Do you believe in star signs? For thousands of years, astrologists and mystics have been looking to the skies above for answers to some of the most profound questions imaginable. ‘What should I do with my life?’, ‘Will I find true love?’, or ‘Should I get a new job?’.
Sometimes the question can be as simple as: ‘I’ve finished my book… now what should I read?’.
The Willoughby Book Club has curated a selection of books, published in 2023, to match perfectly to your star sign. Whether you’re a down-to-earth Virgo, an off-the-wall Gemini, or a sensitive (sometimes crabby) Cancer, we’ve found something for you, so continue reading to find your next great book.
We’ve consulted the stars and can foresee successful reading times ahead.
If you’ve ever met an Aries, you’d have known it soon after meeting them! Often considered the bold and ambitious sign of the zodiac, they’re also passionate and know exactly what they like. A book like Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater would be a perfect- if not slightly cheeky- pick for them.
It’s a dark, non-linear story with a messy, questionable protagonist named Roach, a bookseller at Spines bookshop in Walthamstow. Roach is a strange, spiky, true-crime obsessive, who quickly becomes infatuated with a new member of staff, a seemingly ‘normie’ colleague named Laura, who has her own, rather different, interest in true crime.
Told from a dual perspective, we delve into the murky back stories of both characters, as Roach becomes increasingly more obsessed with finding out about a true crime story that doesn’t just exist as a podcast and is somewhat closer to home.
The impulsive Aries in your life will appreciate the macabre humour, the drama, suspense, and surprising depth of Slater’s impressive debut.
If you know anything about a Taurus personality, you’ll know they are steadfast in their loyalty to their loved ones to the point of stubbornness. They make great partners for this very reason, often choosing to play the long game in romantic situations.
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld is the ideal book for a Taurus. Recently published, Sittenfeld’s seventh novel is a warm, hilarious book following Sally Milz, a late-night comedy sketch writer, sans boyfriend, who is convinced that the dating lives of men are far easier than those of women.
Annoyed at the mildly talented, average-looking men at the sketch show who seem to find girlfriends at the drop of a hat, Sally writes a sketch mocking the double standards of dating. When Noah Brewster, a young pop star, is hired to host an episode, they both appear to hit it off. But this is real life. A popstar wouldn’t want to date her…surely?
Self-aware and charming, Romantic Comedy is a clever, witty dissection of modern relationships and will strike a chord with any Taurus who knows the true meaning of ‘waiting it out’.
Geminis can be loveable oddballs. They’re the ones that keep you laughing with their wit and playful curiosity. A book like Big Swiss would match their personality perfectly. One of 2023’s most highly anticipated releases, Big Swiss by Jen Beagin follows Greta, a 45-year-old transcriptionist for a sex therapist, who falls in love with a client while listening to her sessions. She names this client ‘Big Swiss’, as all she knows about her is that she is tall and…Swiss!
When she coincidentally overhears Big Swiss’s voice at the dog park, they soon enter a complicated affair. But with both characters carrying their own separate traumas, their relationship inevitably becomes complicated and unhinged.
It’s weird and absurd in the best way, like a Gemini. Go in without any expectations and find out for yourself why the reviews are so positive.
If you know any Cancerians, you may be aware that family life and the domestic sphere are incredibly important to them. A book with themes of home, familial relationships and love would be perfect for the top of their book stack. A House for Alice by Diana Evans ticks those boxes. Set in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy, Evans’ follow-up to Ordinary People is an intimate, poetic insight into the lives of Alice, who after fifty years in London, wants to return to Nigeria to spend her final years in her place of birth, and her family.
Her daughters are divided over the decision, while simultaneously dealing with the aftermath of their father’s passing and the ups and downs of contemporary life. It’s a loving portrayal of family dynamics and poses important questions such as ‘how we belong?’ and ‘what do we want?’.
Side note: Cancerians also love anything to do with eating, and the plentiful descriptions of African cooking and food culture are mouth-watering.
When I think of a Leo, the words ‘courage’ and ‘big-hearted’ come to mind. And I cannot think of a more fitting character to represent this sign of the zodiac than that of Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead.
Born in a trailer in the Appalachian Mountains, to an alcoholic mother, the novel’s protagonist Damon is faced with a thousand struggles from the very start of life. The story is recounted by Damon himself, who soon goes by the moniker ‘Demon’, as he scrapes his way through the trials and tribulations of growing up in rural poverty. The book is inherently political in its discussion of important social issues, such as the US’s ongoing opioid crisis and but Kingsolver ensures there is also hope and humour throughout, particularly with Damon’s character himself, which any optimistic and brave Leo will connect to when reading.
