staff favorites

Staff Favorites 2023!

Revel in the beauty of the All Staff “Reply All” email! I started an email thread asking for lists of favorite materials published in 2023. Collected below you will find a selection of standouts. There is so much variety here, truly something for everyone. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to try a new title or new author. Maybe this is the encouragement you need to read outside your typical genre! Have fun:) Read something you’ve heard lots about or nothing about. As a staff, we read a lot of fiction — psychological, gothic, horror, historical, romance, thriller. We read a lot in general — memoir, essays, picture books, and manga. You’ll also find our favorite movies, television, and music.


Jen, Public Services Manager

  • Lone Women by Victor LaValle (Book)
  • Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones (Book)

Leah, Public Service Associate

  • Happy Place by Emily Henry (Book) | “Emily Henry does it again! I recommend reading this book in one of your happy places!” 
  • The Housemaid’s Secret by Freida McFadden (Book)| “A sequel to the popular psychological thriller, The Housemaid. Freida McFadden has grabbed readers’ attention with these novels!”

Hannah, Public Service Associate & Creative Content Coordinator

  • The Last Heir to Blackwood Library by Hester Fox (Book | Libby) | “Cryptic servants, ghosts, and a magnificent but cursed library? Yes, please. I devour Hester Fox books for the eerie gothic touches that cling onto you right till the happy ending shakes them free.”

Juliana, Public Service Associate

  • The Lost Wife by Susanna Moore (Book) | “Set in the 1800s during American Westward Expansion, The Lost Wife is not something I’d typically gravitate towards. It came highly recommended by author Stephanie Danler who said it’s “bananas”. I picked it up and read it in a single weekend and still find myself thinking about the strong female protagonist.”

Beth, Public Service Associate

  • The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff (Book) | “I loved the dark humor and social commentary. The characters were memorable, and the story was engaging from beginning to end. An excellent debut from this author; I hope she writes more!”



  • The Book of (More) Delights: Essays by Ross Gay (Book)


  • Still Life at Eighty: The Next Interesting Thing by Abigail Thomas (Book) | “I love Thomas’ writing style and have read a number of her books. I didn’t know this was coming out and was delighted to discover it on the shelf.”


  • Birth: Three Mothers, Nine Months, and Pregnancy in America by Rebecca Grant (Book) | “My favorite sort of non-fiction books are books that explore important sociological, political or economic topics through the life experiences of real and ordinary people. Issues surrounding birth and pregnancy are taking center-stage in our politics, and it is imperative that we hear directly from those who have to navigate the system.”


Amanda, Youth Services Librarian

  • Magic Has No Borders edited by Sona Charaipotra & Samira Ahmed (Book) | “This short story compilation is simply brilliant. With works from some of the best writers in YA, it was always destined to be amazing, but the rich, deep connections with the relatively unplumbed (and fascinating!) world of South Asian folklore made this compilation hard to put down.”
  • Cursed Princess Club by LambCat (Graphic Novel) |”A fun and fluffy princess-fueled romp with a surprisingly deep (and occasionally dark) backstory, this graphic novel is just plain fun to read. I followed this comic while it was still just a Webtoon, and I’m so excited that the author got a chance to publish it! “
  • The Glass Scientists by S.H. Cotugno (Graphic Novel) |”As a lifelong fan of gaslamp fantasies and steampunk science fiction, I knew from the get-go that I was going to love this graphic novel. Pairing the intrigue of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with a villain redemption arc narrative, likeable characters, and charming art makes for a fun time.”


Kelly, Youth Services Librarian

  • No Fair by Jacob Grant (Book)
  • Big by Vashti Harrison (Book)
  • Cape by Kevin Johnson (Book)
  • Ancient Night by David Alvarez with David Bowles (Book)



  • M3GAN (DVD / BluRay) | “Movie-wise everyone is going to say Barbie, whereas my favorite doll movie was actually M3GAN.”


  • Rodeo (DVD International) | “French film. Urban dirt biking. The unlikeable protagonist completely draws you in.”



  • Poker Face (DVD)
  • George and Tammy (DVD)


  • Drops of God (Streaming)| “This show is centered entirely around wine, but instead of an interest in wine, the show inspired my husband and I to become obsessed with Japanese cooking.”


  • The Last of Us (Streaming) | “(Well done) post-apocalyptic drama is one of my favorite television genres. The writing, performances and visual effects are all phenomenal in this series, and Pedro Pascal stars.”



  • Joy’All – Jenny Lewis (CD)
  • Sweet Western Sound – Tanya Tucker (CD)
  • Weathervanes – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (CD)


  • Truth Killer – Sevendust (CD)
  • Blood Orange – Freya Ridings (CD


  • Family Ties – Charles Wesley Godwin 
  • The Record – boygenius (CD)


  • Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift (CD) | “My taste in music is pretty basic with (a capital B), and like almost every other person in the world, I’m a massive fan and supporter. But of all of her re-recordings, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) in my opinion deserves the award for biggest “glow-up” (so far). It’s also the album that convinced my husband that he is, indeed, a Swiftie.”