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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,644 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 Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies

Eliza Robertson Why did I love this book?

Listen. I have always been a self-help book skeptic. But that’s before I was invited to cowrite one myself. (To be clear, that is not the book of mine featured here — it’s a work-in-progress!)

To go from self-help skeptic to self-help writer, I read about 15 books in two months. Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies was the one that converted me. I had every intention of reading the free teaser online and moving on, but from the first page I knew I needed more. I wanted this book on paper. On my bedside table. With my morning tea. It’s a book I both devoured and savoured—or attempted to savour. (The devouring impulse eventually won.)

Schuster’s writing is hilarious, honest, vulnerable, and warm. I wish I could read it for the first time all over again.

By Tara Schuster,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brutally honest, often hilarious, hard-won lessons in learning to love and care for yourself from a former vice president at Comedy Central who was called “ahead of her time” by Jordan Peele

“You’re going to want Tara Schuster to become your new best friend.”—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed

“Compelling, persuasive, and useful no matter where you are in your life.”—Chelsea Handler, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Life Will Be the Death of Me

By the time she was in her late twenties, Tara Schuster was a rising TV executive who had worked for…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Ghana Must Go

Eliza Robertson Why did I love this book?

I first encountered Selasi’s writing in a short story she published in Granta over a decade ago. Her prose is entrancing. Thick with mood, ambiance, danger, and beauty.

For some reason, it’s taken me years to track down her novel, Ghana Must Go, but it did not disappoint. Following the story of a Ghanaian/Nigerian family who emigrated to America, this book was full of empathy and intrigue. As a reader—I couldn’t put it down. As a writer—I admired Selasi’s deft handling of structure and multiple points of view. A moving and impressive read. 

By Taiye Selasi,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ghana Must Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "buoyant" and "rapturous" debut novel (The Wall Street Journal) about the transformative power of unconditional love

Electric, exhilarating, and beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go introduces the world to Taiye Selasi, a novelist of extraordinary talent. In a sweeping narrative that takes readers from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, it is at once a portrait of a modern family and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are.

A renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai dies suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of his death…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Journalist and the Murderer

Eliza Robertson Why did I love this book?

I never thought I’d write a True Crime book. But when Krystal Senyk’s story landed on my doorstep (literally—see I Got a Name for details), I couldn’t turn away.

True Crime is a genre that has a complex relationship with writerly ethics—and Malcolm hits that nail sharply on the head. The book opens with the assertion that every journalist knows their work is “morally indefensible”—an intriguing if damning premise.

This book is a seminal one in the world of journalistic ethics. It’s intelligent, painstaking, and thoughtful. It has also helped me parse through what I most feared in writing I Got a Name and informed my perspective on other books in this genre as well.

By Janet Malcolm,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Journalist and the Murderer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible'

In equal measure famous and infamous, Janet Malcolm's book charts the true story of a lawsuit between Jeffrey MacDonald, a convicted murderer, and Joe McGinniss, the author of a book about the crime. Lauded as one of the Modern Libraries "100 Best Works of Nonfiction", The Journalist and the Murderer is fascinating and controversial, a contemporary classic of reportage.


Plus, check out my book…

I Got a Name: The Murder of Krystal Senyk

By Eliza Robertson, Myles Dolphin,

Book cover of I Got a Name: The Murder of Krystal Senyk

What is my book about?

Krystal Senyk was the kind of friend everybody wants: a reliable confidant, a handywoman of all trades, and an infectious creative with an adventurous spirit. So when her best friend needed support to leave her abusive husband, Ronald Bax, Krystal leapt into action. But soon Krystal became the new outlet for Bax’s rage. Krystal was scared but reached out to the RCMP for a police escort. The officer brushed her off.

Bax’s threat had been all too real. At 29, the woman who seemed invincible was shot and killed at her home in the Yukon. Ronald Bax disappeared without a trace. Three decades later, Eliza Robertson has re-opened the case. In compelling, vibrant prose, she works tirelessly to piece together Krystal’s story, retracing the dire failings of Canadian law enforcement.