LAMP Best Books of the Year

December 21, 2023 |
by: Kate Childs

The end of the year and the start of the new year are my favorite times. I love the cold weather, the excitement of the year ahead, and end of the year “best of books” list! With so many great books out there, it can sometimes be hard to know what to read next, so I love going through all the “best of the year” lists to find my next read. To help you find your next read, here are the best books that the staff here at LAMP read this year. If you don’t know what to read next, you can always call or email a Reader Advisor here at LAMP for a recommendation. Also, to see what we have planned in 2024, make sure to keep checking our website events page, Facebook, Instagram or sign up for our newsletter at

LAMP Best Books of the Year

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A Monster Calls
By Patrick Ness
DB 74426
Thirteen-year-old Conor is tormented by his mother’s impending death, a school bully, and recurring nightmares. But one night a monster comes to Conor, tells him three tales, and instructs Conor to tell the fourth–and scariest–of all the tales. For junior and senior high and older readers. Commercial audiobook. 2011.

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Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America (in process)
By Heather Cox Richardson
DB 116844
From historian and author of the popular daily newsletter LETTERS FROM AN AMERICAN, a vital narrative that explains how America, once a beacon of democracy, now teeters on the brink of autocracy — and how we can turn back. In the midst of the impeachment crisis of 2019, Heather Cox Richardson launched a daily Facebook essay providing the historical background of the daily torrent of news. It soon turned into a newsletter and its readership ballooned to more than 2 million dedicated readers who rely on her plainspoken and informed take on the present and past in America. In Democracy Awakening, Richardson crafts a compelling and original narrative, explaining how, over the decades, a small group of wealthy people have made war on American ideals. By weaponizing language and promoting false history they have led us into authoritarianism — creating a disaffected population and then promising to recreate an imagined past where those people could feel important again. … Many books tell us what has happened over the last five years. Democracy Awakening explains how we got to this perilous point, what our history really tells us about ourselves, and what the future of democracy can be.” — Provided by publisher.
Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller.

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The Hunger
By Alma Katsu
DB 93829
Members of the Donner Party wagon train dream of new lives in the West, but the bad luck following them drives some nearly to madness. As members of the party begin to disappear, the survivors believe something hungry is stalking them through the mountains. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.

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Crime and Punishment
By Fydor Dostoyevsky
BR 18145, DB 21783
Psychological chronicle of a sensitive intellectual who nearly convinces himself that he is exempt from moral law because poverty drives him to murder.

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Midnight’s Children
By Salman Rushdie
BR 18687, DB 16993
Biting satire tells of Saleem Sinai, who is born at the stroke of midnight, August 15, 1947–the instant of the birth of the new state of India. From that moment, his life is magically entwined with India’s fate as a nation. Saleem’s particular gift is a ‘cucumber’ of a nose with which he goes through life smelling his way. 1980

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Demon Copperhead
By Barbara Kingsolver
CL 20234, DB 117086, LP 37564
“Demon Copperhead is set in the mountains of southern Appalachia. It’s the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities. Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.” — Provided by publisher.
Unrated. Commercial audiobook.

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Deacon King Kong
By James McBride
CL 19480, DB 98819
1969. On a cloudy September morning, Deacon Cuffy Lambkin–known as Sportcoat to his friends–walks into the plaza of a Brooklyn project and shoots the local drug dealer point blank in the face. His reasons for this uncharacteristic act of violence slowly unfold. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

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I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home
By Lorrie Moore
DB 115361
“Lorrie Moore’s first novel since A Gate at the Stairs—a daring, meditative exploration of love and death, passion and grief, and what it means to be haunted by the past, both by history and the human heart. A teacher visiting his dying brother in the Bronx. A mysterious journal from the nineteenth century stolen from a boarding house. A therapy clown and an assassin, both presumed dead, but perhaps not dead at all… With her distinctive, irresistible wordplay and singular wry humor and wisdom, Lorrie Moore has given us a magic box of longing and surprise as she writes about love and rebirth and the pull towards life. Bold, meditative, theatrical, this new novel is an inventive, poetic portrait of lovers and siblings as it questions the stories we have been told which may or may not be true. I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home takes us through a trap door, into a windswept, imagined journey to the tragic-comic landscape that is, unmistakably, the world of Lorrie Moore.” — Provided by publisher. Unrated. Commercial audiobook.

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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
By Timothy Snyder
DB 87586, LP 36327
Historian discusses the events and values that have enabled the rise of various tyrannical leaders across the twentieth century, in an attempt to draw lessons that will prove useful in the early twenty-first century political climate. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

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Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Fairies
By Heather Fawcett
DB 112234, BR24964
“Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party—or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people. So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, muddle Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her. But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones—the most elusive of all faeries—lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all—her own heart.” — Provided by publisher. Unrated. Commercial audiobook.

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The River
By Peter Heller
DB 94108
While canoeing the northern Canadian Maskwa River, two friends learn about a nearby wildfire. Hearing a man and woman arguing on the riverbank, they stop to warn them, but find no one. The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Where is the woman? Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

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The Wolf Age: The Vikings, the Anglo-Saxons and the Battle for the North Sea Empire
By Tore Skeie
DB 114485
“The first major book on Vikings by a Scandinavian author to be published in English reframes the struggle for a North Sea empire and puts listeners in the mindset of Vikings, providing new insight into their goals, values, and what they chose to live and die for. The Wolf Age takes listeners on a thrilling journey through the bloody shared history of England and Scandinavia, and on across early medieval Europe, from the wild Norwegian fjords to the wealthy cities of Muslim Andalusia. Warfare, plotting, backstabbing, and bribery abound as Tore Skeie skillfully weaves sagas and skaldic poetry with breathless dramatization as he entertainingly brings the world of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons to vivid life. In the eleventh century, the rulers of the lands surrounding the North Sea are all hungry for power. To get power they need soldiers, to get soldiers they need silver, and to get silver there is no better way than war and plunder. This vicious cycle draws all the lands of the north into a brutal struggle for supremacy and survival that will shatter kingdoms and forge an empire.” — Provided by publisher. Unrated. Commercial audiobook.

A Sweet Life: Seven Unexpected Blessings of Living with Diabetes
By Richard Humphreys
DBC 25024
Follow Environmental Educator, Community-Builder and Advocate for Diabetic Children Richard Humphreys as he shares his secrets for living a long and productive life with Type 1 Diabetes. 2020. Adult.

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Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: Or the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery
LP 38355
Firsthand chronicle of the amazing journey of an enslaved married couple who slip away from captivity in Georgia in 1848 and adroitly make it to freedom in Philadelphia, then Boston, and ultimately England. Trenchant observations on the inhumanity of slavery and the harm it wreaks on its practitioners as well as its direct victims. The Crafts’ story gets an even fuller treatment in historian Ilyon Woo’s 2023 book Master Slave Husband Wife (DB 112758). 1860.