Staff Picks: Best of 2023

Are you looking for a great to add to your 2024 TBR for? Our library staff have you covered.

Check out our recommendations below, a collection of staff favourites from this past year!

Top Picks for Adults & Teens

“A book I really enjoyed this year was The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English by Hana Videen. It delves into some Old English terms and the evolution of the English language that we have today. An interesting, accessible and thought-provoking read for anyone curious about the origins and history of our language.”

“Hand’s down my favourite read of 2023, Fresh Water for Flowers has moved to my ‘All Time Favourites List’ – it took me weeks to finish only because I didn’t want this French translation to end. Set in rural France, Violette, with so little and nothing to lose, becomes a reclusive cemetery keeper lovingly tending it and the families of those buried, for twenty years. A poetic story intertwined with her own grief and challenges, Ms. Touissant is always optimistic, and surrounded by an amazing cast of characters.”

“This tale of friendship, building video games and the places life takes us is great for anyone who likes Ready Player One but also was recommended to me by 4 people this year! Loved it as an audiobook. This is a great read even if you don’t have any interest in video games.” 

Saturday Night at The Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal was recommended to me by a patron who enjoyed it very much. It is an easy read and it really keeps your attention. I like books that go back in time through the generations to tell family stories.  I also love that it takes place in a lake setting.”  
“I absolutely love Canadian fiction and First Nations storytellers. Rice brings the reader along with the Anishinaabe people as they try to find their way back to their original home, along Lake Huron. Characters are believable, plot is fast-paced and exciting. You will want to hug this one when you are done. Five stars!”

“The first book in a while that I literally could not put down. Part comedy, part mystery, part romance,  A New Season is the story of a man who seems to have everything, but cannot seem to shake his melancholy. Family and friends encourage him to take a long postponed journey to Paris, where they hope he will begin to heal through his lifelong fascination with the Left Bank.”

“This beautiful novella series about a futuristic world with robots and humans shows a compassionate story about what makes us human.  Make a cup of tea, get a cozy blanket and curl up for an afternoon in a world with a slower pace and a beautiful imagery.”

“A young woman from Nova Scotia goes to the oil sands to help pay for her education.  She illustrates her experiences with working in a very cold, northern community with so much money, and a set of workers who all come from across Canada.” *Trigger warning: sexual violence.

“One of my absolute favourite reads this year was The Ones We Burn by Rebecca Mix. It’s a YA fantasy set in a world of witches and royalty and it’s dark, bloody, and a suspenseful from start to finish. The world-building is amazing and I loved every one of the characters and the relationships that unfolded throughout. The plot is fast paced and incredibly intense, and I loved all the twists and turns it took before the end. It’s an incredibly diverse book with queer and BIPOC characters all around. I devoured it in a single day.”

“A fantastic dark thriller, lots of unexpected twists and turns. I was hooked from the beginning.”

“This book is interesting to read, showing a more realistic portrayal of romance. People are flawed, and life is messy and this did a good job of showing how you can still fight for want you what despite all of life’s struggles. I also enjoyed how it jumped in time between when they first met and the present.”
“A great and easy to read non-fiction book about how the responsibility of birth control more often than not, falls on the partner with the uterus; it talks about the risks of being on the pill and other birth control medications; debunks some common myths with well researched data; and it talks about what is currently happening in the United States since the overturn of Roe v Wade. A great way to start learning about a highly politicized and important topic.”

Top Picks for Kids

“I liked this Juvenile non-fiction book because it opened my mind to the idea of sounds existing as vibrations. This book is about a deaf child who did not let her disability stop her from becoming a world-renowned musician.” 

A lovely children’s book dealing with handling the grief and loss of losing a loved one. Very touching and sweet. It lets children know that it’s okay to feel sad and the importance of remembering that not everything is the same on the outside as it is on the inside.”
“A beautiful ode to the community pool. Get engaged in the excitement in a pool day with this bright cheerful picture book.”
A sweet little board book about all the ways we can be kind. Great for 0-5.”
“A catchy book (with a read along video if desired) that highlights the excitement of a surprise construction site. The art is bright and catchy and the book has lots of repetition for little readers.”
“This catchy body positive picture book highlights all kinds of bodies in all kinds of circumstances.  We love to read it back to front and front to back and it’s a great read aloud. Prepare to spend time investigating all the great illustrations.”
“This funny book about sassy squirrels and birds shows us that we can always change how we see the world.”

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