5 books you should read before 2023 ends
As 2023 draws to a close, we have compiled a list of books we think you should read that capture the essence of the year and prepare you for another vibrant year of reading.
Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020
We are all aware of the unceasing genocide that is occurring in Palestine, and while it is mandatory for us to educate ourselves about the situation and the inhuman history, reading a fiction book could be an opener for many readers. Minor Details trails two timelines; one of the 1949 Nakba and the latter of recent years. During the 1949 Nakba, a nauseating debacle of history that resulted in the displacement and expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians, the Israeli soldiers raped and brutally murdered a young woman, burying her body in the sand afterwards. In the present time, a journalist in Ramallah becomes obsessively occupied with this 'minor detail' of the war, ultimately depicting a bigger scenario of life under occupation.
Shesh Mrito Pakhi
Suprokash Prokashona, 2022
Critically acclaimed as the best-written Bangla detective novel of recent times, Shesh Mrito Pakhi is an ornamental creation for lovers of the mystery-thriller genre. In the 1970s, the vicious murder of a time-defying, promising poet Amitav Mitra had stirred the entire nation of Darjeeling into a ruckus. Its primary suspect, Amitav's beloved friend and a successful detective novelist, Arun Chowdhury was never acquitted for his crime, owing to a lack of incriminating evidence. 45 years later, an all-Indian newspaper journalist named Tonoya arrives in the picturesque town of Darjeeling, assembling a series of unsolved murders for her upcoming newspaper report, to investigate the poet's murder. Thus begins the re-evaluation of the past.
Remarkably Bright Creatures
Shelby Van Pelt
Although published earlier in the year of 2022, it was not until mid-2023 that this debut novel by Shelby Van Pelt came into the spotlight of 'popular book lore'. And rightfully so, for it is equal parts heartwarming and whimsical, bound to keep its readers afloat. Remarkably Bright Creatures is the tale of an unlikely friendship between Tova Sullivan, a widowed older woman working at the Sowell Bay Aquarium and Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living in that said aquarium. 30 years ago, Tova's 18-year-old son mysteriously vanished in the deep trenches of the unforgiving Puget Sound, and ever since, she has tried her hardest to keep reminiscence at bay by filling her time. But Marcellus, the talking octopus, is a sea-proclaimed sleuth, and he would do anything to infer the night Tova's son disappeared and uncover the truth.
The Diary of a Bookseller
Profile Books Ltd, 2017
A compilation of the hilariously mundane journal entries of a bookseller, this memoir/autobiography is wholesome in its approach and raw in its presentation of the reality of the book industry. Shaun Bythell is the owner of Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop called The Bookshop. A book lover's haven, this bookshop comprises 100, 000 books and resides just by the edge of the glorious Irish sea. The readers get glimpses into the day-to-day life of Shaun as a bookseller, his interaction with eccentric customers and his blossoming relationship with his staff members. If the charming ambience of a cosy small town, namely Wigtown, tickles your fancy, then you should definitely pick this book up. And its gorgeous, illustrated cover is simply the cherry on top.
Just Like Magic
And lastly, sliding in a comforting Christmas romance because 'tis beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Once acquainted with the life of luxury and wealth, Bettie Hughes is broke to her core at the moment. Her family has zero idea about her condition and she successfully flaunts her fake extravagant lifestyle on social media. As the Christmas pressure of family gatherings and love-life TMIs loom large, Bettie stumbles upon Hall, a charming but unexpected Christmas spirit, who can not only grant her life's wishes but also shapeshift as a man. With this incredible opportunity at hand, Bettie decides to introduce Hall as her ready-made fiancé to her family. But as her heart melts and love grows for this incredible spirit, his time on earth becomes shorter. While this book might seem a tad eccentric in the beginning, its zany humour will make sure that you stick with it.
Nur-E-Jannat Alif is a Gender Studies major and part-time writer, who dreams of authoring a book someday. Find her at @literatureinsolitude on Instagram or send her your book/movie/television recommendations at [email protected].