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Powell's Picks of the Season 2021

Powell's Picks of the Season 2021

Every year we select and highlight some of the best books of the season! From fiction to nonfiction to our favorite picks for kids, we guarantee you’ll find the perfect book for every reader.

Playlist Tags: Powell's Books season: fall topic: gift guide season: winter topic: staff picks

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All Her Little Secrets

A Novel

By Wanda M. Morris
Narrated by: Susan Dalian
Length: 11 hours 39 minutes

All Her Little Secrets

“Grave Secrets: The secrets you carry to the grave. Ellice has carried hers many years, but now they threaten to be her undoing. But an even greater threat lurks, as first her boss and then others around her are murdered. Who is behind it all, and exactly what are they planning and hiding? The many twists and tense moments in this well-crafted thriller made me loathe to take a break from listening.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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Beautiful World, Where Are You

A Novel

By Sally Rooney
Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
Length: 10 hours 3 minutes

If you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, then you’ll love Beautiful World, Where Are You.

“I think I've found my preferred format of Rooney—the audiobook. Aoife McMahon narrates all three of Rooney's works and is super consistent. She makes every book unique and her voice is super compelling. Rooney's characters always frustrate me but there is something about her writing and her imperfect characters that hooks me every time. Alice and Eileen are two best friends who are each embarking on different relationships and are at different points of their personal and romantic lives. I had a hard time telling them apart at first (the downside of a single narrator on a multi-perspective book) but once I got them straight, I quite enjoyed this novel the touches on their lives on the brink of the pandemic. Like all of Rooney's twenty-something main characters, you want to slap them sometimes... or all the time but that's kind of why I like it? Perhaps these books aren't for everyone but I highly encourage you to try them in different formats and maybe you too will learn to like Rooney's writing as it shines in audiobook format!”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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Bewilderment

A Novel

By Richard Powers
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
Length: 7 hours 50 minutes

Bewilderment

“An homage to the heartbreaking Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, this intimate story of a grieving father and his troubled son is an intelligent and touching story of tragedy and hope.”

A Great Good Place for Books image Genevieve, A Great Good Place for Books
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The Book of Form and Emptiness

A Novel

By Ruth Ozeki
Narrated by: Kerry Shale & Ruth Ozeki
Length: 18 hours 50 minutes

The Book of Form and Emptiness

“Ruth Ozeki is back with a beautiful portrayal of the life of young teen Benny who is in the throes of grief at the loss of his beloved father. It has been a year since that loss but now Benny is living with his mother who has begun to hoard things, and he is starting to hear them speak to him. The voices are sometimes little more than a feeling – contentment, softness, or anger and frustration. When those voices follow him into the world outside, he really begins to worry. He flees to a place of safety – the library – where things are quieter. Then he begins to meet interesting people and learns how to find his own path in life and move forward. You’ll love the unknown narrator – Book – and the telling of this tale. The Book of Form and Emptiness is sparkling with Love and Truth – two things we all really need right now. And in the hands of such a consummate writer, they are powerfully rendered. Enjoy!”

Auntie's Bookstore image Linda, Auntie's Bookstore
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Cloud Cuckoo Land

A Novel

By Anthony Doerr
Narrated by: Marin Ireland & Simon Jones
Length: 14 hours 51 minutes

Cloud Cuckoo Land

“Anthony Doerr's novel Cloud Cuckoo Land is a triumph. This cautionary yet hopeful tale of five very different people obsessed with one ancient book will transport you to Constantinople 600 years ago, present-day Idaho, and to a spaceship a generation or two in the future. It's not too late to be good stewards of Mother Earth. Cloud Cuckoo Land reminds us that the children might just save us all.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel, Avid Bookshop
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Harlem Shuffle

A Novel

By Colson Whitehead
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 10 hours 35 minutes

Harlem Shuffle

“A love letter to 1960s Harlem that’s also a heist novel, a family saga, and so much more. Colson Whitehead proves once again that he’s always at the top of his game!”

Copper Dog Books image Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books
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Orwell's Roses

By Rebecca Solnit
Narrated by: Rebecca Solnit
Length: 7 hours 51 minutes

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
Finalist for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

“An exhilarating romp through Orwell’s life and times and also through the life and times of roses.” —Margaret Atwood


“A captivating account of Orwell as gardener, lover, parent, and endlessly curious thinker.” —Claire... Read more »

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The Lincoln Highway

A Novel

By Amor Towles
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini, Marin Ireland & Dion Graham
Length: 16 hours 38 minutes

If you enjoyed This Tender Land, then you’ll love The Lincoln Highway.

“THIS BOOK EXCEEDED ALL EXPECTATIONS! As a huge fan of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility, The Lincoln Highway had a lot of pressure and holy cow did it surpass anything I could have hoped for. From the first page, I was immediately drawn into Towles' magical writing and superb characters. This felt like a modern classic, the new and updated version of Huckleberry Finn that I actually wanted to read in high school. You cannot beat the quirkiness of Towles' characters. You feel so deeply about every single one of them and it feels like they leap off the page with specificities with which they are written. Duchess and Woolly, the stowaways, felt like a modern day George and Lennie from Of Mice and Men with Woolly's gentle giant innocence and Duchess' take-the-lead wile. Emmett is the stoic, do-right midwesterner who always fixes the messes. And Billy is the smartest, sweetest kid who inspires those around him. You fall in love with them and are left with all the feels. A glorious five out of five stars for me, The Lincoln Highway will be my go-to recommendation this fall.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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Crossroads

A Novel

By Jonathan Franzen
Narrated by: David Pittu
Length: 24 hours 56 minutes

Crossroads

Crossroads is Franzen's first novel since the National Book Award winning The Corrections that smacks of his original genius. Gloriously the tale of a 1960's Chicago minister led family of six is the start of a trilogy. The type of book you can't put down, I banned it from night time reading due to the thrilling descent of some of the characters. Hungry for the next two, which is saying something considering the book's 500+ pages.”

