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BPR staff and audience share "Books We Love" picks


Update 12/7/23: Thanks to several BPR listeners and readers for sharing their top picks of the year! Send yours to feedback@bpr.org.

From Kenneth Whitney of Hendersonville: "My number one favorite author of all time is Fredrik Backman. You can not miss with any of his novels, but I keep going back to And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer. I also got hooked into a 25-book series by Dana Stabenow on the Kate Shugak investigations. It focuses on a woman of color and her half wolf in Alaska."

From David Carr of Asheville — "While Apple TV+ created the series Lessons In Chemistry, the book is even better! I'm a huge fan of Heather Cox Richard's daily substack. I get the history lessons I missed in high school and college! Her new book, Democracy Awakening should be required reading. If you are following the reparations work the City of Asheville and Buncombe County are doing, I recommend William Darity and Kirsten Mullen's From Here to Equality. A final recommendation is Anne Lembke's Dopamine Nation."

NPR's popular year-end project, Books We Love, is back with 380+ new titles handpicked by NPR staff and trusted critics.

Find 11 years of recommendations all in one place here – that's more than 3,600 great reads.

In the spirit of the season, Team BPR is sharing their top reads of 2023.

Grab a hot cup of your favorite something, find a comfy reading spot, and check out these book picks. What did you enjoy reading the most this year? Let us know - email feedback@bpr.org.

Mutual Aid by Peter Kropotkin — recommended by Melanie Murphey

Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity by Paola Ramos and The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio — recommended by Jose Sandoval

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin — recommended by Laura Hackett, Marc Haze and Elise McGannon

Team BPR's most recommended book of the year
Team BPR's most recommended book of the year

"It's a love story centering around the platonic relationship between two characters who meet as children and bond over their love of video games," says Haze.

"When reuniting in college they decide to make a video game together which ends up making them icons in the gaming community."

"I won't spoil it for you. I will tell you that not only does Zevin fully explore why these characters behave the way they do, and why they are drawn to the creation and inhabitation of other worlds, it has a a throughline of social justice, LBGTQ rights and touch of Shakespeare for good measure."

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller recommended by Laura Hackett

How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith, Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley, and Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin — recommended by Henry Nelson

The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Joe Friel — recommended by Carolyn Kovash

The Book of (More) Delights by Ross Gay — recommended by Erin Adams and Laura Lee

Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer — recommended by Laura Lee

Many Battles by Ernest Gruening — recommended by Ann Alquist

The Idiot and its sequel Either/Or by Elif Batuman — recommended by Land Deer

What did you enjoy reading the most this year? Let us know - email feedback@bpr.org.

Erin Adams served as BPR's first Director of Audience from August 2023 to February 2024.