Check Out the Top 10 Most Popular Books at the New York Public Library in 2023

Readers opted for romance, historical fiction, and royal melodrama.
The New York Public Library.
The New York Public Library. / SOPA Images/GettyImages

The cost of living may be going up, but disappearing into a book is still free—providing you make use of your local library. Recently, the New York Public Library shared its top 10 most checked-out titles by patrons in 2023. The list accounts for all formats, including e-books and audiobooks. (You can find similar lists for 2021 and 2022.)

1. Lessons in Chemistry // Bonnie Garmus (2022)

Bonnie Garmus’s debut novel enthralled readers with the story of Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant chemist who refuses to be undermined by ‘50s-era sexism. Her persistence mirrors that of her creator: Garmus fielded over 100 rejections for prior projects before finding success with Chemistry. The book’s popularity undoubtedly got a boost from its television adaptation starring Brie Larson.

2. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow // Gabrielle Zevin (2022)

Zevin’s novel about lifelong friends who find success (and tragedy) in video game design was a blockbuster. Zevin said she spent years researching game development in order to accurately portray the business.

3. Spare // Prince Harry (2023)

Readers were intrigued by this glimpse of life inside the British royal family. The memoir spills frank details, including Harry’s clashes with brother Prince William and his struggles with the press.

4. Book Lovers // Emily Henry (2022)

Emily Henry’s rom-com-in-book-form both indulges and plays with genre tropes, as protagonists Nora and Charlie settle into small-town life and ponder their attraction to one another.

5. Verity // Colleen Hoover (2018)

Colleen Hoover’s thriller sees struggling writer Lowen Ashleigh hired to finish an injured author’s work. When she finds a stark, candid memoir of a family tragedy, she has to navigate revealing the truth as well as her deepening feelings for the husband.

6. Yellowface // R.F. Kuang (2023)

Stephen King described R.F. Kuang’s novel as “hard to put down, harder to forget.” A bitter and unsung author steals a peer’s manuscript after her death, claiming both the work and inauthentic Asian American heritage.

7. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store // James McBride (2023)

Barack Obama cited James McBride’s historical fiction novel as one of his favorite books of 2023. In the melting pot neighborhood of Chicken Hill in Pennsylvania, some long-dormant secrets come to the surface.

8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo // Taylor Jenkins Reid (2017)

Fictional Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo reflects back on her storied career with the help of a struggling entertainment journalist. Though fans of the book have long advocated for Jessica Chastain to portray Hugo in an inevitable adaptation—even asking her to sign copies of the book—Chastain recently said there was “zero possibility” it would happen.

9. It Ends With Us // Colleen Hoover (2016)

Hoover’s novel details the emotional tumult of Lily, a florist in an abusive marriage who rediscovers her affection for old flame Atlas. Many of Hoover’s books are featured on TikTok.

10. Daisy Jones & The Six // Taylor Jenkins Reid (2019)

The life and times of a fictional ‘70s rock group is an enduring favorite with readers. It also led to an Amazon Prime streaming adaptation.