The books of 2023 : The Top Two / 10. If you're wondering what you should read in the year, ahead, well, here is a start. :

FICTION : '' The Bee Sting '' By Paul Murray. Murray makes his triumphant return with '' The Bee Sting, '' a tragicomic tale about an Irish family grappling with crises.

The Barneses - Dickie, Imelda, Cass and PJ - are a wealthy Irish clan whose fortunes begin to plummet after the 2008 financial crash. But in addition to his shared hardship, all four are dealing with demons of their own :

A long kept secret, blackmail, the death of a past love, a vexing frenemy and more. The novel threads together the stories of the increasingly isolated Barneses, but the overall tapestry Murray weaves is one not of desolation but of hope.

This is a book that showcases one family's love and resilience even as their world crumbles around them.

EXCERPT : Since the closure of the garage in the next town over, her father had stopped saying things would get better.

They knew how bad things were; the whole town knew. Old ladies would come to Dickie after Mass, and tell him they had said a Novena for him and for the motor industry in general.

Others steered clear, as if his failure might be catching. Sometimes when Cass walked into a shop now everything went quiet, and she felt shame prickle over her, like a hideous second skin, a new adversity arrived to take the place of her eczema.

Chain-Gang All-Stars By Nana - Kwame Adjei-Brenyah : A dystopian satire in which death-row inmates duel on TV for a chance at freedom, Adjei-Brenyah debut novel pulls the reader into the eager audience, making us complicit with the bloodthirsty fans sitting ringside.

'' As much as this book made me laugh at these parts of the world I recognised as being mocked, it also made me wish I recognised less of it,'' Girl Nathan wrote in his review.

'' The United States of ' Chain-Gang ALL-Stars ' is like ours, if sharpened to absurd points. " [Pantheon]

EXCERPT : This was sacred. The low roar of thousands waiting for her. An ocean of voices above, all around. She held her scythe in her hands. She told the guards to give her space and swayed left, then right. 

Warmed her spine. Energy flowed through her. She closed her eyes and entered her body. Her body didn't always make her feel safe, but there, underneath the ocean of voices, it felt immaculate.

The Publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks Book Staff, The New York Times.


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