The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers

Voracious readers from the safe space of #BookTok share their best books of 2023



2023 was a fantastic year to read books. There’s nothing like the intoxicating smell of fresh pages—and if you prefer the gentle glow of your trustworthy Kindle or smartphone, you’re okay, too. (We’re not purists in this household.)


The year that was showcased New York Times bestselling memoirs from personalities like Britney Spears (The Woman in Me), Prince Harry (Spare), plus our very own Patricia Evangelista (Some People Need Killing); fiction favorites like Yellowface, Happy Place, Bright Young Women and many more. We devoured page-to-screen adaptations like The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, All the Light We Cannot See and Leave the World Behind. I mean, I could go on and on.  


On the safe space of #BookTok, voracious readers Koji Arsua, Gerard Gotladera and Gerald Gruezo thrive, constantly uploading videos of book reviews and hauls, trips to neighborhood bookstores and more. We sought them out to share their favorite reads from 2023. 


See their curated list below: 


Koji Arsua

@koji.reads I'm so so in love with these Filipino horror books! Do you have recos? What scary Filipino books should I read? #booktok #booktokph #nationalbookstore #booktokfyp #bookhaul #bookrecommendations #bookrecs #horrortok #horrorbooks #learnitontiktok #edutok ♬ Suspense, horror, piano and music box – takaya


“Uzumaki” by Junji Ito

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers


How do I even begin to explain the brilliance of Junji Ito's Uzumaki? A small coastal town in Japan is cursed, not by a monster or a spell, but by a pattern: the uzumaki or the spiral. The author creates seemingly random horror stories about different kinds of spirals: snails, curly hair, a jack-in-the-box and hurricanes. As you spiral further, you realize that bigger elements are at play. Ito’s bibliography is insane (Gyo is also highly recommended), and Uzumaki is his magnum opus.


“11/22/63” by Stephen King

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers


Stephen King may be known as the master of horror, but he also knows how to write non-scary books that pack an emotional punch. 11/22/63 follows a time traveler who tries to stop the assassination of then-president John F. Kennedy, which happened on November 22, 1963. You don’t need to be an expert on (or even familiar with) American history to enjoy this. King said in On Writing that a book worth reading answers the question: What is it really about? I won’t spoil what 11/22/63 is really about. All I can say is that King had me in a chokehold when I discovered the answer. Some say the author lost his edge as he grew older, but this book proves he is still a King among men.


“The Shards” by Bret Easton Ellis

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers


Art imitates life in The Shards, a fictionalized memoir by Bret Easton Ellis, set during his last year in an elite high school in Los Angeles in the ‘80s. It’s all fun and games (that’s more Euphoria than Sweet Valley High) until a serial killer called “The Trawler” strikes and seems to come closer to Ellis’ life. There’s also the arrival of Robert Mallory, a handsome, charming and mysterious new student. 


I’ve always been a fan of Ellis’ writing style, which is filled with long, meandering sentences, scenes that seem to go nowhere, and a feeling of menace just below a facade of boredom. There are literally paragraphs of Ellis just explaining his driving routes, turn by turn. The story, however, is worth the trip. Buckle up.


See the full review here. And follow Koji on Instagram and TikTok


Gerard Gotladera

@gerardgotladera BEST BOOKS OF 2023 (Part 1): #TheGoldenThread by #KassiaStClair #AllTheLoversInTheNight by #MiekoKawakami #TheMapsofCamarines by #MaryanneMoll Parts 2 & 3 now up! #BookTok #BestBooksof2023 ♬ original sound – Gerard Gotladera


“Flora de Filipinas” by Fr. Manuel Blanco

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers


A classic reference book that’s been studied for decades, Flora de Filipinas Volume 1, Fifth Edition IDs the abundance of the Philippines’ most common and important flowers, fruits, plants and trees. From their origins to stories behind their local names and medicinal benefits that they’re known for to the cultural significance they hold, Flora de Filipinas opened my eyes to how lucky we are to have all of these within reach and the importance of taking care of the world around us. You get to learn about history, culture and the kind of people we used to be, who we are now and what we should be—in relation to the plants, flowers and trees around us. 


“The Maps of the Camarines” by Maryanne Moll

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers


Houses cannot be built on sinister secrets. And land must never be owned by a wealthy few. A fictional Camarines serves as the backdrop of Maryann Moll’s The Maps of The Camarines, lorded by three powerful families, whose dark pasts have trickled down generations after and become the catalysts of their eventual downfall. This is a story of greed, of “original sin,” and the lengths people will take to keep what they believe is rightfully theirs—all for the sake of satisfying a never-ending hunger for comfort, wealth and power.


Maryann Moll shares an alternative history of the land, weaves an elegant tale out of it, laced with the supernatural, and shows us the poison that very much prevails in the country today. Despite its shortcomings—a thin novel that I believe leaves us wanting more, a few errors in copy, and I feel it’s priced a bit expensive—I still give this a 10/10. It is one of the most important works of fiction that have come out of recent history, that more people should be reading.


“Lie With Me” by Philippe Besson

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers


Is love real when only its beginning and sweet climax are the truths we are sure of? A story of a love made possible in the dark between two men who never saw it end. And what life-changing secrets are revealed through time. I lost sleep because of this one, cried rivers in its wake. Translated by Molly Ringwald, Philippe Besson’s timeless story is a gift more should enjoy. In under 200 pages, too, you’ll see what great writers can do with the power of words and the talent of storytelling. An absolute gem.


Follow Gerard on Instagram and TikTok


Gerald Gruezo

@geraldthebookworm no thoughts, just facial expressions. ANG SAYA NITO GAWIN OMG, hindi ko kailangang mag-isip ng malala! Hahaha! #silentreviews #silentbookreviews #booktok #booktokph #fyp #novemberwrapup ♬ original sound – YT: Gerald The Bookworm


“Ang Bangin Sa Ilalim ng Ating Mga Paa” by Ronaldo Vivo Jr.

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers


This book choked me and never let me go till the last page. This is brave, action-packed and scarily realistic with well-fleshed-out characters. Yes, this will keep you on the edge of your seat, but this will also show you how strong a father's love is.


“A Woman Unboxed and Other Stories of Growing Up” by Gayle Certeza

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers


This collection of essays made me cry and laugh. It also made me realize things about feminism, beliefs, love and life in general. Gayle has her way with words—it's perfectly woven, making me feel all the emotions while providing vivid images in my mind.


“Piranesi” by Susanna Clarke

The Best Books of 2023 According to These BookTokers


I highly suggest you read this without knowing anything about it. I finished this book not knowing how to describe it. All I know is that I love it! It has the right blend of fantasy and mystery, and I enjoyed my time with the main character, Piranesi.


Follow Gerald on Instagram and TikTok.


What are your best books of  2023? Share them in the comments below!



Art Macky Arquilla

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