Back to top


Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

PW's Best Nonfiction Books of 2023

Cover of Nonfiction Suggestions
Nonfiction Suggestions

The lists for the best books of the year have started. Publishers Weekly's 2023 list contain a wide variety of books to choose from. Below are the nonfiction ones. There is a little bit of everything--histories, biographies, books about crime, sports, literature, science. There are a number of them that are on my to- read list. Are there any that you would add?

Oct 31, 2023

Green is for... go you!

Cover of Greenlight
A review of Greenlight by Breanna Carzoo

Just like any toddler or things-that-go enthusiast in your life, our narrator knows that cars and trucks are always cool - and Greenlight used to think she was cool too. She thought she was bright and sparkly, but every time she tries to shine, the traffic speeds off! She is left alone, envious of the attention that Yellowlight and Redlight get as vehicles slow and stop for them.

Oct 30, 2023

Being allowed to shine

Cover of Lessons in Chemistry
A review of Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I've had Lessons in Chemistry on a list of "books I will probably read some day" since before it even came out. The initial appeal was the cover.** Then I read the blurb: 60s era woman scientist struggles in the misogynistic world of science and ends up creating a popular cooking show? Color me even more intrigued. So yes, I've wanted to read it. What finally got me to do so? Friends who wanted to watch the new AppleTV adaptation together and required that I get the book read first. Assigned reading with a deadline?

Oct 25, 2023

Letting the outsiders in

Cover of The Book of Form and Empti
A review of The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

Benny Oh hears voices. And not just any voices: he hears the thoughts and mutterings of all things, from the soft shirts in his dad’s closet to the Frisbee someone tossed up onto the school roof. These voices—some friendly, some rude—are a constant soundtrack that Benny struggles to contend with as he navigates life without his jazz musician father, Kenji, who has just died in an accident, and continues living with his mother, Annabelle, who has begun exhibiting hoarding tendencies since the night of Kenji’s death.

Oct 23, 2023

Adventure covered in slime and brimming with humor

How to train your dragon book cover
A review of How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

I have been an avid audio book reader for a long time, but I have recently been exploring kid friendly titles to listen to with my own children as they grow up. How to Train Your Dragon is not a new title - it originally came out in 2004 - and I usually associate it with the animated movies and now apparently a series on Netflix? But holy cow, have I been missing out on the hilarity of these books for a long time! And maybe you have too! Rather than being 8 or the parent of an 8 year old in the early 2000's I was a moody high schooler.

Oct 20, 2023

Do you really want to know?

Cover of My Murder
A review of My Murder by Katie Williams

In this near-ish-future novel cloning has become possible. And the cloning is such that if someone has died as an adult their "person" can be put into a fully formed version of themselves and all they lose is a few days of memory from around the time of their death. Okay, I know that sounds kind of impossible, but for the sake of this dark, sharp novel, just go with it. 

Oct 19, 2023

Always works for me

Cover of Mr. Fixer Upper
A review of Mr. Fixer Upper by Lucy Score

Recently I saw a discussion about themes/tropes/storylines that would be automatically appealing in a book. For a moment I was stumped. Sure I know the kinds of things I look for in books and often can name things that can be dealbreakers. But an automatic appeal? Hmmm. I couldn't think of anything - until someone mentioned competence. And I knew. Yes, yes, yes. Give me a competent protagonist? I'm in. Doesn't even really matter what they're competent at, I want to read about them. Enter Mr.

Oct 18, 2023

Operation friendship

Cover of Pocket Peaches
A review of Pocket Peaches by Dora Wang

There's a new cat in town!  Peaches the bunny, Mango the calico and Pogi the puppy live in Pocketon and have a theory about the new cat, Taro.  They think Taro is a magical cat!   No matter how hard they try to get to know Taro, their attempts to become friends fail.  It's as if Taro disappears into thin air!  There's definitely something mysterious going on.

Oct 16, 2023

Whose apple is it?

Cover of Mine!
A review of Mine! by Candace Fleming
Eric Rohmann

Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann have teamed up once again to make what may be my new favorite book for fall. There is one red apple at the "tip-tippy top" of an apple tree. Along comes Mouse who knows it will fall soon and be "mine", so she she hides under a leaf to wait. Before long, Hare spies the very same apple and can't wait to make it "mine". Fox, Deer, Bear soon follow along, all with the very same idea. What will happen when the apple finally plops to the ground?

Oct 13, 2023

Let the festivities begin

Book festival book covers graphic
A review of Wisconsin Book Festival by

The Wisconsin Book Festival is the state’s premier literary event and it's starting soon. The festival will feature representative voices from our communities and spark conversations from a wide range of perspectives. At the Fall Celebration, you'll learn about the effect anxiety is having on our society, discuss gender identity, and explore issues facing the public school system.

Here's just a sampling of some of the great events that are planned.

Oct 11, 2023


Subscribe to MADreads