Demon Copperhead takes inspiration structurally from Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, though you won’t need to be familiar with the classic to absorb and appreciate Kingsolver’s latest novel. If you want a 600-page epic novel full of richness and a protagonist that will stick with you for a very long time, this is the one to pick up.
It has also just been announced as one of the titles for the Women’s Prize 2023 shortlist, so now is the time to get your hands on a copy!
Virgos are deeply connected to the Earth. They enjoy nothing more than to wander through nature. However, as they are creative souls, they are also prone to feeling stressed. In Enchanted by Katherine May, the discusses how the natural world can help us take care of our mental health and find small sparks of magic in ritual and mindfulness. If you know a Virgo with a penchant for wellbeing books, Katherine May is a wonderful, inspiring writer.
Libras are aesthetes of the zodiac. Artistic at their core, they know something good when they see (or read) it.
Benjamin Myers is probably one of the UK’s most interesting writers now. He’s not afraid of trying something new, just like the Librans of the zodiac.
Told in four distinct parts, Myers’ latest novel Cuddy is an epic tapestry of fiction, interlinking stories around the mythology of St. Cuthbert. Varying from longform poetry to second-person account, Myers collects characters, exploring faith and the history of the northeast of England.
Like Libras themselves, the book shapeshifts between forms, making it a compelling read.
Scorpios won’t show their cards. Enigmatic and a little bit secretive, they are also extremely loyal and will do anything for their friends and family.
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai is a literary page turner, full of mid-90s details, a true crime podcast, discussions of racial discrimination, privilege, and the MeToo movement. There are some heavy subjects, but they are handled in a clever, non-salacious way.
Bodie Kane, film professor and podcaster has tried to forget her tragic past. Her former roommate was found murdered and a man found guilty. Case closed. But when she returns to her former boarding school to teach a podcasting class, one of the students decides she wants to dig into the truth of the crime all those years ago.
I read Makkai’s second novel in two days, which should attest to how gripping its plot is. If you’re struggling to find a book for the mysterious Scorpio in your life, try this one.
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel has just been published in paperback. With an impressive back catalogue, St John Mandel’s output is establishing her as one of Canada’s most treasured authors.
With Sea of Tranquillity, she creates an ambitious, shifting narrative that begins in 1912 and moves on to the present and then to hundreds of years in the future, exploring storylines ranging from a young British immigrant having a paranormal experience, to a writer living on a lunar colony visiting Earth for a book tour. It’s a unique, unusual novel that is best approached with few expectations or plot spoilers.
Sagittarians are naturally curious and have a deep-seated desire to travel, so a novel that shifts both physical location and period is certain to pique their interest.
Capricorns live for the fun times. Often considered the partiers of the zodiac, they’ll suit books that allow them to continue this crazy journey, even when sitting still! Emily Henry’s Happy Place is a great pick for this earth sign. The feel-good story follows Harriet and Wyn, a recently split couple who are spending their summer with mutual friends at a yearly getaway in Maine, pretend they are still together to protect their friends’ feelings. But will imitating real love rekindle old feelings?
Full of witty dialogue, romance and warmth, your Capricorn friends will devour it.
Aquarians are a little offbeat and tend to go against the grain in terms of their social habits. They are also deeply humanitarian and loathe injustice!
Rosewater by Liv Little, published this month, is the bookish representation of the Aquarian state of mind. With many comparisons being made to Queenie by Candice Carty- Williams and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, the bar is very high.
Rosewater follows the day-to-day struggles of Elsie, a queer 28-year-old South Londoner, who juggles her time between writing poetry and working at a local dive bar. While trying to earn enough money and navigating a life estranged from her family, Elsie is evicted from her social housing and moves in with her childhood friend, Juliet. Will she find happiness finally, after such a long struggle?
Pisces are empathetic and compassionate creatures. Symbolised by two fish, they are drawn to and thrive in water. A Pisces will always seek to break down the divisions between reality and fantasy, of real life and dreams.
A novel with fantastical elements, such as Sea Change by Gina Chung would be perfect for them. Released in March 2023, the novel features Ro, who works at an aquarium with only a giant Pacific octopus named Dolores to talk to. Her mother is estranged, her marine biologist father disappeared on an expedition when she was younger, and her boyfriend is on his way to Mars!
When the cash-strapped aquarium decides to sell Dolores, Ro must confront her emotions, her relationships and her past to move forward with her life.
Beautifully written, it’s an enchanting story; one that is likely to find a kindred soul in a Pisces reader.