Author British Nigerian Eclectic reader Nerd
The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,686 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 Paradise

Jendella Benson Why did I love this book?

The opening line to this book is literally one for the ages – if there’s one thing that Ms. Morrison knew how to do, it was to keep you gripped right from the very beginning. And the intrigue that the opening inspires continues throughout the book.

I love a layered story – with different entry points, perspectives, and histories wrapped up into one beautifully written package. I felt completely entangled in the small world of the town of Ruby and it’s many inhabitants, the people felt real, they rose off the page (the audio-page) and spoke to me in my sleep.

Speaking of audio – Toni Morrison herself reads the audiobook. The most sublime experience. I finished the book and immediately wanted to go again.

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Paradise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four young women are brutally attacked in a convent near an all-black town in America in the mid-1970s. The inevitability of this attack, and the attempts to avert it, lie at the heart of Paradise.

Spanning the birth of the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, the counter-culture and politics of the late 1970s, deftly manipulating past, present and future, this novel reveals the interior lives of the citizens of the town with astonishing clarity. Starkly evoking the clashes that have bedevilled the American century: between race and racelessness; religion and magic; promiscuity and fidelity; individuality and belonging.

'When Morrison writes at…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Fraud

Jendella Benson Why did I love this book?

For a long time I thought historical fiction was not for me, then I realised I was reading the wrong historical fiction books.

The Fraud had me chuckling alongside the revelatory history it brought to the page. It is not a short book, but the short chapters kept the pace moving along nicely, and I absolutely devoured huge chunks of this book on an overnight 11-hour flight when I most definitely should have been sleeping.

On a more serious note, the book reveals a lot about British society that still lingers today. It’s as much about the present as it is about the past, because where does the dividing line of present and past really lie?

By Zadie Smith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Fraud as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The instant New York Times bestseller.

From acclaimed and bestselling novelist Zadie Smith, a kaleidoscopic work of historical fiction set against the legal trial that divided Victorian England, about who gets to tell their story—and who gets to be believed

It is 1873. Mrs. Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper—and cousin by marriage—of a once-famous novelist, now in decline, William Ainsworth, with whom she has lived for thirty years.

Mrs. Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her cousin, his wives, this life and the next. But she is also sceptical. She suspects her cousin of…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The List

Jendella Benson Why did I love this book?

I neglected two days of obligations to race through this deftly paced, addictive book.

It has the energy of a thriller with the sensibility of Black millennial Britain and I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a book that you will immediately want to discuss. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy but then kind of angry that I couldn’t go and discuss it with people straight away.

I literally told my friends, hurry up and read this so that we can discuss! I started a book club for my job (a suggestion I’d long been putting off) because this was the first suggested book we should discuss!!

By Yomi Adegoke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The instant Sunday Times bestselling debut novel

'A page-turning read about the dark side of social media' STYLIST

'The Book Of The Summer' VOGUE

'Topical, heartfelt, provocative' BERNARDINE EVARISTO

'The perfect summer read ... Impossible to put down' PAULA HAWKINS

'A page-turner that you can't second guess' THE TIMES

'A must-read ... fans of Yellowface will love The List' RED MAGAZINE


Ola Olajide, a high-profile journalist, is marrying the love of her life in one month's time. Young, beautiful, successful - she and her fiance Michael seem to have it all.

That is, until one…

Plus, check out my book…

Book cover of Hope and Glory

What is my book about?

Glory Akindele returns to London from her seemingly glamorous life in LA to mourn the sudden death of her father, only to find her previously close family has fallen apart. Her brother, Victor, is in jail and won’t speak to her. Her older sister, Faith, once a busy career woman, appears to have lost her independence and ambition. Worst of all, their mother, Celeste, is headed toward a breakdown after the death of her husband and the shame of her son’s incarceration.

Rather than returning to America, Glory decides to stay and try to bring them all together again. It’s a tall order given that Glory’s life isn’t exactly working out according to plan either, and she’s acutely aware that she’s not so sure who she is and what she wants.