Great Reads!

View our hand-selected great books to read, featuring an assortment of genres:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

An exceptional and fascinating deep dive into the world of Christopher Boone, a high-functioning autistic teen. The world through Christopher’s eyes may shock you or delight you but is guaranteed to touch your soul.

~ Liz Drake, ByWayBooks staff

Young adult

This Body I Wore: A Memoir by Diana Goetsch

This is not a description of Goetsch’s transition from man to woman; it is a life story with all the complexity of the human experience. If you’ve ever wondered about the T in LGBTQ+, this book will not answer all your questions but will move you on a path to humanity…and it is a great read by an exceptional poet and author.

 ~ Liz Drake, ByWayBooks staff

Memoir

The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Naylor

Set in the near future when humans, with the aid of AI, have nearly emptied the world’s oceans of fish an advanced life form has been discovered. This book has intriguing mysteries, cryptograms, and a view of the near future that makes it a real page turner!

~ Pam Lake, Volunteer Contributor

Science fiction

Tag Man by Archer Mayor

If you like police procedurals with heart and you haven’t read the Archer Mayor series, you’re in for a treat. Archer Mayor is Brattleboro’s own literary star. All Mayor’s books have the added bonus of a local setting. It’s easy to picture yourself meeting Joe Gunther, the multi-faceted policeman on Elliot Street. Or cruising down Putney Road to chat with the local journalist. While you may want to start with his earlier books to get to know all the nuanced characters, wherever you start, in this reader’s opinion, Tag Man is one of the best.

~ Liz Drake, ByWayBooks staff

Mystery

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

This is the first in a wonderfully light, funny series featuring Izzy Spellman, a private detective for an agency owned and run by her family. Izzy is an engaging, spunky, sometimes wrongheaded heroine who is quick to admit her own shortcomings. She does somehow always manage to complete the investigation. If you liked Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, the Spellmans will also bring you joy and laughter. 

~ Ann Binder, contributor

Mystery

Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce

Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the first lady knight in Tortall. Young Aly follows in the quieter footsteps of her father who is highly skilled in the art of spying. When she is captured and sold as a slave to an exiled royal family in the faraway Copper Islands, it is this skill that makes a difference in a world filled with political intrigue, murderous conspiracy, and warring gods. Tamora Pierce is a master storyteller; all of her books are top-notch.

~ Ann Binder, contributor

Science fiction

Apeirogon by Colum McCann

McCann seems to invent an all consuming new literary form that follows in the footsteps of Let The Great World Spin by bringing the reader into a vast world. This book is beautiful, painful and most of all – hopeful. 

~ Teddie Henderson, ByWayBooks contributor

Science fiction

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The ByWay Books proprietor recommended this book based on our conversations about my reading preferences. I devoured the book; it absolutely blew my mind, An incredibly important book and I know I will never look at a tree again without thinking about how their interconnections are so linked to ours. Absolutely beautiful.  

~ Ross, ByWayBooks contributor

Fiction

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann

David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon, spins the tale of The Wager, a ship sent out by Britain in 1740 during “The War of Jenkins’ Ear”. Its mission: to capture a Spanish galleon. England’s mission: to capture a share of South American trade, the most lucrative part of which was the slave trade. The misfortunes that beset the ship & crew before it even set out were only a minor prelude to the storms, currents, & mountainous waves of that Cape’s seas. In this riveting story, Grann limns the crew’s ongoing struggle for survival against the callousness and indifference of Empire. 

~ Ann Binder, contributor

World history

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman
Eden Malcolm lies in a hospital bed barely clinging to life after his Humvee ran over a bomb in Iraq. He is visited daily by his wife, Mary, and by the narrator, a fellow soldier who was killed in the explosion. The setting alternates between the burn center and Eden’s point of view, while the narrator recounts vignettes from his, Eden’s, and Mary’s past history. In the present, Eden struggles to communicate anything at all, while Mary must decide whether to release him from his suffering. This is an  enormously touching exploration of unbearable loss.

~ Ann Binder, Contributor

Fiction

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

The setting is a small Irish village in dire economic straits. For Bill Furlong, his livelihood as a coal merchant and his family’s well-being depend on his deliveries to the local convent. But he begins to notice problems at the convent including women locked into a chapel, women without shoes, and other signs of neglect. Keegan exquisitely unfolds  Bill’s gentle talks with his wife and children, juxtaposing the family’s Christmas rituals with Bill’s inner thoughts about the convent and his own fatherless childhood. The book is a masterpiece of understatement and of unspoken but revealed truth.

~ Ann Binder, contributor

Fiction

James Herriot’s Dog Stories by James Herriot

The original PBS series, based on James Herriot’s books, now has been re-done in the 2020s…and for good reason. James Herriot’s stories are not just about the animals he treated in his Yorkshire country practice, but also about the relationship between the practical, gruff farmers, their land, their animals, and each other. It is about how Herriot comes to understand the unique Yorkshire culture, and, most important, about the timeless relationships between humans and all life. This collection of fifty stories includes some never-before published in America.

~ Ann Binder, contributor

Pets and animals/Short stories

Dog On It – a Chet and Bernie book by Spencer Quinn

With a somewhat sarcastic dog doing much of the narration, one might think this is just a cute gimmick, but these mysteries are well written, and Chet is no cartoon dog. Quinn writes from the dog’s point of view with realistic, humorous detail. As Publisher’s Weekly said, in a starred review, “…You don’t have to be a dog lover to enjoy this deliciously addictive series.”

~ Ann Binder, contributor

Mystery