Bookstore1Sarasota image Roxanne, Bookstore1Sarasota
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And the Category Is…

Inside New York’s Vogue, House, and Ballroom Community

By Ricky Tucker
Narrated by: Ricky Tucker
Length: 8 hours 48 minutes

An Electric Literature “Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Book of 2022” Selection

A love letter to the legendary Black and Latinx LGBTQ underground subculture, uncovering its abundant legacy and influence in popular culture.

What is Ballroom? Not a song, a documentary, a catchphrase, a TV show, or an individual pop star. It is an underground subculture... Read more »

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Ace

What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex

By Angela Chen
Narrated by: Natalie Naudus
Length: 7 hours 43 minutes

Ace

“This book is an eye-opening collection of personal testimonies, research, and history about asexuality, and to a lesser extent, aromanticism. Whether you are new to learning about asexuality or are asexual yourself, by the end of the book you will have a richer and multifaceted understanding of ace identity and experience.”

Phoenix Books image Miriasha, Phoenix Books
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The Dawn of Everything

A New History of Humanity

By David Graeber & David Wengrow
Narrated by: Mark Williams
Length: 24 hours 2 minutes

The Dawn of Everything

“What do you do when a 700-page book about the entirety of human history has been sitting unopened on your desk for weeks, taunting you every time you pass it because you know you're going to love it but, man, it's intimidating? You download the audiobook. I've been listening to this radical, invigorating reexamination of the history of civilization in bits and pieces, usually on evening walks, and there's something about being out in the world while listening to these brilliant minds suggest new ways of understanding it that is so powerful. It's a thoroughly researched refutation of the stories we've been told about who we are and why we live the way we do, and an invitation to imagine a better future.”

P&T Knitwear image Arianna, P&T Knitwear
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Pastoral Song

By James Rebanks
Narrated by: Peter Noble
Length: 8 hours 35 minutes

The acclaimed chronicle of the regeneration of one family's traditional English farm

NATIONAL BESTSELLER * Winner of the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing * Named "Nature Book of the Year" by the Sunday Times * New York Times Editors' Choice * Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize * A BEST BOOK OF...

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Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid

The Fraught and Fascinating Biology of Climate Change

By Thor Hanson
Narrated by: Stacy Carolan
Length: 6 hours 28 minutes

A beloved natural historian explores how climate change is driving evolution  

In Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid, biologist Thor Hanson tells the remarkable story of how plants and animals are responding to climate change: adjusting, evolving, and sometimes dying out. Anole lizards have grown larger toe pads, to grip more tightly...

Read more »

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Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

By Thich Nhat Hanh
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini & True Dedication
Length: 9 hours 19 minutes

“When you wake up and you see that the Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us, you touch the nature of interbeing. And at that moment you can have real communication with the Earth… We have to wake up together. And if we wake up together, then we have a chance. Our way of living our life and planning our future has led us into this...

Read more »

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Special offer

Free audiobook with membership

For a limited time, when you sign up for a new monthly membership with code CHOOSEINDIE, we’ll give you a bonus audiobook! That means you’ll have 2 audiobook credits to redeem from the start.

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The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

By John Koenig
Narrated by: John Koenig
Length: 4 hours 42 minutes

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

“The best dictionary you'll ever had read to you. In fact, there's probably a word for that.”

Schuler Books image Charity, Schuler Books
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Call Us What We Carry

Poems

By Amanda Gorman
Narrated by: Amanda Gorman
Length: 3 hours 31 minutes

The instant #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller


The breakout poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman

Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet... Read more »

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Murakami T

The T-Shirts I Love

By Haruki Murakami
Narrated by: Kotaro Watanabe
Length: 1 hours 43 minutes

The international literary icon opens his eclectic closet: Here are photographs of Murakami’s extensive and personal T-shirt collection, accompanied by essays that reveal a side of the writer rarely seen by the public.

Considered "the world's most popular cult novelist" (The Guardian), Haruki Murakami has written books that have galvanized... Read more »

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On Animals

By Susan Orlean
Narrated by: Susan Orlean
Length: 10 hours

On Animals

“Listening to the audiobook was like listening to a podcast on animals, episodic and entertaining. New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean writes about animals in such a loving way. The personalities of each creature shines through. Highly recommend if you love creatures big and small.”

Phoenix Books image Sofia, Phoenix Books
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Hip-Hop (And Other Things)

By Shea Serrano
Narrated by: Bernardo Cubria
Length: 9 hours 55 minutes

HIP-HOP (AND OTHER THINGS) is the third book in the (And Other Things) series. The first two—Basketball (And Other Things) and Movies (And Other Things)—were both #1 New York Times bestsellers. Read more »

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