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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 Every Day Is for the Thief

Emily Katz Anhalt Why did I love this book?

This exquisite, slender gem of a novel gave me the immense privilege of accompanying a supremely perceptive, eloquent, wise narrator on a profound exploration of life in modern Lagos, Nigeria.

Revisiting home after a long absence and feeling both insider and outsider, the narrator ponders changes in his world and in himself.

Equal parts appalling and inspiring, this modern Odyssey details the emotional and intellectual challenges of survival in a society with endemic corruption, where callous self-dealing at others’ expense has become not an aberration but the expected norm.

This book made me feel simultaneously fearful and hopeful for the future of humanity.

By Teju Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Every Day Is for the Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY DWIGHT GARNER, THE NEW YORK TIMES • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY San Francisco Chronicle | NPR | The Root | The Telegraph | The Globe and Mail

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • FINALIST, PHILLIS WHEATLEY BOOK AWARD • TEJU COLE WAS NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICANS OF THE YEAR BY NEW AFRICAN MAGAZINE

For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Michael Ondaatje, Every Day Is for the Thief is a wholly original work of fiction by Teju Cole, whose critically acclaimed debut, Open…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World

Emily Katz Anhalt Why did I love this book?

This book revitalized my faith in the healing power of friendship and storytelling.

Over six years, Franks conducted a series of conversations with Levi, then in her 90s, a woman born in Jewish Rhodes, an ancient community eradicated during the holocaust.

Franks’s beautifully written, exquisitely-paced account exposes two brilliant minds, Levi’s and his own.

In their ennobling company, you retrace Levi’s inspiring life from her youth in the unique community of Jewish Rhodes, through her astounding survival of Nazi death camps, to her astonishing ability to craft a fulfilling life afterward.

Together, Frank and Levi explore both the horrors of genocide and the resilience of human nature. 

By Michael Frank, Maira Kalman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Hundred Saturdays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of Wall Street Journal’s Ten Best Books of the Year * Winner of the National Jewish Book Awards for Holocaust Memoir and Sephardic Culture * Recipient of the Jewish Book Council’s Natan Notable Book Award * Winner of the Sophie Brody Medal

The remarkable story of ninety-nine-year-old Stella Levi whose conversations with the author over the course of six years bring to life the vibrant world of Jewish Rhodes, the deportation to Auschwitz that extinguished ninety percent of her community, and the resilience and wisdom of the woman who lived to tell the tale.

With nearly a century of…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Emily Katz Anhalt Why did I love this book?

I am pathetically grateful that women’s running shoes have been available now for decades. I thought I already knew this stuff: athletic equipment and personal protection equipment designed exclusively for men, medicines tested on men but not women, and car crash dummies designed to replicate male but not female bodies.

But who knew that snow removal policies could have deeply adverse consequences for women? Or that women are far less likely to be involved in car crashes than men but more likely to be severely injured or killed in one?

In lively, dispassionate, page-turning prose, Criado Perez illuminates these problems and so much more. Since testing of medicines, cars, workplace safety, smartphone design, etc., has only just begun to take women’s bodies into account, this book seems astonishingly necessary.

By Caroline Criado Perez,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Invisible Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2019 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
Winner of the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize

Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives.

Celebrated feminist advocate…


Plus, check out my book…

Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths

By Emily Katz Anhalt,

Book cover of Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths

What is my book about?

As political violence escalates in the US and abroad, three masterworks of ancient Greek literature emphasize the self-destructiveness of vengeance and the foolishness of glorifying violent rage.

Composed before and during the ancient Greeks’ ground-breaking movement away from autocracy toward more inclusive political participation, Homer’s Iliad, Sophocles’ Ajax, and Euripides’ Hecuba, reveal rage-fueled violence as a marker of illogical thinking and poor leadership.

Enraged details how these time-tested tales encourage us, as they encouraged the Greeks millennia ago, to reject the seductions of rage and to cultivate instead empathy, self-restraint, and rational debate. Exposing the costs of violent rage to perpetrators as well as victims, these stories arm us against the tyrants we might serve and the tyrants we might become.