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Biblioracle’s favorite fiction of 2023

It’s fiction week for the Bibliocle Book Awards. As always, I’ve read too many well-known books to fit into 600 words, so consider these the icing on one of the delightful pastries I’ve had in my reading years.

Long, Draggy, But Totally Worth It Book of the Year

Paul Murray’s “Skippy Dies” is one of my favorite novels, so I knew this year’s “The Bee Sting” would deliver something good, but it was more than good. I wrote at the beginning of this year It took an unusually long time (for me) to read the book, but the end result was as if I had read four novels; one for each member of the Barnes family, which comprises the novel and is in danger of disintegration. both individually and collectively. The momentum that Murray built to its riveting, devastating yet strangely beautiful climax was a reading experience I won’t forget.

What Are You Giggling About About Book of the Year?

I read it every night before bed and while I was reading Jen Beagin’s book “Greater Switzerland” That’s the question Miss Biblioracle will ask every night, sometimes several times a night. A bit adrift, Greta came to Hudson, New York, with her friend Sabine and worked to transcribe therapy sessions for a local sex coach. Funny (and some unfunny) things happen when Greta becomes obsessed with one of her patients, whom she nicknames the Big Swiss, and then meets the Big Swiss in real life.

After Reading the Book of the Year, I Couldn’t Get It Out of My Mind for Days

On the surface, Ron Rash’s books are remarkably quiet, but perhaps that’s because they spend their energy digging deep inside you. “Guard,” The story of people doing wonderful and terrible things for what and for whom they love continued to gnaw at me long after I turned the last page.

A Wonderful Journey from the First Page to the Last Book of the Year

“The Bee Sting” forced me to connect with what it revealed, but this award winner, James McBride’s “The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store,” entertains and engages every step of the way. It’s a story about people, some black, some Jewish, in a poor neighborhood in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, who come together to resist the forces that say they don’t belong. A great novel about what it means to build communities.

People Can Really Respect Each Other and Still Be Named Compelling Drama Book of the Year (tie)

both “Librarian” Patrick deWitt’s and Dan Kois’s “Vintage Contemporaries” eschew the idea that interesting stories require personal antagonism, and the result is a few novels that are comforting but still involve reading. “Vintage Contemporaries” follows Em as she navigates the New York publishing world from the ’90s to the 2000s. Think of it as a coming-of-age story where you never stop coming of age. “The Librarian” is the life story of Bob, a former librarian who lived alone most of his life but suddenly became interested in the strange people who populated the senior center where he volunteered. We reveal both the present and past of Bob, an ordinary man with an interesting story, because who doesn’t have an interesting story?

I Will Read Everything from the Author’s Book of the Year

“Mobility,” Lydia Kiesling’s second book after her debut, “The Golden State,” confirms that she is a master at enlightening people negotiating a world that can seem hostile in ways small and large, and how there is honor in stepping up. the other.

See you in 2024!

John Warner is the author of “Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Requirements.”

Twitter @biblioracle

Book recommendations from Biblioracle

John Warner tells you what you should read, based on the last five books you’ve read.

1. “Sacred” by Stephen King

2. “Small Mercies” By Dennis Lehane

3. “Marriage of Opposites” By Alice Hoffman

4. “A Gentleman in Moscow” By Amor Towles

5. “Heaven and Earth Market” by James McBride

— Ginny E., Chicago

Something tells me that EL Doctorow’s “Ragtime,” combining real events and fictional narrative, is the right choice for Ginny’s next read.

1. “Harlem Medley” By Colson Whitehead

2. “Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation and the Longest Night of World War II” by Malcolm Gladwell

3. “Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington” By Ted Widmer

4. “Lincoln Highway” By Amor Towles

5. “Razor Blade Tears” by S.A. Cosby

—David F., Homewood

Charles Frazier’s “Cold Mountain” is an enduring contemporary classic that David cannot put down.

1. “After Earth” By Debbie Urbanski

2. “Chain Gang of All Stars” By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

3. “Guest Cat” By Takashi Hiraide

4. “Future” By Naomi Alderman

5. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

—Jeremy Z., Syracuse, New York

The book I really want to recommend to anyone who has read “Huck Finn” lately is “James” by Percival Everett, but that book won’t be out until March. By the way, I think Yiyun Li’s “The Book of Goose” would be a good match.

Get a reading from Bibliocle

Send a list of the last five books you read and your hometown to: biblioracle@gmail.com.



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