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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,560 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 Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Leaders in STEM

Linda Reid Why did I love this book?

A pathway to a Ph.D. can be brutal–more so when the goal is a doctorate in STEM domains, especially in what was once a “man’s world.” Despite these challenges, ground-breaking women weathered the taxing obstacle course to professional success in research, teaching, the corporate road, and academia. They cleared the way for today’s generations of scientists, professors, and innovators.

In Lessons Learned, Deborah Shlian collected and shared the fascinating personal stories of thirty-one of these diverse women who persevered in difficult and often unwelcoming environments and who serve as inspirations for all who seek careers or are currently engaged in STEM realms.  

Mentors and colleagues of all genders will find the stories of perseverance in often inequitable situations illuminating and can take in the wisdom shared by the contributors. As a female MD, having had similar experiences as one of a few female medical students in the early 1970s, I found their stories brought back memories of our own struggles and challenges—and gratitude for the ground-breaking efforts of these amazing women to help open doors for so many of us.

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Panic Attack

Linda Reid Why did I love this book?

As an avid reader and digester of Dennis Palumbo’s outstanding thriller series, I eagerly dived into his latest book, Panic Attack

Rinaldi expertly uses his skills as a psychologist with a “tough on the outside, warm heart on the inside” personality to extricate himself from the dangerous situations he is drawn to as an advocate for compassionate justice and the innocent.

In Panic Attack, Rinaldi witnesses a college mascot shot by a sniper at a football game and gets drawn into another murder mystery when the intended victim calls the psychologist to help him deal with his panic. Soon, Rinaldi has been drafted to investigate a killing spree in which a serial murderer could be targeting him.

Palumbo, as in his other Rinaldi books, weaves a gripping, exciting thriller with fascinating characters and always surprising plot twists set in a wonderfully created atmosphere of Pittsburgh noir. I’ve enjoyed all the other outstanding Rinaldi thrillers and look forward to the next book in Palumbo’s wonderful series. Bosch producers, are you listening?

By Dennis Palumbo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A shooter takes deadly aim, and throws a city into panic
Psychologist Daniel Rinaldi is no stranger to trauma. A survivor of not one, but two attempts on his life by a deranged killer, the therapist also counsels trauma patients in his private practice, and contracts with the Pittsburgh Police to help victims of violent crime cope with their experience. When a sports mascot is gunned down mid-field by a sniper at a college football game he attends, Rinaldi becomes an accidental yet integral part of the investigation. To begin with, the victim in the costume is not the person…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Soul to Soul: Connection and Communication

Linda Reid Why did I love this book?

Octogenarian philanthropist Ruth Lindeck Forman shares inspiring vignettes, critical questions, and helpful wisdom that has flourished from her lifelong journey as a wife, mother, grandmother, and communication specialist in the US, the Caribbean, and around the world.

Forman eloquently lays out pathways for readers to promote their self-insight and confidence, to utilize inspiring new models for advancing local and international rapport, friendship, hope, and harmony, and to improve cross-cultural understanding by embracing kinship and spiritual affection among members of our diverse human community worldwide.

Forman’s journal is a treasure trove of experience, optimism, compassion, comfort, and a practical guide to a more inspiring and emotionally rewarding life blessed with vibrant human connection and heart. Soul to Soul: Connection and Communication is an outstanding guidebook for enriching our lives. Highly recommended!

By Ruth Lindeck Forman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The unique Soul to Soul Connection and Communication experience presents a positive, mindful, and compelling

personal and intercultural communication global paradigm. Communication expert octogenarian Ruth Lindeck Forman

offers anecdotes and facts that enhance, inspire, and uplift to promote well-being, civility, and inclusion.

The book covers science, connections to nature, socio-political issues, and ideas that encourage worthiness and

actualization. Ruth declares each person solely defines who they are by what is in their heart and soul. She proclaims we

choose to respond positively or negatively and sensitively or insensitively. Likewise, we choose to honor or dishonor

ourselves and others. Our choices…

Plus, check out my book…

Renegades: The Zygan Emprise Trilogy, Book 1

By Y S Pascal,

Book cover of Renegades: The Zygan Emprise Trilogy, Book 1

What is my book about?

Singularity Channel viewers may recognize Hollywood actress Shiloh Rush as Ensign Tara Guard in the Singularity Channel sci-fi TV series Bulwark. But, unknown to show fans and viewers, Shiloh and her British co-star Spud are also secret agents for the Zygan Federation, an intergalactic empire that is hidden from Earth.

After Shiloh’s older brother mysteriously disappears, Shiloh joins Zygan Intelligence hoping to track him down. On assignment in Earth’s ancient Middle East to save a young prophet’s life and prevent the destruction of Earth, Shiloh, and Spud uncover a diabolical conspiracy and face murderous traitors in their midst. Hunted by the terrorists, the two agents must go rogue to save Earth.