2024 Book Of The Year

By the time you read this I will have read over 100 books in 2023. Of those only eight made it to the Recommended Reading List. (You are already here so the list is just a click away.) As I sat down to write this four were in contention for Book of the Year. Let me just conclude my introduction by stating that 2023 was a very good year for political/economic/public policy non-fiction. I also learned (or to be more accurate reinforced) a lesson along the way. More about both below.


Perhaps I should start by listing the three contenders that ultimately did not get the award. In no particular order they are: Doppelgänger by: Naomi Klein, The Heat Will Kill You First by: Jeff Goodell, along with The Undertow by: Jeff Sharlet. All of them would have been worthy recipients!

The winner is Democracy Awakening by: Heather Cox Richardson. Perhaps the subtitle (Notes on the State of America) best describes the book. Like me, the author is concerned with the fate of American democracy.

I get ideas on what to read from several sources. I value the opinions of the New York Times and Washington Post. While a mention and/or interview by Chris Hayes or Rachel Maddow isn’t always the “magic ticket” I never ignore it. The most valuable suggestions come from the co-owners of my local independent bookstore Page 158 in Wake Forest, North Carolina. They know me and my quirks. I would not have read Democracy Awakening if it had not been for the personal recommendation of my friend Dave Lucey. As an aside, a recommendation from his wife and co-owner, Sue, is almost a guarantee that I will read the book although Sue’s recommendations often don’t fit the criteria for the Recommended Reading List. (However, she has a real flair for picking out a well written books and I’ve derived many hours of enjoyment from her recommendations.)

Few of my readers have the luxury of the amount of discretionary time that I do and asking you to read triple figures in books is unrealistic. That only means that you have to be more discerning. That illustrates the lesson that I learned/reinforced this year. Get to know the staff or a staff member at your local independent bookstore and they will be an invaluable resource(s).

This is a Sunday article and the first of the 13 I will write well ahead of publishing. That happened for a reason. I wanted to make sure I got to you, my very valued readers, in time for the last-minute Christmas gift rush. Not for the first time I besiege you to give the gift of learning: reading. And do it via an independent bookseller. Only about 10% of my reading is regular paper books. The vast majority of the books I read are in the eBook or audiobook formats. These too can be purchased via your local independent bookseller. If you are challenged with setting either up your local independent bookseller will be happy to help you. Mine did in the case of the audiobooks, (thanks Josh!).

If you are perplexed by what to get “Uncle Harry” after asking a few questions your independent bookseller will be happy to offer suggestions and/or a gift card. It may be getting a bit late for Christmas, but most offer shipping at least within the continental USA.

If you don’t have a local independent bookseller, I’ll offer mine. Page 158 Books; 415 Brooks Street; Wake Forest, NC 27587. Phone: 919-435-1843. You can even go online at https://page158books.com 

There are a lot of disinformation artists (hey, I keep it PG on here) out there. The best defense we have against them is reading. Give it as a gift; even (and perhaps especially) to yourself.

This article was written well ahead of publishing in order to accommodate my year end hiatus and is the property of tellthetruthonthem.com. Its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak.