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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,686 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 State of Wonder

Susie Orman Schnall Why did I love this book?

I enjoyed this book for two main reasons. First, it sucked me in from the very beginning and provided me with what I absolutely love about reading which is to be transported away to a new world.

Within that new world, though, was a unique page-turning story, filled with gorgeous writing and fleshed-out characters, that constantly left me wondering what will happen next.

Second, I thought this book – unsurprisingly considering the author – was a master class in novel writing. Pacing, character development, conflict, plot twists, a transportive quality… I could go on and on.

It satisfied me as a reader and as a writer and is definitely in my top ten favorite books I’ve ever read. Highly recommend!

By Ann Patchett,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked State of Wonder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION There were people on the banks of the river. Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women for ever. Dr Annick Swenson's work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investors, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns. Now Marina Singh, Anders' colleague and once a student of…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Secret Book of Flora Lea

Susie Orman Schnall Why did I love this book?

This was a perfectly crafted story from page one.

I went in knowing absolutely nothing about this book, aside from the fact that I was hearing great things about it, and I couldn’t have been more delighted—truly delighted—with what I found.

I loved the dual timeline and the expert way the author navigated between them. I loved the mystery aspect, constantly wondering what would happen, and the satisfying twist. I loved the gorgeous, lyrical prose.

And I loved how complete the story was—every element of it, from the characters to the plot to the history, were so beautifully constructed. And most of all, it is full of love and emotion and wonder and hope. Highly recommend!

By Patti Callahan Henry,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Secret Book of Flora Lea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Susie Orman Schnall Why did I love this book?

From the moment I finished this book – actually, while I was listening to it – I started telling everyone I knew they had to read it. Like, must do, need to, do nothing until you read it. And then I told everyone on Instagram.

This book was monumentally fascinating. The scientific and cultural history of breath was explored thoroughly and compellingly. And then, the author made it all relatable by discussing the practical aspects of breath that concern, or should concern, us all. 

You might not think you need to learn about breath, as it’s something we do all day long. But trust me. This book will make you think differently every time you inhale.

By James Nestor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?



'Who would have thought something as simple as changing the way we breathe could be so revolutionary for our health, from snoring to allergies to immunity? A fascinating book, full of dazzling revelations' Dr Rangan Chatterjee

There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. In Breath, journalist James Nestor travels the world…

Plus, check out my book…

Anna Bright Is Hiding Something: A Novel

By Susie Orman Schnall,

Book cover of Anna Bright Is Hiding Something: A Novel

What is my book about?

A fast-paced and ripped-from-the-headlines story, set in the glossy offices of Silicon Valley startups and New York City new media that explores our fascination with female founders who are breaking barriers—and sometimes behaving badly in the process.

Nobody knows Anna Bright is committing fraud. Not the board of her multibillion-dollar company, her investors, the media, or the public breathlessly anticipating the imminent launch of BrightSpot.

Jamie Roman, a hardworking journalist, is in awe of Anna. But when Jamie learns about Anna’s misconduct, she embarks on a journey to expose the crimes to make a name for herself. With news of the deceit about to break, each woman will risk everything for her version of the truth... and only one will emerge unscathed.