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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,681 authors and super readers for their 3 favorite reads of the year.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

My favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Book of Lost Tales, Part One

Ben Monroe Why did I love this book?

This is an odd book in some ways. It’s half narrative, half editorial commentary. But I absolutely loved it as a look at the creative process and writing for the sheer joy of writing.

What we have here is a few early stories by Tolkien which show the genesis of his Middle-earth setting along with commentary by his son Christopher. You see Tolkien’s ideas evolve, which was a great reminder that writing is often about polishing, editing, and distilling concepts.

But it was also fun to read, knowing it was just stuff Tolkien was playing with. At the time of writing, he had no thoughts of publishing it. Indeed, it was never published until a few years after his death. He was just writing and creating for his own enjoyment.

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Wolf's Hour

Ben Monroe Why did I love this book?

A werewolf eats nazis. That’s the core idea behind this book, and it’s a solid premise. Who wouldn’t want to read something where nazis get eaten by werewolves?

But then, after we get the initial premise out of the way, we get a great anti-hero protagonist: an orphaned child taken in and raised by a pack of werewolves who really just want to be left alone. The story cuts back and forth between his early life and his life as a reluctant (but efficient) assassin in WWII.

McCammon’s a masterful storyteller and really ties all these threads together into both an exciting and horrific action story, as well as a deep character study.

By Robert McCammon,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Wolf's Hour as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Master spy, Nazi hunter—and werewolf on the prowl—in occupied Paris: A classic of dark fantasy from a Bram Stoker Award—winning author.

Allied Intelligence has been warned: A Nazi strategy designed to thwart the D-Day invasion is underway. A Russian émigré turned operative for the British Secret Service, Michael Gallatin has been brought out of retirement as a personal courier. His mission: Parachute into Nazi-occupied France, search out the informant under close watch by the Gestapo, and recover the vital information necessary to subvert the mysterious Nazi plan called Iron Fist.
Fearlessly devoted to the challenge, Gallatin is the one agent…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Fairy Tale

Ben Monroe Why did I love this book?

When most people think of Stephen King, they think of horror. And while he’s very much known for his tales of ghosts and ghouls, he writes a lot more than that. Fairy Tale is one such example. It hits the ground running with a shocking opening, but then it subtly shifts gears into, really, what it says right there on the cover of the book: a fairy tale. 

In his dedication, King notes that he wrote it thinking of Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, and Robert E. Howard. I also saw strong influences by L. Frank Baum, and C.S. Lewis.

King’s prose is effortless and delightful to read, and his characters are always compelling. I’ve read everything he’s ever written, and Fairy Tale instantly became one of my favorites of his works.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Fairy Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A #1 New York Times Bestseller and New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice!

Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for that world or ours.

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was seven, and grief drove his dad…

Plus, check out my book…

Book cover of The Seething

What is my book about?

A family vacation should be a time to relax and regroup. But while on the shores of Oro Lake, high in the Sierra Nevadas, a teen’s special senses make her the target of something ancient, evil, and angry that slithers in the muck below the water.

One by one, as people begin to disappear, the once quiet town is soon in the grips of a waking nightmare. An unimaginable horror consuming everything before it.

All while echoes of an ancient evil spread out like malignant spider webs, like dead hands reaching, grasping…

My 15-year-old's favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Good Omens

Ben Monroe Why did they love this book?

My kid got into Good Omens first through the Amazon TV series and then recently read the book. They told me they enjoyed it because they liked the overall story, especially the elements of the separate lives coming together and the detailed descriptions.

They liked it enough that they’re planning to be the Angel Aziraphale for Halloween this year!

By Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Good Omens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Ridiculously inventive and gloriously funny' Guardian

What if, for once, the predictions are right, and the Apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

It's a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon, now find themselves in. They've been living amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there's the small…

My 15-year-old's 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Ben Monroe Why did they love this book?

They told me this book is a nice, quiet read, with a vivid, fascinating setting which they’d really like to visit. They went on to say they really enjoyed the interesting main character and that their friendship with the character Mosscap is very well portrayed. Sounds like a good book; maybe I should check it out.

By Becky Chambers,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked A Psalm for the Wild-Built as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honour the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of 'what do people need?' is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They're going to need to ask it a lot.

My 15-year-old's 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella

Ben Monroe Why did they love this book?

This Twilight spinoff only took them a few hours to read, but they liked it because it presents fresh characters in the world of Twilight that aren’t the same couple revamped (ha!) every five years. They said they liked the story between Bree and Diego, their relationship is overwhelmingly positive and it’s sad when you realize what happens to Diego.

By Stephenie Meyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

I turned off my brain. It was time to hunt. I took a deep breath, drawing in the scent of the blood inside the humans below. They weren't the only humans around, but they were the closest. Who you were going to hunt was the kind of decision you had to make before you scented your prey. It was too late now to choose anything.

Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful sense, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood. . .life before she became a vampire.


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