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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 Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story

Liisa Kyle Why did I love this book?

I'm not a U2 fan, but as a creativity coach, I was curious about this book because it is a memoir organized around 40 songs. From the first pages, I was swept up in a compelling, beautifully written, unexpectedly deep account of a fascinating creative career.

This book spans Bono's career from his early days, forming a band with Dublin school mates and flogging demos in London – to the highs and lows of being a part of an extraordinarily successful rock band – to his substantial contributions as an activist and philanthropist. He chronicles the decisions, tensions, and dynamics of composing, recording, and performing with the same band members for forty years.

His stories give new insights into his beautifully composed lyrics, which also form the structure of the book. His commitment to his wife of forty years is also to be respected. I wasn't a fan before, but having read the book, I now have a new appreciation for Bono and U2.

By Bono,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the greatest rock memoirs ever written and a Sunday Times bestseller now out in paperback - the honest, irreverent and powerfully entertaining life story of the U2 front-man.

Bono - artist, activist and the lead singer of Irish rock band U2 - has written his autobiography- honest and irreverent, intimate and profound, Surrender is the story of the remarkable life he's lived, the challenges he's faced and the friends and family who have shaped and sustained him - now out in paperback.

'When I started to write this book I was hoping to draw in detail what I'd…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Demon Copperhead

Liisa Kyle Why did I love this book?

I’ve read dozens of books about people overcoming dire beginnings. This deftly crafted novel about an Appalachian boy is different because, somehow, it never dips into depression.

Yes, Demon encounters poverty, mistreatment, and challenges – yet his pluck, humor, and knack for survival keep the story moving forward. Yes, there are downs, but there are also ups and strokes of luck and moments of triumph. Yes, it’s loosely based on the David Copperfield story, but it’s so much more appealing. 

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

58 authors picked Demon Copperhead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Demon's story begins with his traumatic birth to a single mother in a single-wide trailer, looking 'like a little blue prizefighter.' For the life ahead of him he would need all of that fighting spirit, along with buckets of charm, a quick wit, and some unexpected talents, legal and otherwise.

In the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, poverty isn't an idea, it's as natural as the grass grows. For a generation growing up in this world, at the heart of the modern opioid crisis, addiction isn't an abstraction, it's neighbours, parents, and friends. 'Family' could mean love, or reluctant foster…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Great Circle

Liisa Kyle Why did I love this book?

This astonishing novel weaves together the stories of two disparate women. One is a modern-day movie actress with a tendency to self-sabotage. The other is a driven aviation pioneer of the early 20th Century.

The title refers to the latter’s final goal: to become the first person to fly a great circle around the world, intersecting both poles. Spoiler alert— her airplane disappeared somewhere near Antarctica in 1950. As the actress researches the aviator’s life to play her in a film, new details are discovered that inform and enrich both their lives.

Somehow, the book works as well-researched historical fiction and also as a fun, contemporary narrative about Hollywood realities.

By Maggie Shipstead,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Great Circle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK • The unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost: an “epic trip—through Prohibition and World War II, from Montana to London to present-day Hollywood—and you’ll relish every minute” (People).

After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There--after encountering a pair of barnstorming pilots passing through town in beat-up biplanes--Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fourteen she…

Plus, check out my book…

Making the Most of 2024: A Workbook

By Liisa Kyle,

Book cover of Making the Most of 2024: A Workbook

What is my book about?

Make the most of 2024! What would you like to do in 2024? What’s important to you? What would you like to experience? What would you like to explore or learn? What would you like to accomplish, acquire, or complete?

This workbook is a flexible guide for you to make this year whatever you’d like it to be.  Inside are proven tools designed to foster whatever is important to you — tailored to your unique circumstances and preferences. This self-guided seminar will help you reflect on what you experienced in 2023, generate ideas for all areas of your life for 2024, identify your current, true top priorities, and make achievable plans for 2024.

Give yourself—or someone else—the gift of a wonderful 2024!