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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 Rough Sleepers: Dr. Jim O'Connell's urgent mission to bring healing to homeless people

Bobbie Pyron Why did I love this book?

Tracey Kidder, Pulitzer prize-winning author of Mountains Beyond Mountains, is a master of nonfiction.

In his new book, Rough Sleepers, he tells the story of Dr. Jim O’Connell, a gifted, compassionate doctor who cares for Boston’s chronically homeless men and women. This book really opened my eyes to the complex reasons and conditions for people experiencing homelessness for long periods of time. And, like my book, it shows how one person can make a difference! 

By Tracy Kidder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rough Sleepers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The powerful story of an inspiring doctor who made a difference, by helping to create a program to care for Boston’s homeless community—by the Pulitzer Prize–winning, New York Times bestselling author of Mountains Beyond Mountains

“I couldn’t put Rough Sleepers down. I am left in awe of the human spirit and inspired to do better.”—Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
 
Tracy Kidder has been described by The Baltimore Sun as “a master of the nonfiction narrative.” In Rough Sleepers, Kidder tells the story of Dr. Jim O’Connell, a gifted man who invented a community…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Midnight Children

Bobbie Pyron Why did I love this book?

Dan Gemeinhart is one of my favorite middle-grade authors.

He has such a gift for exploring complex stories with lyrical prose and depth. The Midnight Children is a tender, beautiful tale about a lonely young boy and a family of mysterious children who move in across the street. I couldn’t put it down!

By Dan Gemeinhart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Midnight Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times and Indie bestseller!

From Dan Gemeinhart, the acclaimed author of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, comes an extraordinary story about a family of runaways who take up residence in a small town, and the outcast boy who finds his voice and his people―perfect for fans of Katherine Applegate and Kate DiCamillo.

"Dan Gemeinhart’s best yet and that’s saying something." ―Padma Venkatraman, Walter Award-winning author of The Bridge Home

In the dead of night, a truck arrives in Slaughterville, a small town curiously named after its windowless slaughterhouse. Seven mysterious kids with suitcases step out…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Marriage Portrait

Bobbie Pyron Why did I love this book?

I was absolutely blown away by O’Farrell’s earlier book, Hamnet! But would I love her new book as much or would I be disappointed?

I loved The Marriage Portrait every bit as much as Hamnet! O’Farrell has to be one of the best historical fiction writers out there. Her books are immersive, captivating, and thought provoking. I love the fact that both Hamnet and The Marriage Portrait tell the stories of strong women taking fate into their own hands.

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Marriage Portrait as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION FINALIST • REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK • NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • The author of award-winning Hamnet brings the world of Renaissance Italy to jewel-bright life in this unforgettable fictional portrait of the captivating young duchess Lucrezia de' Medici as she makes her way in a troubled court.

“I could not stop reading this incredible true story.” —Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club Pick)

"O’Farrell pulls out little threads of historical detail to weave this story of a precocious girl sensitive to the contradictions of her station...You may know the history, and you may think you…


Plus, check out my book…

Book cover of Stay

What is my book about?

Eleven-year-old Piper and her family find themselves experiencing homelessness through no fault of their own. Piper hates living in a family shelter and being known as one of the “homeless kids” in her new school. But when she meets a little dog named Baby and his person, Jewel, who live unsheltered in a city park, Piper discovers strength and community in unlikely places.