I’m Marcia Calhoun Forecki Author Of Blood of the White Bear
Marcia Calhoun Forecki
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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,199 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…

Victory City

By Salman Rushdie,

Book cover of Victory City

Marcia Calhoun Forecki Why did I love this book?

I rarely re-read books, but Salman Rushdie’s Victory City will be the exception. It is a feast of magic, humor, exotic locations, goddesses, dynastic conflict, and wars of conquest.

Love and betrayal, tolerance, and bigotry compete as the story travels through two and a half centuries of the life of one woman. Favored by a goddess, she becomes the creator of a great kingdom, speaks with the goddess’s voice, and carries her magic through her long life.

In recounting the rise and fall of Victory City, its heroes, and destroyers, Rushdie lays out a magic carpet ride for his readers. His wonderful humor is abundant. The kings, queens, warriors, and citizens of Victory City are only words. “Words are the only victors.”   

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'

'Shows once again why his work will always matter'

'Rushdie still has the gift of alchemy'

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 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Bright Forever: A Novel

Marcia Calhoun Forecki Why did I love this book?

I left everything undone to finish reading The Bright Forever by Lee Martin.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel recounts the abduction and murder of a nine-year-old girl in a Midwest town during the 1970s; rather than a formula who-done-it, with familiar characters and storyline, this book explores the disorder created in the lives of the victim’s family and neighbors.

The investigation reveals not only the identity of the murderer but secrets of the entire town. 

By Lee Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A dark, harrowing novel about a nine-year-old girl's disappearance and the lasting impact it has on her close-knit community

On an evening like any other, nine-year-old Katie Mackey, daughter of the most affluent family in a small town on the plains of Indiana, sets out on her bicycle to return some library books.

This simple act is at the heart of The Bright Forever, a deeply affecting novel about the choices people make that change their lives forever. Fact, speculation, and contradiction play off one another as the details about Katie's disappearance--and about the townspeople--unfold, creating a fast-paced story that…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm

Marcia Calhoun Forecki Why did I love this book?

I love my nonfiction to be captivating. This Blessed Earth was written by a Nebraska native and chronicles a year in the life of an American family farm.

The complexity of farming is shocking. Farmers must make decisions on outcomes they do not control. Despite careful planning, the worst can happen at any time, without warning.

The strength of a family is tested daily. Producing food is the most vital job and also the least understood by most consumers.  

By Ted Genoways,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Blessed Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, yet its future is in peril. Rick Hammond grew up on a small ranch, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife's fifth-generation homestead in York County, Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm-and their entire way of life-are under siege. Rising corporate ownership of land and livestock is forcing small farmers to get bigger and bigger, assuming more debt and more risk. At the same time, after nearly a decade…

Plus, check out my book…

Blood of the White Bear

By Marcia Calhoun Forecki, Gerald Schnitzer,

Book cover of Blood of the White Bear

What is my book about?

Available in Kindle format, Blood of the White Bear describes a fictional hantavirus pandemic. Virologist Rachel Bisette is drawn by visions of Kachinas to lead the search for a cure for the lethal virus.

Rachel’s parents perished in a mysterious plane crash in the Four Corners area when she was a toddler. Only Rachel survived, saved by Diné healer Eva Yellow Horn.

Now, Rachel and Eva reunite to combine science and the spirit in search of a vaccine. From Eva, Rachel learns the truth about the plane crash and her father’s investigation of an environmental disaster: a release of radioactive material at Church Rock, NM, in 1979. The narrative seamlessly merges elements of science, spirituality, and environmental activism, elevating the story beyond a medical thriller.

I read 14 books this year.