VPL’s Staff Choice Awards of 2023


Inspired by Adam’s post last year of a similar nature, I thought that it would be fun if the last HOTS post of 2023 was a communal one! And yeah, the title is clickbait; there’s no such official award…but I did reach out to my fellow VPL colleagues and ask them what their favourite and/or most memorable book, movie, show or game was that they enjoyed this year. It didn’t have to be published or created in 2023, but it did have to be currently available in our catalogue (which means I wouldn’t be featuring anything that was currently on order).

My lovely colleagues have delivered their recommendations in their own words. Check it out and discover something new (or old, as the case may be) to explore in 2024!


Wonder Woman: Dead Earth

“Anything by Daniel Warren Johnson, his comics have been just off the wall amazing. His Wonder Woman mini-series was incredible, but his original work Do A Powerbomb and Murder Falcon are just masterpieces.

He’s the current author of the reboot of the Transformers comics that I have but haven’t started reading yet, but I’m looking forward to it.” — Tommy


Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing

“Like many others I was shocked to hear of the passing of Matthew Perry, especially since I had just completed his book, which I highly recommend not only to Friends‘ fans, but to anyone who is dealing with addiction, self doubt, and dark secrets. Following Matthew’s journey and hearing his raw narrative gave me a new perspective to the artist. He was more than Chandler Bing; he was an authentic human with flaws and pains, and I, for one, admired his honesty.” — Vanda


The Kingmaker’s Daughter

“An unmarked grave in Westminster Abbey reads ‘seemly, amiable, beauteous’… Philippa Gregory comes to rescue and bring Anne Neville back to life. Amidst the turbulent Battle of Bosworth Field and the loss of Richard III to Tudors, Anne was destined for greatness by the high ambition by her father, the Earl of Warwick. She was widowed at 14, remarried to the Duke of Gloucester, had a feisty love, was forced to be a political pawn, and had to navigate through the treachery of English court – you cannot but bow your head before this unsung heroine of history. Written in 1st person, it is as though Anne relates her absorbing story to you!” — Sougata



“Azul has a solid design that allows for players of all different levels to play and win, even if some don’t see themselves as having a mind for board games. Players score by matching tiles patterns to those on their board, or flip the board to make their own.” — Ben


Dark Winds

“Dark Winds stands out as a truly exceptional Indigenous-produced television series. Against the evocative backdrop of a remote outpost within the Navajo Nation in 1971, this gripping murder mystery seamlessly intertwines a suspenseful narrative with the rich tapestry of Navajo culture and spirituality, creating an immersive and thought-provoking viewing experience. VPL has a second season on-order in both DVD and Blu-ray.”  — Daniela


The Mighty Nein: The Nine Eyes of Lucien

“As a fan of TTRPGs and just dark fantasy in general, I’ve loved The Nine Eyes of Lucien by Madeleine Roux. If you’re not familiar with Critical Role, you won’t need to be to enjoy this book, but there’s plenty of Easter eggs to keep fans of the show happy.

Following the untold story of one of the cast’s second campaign character, Roux brings readers through the descent to madness that turns a once loveable and charming down-on-his-luck Tiefling into one of the most fearsome villains the world of Exandria has ever seen. Everyone loves a good villain story!”   — Maya



Unfamiliar by Haley Newsome is a very heartwarming graphic novel centering on a kitchen witch named Planchette who is new to town. Themes of community, acceptance and mystery make this a compelling read. This comic is quite frankly adorable; read and find out how Planchette will get rid of the literal ghosts that plague her house!” — Sandra


Everything Everywhere All At Once

“This movie was phenomenal and had me laughing out loud repeatedly. It also has a very touching and thought-provoking message at its core about family and especially mother-daughter relationships.” — Erin


Good Omens

“I really enjoyed watching the first season of Good Omens. It was funny and it had Queen music (two of my favorite things). Also, the story itself was interesting.” — Genevieve



“Can I rec an author? I read all of Jennifer Saint‘s books in a relatively short amount of time. Ariadne, Elektra and Atalanta are all wonderful deep dives into these women of Greek myth. Jennifer Saint writes several impactful tales of these women who are often relegated to the footnotes in Greek legend while providing an alternate point of view of how these women became who they were meant to be. I would definitely recommend Jennifer Saint to those who enjoyed reading Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles and Circe.” — Rhea

There were so many more recommendations, including those for items that are on order here at VPL! So I’ve made a list for you to explore all the recs that didn’t make it into this post.

Enjoy, and happy new year!

About Sumayyah

Sumayyah is an Information Assistant at the Vaughan Public Libraries. She's also a bookworm and author, constantly dreaming up a multitude of different stories and wrestling with finishing them.  |  Meet the team