Our Favorite Reads of 2023

Let’s be honest, keeping up with the latest releases can sometimes feel like chasing a runaway book cart.

Instead of the the typical boring list about which books had the most borrows this year, we decided to put together a list of books that we really enjoyed reading! You may notice that many of these books weren’t released this year and to us that’s fine, sometimes it takes a while to get through your “to-be-read” list.

Some items may not be available in our collection at this time.

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

“I really enjoyed the plot line and plot twists within the novel. It was full of interesting characters with great character development and lots of funny banter. This made me fall in love with the characters which is always dangerous in a high-stakes novel.”

– Katelyn

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

“If a book doesn’t capture my attention in the first chapter, I usually don’t read it. However, Demon Copperhead captured me within the first sentence and I wanted to read it from start to finish without stopping. Although I normally don’t cry over a book, this one touched my deepest emotions. Yet, the narrator, an 11-year-old boy, has a fabulous and naïve sense of humor that made me laugh out loud at times. The book resonated deeply with me because of the Kentucky holler near my house. I could picture the scenes taking place right there in my backyard. The book is shocking and raw, and I forced myself to read slowly so it wouldn’t finish too quickly. I don’t know what I’ll read after this. I can’t imagine another book quite as good as this one. Everything else seems insipid in comparison.”

– Johanna

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

“A well planned and executed character dive into Coriolanus Snow. I really enjoyed seeing his descent into the tyrannical President we know from the OG trilogy, but also seeing him battle his desire for power, and control, versus love and morality.”

– Elizabeth

Soul Taken by Patricia Briggs

“This installment provides extensive background on some of the tri-cities’ most formidable monsters without diminishing their fright factor. I’m hoping Patricia Briggs has more in store because I’m already eager for the next one! Whether there are more to come or not, I appreciate the opportunity to spend time with Mercy and her diverse pack.”

– Robin

Still Life by Louise Penny

“This book provides a setting that instantly inspires the reader to settle in to finish the book.  The characters come to life at the first encounter.  The first in a series that will leave you wanting more!”

– Teressa

The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan

“This is the second book in his Wolf of the Empire trilogy. The characters are layered and well developed, the story is full of action, the magic system is unique, and are the twists and turns all surrounding the battle between the legal justice system and religious zealotry and the players in each make for a thoroughly entertaining and engaging read.”

– Dawn

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

“One of my favorite authors diving into Appalachia and drug addiction. I felt as if I knew these people. Their struggles were the same ones my own relatives have experienced. Of all the books I’ve read this year, this one was by far the most heartbreaking yet uplifting!”

– Cindy

No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh

Hanh has been one of my favorite people for over a decade now. I have read several of his books, but just now got around to reading No Mud, No Lotus. I love the message that something as beautiful as a lotus flower blooms because it is able to grow through mud. Without mud there is no lotus flower.

– Danny

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

“I’ve always enjoyed stories that involve large scale disasters and how characters deal with things when the world gets flipped upside down. This story takes place in the Appalachian mountains near Asheville, North Carolina which made it even more interesting to me because it wasn’t taking place in Los Angeles or New York. The character design was great and I thought the reactions seemed very plausible. If you like disaster stories, then this might be your jam.”

– Kevin

The Sacred Bridge by Anne Hillerman

“The main characters are Navajo law enforcement officers and work on a Navajo reservation. This book is fast paced and the main character Joe Leaphorn, does his best to help those in trouble on the reservation. Interesting glimpse into life on a Navajo reservation. The AMC show Dark Winds is based on Hillerman’s books and has a wonderful cast. I recommend the books and the show.”

– Raina

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

“This book says a lot of really intriguing things about isolation, reality versus delusion, mortality, and the confines of obsession. What makes it so interesting is that there is no shortage of ways to interpret this work: what the characters are truly experiencing versus what they’re imagining, what the house is made of and why it acts the way it does, and what drives these characters to their downward spirals. Danielewski handles it all so skillfully.”

– Silas

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

This captured my attention until the very last word. It felt like I was in the story, watching an intimate and vulnerable group of people interact with each other.”

– Vivian

All Hallows by Christopher Golden

“Halloween is my favorite time of year and I love when authors showcase that holiday. This book has spooky children, a mystery with evil beings, family secrets and more.”

– Rachel

And there you have it – the books that we, real-life librarians, actually read and loved this year. No lofty literary elitism here, just good old-fashioned page-turning joy.

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