Carol's 2023 Top 12

I read about 60 books again this year and narrowed my favorites to these 12--in alphabetical order since I couldn't decide on my favorite of my favorites!

 

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The Covenant of Water (Oprah's Book Club) By Abraham Verghese Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780802162175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - May 2nd, 2023

Another amazing saga from the author of Cutting for Stone.  We follow a family in Southern India over the course of a century, with at least one member of each generation afflicted with an unexplained tragic fear of water.


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Demon Copperhead: A Pulitzer Prize Winner By Barbara Kingsolver Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780063251922
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - October 18th, 2022

I have read all of Kingsolver's work, but had put off reading this difficult story until just recently.  It is so deserving of all its accolades!  A moving and important story, and the resilient Demon is an unforgettable character.

Carol


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The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store: A Novel By James McBride Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593422946
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 8th, 2023

Lovely Chona runs the store of the title in a poor Pennsylvania neighborhood of African Americans who have moved north and Eastern European Jews who have fled to America.  The story has heartbreak, but also humor, a mystery, and memorable characters making their way in a supportive community.

Carol


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Horse: A Novel By Geraldine Brooks Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780399562976
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 16th, 2024

I wouldn't have thought that I'd be so taken with a story of a racehorse.  I've read all of Geraldine Brooks excellent historical fiction, so I shouldn't have been surprised.  Through paintings of the real life horse, Lexington, she weaves together the story of the young slave who trains it, as well as the artist, before and through the Civil War with a present day story of two historians at the Smithsonian. 

Carol


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An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us By Ed Yong Cover Image
By Ed Yong
$20.00
ISBN: 9780593133255
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - August 29th, 2023

Wow!  This is an absolutely fascinating book about the different senses of animals, how they evolved, and how they function. We humans rarely think about more than the basic 5 senses we were taught in school.  Ed Yong brings us along on his journey through the animal kingdom with enthusiasm.

Carol


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Ireland: A Novel By Frank Delaney Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780061244438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - February 5th, 2008

My love for this book may have been influenced because I read it in anticipation of a recent trip to Ireland, but this is exactly how I love to learn about the history of a place.  A young boy becomes obsessed with a storyteller who visits his home, and we learn the history of Ireland through his stories, then the boy himself as he comes of age and tries to find the storyteller again.

Carol


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Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club: A Novel By J. Ryan Stradal Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781984881076
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - April 18th, 2023

A fun read with a Northwoods setting.  The heir to a restaurant chain falls for the granddaughter of the owners of the Lakeside Supper Club, which has seen better days.  In all his books, the author writes interesting and strong women characters.  And we learned when he visited our store that he is inspired by his own mother.

Carol


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The Secret Book of Flora Lea: A Novel By Patti Callahan Henry Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781668011836
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - May 2nd, 2023

This is a magical story about two sisters sent to the English countryside during WWII, a disappearance, and a fairy tale.  A story of hope and how telling stories can save us.

Carol


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South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation By Imani Perry Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062977373
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - February 28th, 2023

An amazing read.  It's history, but also the author's journey through the south in an effort to understand its complicated history and how it is reflected in the nation as a whole.

Carol


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Tom Lake: A Reese's Book Club Pick By Ann Patchett Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780063327528
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - August 1st, 2023

The author is one of my favorites, and in Tom Lake she uses the Covid lockdown as a device to bring her adult daughters home for an extended time.  While they pick the cherries on their farm in Michigan, they beg her to tell the story of her time acting in summer theater, when she dated an actor who has sense become very famous.  A lovely read.

Carol


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True Biz: A Novel By Sara Novic Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593241523
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 28th, 2023

A moving story, both personal and political, of the teachers & students at a deaf boarding school.  Through the diverse characters, we learn so much about deaf culture--from the history of education & acceptance to the current day controversy in the community over surgeries and other interventions to restore "hearing". 

Carol


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When Women Were Dragons: A Novel By Kelly Barnhill Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593466575
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - May 16th, 2023

A feminist fantasy in which women in the 1950s spontaneously change into dragons--with fascinating repercussions.  It is not so much a traditional fantasy as a look at what happens when the world tries to keep women's lives small. The first adult novel from the author of the Newberry winning The Girl Who Drank the Moon.