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Staff Picks of 2021

Staff Picks of 2021

The books (old and new) that stood out to us in 2021!

Playlist Tags: Booktenders

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How Rights Went Wrong

Why Our Obsession with Rights Is Tearing America Apart

By Jamal Greene
Narrated by: Ryan Vincent Anderson
Length: 11 hours 7 minutes

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PUBLISHERS PROSE AWARD FINALIST | “Essential and fresh and vital . . . It is the argument of this important book that until Americans can reimagine rights, there is no path forward, and there is, especially, no way to get race right. No peace, no justice.”—from the foreword by Jill Lepore, New York Times best-selling...

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Malibu Rising

A Novel

By Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 11 hours 5 minutes

Malibu Rising

“This ode to Malibu in the 1980s is the perfect beach read. Four famous siblings throw a star-studded party and over the course of 24 hours find their lives changed forever. It’s enthralling and layered and so vivid it could be a memory. Perfectly paced and suspenseful from page one!”

Books are Awesome image Meagan Dallner, Books are Awesome
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A Promised Land

By Barack Obama
Narrated by: Barack Obama
Length: 29 hours 9 minutes

A Promised Land

“No one really needs my blurb to help sell this book, but I wanted to give it anyway, especially for the audiobook, narrated by Barack Obama himself. If you want to know his incredible knowledge and wisdom that guided him through major decisions, and also hear him drop a few F-bombs, you need to listen to this fantastically written book. ”

Quail Ridge Books image Amber, Quail Ridge Books
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When I Ran Away

A Novel

By Ilona Bannister
Narrated by: Jesse Vilinsky
Length: 11 hours 20 minutes

Longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s 2021 First Novel Prize • A rich, bighearted debut that takes us from working-class Staten Island in the wake of the September 11th attacks to moneyed London a decade later, revealing a story of loss, motherhood, and love.

As the Twin Towers collapse, Gigi Stanislawski flees her office building and escapes... Read more »

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The Quiet Zone

Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence

By Stephen Kurczy
Narrated by: Roger Wayne
Length: 9 hours 7 minutes

"Captivating." —Kirkus | "Fascinating, deeply reported, and slightly eerie." —BookPage (Starred Review) | "The Quiet Zone will live on in your memory." —Bill McKibben

A stunning portrait of an Appalachian community, the people who call it home, and the enduring human quest for quiet

Deep in the Appalachian Mountains lies the last truly quiet town...

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Razorblade Tears

A Novel

By S. A. Cosby
Narrated by: Adam Lazarre-White
Length: 12 hours

Razorblade Tears

“At once gritty and graphic, tender and heart wrenching, Razorblade Tears is the story of two fathers hardened by life circumstances and their respective prejudices who seek vengeance against those who killed their gay sons. The audio was perfection. We NEED this novel to be on the big screen, with Denzel Washington playing Ike. ”

Main Street Books Davidson image Jessica, Main Street Books Davidson
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Nowhere Girl

A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood

By Cheryl Diamond
Narrated by: Eileen Stevens
Length: 10 hours 36 minutes

Nowhere Girl

“Ever since she can remember, Harbhajan, A.K.A Cheryl/Crystal, has been on the run. From India to Australia, Canada to New York City, Bhajan and her family flee at a moment's notice from the ever-looming threat of INTERPOL. At first she doesn't quite understand the threat facing her family, but as she grows older, more and more is revealed. Poignant, often sad but never dull, Nowhere Girl is a heartfelt memoir that will grip your imagination from beginning to end.”

Underground Books image Miranda, Underground Books
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Network Effect

Murderbot Diaries: Book #5

By Martha Wells
Narrated by: Kevin R. Free
Length: 12 hours 47 minutes

Network Effect

“Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries has become one of my favorite series of all time, and Network Effect is a perfect addition. Murderbot is still trying to figure out what it wants after hacking its governor module. In the meantime, it spends its days protecting the humans it cares about. Of course, everything goes terribly wrong when a friend shows up to kidnap Murderbot and its humans are along for the ride. Network Effect isn’t just fun and action-packed, it’s also emotional and thought-provoking. I love Murderbot!”

Cavalier House Books image Sophie Giroir, Cavalier House Books
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The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune
Narrated by: Daniel Henning
Length: 12 hours 12 minutes

If you enjoyed 1984, then you’ll love The House in the Cerulean Sea.

“This was a wholesome squeal of a novel that I ADORED! It had so much hype around it so I was wary but it immediately drew me in and wouldn't let me go until I finished. I opted for audio since it seemed that was the only way I was going to squeeze it in with my giant TBR list. Once I started, I literally changed my activities to better fit the listening of this book—more knitting, less TV, longer walks, and antisocial behavior. The narrator, Daniel Henning, perfectly encapsulated the whimsical nature of Linus Baker and his mysterious Level 4 security assignment to the island of Marysas. Though this book is entirely its own, it had vibes that reminded me of 1984 meets The Umbrella Academy meets Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Klune imbues so much life into all his characters. The kids are so cute and sassy and I love this quasi-magical world that they exist in, despite the fact that it keeps them locked away in an orphanage. I love that themes of our own world are examined and questioned and that it has a happy ending. I highly recommend this fantastical novel to everyone! Any book that steals all my attention from start to finish is pure magic and should be cherished!”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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What Comes After

A Novel

By JoAnne Tompkins
Narrated by: Mark Deakins, Kristen DiMercurio & Kirby Heyborne
Length: 13 hours

What Comes After

“Abandoned and homeless, a pregnant 16-year-old finds shelter in the home of a man who has recently lost his son and his faith. Achingly poignant, What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins brims with raw emotions and conflicting feelings. A redemptive story of loss and love. Keep tissues nearby.”

Dog Ear Books image Jane Simons, Dog Ear Books
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Layoverland

By Gabby Noone
Narrated by: Sophie Amoss
Length: 7 hours 41 minutes

Beatrice Fox deserves to go straight to hell. At least, that's what she believes. Her last day on Earth, she ruined the life of the person she loves most--her little sister, Emmy. So when Bea awakens from a fatal car accident to find herself on an airplane headed who knows where, she's confused, to say the least. Once on the ground, Bea... Read more »

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Tell the Wolves I’m Home

A Novel

By Carol Rifka Brunt
Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
Length: 11 hours 46 minutes

In this striking literary debut, Carol Rifka Brunt unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don't know you've lost someone until you've found them. 1987. There's only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that's her...

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