Scup's Favorites of 2023

We polled our staff for their favorite reads of the year.

Ashley

The Blue Hour by Tiffany Clarke Harrison

Blue Hour’s almost stream of consciousness narrative navigates loss, violence, joy, and fear without a filter, while somehow managing hope. It broke my heart. And I couldn’t put it down. 

Emily

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow & Tomorrow & Tomorrow is fundamentally a book about love of video games and love for your friends, and even when I disagreed with Sam and Sadie, I was somehow still cheering for them. I keep returning mentally and in conversation to this book, so it has to be my top of 2023.

Shannon

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading this book, seeing as it was tailor-made to be my favorite. Robin Wall Kimmerer strikes the perfect balance between clear expertise in her field and writing with so much honesty and heart it brought tears to my eyes more than once. Braiding Sweetgrass is a unique blend of wonder and joy at the natural world, an intimate look at the modern Native American experience, and the messiness of being human. It left me changed. 

Sarah

Stay True by Hua Hsu

Stay True is a beautiful, nostalgic tribute to friendship. It’s the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for memoir and by the far the best book I read this year.

Michelle

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

In the process of teaching fifth and sixth graders about the rewards of empathy through Jacqueline Woodson's 2018 novel Harbor Me, I've been reminded of the power of language to shape personal values. Woodson's story looks at six classmates who struggle with growing older in an America that will not harbor them, so they must become harbors for each other. Told through the emotionally driven flashbacks of an 11-year-old biracial girl, this novel is an important reminder that the politics of our society inevitably shape how the children in our society feel about themselves. Woodson also implies that it's not too late for policymakers to re-examine their decisions. 

Audrey

The Reformatory by Tananarive Due

The Reformatory is not only my favorite book of the year; it’s one of the most powerful and haunting works of historical fiction I’ve ever read. Go to Scuppernong’s YouTube for our recent reading and Q&A with Tananarive Due—and if (like me) you enjoy reading with your ears, be sure to support Scup when downloading your copy on Libro.FM!

Steve

The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Art and Other Matters by Dave Hickey

A real find in 2023. Dave Hickey writes about the joy an exhilaration of art--from Carvaggio to old Perry Mason episodes--with an eye to how art and beauty can unite us. His insights can be startling, and his enthusiasm is contagious.

 

Mercer

Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Surprisingly humorous and throughly engaging Notes from Underground is a brilliant penetrating look into the psyche of an angry man. It stays with you after you’ve finished reading.

Mahogany

Roses in the Mouth of a Lion by Bushra Rehman

Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion by Bushra Rehman is my favorite book not only because of the beautiful writing and imagery, but because of the way this book pulls emotions out of me without my knowing. It’s one of those books that catches you off guard without having to do any fake shock factor, it feels genuine and good! 

 

Brian

Wolf's Coming! by Joe Kulka

To be fair, this is my two-year old grandson's favorite book of 2023, but favorite isn't quite right. Liam was obsessed with it. And the lesson learned here is that passion and obsession is infectious. I had to buy two extra copies of the book for Liam's daycare because Liam's love for the book caused rancor as everyone argued over who got to hold the book because this book had the power of love. I assure you, I've read it more than any other book this year or maybe any year. And still, I love it.

Wolf's Coming! By Joe Kulka, Joe Kulka (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Joe Kulka, Joe Kulka (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781575059303
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: Carolrhoda Books (R) - January 1st, 2007

Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion: A Novel By Bushra Rehman Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250834805
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: Flatiron Books - December 5th, 2023

Notes from Underground (Vintage Classics) By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by) Cover Image
By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780679734529
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: Vintage - August 30th, 1994

The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty and Other Matters: 30th Anniversary Edition By Dave Hickey, Gary Kornblau (Editor) Cover Image
By Dave Hickey, Gary Kornblau (Editor)
$27.95
ISBN: 9798987596500
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: Art Issues Press - October 24th, 2023

Harbor Me By Jacqueline Woodson Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780525515142
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - April 21st, 2020

The Reformatory: A Novel By Tananarive Due Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781982188344
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: S&S/Saga Press - October 31st, 2023

Stay True: A Memoir (Pulitzer Prize Winner) By Hua Hsu Cover Image
By Hua Hsu
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593315200
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: Anchor - September 12th, 2023

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants By Robin Wall Kimmerer Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781571313560
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: Milkweed Editions - August 11th, 2015

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A novel By Gabrielle Zevin Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593321201
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: Knopf - July 5th, 2022

Blue Hour: A Novel By Tiffany Clarke Harrison Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781593767495
Availability: Limited Availability - Give us a call, we'll track it down for you!
Published: Soft Skull - April 4th, 2023