It’s that time again! As another year draws to a close, we shake down (by which I mean ‘gently coax’) our staff and volunteers for their favorite books, DVDs, TV shows, podcasts, and anything else that entertained, intrigued, and delighted them this year — both recent and older.

We hope you’ll see some of your own favorites on the list, and also find some new and different titles to explore in ’24. Enjoy!

Note: Items are listed in alphabetical order (skipping ‘a,’ ‘an,’ or ‘the’ at the beginning of titles). Links will take you to the printed book format (or DVD) in the online catalog when possible, and you may place holds on items there from your online account. In some cases, titles link to digital versions in Libby or Hoopla when a physical copy is not available through the library or LCLC (Lehigh Carbon Library Cooperative).

If no link is provided, we may be able to request the item from a non-LCLC library through interlibrary loan (with the exception of some TV series that are not yet available on DVD); please ask at the desk. Podcast links take you to the respective podcasts.



  • The 9th Man by Steve Berry (2023). [Reader’s note: This exciting novel presents a logical explanation for ‘Who shot JFK?’ Of course, it could also be an addition to the many conspiracy theories. Nevertheless, it’s a thriller from beginning to end.]
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (2006). Twelve-year-old David’s grief over his mother’s death at the start of World War II intensifies with his father’s remarriage and the impending birth of a sibling, so when his books begin talking to him, tempting him to enter a portal into a magical world, he decides to take the risk. [Reader’s note: A dark and enchanting fantasy novel that weaves together elements of classic fairy tales and coming-of-age themes.]
  • The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (2016). [Reader’s note: I love books about books and also this author. Her books are easy to read, cozy, a little quirky — just a fun read. It was interesting reading how Nina buys a van, turns it into a mobile bookstore and changes her community for the better.]
  • Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah (2022). A debut novel about a Native American man who learns to find strength in his familial identity. [Reader’s note: An amazing story of how a young man and his tribe rely on each other. We all need a tribe!]
  • Community Board by Tara Conklin (2023). Darcy Clipper, 29, returns home to Murbridge, Massachusetts, after her life takes an unwelcome left turn. Darcy is convinced Murbridge will welcome her home and provide a safe space in which she can nurse her wounds and harbor grudges, both real and imagined. [Reader’s note: This is a fun, quirky novel about a newly divorced woman finding community.]
  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (2022). The teenage son of an Appalachian single mother who dies when he is eleven uses his good looks, wit, and instincts to survive foster care, child labor, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. [Reader’s note: I was so immediately pulled into this retelling of David Copperfield. Kingsolver brilliantly parallels the opioid epidemic with the plight of the poor in Victorian England.]
  • Horse by Geraldine Brooks (2022). A story of present-day interracial romance woven together with a history of thoroughbred racing in the antebellum South. [Reader’s note: The intersection of history and a compelling contemporary link is great!]
  • How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix (2023). Estranged siblings Mark and Louise are forced to return to their family-home in Charleston after the sudden and unexpected death of their parents. As they prepare to sell the house, they learn it is haunted, and they must get rid of whatever entity haunts it.  [Reader’s note: This book is bonkers, just like all his books: Bizarre supernatural events, family drama, and Southern aunties and meemaws taking care of business.]
  • Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine (1986). Follows reporter Joanna Clifford, who is preparing an article debunking past life regression. After being hypnotized, however, she finds herself reliving a past life. [Reader’s note: This book was my introduction to historical fiction. Time travel is used to bring actual people and their situation to life.]
  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (2022). This novel about women’s lives, careers, and struggle for empowerment in the late 50s and early 60s follows Elizabeth Zott, a one-of-a-kind scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show.
  • The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (2021). [Reader’s note: Follows a group of unusual characters in an interesting and provocative historical fiction novel of a 10-day wrong-way trip during the 1950s across America. The beautiful prose displays the author’s rich literary style — imaginative and multi-layered. Plus, there’s a stunning ending!]
  • Murder Past Due by Miranda James (2010). A famous author returns to his hometown and is murdered. It’s up to Charlie Harris, the town’s librarian, and his cat Diesel, to find the killer before the wrong person is arrested for the crime. The trouble is, every last one of Charlie’s friends and coworkers had a score to settle with the novelist. [Reader’s note: Who can resist a murder mystery featuring one of the most charming animal companions in fiction? Definitely worth the read if you love good mysteries (and cats)!]
  • Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson (2023). Follows the lives of three women in the Stockton family as they navigate life in the upper echelon of Brooklyn society: one who was born with money, one who married into it, and one who wants to give it all away. [Reader’s note: Family dynamics are interesting and funny. A non-thriller that I enjoyed.]
  • A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong (2022). A modern-day homicide detective finds herself in Victorian Scotland―in an unfamiliar body―with a killer on the loose. [Reader’s note: Historical fiction/mystery fantasy. It’s a little bonkers in an entertaining way.]
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (2019). The story of a young Black woman who is wrongly accused of kidnapping while babysitting a white child, and the events that follow the incident. [Reader’s note: It’s hard to believe this is Reid’s first novel. She perfectly captures the characters.]
  • VenCo by Cherie Dimaline (2023). Paranormal fiction. [Reader’s note: A fast-paced supernatural thriller by Canadian author Cherie Dimaline. Lucky St. James and her grandmother discover that they are descended from a powerful line of witches and work to reconnect with their coven before dangerous forces can stop them.]
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (1860). Walter Hartright is a young art teacher. One night in London, he sees a distressed woman dressed entirely in white. He gives her directions, and later finds out from the police that she had escaped from a nearby asylum. [Reader’s note: One of the first gothic novels, with gripping symbolism and powerful characters.]


  • Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard (2011). [Reader’s note: Riveting historical narrative non-fiction about the assassination of President James Garfield, the life of his assassin, and Alexander Graham Bell’s race to invent a device to help save Garfield’s life. My daytime book club loved this book.]
  • Discipline is Destiny by Ryan Holiday (2022). In the second book of his ‘Stoic Virtues’ series (after Courage is Calling), Ryan Holiday focuses on the power of self-discipline and those who have seized it. To master anything, one must first master themselves — one’s emotions, one’s thoughts, one’s actions. [Reader’s note: Ryan weaves Stoic philosophy with anecdotes of modern-day figures and makes Stoic principles just as relevant to life in 2023 as they were in ancient Rome.]
  • Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman (2013). [Reader’s note: This book explores the central role of focus in achieving success and wellbeing. The author discusses different types of focus and offers practical strategies for enhancing attention and emotional intelligence.]
  • Goth: A History by Laurence Tolhurst (2023). [Reader’s note: A great account of the history of goth! Tolhurst provides his own well researched (and experienced) perspective on the subculture as well as the music genre. A wonderful book written by an even greater musician.]
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty (2014). [Reader’s note: An extremely charming book on a macabre topic. Doughty is truly a purveyor of knowledge and a gifted storyteller.]


  • All Blood Runs Red by Phil Keith and Thomas Clavin (2019). [Reader’s note: The biography of an extraordinary man named Eugene Bullard. Eugene ran away from the Jim Crow South at 13, and became the first African-American fighter pilot, war hero, boxer, allied spy — and more!]
  • Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (2021). [Reader’s note: This wonderful memoir of the author’s coping with her Korean mother’s mothering, illness and death is at once hilarious, heartbreaking, and sooo well written!]
  • Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson (2023). [Reader’s note: Famed biographer Walter Isaacson shadowed Elon for two years — the most access he’s ever had to one of his subjects, he says — and interviewed family members and several hundred current and former employees, business associates, and romantic partners. Elon gave Walter total editorial control and did not review the book, which is even more astonishing as you read about how hands-on and, well, maniacal, he is at all of his companies. Walter’s writing makes 600+ pages a breeze and gives you a good understanding of what shaped and drives Elon, why he is such a polarizing figure, and why you would never want him as your boss. After reading, the puzzling turns and headlines about Twitter/X will also make a lot more sense.]
  • Funny Farm: My unexpected life with 600 rescue animals by Laurie Zaleski (2021). When the author was five, her mother (Annie McNulty) left her abusive husband and took her three young kids to the only place she could afford: a shack with no running water or electricity. Despite their hardships, Annie took in all manner of cast-off animals over the years, which taught Lauri and her siblings about compassion, loyalty and love. In honor of her mother, Lauri started Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary in Mays Landing, NJ, and recounts her upbringing and experiences in this memoir. [Reader’s note: Both funny and heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting. Recently, I learned that Laurie graduated from my alma mater, which just established the first-ever veterinary school in NJ, and will be partnering with Laurie and Funny Farm to provide students with educational experiences. Very cool.]
  • How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair (2023; available through LCLC in book format). [Reader’s note: After hearing Sinclair interviewed, I was captivated by her lovely accent and voice, so decided to listen to the audiobook of this memoir. At times harrowing and with beautiful writing, an audiobook to be remembered.]
  • Robin by Dave Itzkoff (2018). [Reader’s note: This is a heartfelt and thorough account of the life of my favorite actor and beloved entertainer Robin Williams. This book paints a vivid portrait of both his extraordinary talent and his personal struggles. It allows readers to appreciate the depth and complexity of a figure who brought joy and laughter to many.]

Message from Miss Sue (whose picks are denoted by an asterisk):
“I had so many great books added to the collection this year.  It was hard to pick just one from each type. BUT these were my FAVORITES, and I am excited to share them with everyone!”


  • Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams (2019). Thirteen-year-old Genesis tries again and again to lighten her dark skin, thinking it is the root of her family’s troubles, before discovering reasons to love herself as is. [Reader’s note: Genesis is trying to figure out who she is, and this journey is truly heartwarming!]
  • *Hidden Systems: water, electricity, the internet, and the secrets we use every day by Dan Nott (2023). Nonfiction. [Miss Sue’s note: This graphic non-fiction book uses humor, and the secrets of the past, to shows us how the historic creation in all the systems we use has affected how those things have grown, and are used today! Very interesting!]
  • There Will Come A Darkness: An Age of Darkness Novel by Katy Rose Pool (2019; available through LCLC). [Reader’s note: A young adult book featuring a diverse set of characters (5 totally different perspective characters are present throughout the book!) along with a wonderfully designed world make this a solid modern YA pick.  A strong first book in a fantastic trilogy.]
  • *Twelfth Grade Night by Molly Bloom (2022). Fiction. [Miss Sue’s note: This first book in the Arden High graphic novel series is filled with characters from Shakespeare’s plays, but here they are high school students dealing with high school problems (don’t worry, they link to the original plays in a fun way!). Vi is new at the school, and separated from her twin, Sebastian, who stayed at their old school. Happy to be able to dress as she wants in jeans and button-up shirts instead of a school uniform with a skirt, she’s crushing on Orsino, but he’s asked her to help him woo the fair Olivia — who has a crush on Vi! This fun and light tale of high school love and friendship was just right!]
  • Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley (2023). Fiction. [Reader’s note: I really enjoyed this second book by Boulley after having read her first story, Fire-Keeper’s Daughter. The characters are all new and the story involves the main character, Perry, helping with the return of ancestral bones and artifacts to the tribe.]

JUVENILE READS (organized by reading level)

  • *How to Count to One: (and don’t even think about bigger numbers) by Caspar Salmon (2023). Easy (E SALM). [Miss Sue’s note: This fun counting book is only for counting to ONE!  So don’t count ANYTHING else in this book! No matter how cool or engaging those other things are!  I loved​ this book! Could not put it down until the end!]
  • *I’m Ogre It by Jeffrey Ebbeler (2022). Early Reader (ER EBBE) [Miss Sue’s note: Ollie is so into his video games that he doesn’t notice that an Ogre has moved in next door, until his little sister and the Ogre — Tim — show him how playing together can be just as fun. Not as preachy as it sounds!]
  • *Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston (2022). Fiction (J FIC WINSTON) [Miss Sue’s note: Lotus is a violinist who gets the chance to learn at the new school for the performing arts, but how should she advocate for those kids who don’t have that opportunity? And how will she stand up for herself, and the hair style that is such a part of her?  I loved Lotus. Her understanding about what is the right way to advocate for what she thinks is important is everything I wish I’d had to read when I was a kid, growing up in the turbulent 1960s and 70s. But this is no historical fiction book. This realistic fiction book is written about now, and for modern kids!]
  • *Killer Underwear Invasion!: How to spot fake news, disinformation, and conspiracy theories by Elise Gravel (2022). Nonfiction (J 070.4 GRAV). [Miss Sue’s note: A fun book for kids on how to fact-check and wisely use information. A smart and funny book that I recommend. After all, finding facts is what librarians are all about!]



  • Evelyn (DVD-2002), featuring Pierce Brosnan. [Viewer’s note: Wonderful acting by Pierce Brosnan, who plays the father of three children abandoned by their mother and placed in an orphanage because of antiquated Irish law. Based on a true story.]
  • Invictus (DVD-2009), featuring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match. [Viewer’s note: I loved it for many reasons, especially because it’s based on a true story. I highly recommend it.]
  • Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (2o23 on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and other streaming services; also still showing in some theaters on weekends). [Viewer’s note: Not having kept up with any of Taylor’s music beyond her bestselling ‘1989’ album, I decided to check out what all the buzz surrounding this tour was about. I walked in a skeptic and walked out a Swiftie — a totally fun three-and-a-half-hour break from reality, especially on a huge screen with the theater’s sound system. My personal favorite: The Man. Contrary to popular belief, not all of her songs are about old boyfriends.]


  • The Last of Us (HBO). [Viewer’s note: No one can resist watching Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones). They co-star as post-apocalyptic survivors of a world taken over by a hostile fungus. One of the best episodes stars one of my favorite actors, Nick Offerman.]
  • What We Do in the Shadows (Hulu). [Viewer’s note: A bonkers comedy about a pack of vampires who live together with their familiar Guillermo on Staten Island. The mundane side of being an immortal killing machine cracks me up. This show is written by Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Concords) and Taika Waititi (Reservation Dogs)].


  • The Magnus Archives by Jonathan Sims (2016) [Listener’s note: Gripping sci-fi horror set within a British archive where records of the supernatural are kept by a dedicated team of archivists. Features an intricately created world, along with enthralling characters, to make this a must-listen to podcast for anyone.]


  • The Girl That Never Was (single) by James Blunt (2023). [Listener’s note: Get the tissues before listening to this beautiful, evocative song with heart-piercing lyrics and melody. James wrote on his Instagram: “It’s a deeply personal song and anyone who’s had aspirations to start a family will probably relate to it.”]


And that’s a wrap! Now we’re on the hunt to find the great reads, DVDs, podcasts and more of 2024…