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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,201 authors and super readers for their 3 favorite reads of the year.

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My favorite read in 2023…

The Red Bird Sings

By Aoife Fitzpatrick,

Book cover of The Red Bird Sings

Anne Griffin Why did I love this book?

Greenbrier County, West Virginia 1897, the trial of Trout Shue, on the charge of killing his young wife, is underway.

Two women stand alone in believing Zona Shue died at the hands of her abusive husband. But now they must prove it. Inspired by a true story, this book is not just a page turner but is exceptional in its prose and a masterclass in how to write beautiful sentences.

The characters are well drawn, especially the lead Lucy Frye, who is herself a gifted writer with the desire to be published in a male-dominated world that says she cannot. She is clever and loyal and strong, seeing through all that her dear-battered friend Zona could not.

By Aoife Fitzpatrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Red Bird Sings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A prize-winning, spine-tingling gothic suspense novel based on a real-life murder trial in 1897 West Virginia

'A novel that demands you turn the pages' THE TIMES, BEST HISTORICAL FICTION

'A gothic mystery pulsing with suspense' MAIL ON SUNDAY

'Brilliant' IRISH TIMES

'I was tenterhooked from the very first to the very last page' JO BROWNING WROE, author of A Terrible Kindness

'Compelling' ANNE ENRIGHT

'Truly superb' VICTORIA MACKENZIE, author of For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain

West Virginia, 1897. When young Zona Heaster Shue dies only a few months after her wedding, her mother Mary Jane…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Sing, Wild Bird, Sing

By Jacqueline O'Mahony,

Book cover of Sing, Wild Bird, Sing

Anne Griffin Why did I love this book?

Spanning two continents, the tragedies of the Irish Famine and the theft of Native American lands, this novel achieves a huge amount.

In 1849, Honora O’Donoghue survives the horror of her small town’s enforced starvation, the loss of her child, and the disappearance of her husband. She escapes to America, and to worlds darker than she ever could have imagined. Then she meets Joseph, or Blue Horse of the Cayuse people, and for the first time she feels she can at last take flight.

The comparison of two dispossessed communities is beautifully dealt with here. The loss, the injustice, the indignity, is stitched into every sentence. Sing, Wild Bird, Sing is not just a compelling read, but reveals lessons from history that everyone should know about.

By Jacqueline O'Mahony,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sing, Wild Bird, Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A courageous woman journeys from nineteenth-century Ireland to the American West in a powerful novel about the indomitable will to survive-and to flourish-against nearly impossible odds.

It's 1849 on the west coast of Ireland. Resilient Honora O'Donoghue is accustomed to fending for herself and to reading the language of the natural world. It was always said she'd been marked for something different, but it's not until she suffers devastating losses in a country gripped by the Famine that Honora begins to understand how that difference will save her. With the hope of a better life in America calling, Honora keeps…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Somebody's Fool

By Richard Russo,

Book cover of Somebody's Fool

Anne Griffin Why did I love this book?

In Somebody’s Fool Richard Russo lives up to his name as a writer of great depth and humour.  

Russo simply makes me laugh and makes me want to live in the towns and alongside the lives of the characters he creates. These are ordinary everyday folk caught in situations not usually of their choosing. The town of North Bath is being subsumed by its wealthier neighbour Schuyler Springs.

As the residents grapple with these changes and their individual crises, a body is discovered in the rundown Sans Souci Hotel. Doug Raymer, ex-Chief of Police, finds himself taking charge as North Bath and its residents unravel. There is delicious warmth and laughter here in this modern tale of human misunderstanding and tragedy.

By Richard Russo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Somebody's Fool as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A wise and witty drama of small-town life . . . delivering the generous humour, keen ear for dialogue, and deep appreciation for humanity's foibles that have endeared the author to his readers for decades' Publishers Weekly

Ten years after the death of the magnetic Donald 'Sully' Sullivan, the town of North Bath is going through a major transition as it is taken over by its much wealthier neighbour, Schuyler Springs. Peter, Sully's son, is still grappling with his father's tremendous legacy as well as his relationship to his own son, Thomas, wondering if he has been all that different…

Plus, check out my book…

When All Is Said

By Anne Griffin,

Book cover of When All Is Said

What is my book about?

At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual – though tonight is anything but. Over the course of this one evening he will raise five toast to the five most important people in his life. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the lie of one man is powerfully and poignantly laid bare. Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said. A number-one international bestseller, When All Is Said is available on e-book, audio, or hard print worldwide.

I read 30 books this year.