BEST BOOKS of 2023
2023 Book of the Year
"This is a book that everyone and their mother’s brother has heard of, and for good reason. Violet Sorrengail is forced into Basgiath War College by her mother, the General, and continually fights to the death against her classmates to become stronger than the rest. Their ultimate goal is to bond with a dragon and to survive their training. Xaden Riorson is Violet’s wingleader and sworn enemy, but what they don’t know is how fate has linked them together. This viscerally charged romance fantasy will have you hooked from page one." -Crystal, Denver
2023 Audiobook of the Year
Our #2 Fiction Book of the Year and inaugural Best Audiobook of the Year, Tom Lake is a beautiful and moving novel about family, love, and growing up. With the audiobook narrated by Meryl Streep, Ann Patchett once again proves herself one of America’s finest writers.
For a limited time, customers in-store and online who purchase any of our Best Books of the Year can get Tom Lake on audiobook for free!
2023 Best Fiction
"This is a book Sanderson wrote in secret. No deadlines, no expectations. The result is brilliant. Tress's world is fascinating, I want to explore it in an RPG. In many ways, the story reads like a classic fairytale, but with some fun twists and vibrant characters. And did you notice what was happening with the chapter numbers?" -Kaitlin, Cleveland
"This is the best from Emily Henry so far. Her books never get repetitive. She goes beyond the conventional romance and writes about heartbreak and the bonds of chosen family. I was on edge the entire time reading it." -Kimberly, Pittsburgh
"I love this book. It is just so beautiful. It is unique, entertaining, smart and thoughtful. A talented young man in 18th century India is recruited to help craft a tiger automaton for the Sultan. What follows plays out across decades, continents and even at sea, a grand and ambitious stage that James somehow meaningfully compacts into less than 300 compulsively readable pages, gloriously illustrating the inanities and cruelties of colonialism, prejudice and globalization while still celebrating the invaluable outcomes of societal and personal collaboration such as art and science, or love and life. Loot vibrates with the same indomitable spirit and creativity of its main character, Abbas, and delivers a novel that is easily as spectacular as his tiger." -Sara, Connecticut
“The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese is a must read! I know it is long, but you will fall in love with the characters and the beautifully described setting. You can feel the care that Verghese puts into each word. Through love and heartbreak, this family saga will reverberate through your soul.” -Sandra, Seattle
“Chain Gang All Stars unfurls with relentless intensity, drawing you into a high-stakes world where survival is paramount and alliances are forged under the weight of life-or-death decision. Mirroring the heart-pounding tension and socio-political complexities of The Hunger Games but with its own distinctive path, Chain Gang All Stars offers a gripping read for fans of moral dilemmas and high-stakes competitions.” -Russell, New Jersey
The Postcard begins as a fairly straightforward biography of the author’s family and their tragic fates in the Holocaust. Its power builds gradually through the accretion of details which bring the Rabinowitzs vividly to life as unique individuals, as relatable as our own families; details that reinforce the scope of the tragedy, the millions of other individuals, the injustices and unbelievable horrors seeping into every moment of daily life, in every corner of every country in Europe, the impossible choices, the legacy of survivors. The Postcard is also a stunning celebration of resistance, a loving portrait of a fascinating family, and an entertaining mystery. It is, in sum, an extraordinarily personal and powerful remembrance.
So, what is in the trunk Adelaide? It is the early 1900s, central California and Adelaide Henry has just set her family farm ablaze leaving her parents’ bodies to burn up in the flames. On the run, she drags along a heavy steamer trunk filled with something much more potent than family secrets. She heads to Montana where word has it that single women of a certain age can homestead and lay claim to their own land. Victor LaValle deftly weaves elements of horror and mystery into a work of historical fiction something like Willa Cather crossed with Stephen King. Readers of his previous book, the much-lauded, The Changeling (check out the recently released Apple + series, it’s excellent) will not be disappointed—fun, scary, and smart.
From Jesmyn Ward—the two-time National Book Award winner, youngest winner of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, and MacArthur Fellow—comes a haunting masterpiece, sure to be an instant classic, about an enslaved girl in the years before the Civil War.
2023 Best Nonfiction
"A fascinating true story about an 18th-century shipwreck off the coast of Patagonia. David Grann puts the reader directly into the hardship and struggles the sailors experienced. He vividly describes the hostile conditions on the island, the crew's desperate attempts to survive, and the moral compromises they choose to make. Educating as well as entertaining, this story has something for everyone, intrigue, suspense, plot twists and an ending I didn't see coming." -Sherri, Denver
“This is a thought-provoking book that provides a better image and understanding of the poor in America. Matthew Desmond urges the middle class and the rich to examine how their role in government and social policy creates class warfare. The socially conscious as well as the Pragmatist will see the economic and social benefit of eradicating systemic poverty. This book pushes the debate about wealth to the next level.” -Sherri, Denver
“Quietly Hostile was my introduction into the very relatable, very irreverent and sometimes very awkward world of Samantha Irby. Writing so candidly about her life choices, struggles with IBS and her love of Dave Matthews, this book made me laugh out loud in public spaces. Perfect for reading in airports!” -Paige, New Jersey
“Soil is Dungey’s multilayered narrative of cultivating her Colorado garden. Both implicitly and explicitly political, it is an impassioned and galvanizing blend of nature writing, memoir, social criticism and environmental justice, all synthesized through the sensibility of a gifted poet. Much as I imagine the author’s garden to be, Soil is beautiful and nourishing. I especially enjoyed listening to Dungey’s audio version. Soil is truly a work of art.” -Sara, Connecticut
"When this book first caught my attention, I thought it was a perfect airport book just from the cover. The subject and angle: ‘an irreverent look at travel’ are perfectly aligned. But then, as occasionally happens, this one was way more than just the elements of its cover. What is the old saw about not judging a book? Mixing the author’s personal experiences on the road with larger thematic chapters detailing aspects of the history of travel (passports and visas: who needs them and who doesn’t?, experiential differences faced by people of diverse racial and national backgrounds as they try to get to the same place by the same but different means) this book somehow manages to be both a deeply intimate memoir and an expansive overview of just what it claims to be, a history of travel (underline the irreverent part)." -Matt, Los Angeles
“Safiya gives us a unique look into a Rastafarian upbringing where the men in the household dictate the family rules. Even in a culture that tries to make women small, How to Say Babylon shows how the power of books and education can expand the opportunities of anyone who wants to escape a cycle of family trauma.” -Justin, Atlanta
From the best-selling author of The Big Short and Flash Boys, the story of FTX’s spectacular collapse and the enigmatic founder at its center.
“I highly recommend The Best Strangers in the World by Ari Sharpiro. Ari is a lot more than a voice on the radio. Not only is he a host on NPR, but he sings with the band, Pink Martini, and performs a live stage show with Alan Cumming. As Ari noted in my autographed copy of his book- ‘Thank you for sharing these stories!’” -Sandra, Seattle
A literary and visual exploration of the songs of Steely Dan.
Cannabis is quickly becoming one of America's to crops. Finn's Rocky Mountain High gives us an entertaining look into the ups and downs of the newly federally legalized industrial hemp industry as farmers in Colorado attempt stake their claim on this new “green” rush. Roll up a hemp joint and get into the weeds of this high-flying industry.