The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride is Amazon’s Best Book of 2023
The Amazon Books Editors’ curated list features top picks across genres to help connect customers to their next great read
Today, the Amazon Books Editors announced their selections for the Best Books of 2023, naming James McBride’s novel The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store as the Best Book of the Year. The annual top 100 list is hand-picked by a team of editors who read more than a thousand books each year and share their recommendations year-round on the Amazon Book Review to help customers find their next great read. To make holiday shopping easier, the editors also break out the top 20 books in popular categories, including debut authors, memoir, romance, children’s books, cookbooks, and history. To explore the full Best Books of 2023 list, visit amazon.com/bestbooks2023.
“Between dragon-filled romantasy (Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros), murderous senior citizens (Holly by Stephen King), and the definitive biography of a legend (King: A Life by Jonathan Eig), this year’s Best Books list truly has a great read for everyone,” said Sarah Gelman, editorial director for Amazon Books. “But it was James McBride’s The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store that our team unanimously fell in love with, wanting to spend time with the residents of Pottstown, Pennsylvania’s Chicken Hill neighborhood long after the last page was turned. Centered on a mysterious murder, it is, at its heart, a story of how powerful communities can be and what it means to be American, and it’s also a hopeful (and sometimes hilarious) reminder of our own capacity for kindness and compassion.”
After being told that his book was selected by the Amazon Editors as the Best Book of 2023, McBride said, “Every moment in history is full of sadness and tests. But love is the killer of mankind’s worst diseases. It lives without boundaries. It goes everywhere. You can find it everywhere. Even in a grocery store. I’m so glad you found it in this one.”
McBride’s novel joins prior Best Book of the Year selections from the Amazon Editors, including Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow; Amor Towles’ The Lincoln Highway; Brittany K. Barnett’s A Knock at Midnight; Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments; Tara Westover’s Educated; and David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon.
Reflecting on the top 100 list, senior editor Erin Kodicek noted, “Besides featuring a formidable cast of female protagonists, many of our favorites this year share a common theme—they highlight the importance of found family and community. And these books also accomplish what the best ones do: put us in other people’s shoes and expand our empathy.”
Authors of three of the top books—James McBride, Rebecca Yarros, and Abraham Verghese—will participate in an Amazon Live Author Series conversation in celebration of the Best Books of the Year selection on November 15, 2023, at 12 p.m. PST. To tune in, visit Amazon Live.
The Amazon Books Editors’ Top 10 picks of 2023, as described by the editors, are:
- The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride: “Featuring a cacophonous cast of characters you will adore, and a story chock full of the social, racial, and ethnic politics of the small town in which they live, The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store is an irresistible novel—profound as it is ingeniously entertaining, making it one of the great American novels of our time, and why we named it the best book of 2023.”—Al Woodworth, Amazon senior editor
- The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters: “Debut novelist Amanda Peters explores the lengths we go to for love, the cancerous impact of lies, and the unbreakable bonds of family. For fans of Celeste Ng and Ann Patchett, this quietly beautiful book will break, then mend, your heart.”—Sarah Gelman, Amazon editorial director
- The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession by Michael Finkel: “What a romp! You’ll fly through this true story of an idealistic maniac on a mission to filch priceless treasures—upping the ante with each outrageous crime. A blast to read—but also horrifying when you consider what happened to $2 billion worth of invaluable art.”—Lindsay Powers, Amazon senior editor
- Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros: “An epic of world-building and story, this tale of a kingdom under duress, a deadly competition to become an elite dragon rider, and the young woman who bucks the odds to become powerful in her own right, is a thrilling, not-to-be-missed romantic fantasy.”—Seira Wilson, Amazon senior editor
- King: A Life by Jonathan Eig: “Eig’s definitive and engrossing portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. is a remarkable feat of writing and research, revealing the gutting hardships and heroics of a man who changed the world. This is biography at its absolute finest.”—Al Woodworth, Amazon senior editor
- Wellness by Nathan Hill: “With the vibes of Jonathan Franzen novels mixed with the panache of (500) Days of Summer, Wellness is a love story, a marriage story, and a contemporary critique of our world that’s captivated (and maybe even controlled) by social media and the pursuit of domestic bliss. Utterly absorbing, funny, and familiar, Hill captures how life can be hopeful and hurtful, idiosyncratic and robotic, fated and chaotic.”—Al Woodworth, Amazon senior editor
- The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese: “We didn’t want this book to end. Told over the course of three generations, Abraham Verghese weaves a magnetic story of how cultural, social, and racial politics play out in the lives of wives, doctors, and artists who strive to find a home and purpose in a world that is ever-shifting and ever-dangerous. Filled with characters who love deeply and dream big, this novel will sweep you off your feet.”—Al Woodworth, Amazon senior editor
- Holly by Stephen King: “Holly is retro-King horror at its best in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse between an unassuming couple committing unspeakable crimes and P.I. Holly Gibney. With tension that coils tighter with every chapter, this unforgettable novel will thrill longtime King fans and newcomers alike.”—Seira Wilson, Amazon senior editor
- Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson: “You probably have strong opinions about Elon Musk. Walter Isaacson’s page-turning biography perfectly captures the troubled, brilliant, pugnacious billionaire—and how his growing power circles the globe. Packed with ‘oh-my-God’ moments big and small, I couldn’t put this book down.”—Lindsay Powers, Amazon senior editor
- Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane: “Unflinching, unsparing, and unsentimental, Dennis Lehane's incendiary story is a freeway pileup of racism, mob rule, and a desperate mother pushed beyond her last limit. This moving and darkly hilarious vengeance novel was the mystery we kept returning to this year.”—Vannessa Cronin, Amazon senior editor
For more information about the books featured on the Best Books of the Year list, as well as insightful reviews of new books, author interviews, and editor-curated roundups in popular categories, visit the Amazon Book Review at www.amazon.com/amazonbookreview. You can also follow the Amazon Books Editors’ recommendations and conversations @amazonbooks on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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