Taylor Jenkins Reid’s excellent deep dive into life of an elite female athlete (and the ridiculous societal expectations of women in sport), and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin was as wonderful as every top-10 list purports it to be. But the one that blew my mind so much I had to read it twice? That was Sea of Tranquility. It journeys between different timelines—from 1912 on Vancouver Island to space colonies on the moon in the 2200s—and the way that all of the them came together in the end had me close the book, turn to a friend to say, “I don’t even know how you think to write a book like this.” Re-reading it didn’t put me any closer to figuring out the genius, but I enjoyed it just as much. —Anicka Quin, editorial director

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

We write a webpost like this almost every year—collecting the editors’ favourite books—and almost every year, I pick one that my sister has given me. Despite having not read a single complete book since high school (maybe that’s a harsh callout, but she’ll never read this) my sister is some kind of book-buying superhero. It’s a slam dunk every single time. That said: Convenience Store Woman is an extremely weird book. At first blush, it’s a relatively uneventful tale about a woman who works in a convenience store (shocker), but page after page reveals a deeper commentary on capitalism, the expectations of women, and what is means to be “normal.” I find it delightfully creepy. —Alyssa Hirose, managing editor

cover of Carrie Soto is back, a novel

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’m in a phase of my life where I can only handle what I would describe as “gentle” reads. Call me meek or uncultured, but I just don’t want a book to make me anxious or leave me full of dread (I’m scowling at you, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow—sorry Anicka—why are you so cruel to all these characters who are just trying their best to make a video game?!). In other words, I’m in Beach Read Mode year-round right now. Which is why Carrie Soto Is Back is my fiction recco for the year. It’s a sports comeback story (following the return of retired tennis dynamo Carrie Soto), so you know exactly what to expect—a classic hero’s journey of struggle, self-doubt, redemption and personal growth—but it’s delivered with writing that’s evocative and sumptuous. Say what you will about the predictability of Soto’s quest, but Reid’s ability to describe dozens of different tennis matches and the power players of a fictionalized 1990s tennis circuit in a compelling, dynamic way is a surprise in the best way. A gentle read, sure, but one delivered with a sure, steady serve. (I’m a tennis expert now, by the way.) —Stacey McLachlan, senior editor 

Educated by Tara Westover

Full disclosure: I haven’t finished this book yet, despite borrowing it from my friend Allie over two years ago on her recommendation. In my defence, and as justification for including it on my 2023 list, I plan to use my upcoming holiday leave to finish it before the year’s end. So far, it’s been great! In Educated, Tara Westover’s extraordinary memoir, the author vividly captures the essence of a life transformed by the power of education. Her upbringing in a strict survivalist family in Idaho and her journey towards academic enlightenment and personal freedom is both heart-wrenching and inspiring, serving as a testament to the human spirit’s ability to overcome and evolve beyond its origins—or so I imagine, being about halfway through. The details of her life, though vastly different from mine, are oddly relatable and, dare I say, educational. Unless it takes an unexpected turn for the worse, this book has captured both my heart and attention. (Starting now!)Kerri Donaldson, associate editor