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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 Ferryman

J.M. DeMatteis Why did I love this book?

A wonderful, surprising plot — the book starts off as one thing and becomes quite another by the end — married to memorable characters, honest emotions, and harnessed to compelling prose that rocketed along like a bullet train.

When I finished it, I was tempted to go back to page one and start all over again. It was a deeply satisfying reading experience and a book that’s lingered in my mind and imagination.  

By Justin Cronin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Next to impossible to put down . . . exciting, mysterious, and totally satisfying.”—STEPHEN KING
 
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage comes a riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia—where the truth isn't what it seems.

Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera’s lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Victory City

J.M. DeMatteis Why did I love this book?

I’m embarrassed to admit that, despite all the accolades heaped upon him over the years, I’d never read anything by Salmon Rushdie, but reading Victory City made it clear that all those accolades were well-earned.

It’s a spellbinding mix of history and fantasy, emotional reality, and Indian mythology, written by an author who is a born storyteller, a sorcerer of the printed page.

This book touched me, delighted me, and awed me. A masterful, magical novel.

By Salman Rushdie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

She will whisper an empire into existence - but all stories have a way of getting away from their creators . . .

'A total pleasure'
SUNDAY TIMES

'Shows once again why his work will always matter'
NEW YORK TIMES

'Rushdie still has the gift of alchemy'
FINANCIAL TIMES

In the wake of an insignificant battle between two long-forgotten kingdoms in fourteenth-century southern India, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that will change the course of history. After witnessing the death of her mother, the grief-stricken Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for a goddess, who tells her that she…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Something Wicked This Way Comes

J.M. DeMatteis Why did I love this book?

There are no writers who have influenced and, more importantly, inspired me more than the great Ray Bradbury. 

When I read a classic Bradbury story, I not only want to race to the computer and create literary wonders of my own, I want to race out the door with my arms wide, embracing the entire universe.      

I first read Something Wicked decades ago, and although I enjoyed it, it wasn't among my favorite Bradbury tales. Rereading it decades later changed that opinion. The book is a mix of terror, wonder, and deep humanity; the writing is rich and poetic; and the characters are indelible. It's a Halloween gift from one of our greatest writers.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Something Wicked This Way Comes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of Ray Bradbury’s best-known and most popular novels, Something Wicked This Way Comes, now featuring a new introduction and material about its longstanding influence on culture and genre.

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all…


Plus, check out my book…

The Witness

By J.M. DeMatteis,

Book cover of The Witness

What is my book about?

On a sleepless night, Jonah Blake goes for a drive—and finds the world literally crashing down on him when a 757 drops out of the sky, exploding in the nearby woods.

Jonah, the lone witness to the event, soon finds himself engulfed in a maelstrom of voices and visions. Are these truly the souls of the 215 people who lost their lives aboard Flight 77—or is Jonah Blake losing his mind?