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Best Books of 2023*

*According to us.

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Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

“This book combined so many of my favorite things about fiction: sweeping, multi-generational sagas set in faraway places, characters living complexly interconnected lives, with major surprises happening along the way, and….Have I mentioned how long this book is???? Over 700 pages, which is another huge plus in its favor! 😊(Thick, meaty books give the reader a chance to get really, really invested and carried along with the story…)”

Recommended by Candy Van Tine, Branch Manager

SCLENDS eBook Audiobook

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Overdue or Die by Allison Brook

This is number 7 in the Haunted Library Mystery Series. Overdue or Die is a fun cozy where the main character Carrie Singleton is librarian who solves mysteries with the help of a library ghost. She is also engaged to an art detective and trying to plan a wedding while solving crimes and murders. These are light and easy books that can be read in a weekend. 

Recommended by Meghan Kilgore, Reference Librarian

SCLENDS eBook Audiobook

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Holly by Stephen King

I was eager to read a story in which Holly Gibney, a character that appears in the Mercedes trilogy, was the central figure. It felt rewarding, in a way, to see a character who was introduced as mousey and ridden with anxiety grow into a bold and fearless investigator in her own right. 

Recommended by Debra Henderson, Reference Librarian

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The Blighted Stars by Megan O'Keefe

If you like Altered Carbon or The Last of Us I would recommend the sci-fi series Devoured Worlds. In a future with planet jumping and the ability to upload people's minds and print them anywhere there are a lot of opportunities for mistaken identity. Which is what happens to former bodyguard turned revolutionary Naira Sharp as she tries to uncover what's killing all of the potentially hospitable planets.  

Recommended by Libby Voight, Reference Librarian

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Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Talking Cat Spies. Need you say anything else!  John Scalzi is kind of a quirky writer. He has a dark sense of humor that I enjoy. This book features Charlie, a broke substitute teacher, who inherits an evil empire created by his uncle. This new lifestyle includes a lair inside an island volcano. When other bad guys begin to threaten him, Charlie must decide whether he wants to continue his uncle's evil plans or to escape and try and stay alive.

Recommended by Greg Crispell, Youth Services Programmer

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The Wager by David Grann

This was one of my favorite books of 2023. Although it’s non-fiction, it reads like a gripping, seafaring fiction novel with elements such as suspense, mutiny, disease, and murder. The author does an exceptional job rebuilding what life was like for the sailors onboard the mid-1700s British vessel, The Wager. The book was impressively researched using first-hand accounts of those present on the ill-fated voyage. 

Recommended by Traci Cox, Marketing and Communications Manager

SCLENDS Audiobook

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Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

This is a powerful story that follows Ojibwe teenager Perry as she discovers the injustices against her tribe and ancestors. During a summer work program, Perry volunteers for her tribe's museum where she learns about the world of NAGPRA and the non-tribal organizations profiting off of Indigenous graves being robbed. With the spirit of the 'Warrior Girl' with her, Perry creates a masterful heist to take it all back. 

 

Recommended by Alyssa Krob, Digital Resources Librarian

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Loot by Tania James

It’s historical fiction about a very real object: the Mechanical Tiger of Tipu Sultan.  It follows the stories of a young Indian man and a French watchmaker that created it, a harrowing siege of Tipu Sultan’s palace by the British East India Company, and an attempt to retrieve the tiger from an English Castle.  It’s a well written book about the rise of our modern interconnected world and a story of found romance across oceans. 

Recommended by Andrew Newell, Library Assistant

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Emily Wilde's Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Who wouldn't study the fair folk if given the chance? There's action, adventure, quirky characters, lots of witty banter...and did I mention fairies??

Recommended by Emma Maines, Information Services Librarian

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Woo Hoo You're Doing Great! by Sandra Boynton

Feeling anxious, stressed, or just a little down? Maybe you need a pep talk from a cheerful chicken! Each page of this picture book features an occasion such as trying something new or making a mistake, and Chicken is quick to offer encouragement. Even adult readers will appreciate this book because “Surely what you need in your life is an overenthusiastic random chicken cheering you on."

Recommended by Melinda Vest, Children's Librarian

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Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

This book contains fiction historical plot scenes that involves war gods and magic. Two young rival journalists who are covering the war becomes magically connected. You also get to discover family flaws, understanding one's grief and sorrow, and finding love through it all!! 

Recommended by Denise Rivers, Library Assistant

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Paris: The Memoir by Paris Hilton

This was a surprisingly insightful dive into Paris's journey. The Paris you think you know from pop culture and the media is far from the reality of her story! I highly recommend the audiobook! Paris reads it (don't worry, it's with her *real* voice) and brings this captivating story to life.

Recommended by Theresa Furbish, Program and Events Librarian

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Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes 

A story of mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of second chances, this is the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You and The Giver of Stars. Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else's shoes? Nisha Cantor and Sam Kemp are two very different women. Nisha, 45, lives the globe trotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband inexplicably cuts her off entirely. She doesn't even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in. That's because Sam--47, middle-aged, struggling to keep herself and her family afloat--has accidentally taken Nisha's gym bag. Now Nisha's got nothing. And Sam's walking tall with shoes that catch eyes--and give her a career an unexpected boost. Except Nisha wants her life back--and she'll start with her shoes... Someone Else's Shoes is a funny, moving and heartfelt story about how, for any of us just one little thing can suddenly change everything.

Recommended by Amanda Brewer Dickman, Director

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As We Remember : A History of the Woman’s Relief Corps in Beaufort, SC by Najmah Thomas

Because of Beaufort District’s unique Civil War history, it had three Grand Army of the Republic posts for Union veterans and one official auxiliary for women. The Woman’s Relief Corps provided critical support for veterans, their families, and organized the annual Decoration Day festivities from its founding in 1889 to well into the early 20th century. The Beaufort WRC was one of the few African-American units in the country. The local WRC re-organized as the Fred Washington, Sr. Woman's Relief Corps No. 1 on July 26, 1998. The group, though small in number, still contributes to local veterans related activities and community events. Professor Thomas crafts an impressive story from oral tradition and supporting documentation to provide a unique and very local history of a woman’s group long committed to service to others. 

Recommended by Grace Morris Cordial, MLS, SL, CA, Senior Librarian, Beaufort District Collection Manager

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