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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.

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My favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale

Paul V. Allen Why did I love this book?

Jon Klassen is my favorite current children’s book illustrator and author.

With The Skull he adapts a folktale from Tyrol to tell the story of an unlikely friendship. Not only is the book by turns creepy and funny, it’s fantastically drawn and it has a cool origin story (which Klassen illuminates in his author’s note, so I won’t spoil it).

By Jon Klassen, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Skull as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

A #1 New York Times bestseller!

Caldecott Medalist and New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Jon Klassen delivers a deliciously macabre treat for folktale fans.

Jon Klassen's signature wry humor takes a turn for the ghostly in this thrilling retelling of a traditional Tyrolean folktale. In a big abandoned house, on a barren hill, lives a skull. A brave girl named Otilla has escaped from terrible danger and run away, and when she finds herself lost in the dark forest, the lonely house beckons. Her host, the skull, is afraid of something too, something that comes every night. Can brave Otilla…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Crook Manifesto

Paul V. Allen Why did I love this book?

I love Colson Whitehead because for all his literary acclaim – including a National Book Award and two Pulitzer Prizes – he’s a geek at heart. His work is often in conversation with the conventions of genres such as horror and sci-fi.

Crook Manifesto is the second book in a planned trilogy of crime novels about a man who’s not fully crooked, but is definitely bent. It’s both a complex character study and an evocative recreation of 1970s New York in all its crumbling glory.

By Colson Whitehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author of Harlem Shuffle continues his Harlem saga in a powerful and hugely-entertaining novel that summons 1970s New York in all its seedy glory.

“Dazzling” –Walter Mosley, The New York Times Book Review.

It’s 1971. Trash piles up on the streets, crime is at an all-time high, the city is careening towards bankruptcy, and a shooting war has broken out between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army. Amidst this collective nervous breakdown furniture store owner and ex-fence Ray Carney tries to keep his head down and his…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Stone Soup: Morsels of an Unsettled Life

Paul V. Allen Why did I love this book?

To call this book a “favorite” is a stretch, but it certainly was one of the most fascinating and memorable books I’ve read in the last few years.

Lobel is a children’s author and illustrator who was married to another children’s author and illustrator (Arnold Lobel of Frog & Toad fame; he died in 1987). Her first memoir detailed her harrowing experiences as a Jewish child in Poland during World War II, ending with her arriving in the U.S. in her late teens. This one picks up there, spending most of its time on her marriage, including its long, complicated dissolution.

It’s rare to find a memoir so completely unfiltered, and that works both for and against one’s perception of its author.

By Anita Lobel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

More than twenty years ago, Anita Lobel published her childhood memoir, NO PRETTY PICTURES, to much acclaim. A child's tale of surviving Hitler's Poland, a rescue by the Swedish Red Cross in 1945, and ending with school years in Stockholm, that book was written in a young girl's voice. NO PRETTY PICTURES was nominated for the National Book Award, received gratifying reviews, and sold extremely well. Now, these many years later, she has decided to tell the rest of her story.

STONE SOUP is an adult memento which begins in the early 1950s with an unwanted transplantation to New York…


Plus, check out my book…

Jack Kent: The Wit, Whimsy, and Wisdom of a Comic Storyteller

By Paul V. Allen,

Book cover of Jack Kent: The Wit, Whimsy, and Wisdom of a Comic Storyteller

What is my book about?

Jack Kent (1920–1985) had two distinct and successful careers. From 1950 to 1965 he wrote and drew King Aroo, a nationally syndicated comic strip beloved by fans for its combination of absurdity, fantasy, wordplay, and wit. Between 1968 and 1985, he published sixty children’s books, including such classics as The Fat Cat and There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon. Kent’s stories for children were funny but often arose from the dark parts of his life.

Jack Kent: The Wit, Whimsy, and Wisdom of a Comic Storyteller draws from archival research, brand-new interviews, and in-depth examinations to illuminate how Kent’s life experiences informed King Aroo and his children’s books. It also includes several King Aroo comics never before published in book form.